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November 22, 2013

Ken-Ton releases consolidation survey results

Tonawanda News — Sixty-one Ken-Ton residents, employees and parents seem to support a consolidation option that would keep both high schools open and close up to four school buildings, survey results indicate. 

Under that scenario, grades eight through 12 would report to the two high schools, Kindergarten through grade four would go to a handful of elementary schools and grades five through seven would attend school at the Hoover and Franklin complexes. Kenmore Middle and a handful of elementary schools would close, making it unlikely that further consolidation would be necessary.

The option represents the “best compromise of incorporating changes while not being overly aggressive,” multiple respondents said. 

But many also noted that incorporating eighth grade students into the high schools may be difficult, and students in fifth grade may have trouble adjusting to middle school. 

Respondents also indicated moderate support for the option that a district focus group chose as its preferred scenario. 

Under that option, one middle school and one elementary school would close. The remaining schools will be rezoned, and the high schools would remain as they are. The survey states that the option would likely result in additional school closings in the next few years, however.

“The number of staff in each remaining building will increase, which allows for more collaboration among teachers,” more than one respondent said. 

Others noted that the pathways from school to school would be more consistent than some of the other options.

The challenges listed under that option included scheduling problems for teachers and larger class sizes. At least one respondent was worried about the necessity of further consolidation in the coming years. 

Under the third scenario, Kenmore West and East would become junior high schools and serve grades seven through 12. Elementary schools would run at Hoover and Franklin, and two undetermined themed schools would be hosted at two elementary schools. This scenario would also make it unlikely that further closings would be necessary in the next five to 10 years.

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