BELLEVUE, Wash. — The Bellevue School District School Board Directors in a 3-2 (abstention) vote, approved the district’s plan to consolidate Wilburton and Eastgate Elementary School buildings, with additional operational cuts to offset the $31 million dollar shortfall. Transition planning will now begin in preparation for fall 2023. Additional cuts in spending and administrative costs will be put in place to fully address the budget shortfall.
Interim Superintendent, Dr. Art Jarvis, stated, “I want to extend my heart to a community that is aching as a result of this consolidation. We have no bad schools needing closing — only small schools getting smaller. That fact requires that we consolidate, and we will. I ask that all who love the schools join with BSD to embrace innovation and changes, as we work together to create a future system that is stronger and better than we could have ever imagined.”
In September 2022, the district began sharing information about the projected enrollment loss and demographic trends in the area — regionally and nationally — followed by an extensive community engagement process with business and community leaders, staff, administrators, students and families, resulting in a report and recommendation from Dr. Art Jarvis. The original recommendation was to consolidate 7 elementary schools, which was then revised to only two, based on feedback.
In January 2022, the Bellevue School District Board of Directors announced that Dr. Kelly Aramaki was selected as the incoming superintendent, assuming the role in July 2023. Dr. Aramaki shared, “Throughout this process, from listening to and speaking with families, students and staff, I am inspired by the pride our community has in our schools. One thing I know for sure – we are united as a community behind our schools and the collective flourishing of our kids. As we plan for the 2023-24 school year, we are going to do everything to support a smooth transition for our communities who are coming together – including providing opportunities for students, families and staff to meet their new friends and colleagues. Looking ahead to the future, we have the very best that the Bellevue School District can offer ahead of us – a future of innovation, student and staff wellbeing, joy, the strengthening of our Beloved Community and the raising of a generation of kids who will go out and change the world.”
The Bellevue School District, with over 18,000 students and 30 schools, is a diverse and dynamic district in East King County, Washington. Its mission is “To serve each and every student academically, socially, and emotionally, through a rigorous and relevant education that is innovative and individualized. As a learning community that values one another’s humanity, we provide courageous support for equitable and exceptional education for all students.”