Published November 20, 2014
By Devin Corbitt, The Belton Journal
Belton Independent School District Board of Trustees meeting Monday, Merl Brandon, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services, presented the first reading of a proposal that would remove the limitations on the number of days students are permitted to miss for extracurricular activities. Currently, students can miss up to 10 days total for the year for activities such as sports, band, academic U.I.L., FFA, etc. This presents a particular problem for students who participate in multiple activities, who are often unable to attend spring events because they are unable to miss more school.
“The kids in Belton are very involved,” Brandon said. “The consideration is that we not hold that against them.”
Brandon and others involved in revisions to the current policy believe that other checks and balances will adequately ensure students’ success within the classroom without the 10-day extracurricular absence limitation.
The board also recognized more than a dozen individuals and organizations as this month’s meeting, including the girls cross country team for taking the district championship and the tennis team, who placed second in the Area meet. They also recognized two students who are not new to school board recognitions: fifth grader Shivangi Ojha and ninth grader Hedwig Gavino, who participated in the National School Bus Safety Poster Contest. Ojha took first place in division two of the contest, and Gavino placed second in division three.
Merl Brandon highlighted the district’s growing enrollment, particularly within the military community. See A6 for more details.
In her Superintendent’s Report, Dr. Susan Kincannon gave construction updates on Chisholm Trail Elementary School, North Belton Middle School, Sparta Elementary School and the Ag Barn. The building projects at Chisholm and NBMS are nearly completed, as is the roofing project at Sparta. Cleanup is expected to be completed by the end of the week at Sparta. The district is working to issue contracts for the Ag Barn. Local contractors have been selected for the project, which will break ground Dec. 9 at 8:30 a.m.
This month’s consent agenda included a $6,000 donation from the Magic Belles Booster Club that will go toward purchasing contest uniforms for the organization; the purchase of new laptops for each middle school teacher, in accordance with the established replacement cycle; the Highly Qualified Teacher Report, which showed 100 percent qualification in the district; waivers for students who missed school due to ebola concerns last month; and a waiver limiting the number of foreign exchange students to five per high school. The agenda was passed unanimously.
Phil Haggerty, Assistant Superintendent for Business Services, delivered a report on the Tax Appraisals for the district. 31,866 properties appraised in 2014, with approximately $34.5 million generated from those properties: $28 million at the $1.17 rate for the Maintenance and Operations levy, and $6.5 million at a $0.27 tax rate for the Interest and Sinking levy.
The board accepted a pool of companies who will provide construction services to the district on an as-needed basis, including Huckabee Associates, Michael Marrs, O’Connell Robertson and Raba Kistner. The superintended will be able to negotiate contracts with each company for consulting and planning purposes before taking the projects to the board for construction authorizations.
The next meeting will be held Dec. 15 at 5 p.m.