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District Earns Top Rating on Annual Fiscal Accountability Review for 11th Straight Year

Belton ISD has earned a “Superior Achievement” rating on the annual state fiscal accountability review for the 11th year in a row. 

Melissa Lafferty, the district’s chief financial officer, shared with the Board of Trustees at its regular meeting on Monday the results from the 2022 School FIRST (Financial Accountability Rating System of Texas) Report issued by the Texas Education Agency. 

The 2022 rating is based on data from the 2020-2021 school year and evaluates school districts on 20 indicators, including the findings of external auditors, cash on-hand, debt and staffing levels. Using the 20 indicators, school districts are scored on a 100-point scale. Belton ISD received 98 possible points.

Trustees also heard a demographic report from Zonda Education which painted a picture of enrollment trends returning to pre-pandemic levels. As a fast-growth district, Belton ISD added 323 students this fall for an annual change of 2.4%. During the pandemic, Belton ISD was one of the few districts in Texas that saw enrollment increases. The district added 733 students from fall 2020 to fall 2021 for a 5.8% increase.

Chisholm Trail Elementary, located in the southern part of the district, is overcapacity with 872 students. Tarver Elementary, located in the northern part of the district, has 786 students, putting its enrollment at 95% capacity. The two elementary campuses funded through the voter-approved bond election in May will alleviate overcrowding at these schools.

Demographers will continue to keep a close eye on the area's housing market, especially as interest rates are expected to continue rising this spring. The district currently has 53 actively building subdivisions with groundwork underway on about 1,939 lots. Sixteen future subdivisions are also within the district.

Belton ISD currently has about 13,300 students, but five-year enrollment projects have the district headed toward 15,500 students. Ten-year projections could top 17,300.

In other news, Michael Morgan, assistant superintendent of operations, updated trustees on the status of 2022 bond projects. Construction on Elementary #12, located in Temple’s North Gate subdivision, is underway, and the district recently purchased 20 new buses that will be incorporated into the fleet in the coming months.

Elementary #13, Belton High School renovations and additions, Lake Belton Middle School additions, Southwest Elementary addition and the secure entry vestibules are all in the design phase.

Other projects are in the programming stage, where district officials are assessing needs and options and scheduling project phases. This includes the expansion of the district’s agricultural facility; a facility for the Delta Program which supports students with special needs transitioning to adult independent living and work; security cameras and keyless entries; and mechanical, electrical, plumbing and roofing projects.

Oct. 17, 2022