• October 22, 2014

Belton ISD continues discussion on middle school attendance zones

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Posted: Sunday, December 8, 2013 4:30 am

BELTON — Belton Independent School District leaders emerged from a third meeting of the middle school attendance boundary advisory committee last week with a clearer picture of what might be presented to the school board for approval in January, but still seeking plenty of public input.

“We are so thankful for what you’ve done over the last several weeks, attending meetings and studying maps,” said Randy Pittenger, Belton ISD school board president.

“We may lock the doors and not let anyone out until we have a solution,” he joked. “No, we probably wouldn’t do that.”

The committee meeting was another important step forward in helping determine where Belton ISD students in sixth through eighth grades will attend school next year, Deputy Superintendent Eric Haugeberg said.

“Once our work is complete, we will have several maps to present to the public to get their input, and we’ll make a recommendation to the board hopefully (at the January school board meeting),” he said.

At Tuesday’s meeting, members again were divided into several groups and asked to choose which maps were their top three choices. A list of these maps can be viewed at www.bisd.net.

One development at the meeting was that four top maps actually emerged. Maps 8 and 4 were the top selections, while maps 9 and 10 were next.

One of the things to consider, Haugeberg said, is that maps 8 and 9 are very similar, and he said at least three maps that showed more difference would be presented at the public meetings in January.

“I can say almost definitively that maps 4, 8 and 9 won’t look like what’s presented to the board,” he said. “The input from the public meetings will be taken into consideration by the board.”

Driving past one school to get to another is something committee member Dianna Presley said her group wants to avoid.

“Parents also don’t want to have one child attending Chisholm Trail (in the southern part of the district) and another at North Belton or Lake Belton,” she said.

Bus transportation and parent driving concerns were issues Christy Walker said her group discussed, “and we need to know how Miller Heights (Elementary) and Southwest (Elementary) parents feel.”

Committee members ranked maps based on how they would affect possible elementary feeder schools — in which certain schools would send students to specific middle schools — a balance of socioeconomic population and leaving room for growth.

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