Bellevue is growing and its schools are no exception. Student enrollment is currently at 18,500+ and is expected to grow to more than 20,000 students by 2015. The district continues to closely monitor student enrollment growth in several schools and has implemented a series of short-term solutions to address the need for more physical space, often referred to as capacity. For the 2013-14 school year, short term solutions included adding portables at Woodridge Elementary and Newport High School and moving the Mandarin Dual Language program from Ardmore Elementary to Bellewood.
As the district continues to monitor student enrollment growth and examine short term and long term options to increase capacity, we are in a process known as Growth and Planning.
Updates on the Growth and Planning process are listed below, beginning with the most recent:
December 4, 2013
At the December 3rd Board meeting, Demographer Shannon Bingham presented an updated enrollment forecast for the district. The presentation included a detailed look at population changes in Bellevue and projected enrollment growth. Among the highlights and draft recommendations:
- The district has averaged a 2.45% annual enrollment growth over the last five years. Growth is due to new multi-family residential construction and job growth.
- Enrollment projections show district enrollment continuing to grow over the next 10 years, from 19,676 students (including preschool and special education) in 2014, reaching more than 20,000 by 2015, and growing to 22,735 students by 2023.
- New schools are needed in the growing Downtown Core and redeveloping Bel-Red area, if the neighborhood school model is maintained.
- Additional grade 6-12 space would address student demand for the “upper school” model and specific programs. The draft recommendation includes growing Big Picture and potentially another grade 6-12 program.
- Language diversity is growing in the district and programs should address the needs of the community. The draft recommendation is to grow Jing Mei using a permanent facility.
- Improved placement and scaling of specialized programs such as special education and gifted is necessary given program demand and child need.
- Additional early childhood programs and space to facilitate them should be explored.
Watch the Presentation
October 4, 2013
The district is looking ahead at its future needs to continue to provide the necessary services and programs to students. Areas of focus include the renewal of educational programs, district operations and technology funding, as well as increasing capacity for a growing student population.
At its October 1 meeting, the Bellevue School Board directed Superintendent Mills and his staff to move forward with plans to put two replacement levies and a Phase III bond measure on the February 2014 ballot. District administration will engage with community groups and finalize details and language of the ballot items by December for a vote by the Board of Directors.
The following ballot items are under consideration:
- Renewal of the Educational Programs and Operations Levy, set to expire in 2014.
This levy is how districts fill in the gap between school needs and state funding. As a district we continue to use these funds to provide more teachers in classrooms, purchase curriculum materials, enrich our gifted and special education programs, provide broader course offerings including art and music at the elementary level, and a 7th period at middle and high schools. This levy makes up approximately 25% of the District’s annual operating revenue. Without this levy, significant cuts would be made throughout the District that could result in much larger class sizes and the loss of opportunities for students in art, music and other programs.
- Renewal of the Technology and Capital Projects Levy, set to expire in 2015.
This levy funds upgrades of computers and classroom technology used for instruction, the repair and replacement of athletic fields across the district and major capital and building maintenance projects including new roofs, floors and mechanical systems. This levy will also be used to fund the one-to-one computer project that is targeted for helping to prepare students for the 21st Century by making technology an integral part of their learning process.
- A Phase III Capital Construction Bond to rebuild older facilities and add the capacity needed to support enrollment growth. The remaining five elementary schools (Enatai, Clyde Hill, Puesta del Sol, Stevenson and Bennett) and one middle school (Highland) will be rebuilt, capacity will be added to Newport High School and Woodridge Elementary School, two new elementary schools will be built and significant improvements will be made to International School and Bellevue Big Picture School.
August 28, 2013
At last night’s board meeting, the School Board was presented with an update on Growth and Planning. The recommendations focused on increasing capacity, or physical space, as our student population continues to grow.
The district is looking for both short term and long term solutions to address increased enrollment. There are no district-wide plans to change boundaries.
The School Board will consider a Phase III Capital Project Levy as the district is looking at rebuilding five elementary schools and one middle school, building two new elementary schools and making improvements to International School, Big Picture School and athletic fields across the district.
To listen to audio of the complete meeting and to view the presentation, click here to visit our Board Meeting Minutes page.
July 15, 2013
For the 2013-14 school year there are no boundary changes and no new boundaries have been proposed. The district has implemented several solutions to relieve crowding for the coming school year.
- Woodridge will be relieved by adding two portables to their site.
- Newport High School will be helped by adding two portables to their site.
- Ardmore will be relieved by moving the Mandarin Dual Language program to Bellewood.
- Spiritridge will be helped by moving the Early Learning Program to Bellewood and turning the Early Learning classrooms into regular education classrooms.
June 20, 2013
The Bellevue School District is experiencing increasing student enrollment. This is good news for our community and district. We have established a district technical team which is in the process of analyzing facility space, enrollment growth projections, and program placement. The Bellevue School District Board of Directors will receive a report and recommendations for short and long range strategies from the district technical team on August 27, during their regular board meeting. The report will then be posted on the district website.