Bellevue superintendent recommends consolidating multiple elementary schools

Feb 9, 2023, 7:31 PM | Updated: Feb 10, 2023, 7:50 am
Bellevue school...
Protestors outside Bellevue schools before the decision to consolidate (Photo from Nicole Jennings)
(Photo from Nicole Jennings)

Some Bellevue families might have to change what elementary school their child attends next year, as the district is proposing three elementary schools — Eastgate, Ardmore, and Wilburton — to be folded into others to save money as enrollment falls.

Bellevue Superintendent Art Jarvis said fewer students have resulted in less funding from the state, and right now, the district can’t afford to pay all its teachers along with the overhead costs of schools that aren’t full.

Families rally ahead of Bellevue School District consolidation decision

“In addition to the funding loss, enrollment decline currently leaves us with empty seats and classrooms. In the elementary schools in Bellevue, there is a surplus approaching three thousand seats, which translates to 100 empty classrooms or more,” Jarvis said in a prepared statement. “We do not need 18 elementary schools at the moment or in the next decade.”

But some Bellevue parents don’t agree.

“We think that the district has made mistakes financially, and they’re trying to solve it in the fastest and least creative way,” said Sean Hill, a parent to a Bellevue elementary student.

Jarvis’ plan breaks down as follows:

  • North Area: Combine Ardmore Elementary School at Bennett Elementary School, Cherry Crest Elementary, and Sherwood Forest Elementary
  • South Area: Combine Eastgate Elementary at Spiritridge Elementary and Somerset Elementary. Move Spiritridge Advanced Learning to Woodridge Elementary
  • Midwest Area: Combine Wilburton Elementary at Clyde Hill Elementary and Enatai Elementary

Enrollment in the Bellevue District is down as some families have moved out of the area due to cost, while others chose to put their kids in private school during the pandemic.

Some Bellevue parents argued this decision came about too quickly. Eastgate mom Megan Russell told KIRO Newsradio her kids will be devastated to change schools.

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“Hundreds of kids’ worlds are crumbling,” Russell said during a rally

This remains just a proposal for now, as of this reporting. The school board still needs to vote on a final decision.

Follow Nicole Jennings on Twitter or email her here

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Bellevue superintendent recommends consolidating multiple elementary schools