August 2021
Trustees Decrease Tax Rate for Third Straight Year

The board adopted a $137,357,137 million budget for the district’s 2021-2022 general fund. This includes increased staffing costs to accommodate adding a grade level at Lake Belton High School and for enrollment growth throughout the district.

The Board also adopted a decrease in the district’s tax rate for the third year in a row. The adopted rate of $1.3571 per $100 assessment includes $0.9603 per $100 assessment for maintenance and operations and $0.3968 per $100 assessment for debt service. This is almost a penny decrease from last year’s tax rate.
Student Showcase -
Pirtle Rockstars Percussion Club
The Pirtle Rockstars, an after school percussion club, keeps elementary and middle school students connected to music and fosters a love of performing. Tonight’s performers include middle school students: Noah Schultz, Erika Roof, Evelyn Bragewitz, William Mendez, Cadrian Reed, Kaya Wiggins, Presley Gallion, Paisley Gallion, Karson Gallion, Hensley Gallion, Mason Scogin, Henry Simpson, Penelope Connell, McKenna Crawford, Aralina Acosta, Ellison Rogers, Carson Guerra, and Elliana Adams. The Pirtle Rockstars are under the direction of Julia Washam.
Board OKs Formation of Bond Exploration Committee
The Belton ISD board of trustees approved the commissioning of a bond exploration committee at its regular meeting Monday night. The committee, which will include about 50 stakeholders, will begin meeting next month to review enrollment growth, facility needs and desired student experiences in the school district. The end goal is to present prioritized project recommendations to Superintendent Matt Smith.

Trustees and campus leaders will recommend community members to join the committee and interested Belton ISD residents will also be able to volunteer. The committee will meet about eight times this fall beginning Sept 15. Each meeting will be at a different campus location to provide the opportunity for committee members to tour several of the district’s facilities.
Board Recognition - American FFA Degree
Tonight we celebrate Belton High School graduate and current Tarleton University sophomore Whitley Jourden on earning the highest degree achievable in the National FFA Organization, the American FFA Degree. Described as the “gold standard,” this achievement shows an FFA member’s dedication to their chapter and state association as well as the outstanding leadership abilities and community involvement they exhibited through their FFA career. Brad Hobbs is the sponsor.
Board Hires New Executive Director, Updates Leave Policy During Special Board Meeting
Belton ISD will have a new executive director of student services for the start of the 2021-2022 school year after the Board of Trustees approved the hiring of Dr. Cassandra Spearman at a special meeting on Aug. 10. 

The newly created role will provide campus support in the areas of student services, health services and student safety. 

During her almost 20 years in education, Spearman has served as a teacher, assistant principal and principal. She currently serves as a principal in Killeen ISD and will support students and staff at her current campus in transitioning before beginning her new role in Belton ISD. 

Spearman holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Armstrong Atlantic University, two Master of Arts degrees from the University of Phoenix and a Doctorate of Education from Walden University. 

In other news, the Board approved a temporary change to the district’s leave policy in response to the pandemic. Employees who test positive for COVID-19 will now be provided up to 10 paid leave days. This leave will be extended per COVID-19 positive event.
Board Committee Reports

Policy: The policy committee met on Aug. 2 and discussed BED(LOCAL). This policy is about public participation at board meetings. This discussion was an effort to align policies to best practices and help community members understand the policies so they can be prepared when they attend meetings.
and continued its ongoing learning more about EIC(LOCAL), the policy about class ranking.

Facilities: The facilities committee met on Aug. 11. Members discussed the comprehensive long-rang maintenance schedule and heard updates about the elementary design team and facilities improvement funds. They also learned more about a digital mapping tool that is helping improve the efficiency of first responders to school district locations.
Superintendent's Report

  • Dr. Smith pointed out several highlights from August 2021, including the district's first-ever Culture Day. This event was designed to welcome about 300 new employees to the Big Red Community and teach them about the district's vision and beliefs. The day closed with a student panel which allowed the new employees to hear directly from the students they will be serving.
  • Dr. Smith reported the district's enrollment as of Aug. 23 was 13,217. This is 812 more students than were enrolled on the same day last year. He expects the district to reach the demographer projection of 13,333 students by October.
Consent Agenda Highlights

  • Unaudited financial report for the month ending July 31, 2021
  • Gifts, grants and bequests
  • Budget Amendment #11 for 2021-2022
  • Expenditures over $50,000 (Maxim Healthcare Services, Professional Services for Bond Exploration)
  • Supply, equipment and service bids (RFPs for moving services and supplies; fine arts equipment, supplies and materials; and technology equipment, supplies, parts and services)
  • Staff development minutes waiver for 2021-2022 school year

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