By Devin Corbitt-Garcia, The Belton Journal
The first item of business of the Belton Independent School District (BISD) Board of Trustee meeting on Monday was to swear in their newest member, Leo Camden, Jr. Camden will fill the seat left vacant after Dr. Rosie Montgomery stepped down in May after her last term. For more information, please see page A8.
The second item of the evening was the recognition of several students, teachers and schools within the district. Seven seniors were named commended students by the National Merit Program, including Aidan Christian, Christina Gaw, Austin Hagen, Samyuktha Manikandan, Meredith Ramba and Joshua Stegall of Belton High School (BHS) and Anne Ciccariello of Belton New Tech High School @ Waskow. Only 34,000 of the more than 1.5 million students who take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholar Qualifying Test receive this designation.
Leon Heights Elementary was on the board’s radar Monday evening as they received their Title I Reward School for their students’ outstanding performance on math and reading assessments during the 2013-2014 school year. The school’s principal, Tiffany Weiss, was on hand to accept the award.
Each year, the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials host a poster contest for students. Of this year’s contest, themed “What Home Means to Me,” only 12 entries were chosen nationwide. BHS student Natalie Bunch is one of those 12. She received a $100 gift card, and her poster will be featured in the association’s 2016 calendar.
This month’s Big Red Community Partner was awarded to Temple Winnelson Company, a plumbing company who has worked closely with the construction trades and welding programs. Last February, Temple Winnelson Company donated three new bathtubs, two new hot water heaters and one new tankless hot water heater for students to use in their training, as well as providing countless pieces of advice to help students excel.
To round out the recognitions, Erin Sims was recognized by the Temple Rotary Club. Sims teaches kindergarten at Tarver Elementary School, where her gentle and patient demeanor makes her the ideal kindergarten teacher.
The consent agenda included a $583 donation from Wal-Mart to Chisholm Trail Elementary for school supplies, $4,999 donation from the Magic Belle Booster Club for contest costumes and $1,000 from Barry Harper to support the BHS cheerleaders’ Think Pink, Go Red research campaign, among others. The agenda was approved unanimously.
Next up was the Superintendent’s Report, where Dr. Susan Kincannon reported that the district was able to refund $7.84 in bonds at an interest rate of 2.614 for a total savings of $1,100,472 to taxpayers. For more infomation, please see page A2. Kincannon will also visit the second of three 2-day sessions as part of her professional development in December. The first session was held at Google in Austin in September, where Kincannon was accompanied by two BISD principals. She also reported on the Belton Educational Enrichment Foundation (BEEF) Red Carpet Event and the Long Range Facilities Planning Committee. The next long-range planning meeting will be Monday at 6 p.m. in the BISD Administration Building and will feature several students and their thoughts on the district’s future. The final meeting is tentatively set for Nov. 10. She wrapped up her report by presenting the current enrollment numbers for the district. As of last Friday, BISD had 10,870 students, 328 more than last year’s official snapshot. This year’s official snapshot will take place Oct. 30.
Todd Schiller only recommended one hire this month, Marla Moore. After a unanimous approval, Moore will now serve as an English and dance teacher at BHS. The board also accepted five resignations.
The board also unanimously reappointed Robert Jones to represent them on the Bell County Tax Appraisal District Board of Directors for a 2-year term.
For another exciting moment in the meeting, the board unanimously voted to accept and close out the Bhs9 Roofing and HVAC Project. The bid for the project was awarded to Empire Roofing, and construction was completed in mid-August, ahead of schedule and under budget. It included re-roofing the Bhs9 building and changing out 14 heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) units.
“Empire was a joy to work with,” Joe Peterka said. “If they said they were bringing 19 people to work, that’s how many people were there. If they said they were bringing 21, that’s what was there. They were honest and very professional throughout. Lochridge-Priest was the mechanical contractor, and they were spot on all the way through.”
With the closeout of the Bhs9 project, the district is now ready to begin re-roofing the high school. As such, the board unanimously approved a request for proposals on the first of the renovations. The project will be broken into three parts—A, B and C—and completed during the summer months to minimize interference with school. The board will now call for bids for the first part, Project A, with construction to take place during the summer of 2016 at an estimated cost of $1,238,198.
Angela Tekell presented the first reading of a board policy update, mostly with changes ordered by the legislature during the 84th Legislative Session that have an immediate effect on the district. For more information, the updates can be found at http://www.bisd.net/Update103.
The BISD Board of Trustees will reconvene Nov. 16 a 5 p.m. in the Administration Building, 400 N. Wall Street.