Board Briefs

August 2022

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Trustees Approve Budget, Lower Tax Rate

The Belton ISD Board of Trustees approved a new budget and lowered the tax rate by 2 cents at its regular meeting on Monday.

The $141,757,085 budget includes additional funding for new staff associated with the district’s growth in student enrollment, salary increases approved by the Board in June and operational inflationary costs, said Melissa Lafferty, chief financial officer.

The budget accounts for the pay raise trustees approved in June to help the district recruit and retain staff. The compensation plan gave a 4% increase for teachers and professional staff, a 6% increase for paraprofessionals and auxiliary staff, and a 2% increase for administrators.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the Board adopted a decrease in the district’s tax rate for the fourth year in a row. The adopted rate of $1.3371 per $100 assessment includes $0.9429 per $100 assessment for maintenance and operations and $0.3942 per $100 assessment for debt service. This is a 2-cent decrease from last year’s tax rate.

Student Showcase - Belton FFA

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Belton FFA is the fifth largest chapter in the state with 768 members. The group’s purpose is to inspire and enrich student learning through school-based agriculture education. Students learn by doing through participating in classroom and lab instruction, agriculture experiences and with the FFA.

In addition to participating in livestock shows across the state, students complete community service projects and attend ag science fairs. They also attend events to develop their leadership, career and speaking skills.

Belton FFA had three state-qualifying teams last year in Vet Tech, Wildlife and Nursery Landscape and expects to be competitive again this year.

Sponsors include Brad Hobbs, Lori Hobbs, Jeff Heffernan, Allison Hall, Corey Killen, Haley Phillips, Mitchell Hill, Annie Fogle and Brooke Quinn.

Board Recognition - Belton FFA State Award

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The Board celebrated Laken Easton, a Lake Belton High School member of Belton FFA who earned her Lonestar FFA Degree, the highest degree earned in Texas FFA. To earn this recognition, students must complete extensive requirements that demonstrate their knowledge and commitment to FFA. This recognition demonstrates Laken’s proficiency in the perseverance Journey of a Graduate competency. Congratulations to her and her Belton FFA sponsors: Lori Hobbs, Jeff Heffernan and Allison Hall.

Department Showcase - Transportation

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The 155-member Transportation department is led by Andrew Forrester and Vickie Tubbs. This group includes the district’s crossing guards, bus drivers and monitors, mechanics and office staff. They’re responsible for a fleet of 104 school buses and 22 SUVs that travel over a million miles each year serving students and staff. Thank you to these employees for their hard work and dedication to transporting our almost 14,000 students so they are able to have exceptional learning experiences.

Board Approves Hiring Architects for Three Bond Projects

The Board approved the hiring of two companies for architectural services for projects funded by the May 2022 bond. O’Connell Robertson will work on additions and renovations at Belton High School and the Fine Arts expansion at Lake Belton Middle School. PBK Architects will work on the addition at Southwest Elementary.

Board Recognition - 2022 US Marine Corp/American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award

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The 2021 Belton High School varsity volleyball team recently earned a national academic award for maintaining a year-long grade point average of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale. These 21 young women, coached by Krystal Yerigan, were recognized this summer by the United States Marine Corps and the American Volleyball Coaches Association. Congratulations to these student-athletes for demonstrating our Journey of a Graduate competencies on and off the court.

Board Committee Reports

Policy: The policy committee met on Aug. 1 and heard a second reading of 16 policies, none with substantive changes. The changes were mostly for clarification. The committee also discussed CKC(LOCAL), a policy to allow approved and properly trained staff to carry a firearm, and ER(LOCAL), a policy about instructional resources such as textbooks and library books.

Facilities: The facilities committee did not meet in August.

Board Recognition - Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History 2022 Texas Teacher of the Year

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Since 2004, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History has annually named history teachers of the year for all 50 states, Department of Defense schools, Washington DC and US territories. This year, our very own World-Class Employee — Elizabeth Howson from North Belton Middle School — has been named the 2022 Texas History Teacher of the Year.

The award highlights the importance of history education while honoring teachers who demonstrate creativity and imagination in the classroom while effectively using documents, artifacts, historic sites, oral histories and other primary sources to engage students with American history.

Superintendent's Report

  • Dr. Smith recapped the highlights of his month, including Culture Day for nearly 300 new staff and convocation.
  • The first day of school went smoothly. Dr. Smith was able to visit all 19 campuses in the district.
  • Enrollment is over 13,500 students and is expected to continue to grow throughout the school year.

Consent Agenda Highlights

  • Unaudited financial report for the month ending July 31, 2022
  • Budget amendment #10 for 2021-2022
  • Gifts, grants and bequests
  • Adult meal prices for 2022-2023
  • Staff development minutes waiver for the 2022-2023 school year
  • Foreign exchange student waiver
  • Appointment of representative to the City of Temple Reinvestment Zone No. 1 board of directors

To review Belton ISD board meeting agendas and full packet materials, click here.

Board Recognition - 2022 Betty Barringer Outstanding Middle School Teacher Award

The Texas Council of Social Studies recently recognized Elizabeth Howson from North Belton Middle School as the 2022 Betty Barringer Outstanding Middle School Teacher Award. This award is given for outstanding teaching and in recognition of active participation in local, state and national social studies councils.