Tonawanda News — As Kenmore Mayor Patrick Mang issued a scathing assessment of plans by the Kenmore-Tonawanda School District to shutter two schools in the village, Superintendent Mark Mondanaro countered that changing demographics was a factor in the decision.
Mang criticized a report released by the district last week that highlighted four plans for potential school closings, all of which included a scenario that would close Kenmore Middle School and three of the four that propose the closing of Roosevelt Elementary.
“While the board of trustees and I hate to see any schools close, we strongly believe that the closure of the only two schools located in the village would hurt our village community,” said the mayor in a statement released this week.
Mondanaro, however, cited the size of the village of 1.2 square miles as well a slump in village enrollment numbers over the last 40 years as leading the decision.
“We are aware that the Village of Kenmore mayor has released information regarding current schools in the Village of Kenmore and their possible future uses as a result of the reorganization project,” he said. “Over the many months of this complex project, one of the concerns we did hear was maintaining a school district presence in the Village of Kenmore.”
Mondanaro noted that despite the planned closures the district has “worked hard to maintain a presence” in the village, including moving the Big Picture Program to Kenmore Middle School, along with Erie Community College Pathways Program and the Community Education Program.
“Numerous employees from the current administration building are also being moved to Kenmore Middle School and we want to remind all residents that the district offices used to be at Kenmore Middle,” he said. “Although different, it is clear we are maintaining a presence in the village itself.”
The apparent rift comes at a time when Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing tax incentives for districts and municipalities that show signs of shared services and consolidation efforts.