Belton ISD is a fast-growth school district. What does that mean?
Belton ISD grew by more than 3,000 students in the last decade and is projected to add about 3,600 students in the next ten years. By 2025, the district will have more than 14,000 students.
While the fast growth is affecting all grade levels, looking at high school enrollment shows just how fast Belton ISD is growing. This year, there are 3,225 students at Belton High School and Belton New Tech High School @Waskow. There will be more than 4,400 high school students by 2025 and about 4,900 by 2029.
What areas make up Belton ISD?
The district covers 198.6 square miles including Belton, Morgan’s Point Resort and part of Temple.
City and school district boundaries are two separate things. School district boundaries were set decades ago. However, as cities grow, their boundaries change through annexation. Many of the parts of Temple that are in Belton ISD were previously unincorporated parts of the county. Regardless, though, all homeowners in Belton ISD pay the same property tax rate to fund the district’s schools.
Why is Belton ISD growing?
The word is out that this community is a great place to live, work and raise a family. The area benefits from a low unemployment rate and job growth that is outpacing both the state and the nation. It also benefits from available housing. As of December 2016, more than 6,000 future lots were planned in Belton ISD.
Almost all of Belton ISD’s growth comes from families moving into the district. This year, out-of-district transfer students are about 4% of Belton ISD’s enrollment, and about half of those are the children of Belton ISD employees. Although the district is growing, the number of transfer students has remained fairly stable in recent years.
What does this fast growth mean for Belton ISD schools?
What is the Roadmap to BISD 2025?
The Roadmap to BISD 2025 is a plan to provide enough capacity to meet Belton ISD’s growth through at least 2025. It calls for building a new elementary school to open in 2019 and a new comprehensive high school that will open in 2020. It would also repurpose Bhs9, which is currently part of the Belton High School campus, to serve as a middle school again starting in 2020.
Who came up with this plan?
It’s the result of input from hundreds of parents, teachers and other community members.
Over the past four years, Belton ISD leaders have studied the district’s projected growth and facilities, held listening sessions, and worked with a long-range facilities planning committee. That group of parents, teachers, students and other community members met throughout 2015 to develop the recommendations that form the basis of the Roadmap to BISD 2025. Minutes and materials from their meetings are online at www.bisd.net/LRFPC
Building on the work of the Long-Range Facilities Planning Committee, the school board and administrators worked to fill in additional details (like the location of the elementary school and the size of the high school). In February, the school board called a bond election for May 6, 2017.
What projects are in the proposed bond packaged?
On May 6, voters in Belton ISD will consider issuing bonds to fund four projects: a new high school, a new elementary school, the addition of music classrooms and a gymnasium at Lakewood Elementary, and updates to the Wall Street Auditorium in downtown Belton.
How much will this cost?
The total cost of the four projects is $149.7 million, which breaks down as follows: $125.6 million for the new high school, $21.3 million for the new elementary school, $1.7 million for the additions at Lakewood Elementary, and $1.1 million for the auditorium updates. Those amounts include the cost of both building and equipping the new schools.
Will my property taxes increase?
Issuing the proposed bonds is projected to increase the district’s property tax rate by 18.69 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. For the average homeowner in Belton ISD, that works out to $253.91 per year.
Homeowners over the age of 65 can have their school property taxes frozen. Homeowners who have received this exemption will not see their tax rate increase as a result of this bond.
What happened to property taxes after past bond elections?
After previous bond elections, the actual tax impact has been less than what was projected.
For example, in 2012, the district's financial advisor projected a tax increase of 11.7 cents if voters approved the bond issue, but the actual increase was 11.5 cents in 2013. The tax rate was then cut by 7.1 cents in 2014 and by an additional cent in 2015. In 2009, the projected tax increase was 5.4 cents, but the actual increase was 1 cent in 2010 followed by a 1.5 cent cut in 2011.
Where will the new high school be located?
The new high school would be located behind High Point Elementary School near the intersection of FM 317 and FM 2483 in Temple.
What size will the new high school be?
The new high school is being designed with space for 2,500 students.
If voters approve the bond package, the high school would open in the fall of 2020 with students in grades nine and 10, and another grade would be added in each of the next two years. The first senior class would graduate from the school in 2023.
While the number of students attending the school will be determined by its attendance boundaries, it’s likely to have 900-1,000 students when it opens in 2020 and could grow to about 1,900 students by 2023. Based on current cutoff numbers and formulas, it seems likely that the school will be in either UIL Class 4A or Class 5A when it opens.
Belton High School is expected to remain in Class 6A.
What programs would a new high school offer?
Belton ISD’s goal is for every student to have the same educational opportunities regardless of the school that he or she attends. The academic and extra-curricular offerings at a new high school would mirror those at Belton High School to the extent possible.
For academics, this means that students at both schools would have access to a wide variety of classes including Advanced Placement, dual credit, career and technical, fine arts, and humanities classes. In athletics, students at both high schools would be able to compete in the same sports, and with the exception of football, every sport at the new school would likely field a varsity team during the school’s first year. Football would likely field only sub-varsity teams for the school’s first year and a varsity team from the second year on.
Some facilities would not be duplicated at a new high school. Belton High School and the new campus would share Tiger Field, the existing swim center, and the auto tech facility currently under construction at Belton High School.
What about the boundaries, colors and mascot?
It’s too early to begin drawing attendance boundaries, and no decisions have been made about the mascot, colors or name of a second comprehensive high school. Like other important decisions, Belton ISD will seek out input from every part of the community including parents, students, teachers, and alumni.
For example, in 2012, voters approved building High Point Elementary, Chisholm Trail Elementary and North Belton Middle School. As the district prepared to open those schools, Belton ISD leaders worked closely with committees of parents, teachers and community members to redraw the elementary and middle school attendance boundaries.
What will happen to Belton New Tech High School @ Waskow?
Belton New Tech High School @ Waskow will keep its current location and distinctive culture. Starting in 2020, New Tech would likely share a campus identification number with Belton High School. That would address UIL and transportation issues and could result in some changes to how class rank, academic honors and accountability ratings are calculated. However, Belton New Tech High School @ Waskow students would continue to be able to take athletics, fine arts, and career and technical education classes at Belton High School as well as participating in athletics and other UIL activities there.
Where will the new elementary school be located?
The new elementary school will be located on Poison Oak Road just east of Carriage House Drive in Temple.
Will the City of Temple make improvements to Poison Oak Road?
Improvements to Poison Oak Road are part of the city of Temple’s transportation capital improvement program. However work on the road probably will not be completed before the school would open in the fall of 2019.
How much debt does Belton ISD have now?
As of September 1, 2016, the aggregate principal amount of outstanding tax-supported debt was $121,854,996.20. For more detailed information on the district’s debt, please see the HB1378 Debt Obligations Report
Since 2010, Belton ISD has refunded existing bonds seven times to take advantage of historically low interest rates. That has saved taxpayers more than $8.7 million in interest payments.
What will happen if the bond fails?
In the short-term, Belton ISD’s existing schools will need to accommodate more students. At many campuses, this could require adding portable classrooms. However, the district’s fast-growth is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. As a result, Belton ISD would likely present a revised bond package to voters for their consideration as early as November 2017.
Who can vote in the bond election?
All residents of Belton ISD, who are registered to vote no later than April 6, 2017, can participate.
How can I register to vote?
You can complete a voter registration application on the Secretary of State’s website
. You will need to print, sign and date the form. Then mail it to the address on the form.
You can also register in person at the Bell County Belton Courthouse Annex (550 E 2nd Ave, Belton).
When and where can I vote early?
From April 24 through May 2, you can vote at any of the following locations:
- Belton ISD Administration Building (400 N Wall St, Belton)
- Belton High School (600 Lake Rd, Belton)
- North Belton Middle School (7907 Prairie View Rd, Temple)
Those early vote locations will be open the following dates and times:
- April 24-28 from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- April 29-30 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- May 1-2 from 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
When and where can I vote on Election Day?
Election Day is Saturday, May 6, and the polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Voters in Trustee Areas 2, 3 and 5 can cast their ballots at the T.B. Harris Community Center (401 N Alexander St, Belton).
- Voters in Trustee Areas 1 and 4 can cast their ballots at North Belton Middle School (7907 Prairie View Rd, Temple).
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