Tonawanda News

March 21, 2014

Ken-Ton releases final consolidation report

Staff Reports
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — The Ken-Ton School District released its final consolidation study Thursday, and under all of the detailed options, Kenmore Middle School would close. 

The reorganizational effort began a year and a half ago, and aims to save money, even out class sizes and sustain the district in light of decreasing enrollment and declining state aid. The report, which is available online, specifies exactly what schools would close under each of the district’s options. All of the options would close Kenmore Middle School, which was built in 1923. 

“The continuance of three separate middle schools is not feasible in terms of sustainability, and two of the middle schools are more geographically positioned to that population. It is also one of our oldest buildings and the classrooms are undersized according to today’s standards,” the report states. 

Each of the scenarios would keep Holmes open, in direct contradiction to what the district’s consultant recommended. 

“Holmes is actually our newest school and the school district just completed an entire rebuild of its exterior walls and windows,” the report states. The attendance zone of the school is also the only physically separated attendance zone covering the entire west side of our district beyond Military Road.”

Under the first option, grades seven through 12 would report to the district’s two high schools. Kenmore Middle would close and the district would reuse it for offices and educational programs. The Philip Sheridan building and Jefferson would be sold. 

That plan would avoid another redistricting project in the coming years, the report states.

The second option, which was chosen as a focus group’s preferred scenario, would close Hamilton Elementary School and Kenmore Middle School. The remaining elementary schools would be rezoned, and the two high schools would remain as they are.

The closings would be implemented in the 2015-2016 academic year, but more closings would likely be necessary in the next five years.

Under the third option, students in grades eight through 12 would report to the two high schools. Kenmore Middle, Hamilton Elementary and Roosevelt Elementary would close, while the remaining elementary schools would be rezoned.

“This would decrease the likelihood of additional school closings being necessary over the next five to 10 years,” the report states. 

That option would be implemented in the 2016-2017 academic year.

The final option wouldn’t be implemented until 2017-2018, and students in grades seven through 12 would report to the two high schools. Kenmore Middle, Edison Elementary and Roosevelt Elementary would close. 

Two specialty programs, such as the International Baccalaureate program, would run in two undetermined elementary schools. 

The report includes a great deal of background information, including enrollment data, tax records, capital debt statistics and information on the buildings’ conditions.

Public forums on the project have been scheduled for all district employees as well as district residents beginning next week. The sessions will be held at 4 p.m. on March 27 in Hoover Middle’s auditorium and at  7 p.m. March 31 in the Kenmore East High School auditorium, when Superintendent Mark Mondanaro said he will explain the final consolidation project report findings and address any questions posed by employees or residents.

A special public consolidation work session will also be held at 6:30 p.m. April 1 at Kenmore East High School, when the board will discuss the final results of the study. Two-way public comments or questions with a three-minute limitation will be permitted during this work session.