Bellevue may consolidate some schools due to declining student enrollment

Nearly half of the Bellevue School District’s 16 elementary schools could be on the chopping block due to declining enrollment. 

The decision to consolidate some of the elementary schools would impact hundreds of families, and parents and students alike are getting involved to keep their schools open. 

"There is a group of second-graders who spent the entire day putting on a bake sale to raise money to help save and protect their school," said Nicole Holley, a parent of an Eastgate Elementary student. "That’s really cool, but that shouldn’t be their cross to bear." 

Holley is one of dozens of Eastgate parents who are still struggling to absorb the announcement from earlier this month that their child's school could be closing. 

The district said it wants to shut three elementary schools to save costs. There are currently 18,409 students enrolled district-wide, which is the lowest enrollment since 2010. 

Eastgate Elementary is one of the hardest hit schools, with enrollment declining about 35% since the COVID pandemic hit, according to the district. 

District officials also blame the rising housing costs in Bellevue and the declining birthrates among millennials for the lower enrollment. 

According to the district, there won't be any staff layoffs because the schools will consolidate. They also hope to find other uses for the schools that get closed.

The Bellevue School Board will next take up the matter on Feb. 9 when it gets a full analysis of the possible shutdowns.