By Lindsay Starr Platt, The Belton Journal
At the BISD Long Term Planning Meeting Tuesday night, a plan was revealed known as the “Tan Option,” and in that preliminary plan BISD would add another comprehensive high school and an elementary school to the district. Plans would include increasing student capacity at Lake Belton Middle School and adding a track, field and stadium. And then to repurpose Belton High School 9th grade campus back to a middle school that will use Belton High School’s track, field and stadium.
Last month at the BISD Long Term Planning Meeting a plan was revealed known as the “Black Option” and that preliminary planning option had in account all the issues that were brought up, discussed and voted on in the previous meeting. Unanimously those that had their say in previous meetings wanted to discuss the expansion of the high school, keeping the two smallest elementary schools in the district and building an additional elementary school and middle school.
Advantages to the proposed “Tan Option” would be having a smaller school and for more options to participate in UIL activities. And, also traffic concerns for the campus at the proposed “Black Option” was a concern among many of the attendees. And of course the estimated cost of either project was an important subject.
The proposed “Black Option” will take advantage of having all high school options available on campus to include Career and Technical Education (CTE) and bridging the geographical gap between the Belton High School 9th grade campus and the main high school campus. Plans for the one campus idea will add a CTE campus in between the two campuses, making them all under one building. One could walk from Belton High School through the CTE campus and into the Belton High School 9th grade campus.
Academic course offerings could be increased if the “Black Option” was implemented by creating one “mega school” for Belton ISD. This would be an advantage for students in a wide array of studies from traditional to CTE.
Members of the school board discussed each preliminary plan including the less popular “Orange Option” and Green Option.” Attendees were asked at each table to make a list of the “pros and cons” of each proposed plan. After each plan was discussed, attendees were each given a “sticker dot” which they placed on the display of the preliminary plan they voted the best. After the vote it was clear and obvious that both the “Black Option” and the new “Tan Option” are both well liked, but both in need of some changes.
Planning the UIL considerations into the year 2025 for leaving New Tech online and opening another high school would be:
Option 1- Leaving New Tech online and opening another school and the allowing of New tech students to participate in UIL activities for the school for which they are zoned. It would be difficult to implement this plan into busing and scheduling.
Option 2 – New Tech program will be hubbed at one of the comprehensive high schools, eliminating the campus code with TEA.
Option 3 – Not allowing New Tech students to participate in UIL activities at either comprehensive high school. Electives identified by which the New Tech students would take and have them offered on campus. This may cause enrollment to drop, but improve scheduling.
Option 4 – Students can chose and declare any comprehensive high school to attend, and there will not be any attendance zones. Students can participate in UIL activities at the school first selected and if child transfers to another high school they will be ineligible to participate for one year.
All considerations and community input will be used for discussing more options for the BISD Long Term Planning Meeting, which will meet again on May 27.