October 2021
Demographers: Belton ISD on Track to Reach 19,000 Students Within 10 Years

Growth in Belton ISD is not slowing anytime soon. That’s what the Belton ISD Board of Trustees heard from demographers during a workshop session held before the October Board meeting.

Michelle Box, a demographer with Zonda Education, formerly Templeton Demographics, told the board that by 2031, the district’s total enrollment is expected to balloon from today’s 13,300 students to more than 19,000. 

Demographers attribute this growth to a booming housing market — the district has 46 actively building subdivisions with groundwork underway on about 1,975 lots — and the district’s strong reputation as a destination district, somewhere families desire to enroll their children.

The Lake Pointe and Lake Point Terrace subdivisions have been driving growth in the northern part of the district with homes yielding 0.8 students each compared to the average yield of 0.5. But the south side of the district will soon catch up with the development of Hubbard Branch near Miller Heights Elementary and Three Creeks near Chisholm Trail Elementary.

While it is more difficult to project what that long-term growth will look like, if it continues at a similar rate, Belton ISD could have more than 14,300 elementary students, 6,500 middle school students and 8,200 high school students by 2051.
Student Showcase -
North Belton Middle School Orchestra Ensemble
Musicians from North Belton Middle School’s concert and chamber orchestras played St. Lawrence Overture, Appalachian Hymn and Dragon Slayer before the start of the meeting. Students include: On violin: Trijae Bilbo, Alexandra Bui, Ethan Cohen, Isaiah Fulk, Brisia Galindo Rivera, Oliver Gilliam, Jax Gonzalez, Laurel Haynes, Lilyann Holley, Hailey Long, Hannah Maroney, Bella Parker, Avelyn Ponce, Trysten Reese, Jullian Sarwon, Noah Stevens and Zander Zambrano; on viola: Gabriel Felix-Rimassa, Natalia Garcia, Jocilin Kwan-Nguyen, Victoria Salazar-Canales, Jaycie Sheard, Adelynn Sommers, Sydney Stafford and Madison Swank; on cello: Jenna Kate Benedick, Keagan Hedrick and Liliana Leverington; and on bass: Aiden Forsten and Riley Ramirez. The ensemble is under the direction of Jenna Burchell, NBMS’ head orchestra director.
Bond Exploration Committee Work Continues
Trustees heard an update on the progress being made by the Bond Exploration Committee, a group that began meeting last month to review enrollment growth, facility needs and desired student experiences in the school district. The end goal is to present prioritized project recommendations to Smith who will ultimately provide recommendations to the Board of Trustees.

The Bond Exploration Committee website — www.beltonisdbond.net — includes all the meeting presentations and collateral materials. We welcome all to follow along with the committee’s work and progress. The Committee has three more scheduled meetings — Nov. 3, Nov. 8 and Dec. 8.
Board Recognition -
National Merit Semifinalists
The National Merit Program has recognized two Belton ISD seniors as semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program for their performance on the Preliminary SAT (PSAT) — Belton High School senior Matthew Salazar and Belton New Tech High School @ Waskow senior Marshewari Rajesh.

To qualify as a National Merit semifinalist, both students’ high scores on the PSAT placed them in the top 1 percent of more than 1.5 million students who took the test last fall. As the next step in the scholarship competition, Salazar and Rajesh will submit essays, recommendations and additional test scores to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Finalists will be announced in the spring.
Trustees Hear About Redistricting Options

Trustees heard a plan at a special board meeting on Oct. 29 that would adjust districts to balance population changes reflected in the 2020 U.S. Census.

The plan was presented by Mark Morrison, a Baylor Law School professor emeritus and expert on redistricting. Morrison has worked on redistricting in Central Texas and around the state for more than 40 years.

Redistricting — the process of redrawing the lines of districts from which public officials are elected based on population changes over the past decade — is intended to ensure that district boundaries reflect changes in population and racial diversity.

According to Morrison, four of the five Belton ISD trustee districts are imbalanced due to significant growth in the past decade — District 2, 3, 4 and 5. He suggests balancing District 3's population by adding population from District 2. District 2 can be replenished by extending into District 4 and 5, which both need to be reduced. District 1 is within 65 people of the ideal population and needs minimal changes.

The Board expects to take action to approve any changes to districts before the February election filing deadline.
Board Recognition -
National Merit Commended Scholars
The National Merit Program has recognized six seniors from Belton High School and two seniors from Belton New Tech High School @ Waskow as Commended Scholars for 2022.

The students recognized from BHS are Jackson Belobrajdic, Madeline Fournier, Anuraag Jha, Andrew Johnson, Jackson Reasoner and Megan Shelburne. The New Tech students recognized are Aditi Bhat and Krithika Rajesh.

Ranked in the top 5 percent in the nation for scores on the PSAT, these Belton ISD students are among about 34,000 selected as Commended Scholars out of 1.5 million students who took the test last fall.
Board Committee Reports

Policy: The policy committee met on Oct. 4 to continue discussions about EIC(LOCAL), the policy about class rank.

Facilities: The facilities committee met on Oct. 13 and heard a preliminary fall demographer report from Michelle Box of Zonda Education. Committee members also discussed the facility naming nomination to name the LBHS baseball/softball batting cages after Jace Jefferson, a former Belton ISD student.
Board Recognition -
Temple Rotary Club's Educator of the Month
Whitney Shaw, a Functional Academics special education teacher at North Belton Middle School, was recognized as Temple Rotary Club's Educator of the Month. She is in her 13th year in education and her 10th year with Belton ISD. “Ms. Shaw genuinely loves her job and puts her all into everything she does for each and every one of her students," said Michelle Tish, principal at NBMS.
Superintendent's Report

  • District leaders are exploring a move to Scenario 2 of the district's COVID-19 Response Plan after a recent dip in Bell County COVID-19 numbers.
  • Dr. Smith pointed out several highlights from October 2021, including an elementary design team student group where 17 students were able to talk with architects to provide their input on what's most important to include in the design of the district's next elementary school; campus visits to Southwest, Chisholm Trail, Miller Heights and Belton High; at BHS, Dr. Smith participated in Masonry Day by laying brick.
  • Dr. Smith also reminded the board that early voting is underway in Bell County and includes a $184.9 million bond election for Temple ISD. Election Day is Nov. 2. He hopes anyone who is able will support Temple ISD's bond election.
Board Recognition -
National Principals Month
Each October, National Principals Month recognizes the essential role that principals play in making a school great. The success of Belton ISD as a district is a direct result of the hard work our campus principals do on behalf of our students and staff and it is worthy of recognition. 

Belton ISD’s principals are Sheila Surovik, Belton Early Childhood School; Christopher Lockamy, Charter Oak Elementary; Elizabeth McMurtry, Chisholm Trail Elementary; Cary Zepernick, High Point Elementary; Marcie Beck, Leon Heights Elementary; Christy Chandler, Lakewood Elementary; Hope Orsag, Miller Heights Elementary; Rebecca Vaughn, Pirtle Elementary; Dawn Schiller, Southwest Elementary; Julee Manley, Sparta Elementary; Aubrey Itz, Tarver Elementary; Stacie Seveska, Belton Middle School; Kris Hobson, Lake Belton Middle School; Michelle Tish, North Belton Middle School; Kevin Taylor, South Belton Middle School; Ben Smith, Belton High School; Jill Ross, Lake Belton High School; Kim Winters, Belton New Tech High School @ Waskow; and Sandy Garrett, District Alternative Education Program.
Consent Agenda Highlights

  • Unaudited financial report for the month ending September 30, 2021
  • Expenditures over $50,000 (Renewal of Smartnet, Microsoft Office 365 and Verizon hotspots)
  • Supply, equipment and service bids (RFPs for trailers and related equipment/services; software and applications; group travel services)
  • Adult meal prices for 2021-2022
  • 2021-2022 interlocal agreement with City of Temple for use of tennis facilities at Crossroads Park
  • Gifts, grants and bequests

To review Belton ISD board meeting agendas and full packet materials, click here.
Board Recognition -
Belton Rotary Club's Educator of the Quarter
April Robinson, a second grade teacher at Miller Heights Elementary, was recognized for earning the designation of Belton Rotary Club's Educator of the Quarter. She is in her 20th year in education, all of which are with Belton ISD and at Miller Heights Elementary. “Mrs. Robinson demonstrates empathy, commitment, makes individual connections with each and every student, and believes that each one will grow and succeed, said Michelle Mikeska, assistant principal at Miller Heights. "April is an invaluable asset to our campus community.”
Board Recognition -
Texas Education Human Resources Day
Governor Greg Abbott proclaimed October 13, 2021, as Texas Education Human Resources Day. It is a day to recognize and honor the important contributions made by school staff who work in HR.

Our Belton ISD human resources team works tirelessly to recruit and retain world-class employees who directly impact our students on a daily basis. This team is responsible for supporting the district’s most important asset — its people — by keeping them informed about policies, working conditions, compensation and benefits. They must also monitor and manage workforce trends, organizational culture and legal and legislative trends. We are grateful for the instrumental work they do for the Big Red Community.