Melissa deVita, BSD’s Deputy Superintendent of Finance and Operations shares that the district recently released its Demographic and Enrollment Study, which addresses enrollment, demographic trends in our community, and what the district can expect in the years to come. Shannon Bingham, the demographic consultant from Western Demographics who was contracted to do this work, discusses housing growth and cost, birth rates in the area, historical enrollment, and other factors that explain the past and predict the future of enrollment levels. Bingham also shares key findings and next steps to address challenges related to declining enrollment and changing demographics. This information was previously shared with BSD School Board Directors and the general community during a study session at the October 6, 2022, regular school board meeting.

Navigate the video topics using these time stamps:

  • 0:53 – Presentation overview
  • 3:06 – Three major factors are impacting school enrollments: COVID-19 pandemic, declining national birthrates among millennials, and increased housing cost in Bellevue
  • 3:47 – Overview of declining enrollment
  • 5:40 – King County birth rates
  • 6:47 – BSD enrollment history and forecast 2014-2031
  • 8:43 – Grade size over time 2014-2022
  • 9:41 – Long-term peaks and valleys in enrollment 1960-2020
  • 10:54 – Regional housing development continues but does not attract families
  • 12:27 – Bellevue median housing price
  • 13:44 – Impacts on elementary schools
  • 14:38 – Impacts on secondary schools
  • 15:24 – Impacts on small schools
  • 16:18 – Long-term facility strategy
  • 18:24 – Problem statement
  • 19:44 – Next steps
  • 21:13 – Closing remarks from Melissa deVita

Key Findings

  • BSD is not alone in experiencing declines in enrollment. Districts all over the west are experiencing:
    • Declining birth rates
    • Pandemic losses
    • Smaller elementary grades
    • Increased housing costs
    • Private and other schools competing for fewer students
  • Enrollment is forecasted to decline for the next 10 years.
  • Housing units are being built, but they have not brought enrollment increases.
  • Districts across the nation are beginning to address school efficiency challenges.
  • The four King County school districts that are adjacent to BSD have all lost enrollment.
  • Elementary grade sizes have declined during the past eight years and secondary grew until the pandemic.

Learn More

The district has been and will continue to work across departments and programs to maintain financial stability while continuing to provide an exceptional education to our students, offering new and innovative programs, and providing high-quality support services. The district will share more information on its plans to address declining enrollment as decisions are made and a full plan is ready for community review. BSD families and staff will be communicated with directly from the district and/or their school. The community at large is encouraged to visit the district website for the latest updates.

The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.