Tonawanda News

The Town

April 2, 2014

Ken-Ton to close three schools

Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — The Ken-Ton school board voted unanimously Tuesday night to implement a consolidation plan that will close Hamilton Elementary, Roosevelt Elementary and Kenmore Middle School at the start of the 2016-2017 school year.

“Something must be done,” Superintendent Mark Mondanaro, who supported the option that was chosen, said. “I don’t think the report and the data speaks for itself. I think it screams for itself.”

The board chose the consolidation option after more than two hours of discussion Tuesday night, and although some residents have objected to closures, the vote was welcomed by a round of applause.

The work session marks the culmination of 19 months of work on the project, which aims to save money, even out class sizes and sustain the district in light of decreasing enrollment and declining state aid. Last month, the district released a 183-page report on its four final consolidation options.

Under the option selected, which was labeled as scenario I in the report, eighth-graders will report to the two high schools. Those in fifth grade, sixth grade and seventh grade will attend Franklin and Hoover middle schools. Pre-K through grade four will be run at the remaining elementary schools, which will be rezoned.

Scenario I, which will result in 80 percent district per-pupil capacity, is expected to save $4,816,941 in the annual general budget in the first year. Additional closings will likely not be necessary in the next five to 10 years, district officials said. 

Residents’ reaction to the decision was mostly positive Tuesday night, and many parents noted they recognized closures were necessary.

“I am glad that it is over and a decision has been made,” said Jill O’Malley, the president of the Ken-Ton Parent Alliance and a school board candidate. “Everybody advocates in a different way and I think all the concerns were heard.”

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