School District Strategies (SDS) was created in response to a recognized need of school districts experiencing growth in student numbers. The parent company, Residential Strategies, Inc. (RSI), founded in 1997, had earned the reputation as the industry leader in providing housing data to developers, home-builders, and lenders in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) metropolitan area. RSI clientele had reached the conclusion that the data provided to them was invaluable as they worked to maintain a competitive edge in the housing industry. Through conversations with clients, RSI leadership determined that the housing activity, residential lot supply data, demographics, and mapping services could also be invaluable to school district leaders seeking to anticipate and plan for growing student numbers.
With that need in mind, SDS was created in 2001 as an affiliate company to assist DFW school districts in better meeting the challenges brought about by residential development and student enrollment growth. With a historical accuracy rate of 98%, SDS’s enrollment forecasts are based on proprietary housing data collected and updated quarterly by RSI and its local company employees. Furthermore, SDS has access to knowledge about housing trends and future residential development in advance of any other data gathering group through its affiliate relationship with RSI. Freed of the burden of relying on a secondary source for accurate up-to-date data, SDS’s housing data and enrollment forecasting services have proven to be highly beneficial to districts needing up-to-date data to better anticipate budgeting, staffing, and facility demands.
In 2006, SDS and RSI expanded into Central Texas. For the past ten years, RSI has tracked new home construction and residential development in both the Greater Austin and Greater San Antonio markets. In 2014, RSI began surveying the Waco and Temple markets. RSI uses local employees to conduct a quarterly census of residential subdivision activity in the region.
Today many school districts are confronted by more complicated facility, staffing, and budgeting challenges. As a result, SDS, as a company, has evolved beyond just helping districts plan for residential development and student enrollment growth. As a full service school district demographics firm, SDS also provides administrators and school boards comprehensive studies down to the block level and assists district leaders with the modification or creation of attendance zone boundaries.
The demographic studies and attendance zone boundary work rely heavily on our GIS knowledge and capabilities. SDS’ demographer and support staff use the powerful and professional GIS application, ArcGIS, to geocode student locations and PEIMS data like grade level, ethnicity, socio-economic status, current campus, or special programs such as dual language. In addition, ArcGIS is used to create district maps that show active and future residential developments, current lot inventory, campus locations, current and proposed attendance zones, local zoning, parcel ownership, district-owned property, streets and future roadways, and projected enrollment growth.
SDS’ demographic services are specifically tailored to the needs of the district. Through advanced knowledge of the local housing market, experienced and accurate forecasting, and technical GIS expertise, SDS clients are able to find well-informed solutions to the unique challenges brought about by student enrollment growth, demographic shifts, and current and future campus capacity levels.
Over the past 20 years, SDS has successfully performed demographic services for Texas school districts of all sizes, ranging from 900 to over 50,000 students. SDS is comprised of a team of consultants and analysts that have years of experience with demographics, enrollment forecasting, GIS mapping platforms, and residential market analysis and consulting. SDS does not use any outside consulting firm other than its parent company, RSI. This allows SDS to be more cost effective than its competition. Without question, SDS possesses the recognized expertise with a local presence to provide the demographic services.