Some parents upset with Bellevue School District’s recommended elementary consolidation plan

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Emotions and tensions were running high at the Bellevue School District meeting on Thursday evening. Recommendations for closing three elementary schools were made by Dr. Art Jarvis, the interim superintendent for the school district.

“The enrollment loss is now very concrete and real. Bellevue School District has lost almost 2,000 students,” Jarvis said.

Declining enrollment is one of the main reasons school officials gave as to why several schools are under consideration for closing. The district says while several are under consideration for closure, the plan is to close three starting in the 2023-24 school year.

In Jarvis’ recommendation at the meeting, he recommended that Ardmore Elementary combine with Bennett, Cherry Crest and Sherwood Forrest elementary schools, that Wilburton Elementary combine with Clyde Hill and Enatai elementary schools, and Eastgate Elementary combine with Spirit Ridge and Somerset elementary schools.

“I am furious!” Lisa Ross, whose daughter attends Wilburton, said. Wilburton was completed in 2018 and cost taxpayers $49 million.

“So now they’re going to close a brand new school? We just built the one and only elementary school in the state of Washington that is a Microsoft showcase school,” Ross said. “I don’t understand their thinking behind that. I don’t understand why they would close a brand new school.”

No final decision was made at the meeting by the school district, but some parents said they feel as if the decision has already been made.

“As parents, I think we all feel like it already has been decided,” said Lindsay Dugan, PTA President at Wilburton.

Dugan has a 4th grader at Wilburton.

“He actually started at Wilburton as a kindergarten, and we actually moved from Seattle to Bellevue to come to Wilburton because it was a Microsoft showcase school,” said Dugan.

She and several other parents at Wilburton are confused on why the district is considering closing a school that was built five years ago, and cost tax payers $49 million.

“I don’t know what they are going to do with it being a new school, it doesn’t make sense,” said Krishan Hansen, parent of a 5th grader at Wilburton.

“I know a lot of parents are devastated. It’s a shock not only because of the community that we built, but also how impactful it is on the kids that went through so much with COVID. They just adjusted to their classroom routine, they just got back to schedule, and now my son has been coming back home with a lot of anxiety lately,” said Lana Neyolova, parent of a 2nd grader at Wilburton.

KIRO7 reached out to the district, but no one was available to comment.