Help sought to close, consoliate BI schools to save money

The Bainbridge Island School District is seeking the public’s help in trying to decide if it needs to close or consolidate any schools to reduce costs up to $4.5 million for the 2024-25 school year.

The school board will discuss three options Nov. 27 at 5:45 p.m. Option A would close Ordway and Commodore; Option B would close one of those; and Option C would close Commodore.

No public input will take place at that meeting, but there will be other options for public input.

BISD officials point out that none of the options will save enough, and that further cuts will be required.

Declining enrollment for years has led to budget shortfalls because state funding is connected to attendance. Rising costs and dwindling savings are other reasons.

The district is looking for cost savings when it comes to staff, but also wants to make sure schools are well-resourced to provide the best education it can. It also will be looking at space availability at different schools.

In all of the options, Eagle Harbor is relocated to Bainbridge High School and operates as its own cohort for core subjects but accesses BHS for electives, specialty courses, special education, cafeteria, clubs and sports, etc.

The district, in a Powerpoint, explains that it cannot ask taxpayers for more money because one type of levy only can be spent on capital expenses and the other is $12 million and by state law is capped so increases are limited.

The presentation goes on to say there are 642 students less in the district since its highest point, but the same number of schools, which is expensive and inefficient.

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At this point, the district is looking at three options.

Scenario A (highest savings)

Schools Reimagined: Sakai’s configuration as a 5th/6th school is disbanded. Neighborhood elementary schools serve kindergarten – 5th grade. Woodward Middle School serves 6th-8th grades. Ordway students move to Sakai, and it serves students K-5.

Choice programs (Odyssey K-6, El Velero, Mosaic) are housed at Sakai, along with Ordway. Odyssey 7/8 is relocated to WMS.

Eagle Harbor is relocated to Bainbridge High School.

BISD’s two preschool programs are housed at Blakely Elementary

Close: Ordway and Commodore

Scenario B (medium savings)

Schools Reimagined: Blakely and x̌alilic schools serve preK through 3rd grades. Sakai adds an additional grade level and serves grades 4th, 5th and 6th.

Choice schools are housed in either Ordway or Commodore.

Eagle Harbor is relocated to BHS.

Close: Either Ordway or Commodore.

Scenario C (lowest savings)

Schools Reimagined: Odyssey K-6 moves into Sakai.

Odyssey 7-8 moves to WMS.

Mosaic would be housed at either Sakai or WMS.

Eagle Harbor is relocated to BHS.

Close: Commodore