Elected officials respond to Bellevue’s school consolidation plan

Bellevue parents have sent a new letter to district officials about the plan to consolidate elementary schools as elected officials consider it.

BELLEVUE, Wash. — As KING 5 continues coverage of Bellevue School District’s plan to close and merge three elementary schools – requests for comment were sent to Governor Jay Inslee and representatives of the state of Washington, those serving nearby areas are likely to be affected.

Currently, the district has identified 7 primary schools with “declining enrollment” that are considering consolidation.

Seven elementary schools are being considered for the plan including Ardmore, Eastgate, Enatai, Phantom Lake, Sherwood Forest, Woodridge and Wilburton

Parents in the district expect a proposal on the three selected schools to be announced at the February 9 school board meeting.

A spokeswoman for Representative Vandana Slatter (District D-48) said an official statement is coming soon, but for now, she is “actively working with the school district to communicate parental concerns that the Her room has been received.”

“I especially sympathize with the students, families, educators, and communities that are built around very local neighborhoods, close to their elementary schools. Really, this is what counts. critical to the success of the Bellevue School District.Unfortunately, declining enrollment is an issue that won’t go away anytime soon.During a global pandemic, we’ve worked with school districts and partners. Our federal partnership for funding through the Elementary & Secondary Schools Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) These funds are distributed statewide based on Title 1. When such funds are in short supply , the legislature has invested billions of dollars to stabilize funding at pre-pandemic enrollment levels,” said Representative My Linh Thai (District D-41), who served as Superintendent of the School Board. Chief Bellevue, said in the report.

In addition, Congresswoman Thai outlined three areas of impact in her response to KING 5. To read her full response, scroll down.

KING 5 is awaiting a response from the governor and several other state legislators.

During the week of January 23, the district held hearings and openings at each of the seven schools mentioned.

In addition to speaking at listening sessions, some parents are raising their concerns and sending group letters to BSD.

One of the latest group letters from parents to the district has an online option for parents to sign their names as well. It requires access to the data the district is using to make its decisions, interpretation of district policy as it relates to closures, and greater transparency.

Full text of the Thai Congressman’s statement:

“When I first heard about the proposal to close schools, my heart sank. I especially empathize with students, families, educators, and the communities that are built around very local neighborhoods, attached to their elementary schools. Indeed, it is an essential ingredient to the success of the Bellevue School District.

As a former Bellevue School District superintendent, I see this consolidation as the result of many of the issues we face as a state and as a nation. I think it’s important to approach this problem systematically because parents, school districts, and states all want the same thing: an education system that is staffed, funded, and responsive. meet the needs of children and families.

First, declining enrollment has been exacerbated by a lack of affordable housing in the district. New developments don’t cater to families, so when a school district lacks a stable and affordable environment for children to grow up in, enrollment stability decreases.

Second, our community is heavily dependent on the technology industry. Workers who moved into our community on H1B visas are leaving due to widespread layoffs. That means hundreds of families are returning to their hometowns. We need a broader discussion at the federal level about immigration policy reform because these families are such an integral part of our community and school system.

Third, the lack of affordable health care and childcare, rising wages and purchasing power, and a general lack of affordability are causing many Washingtonians to reconsider. making a family. The result is a lower birth rate and fewer children going to school. As early as 2018, Bellevue Schools had fixed enrollment forecast data. This was pre-pandemic and the confluence of these systemic problems.

Unfortunately, subscription drops are an issue that won’t go away anytime soon. During the global pandemic, we have been working with school districts and our federal partners to provide funding through the Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER). These funds were distributed statewide based on Title 1 allocations. When those funds fell short, the legislature invested billions of dollars to stabilize funding at pre-registration levels. epidemic.

Looking to the future, this is a national problem that will take time to resolve. It is important for parents and schools to work together with local leaders to understand how local issues are causing this problem. Only then can we find the best solution for them and their families. I cannot stress enough the importance of working together to solve this problem. Otherwise, we risk losing our schools, our teachers, and an important part of our community. I am committed to being a part of these conversations, listening to the community, and working to support them at the state level.”

https://www.king5.com/article/news/education/representatives-bellevue-school-districts-consolidation-plan/281-c42447e2-986e-48e2-8c0e-91ff5bf6b009 Elected officials respond to Bellevue’s school consolidation plan

Edmund DeMarche

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