Tonawanda News — •••
This past week’s news of the Ken-Ton schools’ closings ran a parallel thought with the Diocese of Buffalo’s school closings. Ken-Ton did it right. First, they brought in an outside consultant (a good idea to have someone from outside look over the situation.) The diocese did the same thing.
Ken-Ton took the results of this study to the school board, which looked it over, picked some parts that were judged to be useful, did its own research, talked to school principals, teachers, taxpayers and came up with a new plan that, although it impacted three schools, was well thought out. My neighbor, whose husband taught for years at Kenmore West High School and who is a graduate of Kenmore Middle School, remarked at how well the process was thought out and completed.
OK, here’s the diocese: Received the study, gave it to Sister Carol Cimino, superintendent of schools, who is from out of town and Carol Kostyniak, secretary of Catholic Education whose credentials allow her to teach math in a high school, and who without any further input, sent the closing plan to the bishop who rubber stamped it.
A firestorm of protest arose, particularly from St. Francis which was blindsided by the decree. Two of the sticking points were clear: North Tonawanda and Tonawanda are cities with no busing outside city limits. (This has never been addressed by the “two Carols,” in fact, I would wager neither one of them nor the bishop has ever even driven through either city.) The second issue the diocese loves to point to is enrollment. Well, how about this:
St. Andrew’s in the Town, which has the steepest enrollment decline of any school in Erie County from 2003 to 2013, (485 in 2003 and under 190 this year) is rewarded when St. Francis (enrollment in 2004 was 98 and today is is 190) is punished.