Tonawanda News — City of Tonawanda school officials said Tuesday night that a plan to consolidate the district's elementary schools into one campus would cost approximately $30 million to $40 million.
Members of the Tona 2020 committee presented the cost estimate during an update at the board's regular meeting.The group is recommending that the district consolidate the elementary schools by the end of the decade, but the plan would still need approval from the board.
That cost would cover a capital project at Fletcher School that would allow it to accommodate the additional students. If the estimate is accurate, residents of a home that's assessed at $80,000 would pay an additional $40 to $53 per year as part of the project.
But the plan would have its benefits, as well. Although teaching staff numbers would remain the same, reductions in other areas — such as administrative, nursing and clerical positions — would be possible.
"The approximate personnel savings we're looking at is $810,000," teacher Lisa Drmacich.
The district would also save money in building costs, utilities and insurance. Consolidation would also have educational benefits, presenters said. The change would assist in sharing curriculum and resources, would allow for grade teams and would help improve connections with the staff, as less transitions would be necessary.
A supermajority of voters, or 60 percent, would have to approve the project. The current timeline slates that vote for May 2016. Design plans would be submitted to the state Education Department in November 2016, and approval usually takes about a year.
After bids are sent out and approved, construction would start in 2018 and be complete in 2020.
The project's next steps include sending out a request for proposals for an architectural firm to come up with a plan. Three architects would then present their designs to the board in August, and the body would select one in September.