Tonawanda News

The Town

April 25, 2013

Ken-Ton faces school consolidations

Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — Concerned parents of Ken-Ton students were all ears Wednesday night as they listened to a study team describe how they came up with the district’s eight consolidation options for the 2014-15 academic year. 

Notably, none of the eight options presented call for closing one of the district’s two high schools, Kenmore East and Kenmore West. The same could not be said, however, for many of the district’s middle and primary schools.

The SES Study Team, which the district hired in September to identify cost-saving plans, told the audience that the district’s situation is far from unique. 

“This is more a matter of the economy, it goes back to 2008 with the recession,” Sam Shevat, of the SES team said. “School districts paid the price for that because state aid began to be reduced.” 

Over the past seven months, the team completed a number of preliminary studies that helped them come up with the recommendations. 

“These all are a backdrop to the scenarios ... all of this is data that is related to how we developed the options, and can be part of the discussion you have over the next few weeks,” Paul Seversky, of SES, said. 

Those separate documents determined projected class sizes for future years, each building’s pupil capacity and the district’s class size goals — all of which were factored into the eight final options. 

The findings weren’t unexpected: Ken-Ton has more space than its student population requires.

“You have more pupil capacity than you need,” Seversky said, summarizing the projected enrollment figures presented Wednesday. “And only one school, Lindbergh, has had stable enrollment over the past six years.” 

The team then transitioned into their eight options, which were released to the public last week. They vary extensively and range from keeping all of the schools open to closing numerous schools and significantly changing the configuration of the district.

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