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.