By Peter Zuniga, Correspondent
The entire Board of Trustees, including principals, teachers and various members of Belton ISD attended the Attendance Boundaries Meeting, held August 27, at 6 p.m. It was located in the Board Room at the Belton ISD Administration Building.
“This is big,” Dr. Susan Kincannon, BISD’s Superintendent said at the meeting’s start. “We are going to work on attendance boundaries for elementary, middle, and high school, with the goal of having a recommendation to the board in January. We’ve never done all three levels at the same time, so this will be new for us. But we’re going to do it very systematically just like we’ve done in everything else that’s a part of our 2025 plan.”
Dr. Kincannon coordinated the introductions, with each attendee standing and announcing their name and reason for coming. As she encouraged, many shared fond memories from the first week of school. Kevin Taylor, South Belton Middle School’s Principal, said, “I’ve got two boys at the high school, juniors this year—twins. Our memorable moment is our largest 6th-grade class ever, and watching them make their way around the building and learn their schedules.”
The growth of the district is the primary concern for administration as Dr. Kincannon emphasized. “…we have been thinking about the growth of the school district for some time now, all the way back to 2013 when we began planning for this 2025 plan, and how we would address our high school growth particularly.”
In the process of preparing, administration visited other districts that went from one to two high schools themselves. Administration also hired a new demographer, had listening sessions with the community, and a citizens committee was organized to come up with a plan to adjust for growth.
Following Dr. Kincannon, Jarrod Sterzinger, O’Connell Robertson’s K-12 Education Team Director, presented the updates on the 2017 Bond Program. With four unique projects in the bond, the process of formulating them took four years.
The first, Wall Street Auditorium, built in the 1960’s, will be concluding its renovation and construction within the next week, as Sterzinger said. To the excitement of the incoming students, the gymnasium for Lakewood Elementary School, the second project, is finished and in use.
The last two projects within the bond are on a much larger scale. Charter Oak Elementary school is projected to start classes in the Fall of 2019. It is still under construction. Lake Belton High School has just recently started its construction. It will start its first semester of class in the Fall of 2020.
Lake Belton High will have a full set of athletic builds, turf and track system, and an interior main street that connects athletics, fine arts, the central library and everything else together. The full layout was shown through an animation during the meeting.
Attention was given to each detail of the construction, even including the elements of a healthy classroom environment. “We wanted to make sure each classroom had natural light within it,” Sterzinger said.
The next segment of the meeting was presented by Templeton Demographics’ President, Bob Templeton. With Belton ISD hosting a new elementary school in the Fall of 2019, and a new high school in 2020, Templeton predicts that Belton ISD will add 2,257 students in the next five years, for a Fall 2022 enrollment of 13,787. The district will enroll more than 15,500 students by 2027.
For those that missed the first meeting, four more will follow it. The rest of the Attendance Boundaries meetings will be held on Sep. 10, Oct. 1, Oct. 22 and Nov. 5 at the same time of 6 p.m.