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BISD hosts public forums on new attendance boundaries

Jeff Norwood, Belton ISD Board of Trustees Vice President, left, and Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon listen to the public

Belton ISD residents had the opportunity to speak individually with school administrators, board trustees and the district’s demographer at three public forums about the proposed new attendance boundaries.

Before public comments, Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon gave a presentation on the district’s projected student enrollment and need to accommodate expected increases. Michelle Box, with Templeton Demographics, also detailed the two proposed sets of attendance boundariesmaps, referred to as Map Set A and Map Set E. 

Both sets of maps offer attendance boundaries that address balanced enrollment and future student growth for at least five years at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Map Set A has the area described as the “hook” going south for middle and high school, and Map Set E has this area going north for middle and high school. Students in this area will attend Lakewood Elementary in both map sets.

The district’s demographer, Templeton Demographics, said the public forums also allow leaders the opportunity to hear public opinions regarding the area surrounding South Belton Middle School and the Southwest Elementary.

‘We recognize that’s an area of concern for parents and the staff of South Belton and Southwest schools,” said Michelle Box, from Templeton Demographics. “That is a big consideration that we will bring back both to the attendance committee and the board, as well as the Lakewood hook and the main difference between map plans A and E. We’ve heard some great thoughts about those areas from residents who live there.”

Members of the Attendance Boundaries Committee and administration answered a variety of questions from residents who also had the opportunity to complete feedback forms that will be shared with the committee.

“I understand this is a very difficult challenge, andI applaud the committee and others who have worked on it,” wrote a resident on a feedback form.

“Our goal was for this to be an open and inclusive process. We wanted to hear feedback from as many people as possible,” said Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon. “We are very pleased with the community participation and the feedback we have received from them.”

Members of the community expressed similar sentiments about the public process of the forums.

Amber Neiser, a mother of four children at Belton ISD, felt the meeting was informative. “I talked about my concerns about how middle schoolers will be affected because one of my children starts at Lake Belton for sixth grade next year and then could move to Belton Middle School for eighth. I am proud of BISD for staying on top of planning for the future. I am confident that all plans will go smoothly,” she said.

Kincannon said the feedback has been mostly positive, though she acknowledged that some residents did express concerns about proposed changes. But Kincannon maintained that every public comment and consideration will be beneficial to the committee. 

“The community has appreciated the process, and while there are some areas impacted where parents may not be pleased with the change, overall, the community seems to be satisfied,” she said.

Board President Sue Jordan added, “Drawing new elementary, middle and high school attendance boundaries for our fast-growing district is a necessary challenge. To inform these important decisions, we have taken steps to ensure an open and inclusive process in order to develop boundaries that will serve our students, parents and community for years to come.”

The Attendance Boundaries Committee will hold its final meeting January 7 and decide if any revisions are needed on the proposed maps. The committee will then make final recommendations to the Board of Trustees at its regular meeting January 14, where it will decide which map set to approve.

 

Joshua Wucher
joshua.wucher@bisd.net
December 14, 2018