Study of Ken-Town consolidation scenerios at ‘apex’ - The Buffalo News
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Study of Ken-Town consolidation scenerios at ‘apex’

An internal study of the four consolidation scenarios under consideration in the Kenmore-Townawanda School District is at its “apex,” Superintendent Mark P. Mondanaro told the School Board Tuesday.

“We’re just about there, finally,” he said in an update of the process’ timeline, which has fallen behind several months while the study is completed.

The district is using computer software to model the different consolidation scenarios, which were devised by the board and a consultant.

The final data to input is how the scenarios would impact transportation for students, Mondanaro said.

“Just like everything else in the project, we didn’t talk globally or generally,” he said. “We wanted the community and board to know very specifically in real time what these different scenarios would look like on a single level, which is why it’s taken so long and is so much work.”

Under a scenario proposed in September, one of the district’s two high schools would contain grades 10 through 12; a junior high school in the other building would contain grades 7 through 9; and there would be prekindergarten through grade 6 at an undetermined number of elementary schools – although at least two, but possibly four, elementary schools would close.

The other three scenarios would:

• Close one elementary school and one middle school.

• Close Kenmore Middle and two or three elementary schools; reconfigure Kenmore East and West to include grades 8 through 12; reconfigure Franklin Middle and Hoover Middle to include grades 5 through 7; and reconfigure Franklin Elementary and Hoover Elementary and two or three other elementary schools to include pre-K through grade 4.

• Reconfigure Kenmore East and West to include grades 7 through 12; reconfigure Hoover and Franklin to include pre-K through grade 6; and transform two other elementary schools into “specialty” or “themed” elementary schools.

Once the report is in a draft form, Mondanaro said a series of forums for employees and the public will be scheduled, most likely in the last week of March.

“We’re at that point and I do think the forums will take place the last week of March,” he said. “Somehow we’ll get those scheduled and it’s all hands on deck.”

School Board President Bob Dana said he expects the board will be ready in April to make a decision.

“I believe it’s going to be very clear,” he said after the meeting.

“What I’m hoping is the community sees it as clearly, with clear eyes and without biases.”

Board members have said the process is necessary to achieve cost savings, correct disparate class sizes across the district and shrink to a size commensurate with its enrollment of about 7,100 students.

“We’re not just doing this about money,” Dana said. “It’s also about keeping and maintaining programs and maybe reinstating some.”

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the board amended its by-laws to limit campaigning on school board election day at the district’s polling place to an area “which does not impede vehicle traffic flow.”

Campaigning by candidates last year in the Hoover Middle School parking lot caused a backup of traffic onto Sheridan Drive.

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