Special to The Journal
At a special meeting, the Belton ISD Board of Trustees called a bond election for May 6. Voters will consider issuing bonds to fund four projects, which include a new elementary school and a new high school.
Belton ISD officials report that the district grew by 3,151 students over the past decade and that it is projected to add another 3,617 students in the next ten years. That will bring Belton ISD’s total enrollment to more than 14,400 students in the fall of 2025 including more than 4,400 high school students. As a result, elementary and middle schools are expected to be at or near their capacity in 2019 and high schools in 2021.
“There’s a reason that more than 6,000 lots for future homes are planned in Belton ISD,” board president Randy Pittenger said. “The word is out that our community is a great place to live, work and raise a family. That means more families are moving here, and more kids are enrolling in our schools.”
The proposed bond package would fund a new elementary school to open in 2019 and a high school to open in 2020. When the high school opens, Bhs9 would be repurposed to serve as the district’s fourth middle school. The package also includes funding to add music rooms and a standard gymnasium at Lakewood Elementary School and to update systems and equipment at the Wall Street Auditorium in downtown Belton. The estimated total cost for the four projects is $149.7 million.
The new elementary school would be located near the intersection of Poison Oak Road and Carriage House Drive in the city of Temple. It will have space for about 800 students. The cost of the proposed elementary school is estimated at $21.3 million, a figure which includes the cost of construction as well as furniture, fixtures, technology and other equipment.
The new high school would be built on land adjacent to High Point Elementary School and near the intersection of FM 317 and FM 2483 in Temple. The campus is being designed with space for up to 2,500 students. The estimated cost to both build and outfit the high school is $125.6 million.
Based on historical trends, the district’s financial advisor projects that issuing $149.7 million in bonds would increase property taxes 18.69 cents per $100 of valuation. For the average homeowner in Belton ISD, that amounts to $253.91 per year.
Early voting for the election, which also includes two at-large seats on the school board, is set to begin on April 24. There will be three early voting locations: the administration building, North Belton Middle School and Belton High School. Voters in Belton ISD can cast their ballot at any of the sites from 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. April 24-28, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. April 29-30, and from 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m. May 1-2.
There will be two polling places on Election Day, which is May 6. Voters in trustee areas 1 and 4 will be able to cast their ballots at North Belton Middle School in Temple, and voters in areas 2, 3 and 5 will vote at the T.B. Harris Community Center in Belton. Both polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“I would encourage every voter in our school district to participate in this election,” said Pittenger. “It’s important that every voice is heard.”