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Ken-Ton School Board elects O’Malley as new president

The Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School Board has a new president for the first time in five years.

Trustee Jill Y. O’Malley, an Erie Community College biology teacher in the second year of her first term on the School Board, was unanimously elected Tuesday night to the one-year presidency during the board’s organizational meeting.

O’Malley takes over the post from Bob Dana, a retired Williamsville teacher who has served all his five years on the board as president. The president presides at the board’s meetings and speaks publicly for the board, among other duties.

O’Malley, who is also a district parent and founder of the Ken-Ton Closet clothing donation project, was nominated by Dana.

Dana said he was not seeking another year as president because of his “current health condition.”

“Although it tends to be improving, it’s going to improve slowly and affect what I can and cannot do,” he said. “I think it’s time, anyway, for a change. This district is going to experience some significant change over the next year. By (2017) we will have transformed from 12 schools to nine. With that, I believe it’s a new beginning.”

Under the district’s consolidation plan approved last year, Kenmore Middle and Hamilton and Roosevelt Elementary schools are slated to close at the end of the 2016-17 school year. Dana led the board through the, at times contentious, consolidation process that was done to achieve cost savings as district enrollment continues to decline.

New School Board member Andrew Gianni was unanimously elected as the board’s vice president after he was sworn in as a member of the board.

Also Tuesday, Dana proposed that the board consider increasing the number of board members from five to seven and their terms from three years to five. O’Malley said the board could discuss the ideas at its regular meeting in August. The proposals would be subject to approval by voters in a referendum during the budget vote, she added.