Belton ISD

BELTON — Students at the new Belton ISD high school will have a name and mascot with some kick: the Lake Belton Broncos, the school board decided Monday.

The Belton Independent School District board of trustees voted to name the second comprehensive high school Lake Belton High School, with a bronco as its mascot and red and silver as its colors. Trustee Sue Jordan had to leave the meeting shortly before the high school discussion came up, so the three issues were decided among six board members, leading to a tie on one motion.

Building a new comprehensive high school was part of the district’s $149.7 million bond initiative, approved by the voters last May. The district plans for the school to open in 2020.

Board President Randy Pittenger opened the discussion by asking each trustee to give a first and second choice on the new school’s name.

“‘Lake’ was obviously something we got a lot of feedback on, and so Belton Lakeview High School or Belton Northlake High School are the two that stood out to me — Belton Lakeview is my first choice,” Pittenger said.

Trustee Janet Leigh also said Belton Lakeview would be her first choice, with Belton Lake or Lake Belton as a second.

Board member Mike Cowan said that his first choice was Belton Lake High School with Belton Lakeview as a close second. Trustee Leo Camden said Lake Belton would be his first choice.

“I guess my number one choice (would be) Lake Belton High School,” trustee Jeff Norwood said.

Trustee Ty Taggart said that his opinion on the school name has changed since the last board meeting.

“My first instinct was Belton Memorial, but as I’ve gotten more and more community input — especially this last month ... I think Lake Belton would be my first choice,” Taggart said. “And Memorial would be my second choice.”

With the board divided, Pittenger asked if any of the members would like to change their vote.

“The thing that kind of got me on Lake Belton was the suggestion ... if you want to keep Belton in the name, you go ‘Lake Belton,’” Taggart said. “That leaves it in there the whole time, they can’t shorten to have a nickname.”

Pittenger said that he was concerned that it would be confusing to have a high school with the same name as Lake Belton Middle School, and also said that the middle school is sometimes referred to as “Lake,” leaving Belton out.

Leigh offered to switch her support to Lake Belton and made a motion to that effect. Her motion passed 4 to 2, with Pittenger and Cowan voting against.

Mascot named for old yearbook

Taggart opened the discussion of the mascot: “I like Broncos,” he said.

Leigh was similarly brief: “Broncos,” she said.

Norwood also supported Broncos, and noted that the name has a historical tie to Belton High School.

“Because of all the discussions that have taken place, and trying to keep it tied to Belton...the (school) journal was called ‘The Belton Bronco,’” Norwood said. “It does have history to it, it’s different. ... I wanted the War Eagles, nobody else backed me up on it.”

Like Taggart, Camden has favored military- and patriotism-themed names and symbols in earlier discussions. He said that while he originally wanted the school teams to be the Patriots, he now favored the Broncos.

Cowan said that his first choice was the Tigers, but his second choice was Broncos. Pittenger also favored the Tigers.

“My first choice was Tigers, because we asked for community input and the overwhelming input ... was for Tigers,” Pittenger said. “The only thing that was even close to second was ‘Bengal Tigers,’ so I’m going to vote as a representative of the community.”

Taggart moved to make the mascot a Bronco, and the motion passed 4 to 2, again with Pittenger and Cowan against.

“That passes — go Broncos!” Pittenger said.

After the vote, Leigh said that community opinion on the mascot was not as clear cut as Pittenger suggested.

“Up to this point, our decision was based on whether it was Tigers or not Tigers,” she said. “To me, the overwhelming (community) decision was that it should not be Tigers.”

BISD still seeing red

Camden opened the discussion of potential colors.

“I like red, white and blue,” he said.

This statement provoked considerable response from the audience, with several people audibly muttering “What?”

Norwood also said he favored red, white and blue, but Cowan suggested red and silver. Taggart argued for an option that does not include red and white, Belton High School’s colors.

“It says three times in the school song, it talks about red and white,” he said. “That belongs to Belton High School. ... This is a time for new beginnings and a new legacy, and I don’t want to take away from an old legacy and borrow from it.”

Taggart suggested that the colors should be black and silver. Leigh suggested red and gold, and said that on this point the community perspective is clearer.

“This one was truly overwhelming with community support that we keep red as a primary color,” she said. “On this particular issue, it was a very high majority — keep red as a primary.”

Pittenger also said that he believes the community is strongly in favor of red, with a non-white secondary color. He said he would vote for red as a primary color and was open to either silver or gold as a secondary color.

Cowan said that he was also open to red and gold, as opposed to silver, and made a motion to choose red and gold. But when it came to a vote, the board was tied 3 to 3. So Cowan made another motion, this time for his original choice of red and silver, which passed 5 to 1. Taggart continued to oppose the motion.