Tonawanda News

The Town

June 7, 2013

Ken-Ton school closings debated

Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — The Ken-Ton Parent Association has completed a summary of residents’ responses regarding the district’s eight consolidation options. 

“We have spent the last few weeks compiling questions and concerns that residents have over the impending consolidation project,” Jill O’Malley, of director of the KTPA, said. “We also believe that much of this will be discussed in upcoming meetings, however, many individuals cannot make these meetings and wanted their points represented.”

Last year, the district hired a consultant, the SES Study Team, to develop plans that would result in cost savings and better use of the district’s many buildings. The team delivered its final report in April, and the options range from using all of the current facilities to closing numerous schools and significantly changing the configuration of the district. Since then, the district has received a great deal of feedback from concerned residents. 

The KTPA included responses from parents, business owners, government and municipal agents and district employees. The report states that the most common suggestion was to wait to make a decision until at least one year after the closing of Jefferson Elementary. 

“This would allow the district to assess the true cost savings associated with closing Jefferson, taking into consideration unexpected pros and cons,” the report states. 

Other general concerns include questions about how exactly the cost savings will be applied and if those savings would result in a tax cut for residents. 

Parents also expressed worries about how children who receive special education will deal with adapting to a new school every few years and how the options will affect schools’ specific programs, such as Roosevelt’s Kiwanis Kids. 

Others suggested closing the administration building, a move that wasn’t evaluated as part of the consolidation study. 

“Nineteen of 28 Erie County districts house administrative services within school buildings,” the report states. “Although there would be a cost associated with moving the administration, many believe this should be evaluated.” 

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