Where Phil Stands on Key Issues for Bellevue Schools
Here's what Phil sees as some of the most important issues the school board will face in the next 4 years...
Declining enrollment and the end of pandemic funding support are crunching Bellevue School District's budget. Some difficult decisions have already been made, and more lie ahead. My priority would be to support and retain front-line educators. Unfortunately, schools at low or highly variable enrollment lead to inefficiencies. While re-allocating or reconfiguring school buildings is one way to reduce costs, this should be a last resort. Additional work should be done to identify and reverse the causes of declining enrollment in the district and to consider ways to improve student recruitment to district schools.
The Covid pandemic has had troubling impacts on many parts of the educational system. For some students this has been expressed as altered or delayed social engagement. For others it has affected their academic performance or progression. The district must recognize that while some students succeeded during the pandemic, others did not and identify strategies to engage and support those who have fallen behind while continuing to challenge students that are at or beyond grade level.
Chronic staffing shortages
The district has struggled to maintain a sufficient substitute pool and bus drivers. These struggles were initially seen as temporary, however their persistence suggests that employment and recruitment practices for these important roles need to be rethought. Without enough bus drivers bus routes become unreliable and are cancelled with little notice. Without enough substitutes the other teachers in the building are forced to work overloaded shifts to cover or students are left with limited supervision when teachers are unable to work.