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Belton ISD Enrollment Continues to Climb

The Belton ISD Board of Trustees heard news at its monthly workshop on Monday that is rare for other public school districts across Texas this year - enrollment is up and exceeding projections. 

In a bi-annual presentation by the district’s demographers, the Board learned that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, families continue to move to the area and attend Belton ISD schools.

“Belton ISD experienced one of the best enrollments of any of our 80-plus clients,” said Bob Templeton, vice president of Templeton Demographics. “All of our clients except for two were down significantly.”

Templeton attributes this sustained growth to the way the district reopened in the fall after the COVID-19 closure in the spring and the hot local housing market.

“The success of your approach to opening school, the good communication really paid off because your enrollment was so strong,” Templeton said. “We’re also forecasting that you’re going to continue to build 800-900 new homes per year for the next 3-5 years. That’s up a little bit from what we saw this year. We do not see any slow down coming from new housing activity.”

Templeton also expects the growth could continue this school year - as early as December - as COVID-19 fears diminish with the release of a vaccine.

Other takeaways from the demographers report include:

  • New home sales in Belton ISD have more than doubled in the last 10 years.
  • The district has more than 2,100 lots available to build on and more than 2,500 planned future lots in various stages of development.
  • Newcomers to the district far outpace leavers who have moved out.
  • The district is expected to add more than 2,370 students in the next five years.

The enrollment growth, up to 12,651 students as of Monday, underscores the importance of the work happening in Belton ISD, said Suzanne M. McDonald, board president.

“Kudos to the Board and the community,” McDonald said. “The Board recognizes the significance of ongoing efforts to plan and prepare for this student growth. The community, meanwhile, continues to show support for students. Belton ISD wouldn’t be as great as it is without this amazing partnership.”

During the regular meeting on Monday, the Board also celebrated a tangible outcome from this partnership - the competition of the Belton High School orchestra addition. The project, which began in 2018, stemmed from the need for a space to house the thriving orchestra program. The addition included 3,200 square feet for a dedicated orchestra rehearsal hall, sectional room and three practice rooms, along with renovations to 1,200 square feet of existing band hall, instructor office space and the band music library. 

Principal Ben Smith said the program started small in 2007 with a handful of students and now includes more than 250 musicians.

“This addition provides them a place they can be proud of and they can be connected to,” Smith said. “I couldn’t be more excited for a facility for our kids, so they can continue to thrive and grow the program.”

Senior orchestra students Julie Johnson and Gwyneth Sachsenmaier have been involved with the program for seven years. Both performed and shared remarks about the new facility during the Board meeting.

“It’s just a beautiful thing I’ve gotten to experience because of the opportunities you’ve given us to participate in orchestra,” Johnson said. “Not all students have an orchestra program, and we’ve had the privilege to do it. I want to say thank you for giving us this program.”

In other news, Courtney Brewer was approved by the Board to serve as an assistant principal at the Belton Early Childhood School. Brewer, who has eight years of experience in public education, earned a bachelor of science degree from Texas A&M University-Central Texas and a master of educational administration from Grand Canyon University.

November 16, 2020