The Bellevue School District is going through a review of all school boundaries and we realize that parents, staff and community members have questions regarding the process. Below you’ll find the most frequently asked questions we’ve received. If you have a question, comment or concern, please send them to Boundary@bsd405.org. We’ll respond and update the FAQ as needed on the Boundary Review page at www.bsd405.org.
Click here to download and print the Boundary Review Frequently Asked Questions as a single page document (PDF).
Why is the District reviewing boundaries? Bellevue is growing and its schools are no exception. In recent years, the Bellevue School District has been the fastest growing school district in King County, with the highest birth rate. Rising enrollments and overcrowding in some schools but under capacity in others has prompted a boundary review process—the first in more than 20 years. Although we’ve implemented short-term solutions in the 2010-11 school year, we need to find a better long-term solution as our student enrollment is projected to continue growing.
Has the District already started revising boundaries? No. Any boundary revision recommendation would be the product of the citizen-based Boundary Review Committee which will start its work in August, 2012.
What does the Boundary Review Process look like and what’s the timeline? The District looked at successful boundary review processes in other districts. Based on that review, there are four stages in the process:
1) District Technical Team: The District Technical Team is charged with collecting data and creating a starting point proposal to provide to the citizen-based Boundary Review Committee for consideration. The Technical Team is made up of District staff members who have the skill sets required to create a starting proposal to provide to the Boundary Review Committee. Their starting point proposal is a technical solution to be modified by the Boundary Review Committee.
2) Boundary Review Committee: This committee will include two parent representatives from each school that has a geographic boundary and the school principal or assistant principal. The task of the committee is to take the starting point proposal provided by the Technical Team and create a final recommendation to the Superintendent. In other districts, the work of the Committee typically takes two to three months to work through and create the final recommendation for boundaries. Applications for this committee open February 27 and close on April 6. The first meeting of the committee will be in August.
3) Superintendent Recommendation and School Board Decision: Superintendent reviews the Boundary Review Committee proposal and makes a recommendation to the School Board. If the recommendation is approved, implementation of the boundary recommendation is projected to begin September 2013.
4) Implementation of Boundary recommendation: Once approved, District and school staff will begin the process of notifying students and parents of changes and what schools and families are affected. Schools will individually set up information sessions in Spring 2013 to welcome new students and parents to their school community.
Where are we in the process? The District Technical Team is collecting and analyzing data to develop the starting point proposal. They’re updating school capacity information to ensure consistency across the district; reviewing special program placements to understand how they affect school capacities; updating enrollment projections through the year 2020 to establish a foundation for creating stable boundaries; and developing a set of guiding principles to guide the work of the Boundary Review Committee. The proposal they develop will be presented to the Boundary Review Committee as the Committee starts their process of creating a boundary revision proposal. Applications for the Boundary Review Committee open on February 27th and close on April 6th. Look for updates on the front page of the district website. Download Application (doc) | Download Application (pdf)
What’s the difference between the starting point proposal and the recommendation of the Committee? The starting point proposal is only a scenario for the Committee to consider so they do not start their work from zero. They are not obligated to adopt the proposal in part or in full; it only serves to give them a place to start.
Will my school be impacted by Boundary changes? It’s too early to know which schools will be impacted and which may not see any changes at all. What we do know is that every school with a geographic boundary will have representation on the Boundary Review Committee. The charge of the Committee will be to develop a boundary recommendation in the best interest of all schools—not just one or two. To stay informed on the process, check the district website, sign up for the e-mail distribution list by e-mailing Boundary@bsd405.org, connect with your schools’ Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) and consider applying for the Boundary Review Committee.
Until the Committee forms, what can I do right now to get involved? It would be helpful to the Technical Team and Boundary Review Committee to have relevant geographic information about your school community. For example, are there self-defined communities that we should be aware of when working on the initial proposal? Does your community have arterials that serve as natural boundaries? Are there communities or housing developments that have only one main access point and should be kept together? Is there a park that joins two communities? What are traditional walk and bike paths to schools? Information of this nature is very helpful and can be submitted by e-mailing Boundary@bsd405.org.