Eight possible scenarios for the future of the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District – ranging from maintaining status quo to a consolidation involving the closure of five elementary schools – will be explained in a series of public meetings beginning this week.
The first meeting is scheduled at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Kenmore East High School. A second is scheduled at 7 p.m. Thursday in Franklin Middle School.
Two additional meetings are scheduled for next week: Monday in Kenmore West High School and Tuesday in Hoover Middle School.
The scenarios were developed by SES Study Team, the Canastota-based consulting firm hired to look at more-efficient ways to organize Ken-Ton’s education programs while preserving and increasing student opportunities over the next few years.
Scenario B includes the closure of five elementary schools: Edison, Hamilton, Holmes, Lindbergh and Roosevelt. Elementary school grades would go to the Franklin and Hoover buildings; middle school – grades 6 and 7 – to Kenmore Middle School. The high schools would accommodate grades 8 to 12.
That scenario represents the biggest reduction in district expenses – $3.6 million – reflecting a savings of about $1.7 million in staffing and almost $1.9 million in building operation expenses.
None of the scenarios includes potential costs to reconfigure the buildings to serve the students.
The study, and related reports, can be viewed at www.kenton.k12.ny.us/domain/1753.
Neither School Superintendent Mark P. Mondanaro nor members of the School Board are commenting on the options while the employee and community review process is pending.
Aside from the option to maintain the status quo, the other scenarios all include closing Holmes Elementary School.
Built in 1964, it’s the district’s newest building. But the safety of the Dupont Avenue building has been questioned repeatedly through the years because of its proximity to Praxair, the former Linde Division of Union Carbide Corp., where radioactive materials were developed during World War II. Environmental testing has shown no lingering ill effects from contaminants related to development of the atomic bomb.
None of the scenarios would close either high school. But in one scenario, Kenmore East, whose plummeting enrollment has made it the subject of widespread speculation, would serve as a junior high school. Five other scenarios include putting eighth-grade students in the high schools.
Meanwhile, applications will be accepted until May 3 for a community-employee stakeholder focus group, which will review and prioritize the options during an all-day session in early June. The School Board then will decide the next step.