By Peter Zuniga, Correspondent
On Monday, Sept. 17, the Belton ISD Board of Trustees held a board meeting at 5 p.m. at the Belton ISD Administration Building. It began with the the call to order and then the Pledge of Allegiance.
First to the podium came Jarrod Sterzinger, O’Connell Robertson’s K-12 Education Team Director, who gave an update to the board on the 2017 Bond Projects Construction.
Charter Oak Elementary and Lake Belton High are still in the midst of heavy construction. For Pittenger Fine Arts Center, the renovations are nearly complete and the ribbon-cutting ceremony will happen at the end of the month.
Templeton Demographics’ Research Manager, Michelle Box, presented on the Fall Preliminary Demographic Update. In total, 11,876 students were enrolled in the Belton ISD for the 2018-19 school year. For the 2019-20 school year, Templeton predicts that more than 12,300 students will be enrolled. Their 10-year forecast is for a growth of 4,317 students to the current enrollment amount.
One highlight of the evening was the appointment of two new trustees, Rosie Montgomery and Manuel Alcozer. Montgomery has replaced former trustee Leo Camden for Area Two, and Alcozer has replaced former trustee Mike Cowan for Area Five.
Dr. Rachelle Warren, the director of social-emotional learning and multi-tiered systems of support, reviewed and discussed initiatives going on with campus culture. She has a long history of working on anti-bullying projects, since her former position was with the Anti-Defamation League.
Within the first three weeks of school at South Belton Middle School, an advisory plan for safe campus culture was committed to action. During this period of time, teachers and staff devised topical lessons plans that dealt with the issue of cyber-bullying. All grade levels participated in the lessons. “Teachers are already reporting deeper, more meaningful conversations regarding tough topics like cyber bullying,” Dr. Warren said.
Later on during the board’s period for recognition, the Big Red Community Partner award was given to the United Way of Central Texas. The organization promotes better education, financial stability, health and the support for basic needs through community volunteers and the raising of resources for impacting the local communities. The Executive Director, Stephanie O’ Banion was given time to give her thanks and speak more on the benefits that United Way provides to people everywhere.
She said, “I think one of the best kept secrets in Bell County–really, all over the country–is the 2-1-1. That is a 24-hour, seven day a week help hotline. I would think every teacher may want to have some cards in their classroom when they come across a family that’s experiencing some sort of difficulty.”
Through the 2-1-1 help hotline, United Way assists people with basic needs, such as bills, rent, food and child care. If interested, visit www.unitedway.org.