BELTON — Belton Independent School District leaders gave an update on the progress of the district and honored community partners during a Public Schools Week luncheon Wednesday at the Bell County Expo Center.

“Education is really big in Belton ISD in so many ways, and it’s getting bigger and stronger every year,” said Superintendent Susan Kincannon, who is a finalist for the Texas Computer Educator Association’s Superintendent of the Year award.

Passing the 10,000-student mark has been a significant milestone for the district, she said.

“Our buses drove nearly 920,000 miles last year, we served 1.1 million lunches and nearly half a million breakfasts and used 40,500 Band-Aids,” she said.

Seven years ago, an orchestra was started at Belton High School with seven participants, Kincannon said; now the program has grown to serve 159 students at four campuses (the high school and three middle schools).

“All four orchestras received the Sweepstakes award at UIL competition, and we’re really proud of them.”

Growth has presented some great opportunities, but also some significant challenges for BISD, she said.

“In 1979 when Belton High School was built, it was built for 1,000 students,” Kincannon said. “We now have 2,600 students at the school in grades nine through 12.”

Belton ISD encompasses 197 square miles, and has experienced a 17.7 percent growth rate since October 2008, putting the district among the top 10 percent of Texas’ fastest growing school districts.

“All of these new students coming bring lots of challenges for us as we plan for the future,” Kincannon said. “We couldn’t do it without community support.”

She said the results of voters approving a $60 million bond election in 2012 will continue to be seen this fall. While High Point Elementary opened in August 2013, Chisholm Trail Elementary and North Belton Middle School will both open in August.

Other changes for this fall will be the expansion of Belton High School into the current Belton Middle School building to house freshman classes and the opening of the Belton Early Childhood School.

“When we open the new schools this fall, we will have completed everything in the current 10-year plan except for addressing the permanent high school capacity needs,” Kincannon said.

Belton ISD honored several for their contributions to the district:

Dr. Derek Lichota and Dr. George Bartels, volunteers of the year. Lichota and Bartels serve as team doctors for Belton ISD athletics.

The Temple College Foundation, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and Texas A&M University Central Texas, education partners.

Stephanie O’Banion, distinguished alumna. O’Banion, a 1989 Belton High School graduate, is president of the Belton Chamber of Commerce.

Johnson Brothers Ford, business partner.

Seton Medical Center Harker Heights, new partner.

Belton Chamber of Commerce, Belton Economic Development Corp. and Temple Economic Development Corp., community partners.

The event was co-hosted by the cities of Belton, Morgan’s Point and Temple.

Student emcees were Caleb Cable, a junior at Belton New Tech High School @ Waskow, and Paige Woodson, a junior at Belton High School.

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