• December 29, 2014

Rezoning discussed in second forum

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Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014 4:30 am

BELTON — Several community members attended a public forum regarding the Belton school district’s middle school attendance boundaries Tuesday evening at Lake Belton Middle School.

Although the event wasn’t as highly attended as Monday night’s forum at South Belton Middle School, it did offer another opportunity for people to voice any concerns or comments about proposed changes to the district’s middle school boundaries for the 2014-2015 school year.

Those who didn’t have the chance to attend can go to www.bisd.net and submit comments electronically.

The four maps that are helping guide the rezoning process also can be viewed at the website.

The rezoning process is a result of one middle school — Belton Middle School — closing, and another school opening to take its place — North Belton Middle School.

While most of the staff of BMS, including Principal Joe Brown, is expected to relocate to NBMS next school year, students will be zoned to the middle schools based on a variety of factors.

Criteria include an attempt to balance demographics — the number of higher and lower income students attending each school — proximity to the schools and transportation issues.

“Over the last three months we’ve had a large group of people come together and look at different options,” said Randy Pittenger, school board president.

“We’re still working on the plan so the administration can present a final recommendation to the school board (at the Jan. 20 meeting).”

The district’s advisory committee began meeting in October; there have been three committee meetings and two public forums. Superintendent Susan Kincannon said there is still an opportunity for people to give their input.

“We’re here to gather feedback, and our administrative team will consider that feedback that is turned in (at the forum) and online before making a recommendation to the board.”

One of the reasons for changing the attendance zones is to accommodate student growth, which has remained steady for the district, Kincannon said.

“We’ve been working diligently in planning to meet that growth,” she said. “Belton ISD is among the top 10 percent of the fastest growing districts in the state. We’ve had 17.7 percent growth (in the student population) since October 2008.”

The committee considered 20 maps before narrowing the focus to four different options.

The map that’s eventually selected likely will be a combination of the different maps, Pittenger said.

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