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Ken-Ton addresses problems of consolidating schools

When the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District decided in April to close three schools in 2016 and redraw attendance zones, officials knew the upheaval would create headaches for some families.

The district, as part of its two-year-long consolidation process, has identified eight cases where the reorganization would create overly burdensome transitions and released those findings Thursday in a report. “It became a mini-project just to figure out what those were,” said Superintendent Mark P. Mondanaro.

Beginning in the 2016-17 school year, Hamilton and Roosevelt elementary schools will close, and Kenmore Middle School will be converted into offices and facilities for special programs. The plan also will bring all the district’s eighth-graders into Kenmore East and Kenmore West high schools, and reserve Franklin and Hoover middle schools for grades 5 to 7.

The moves will improve building capacity usage to 80 percent from 66 percent now and also save $4.9 million in the first year, according to district data.

Only a small percentage of the slightly more than 7,000 students in the district will fall into any of the eight cases, Mondanaro said.

• Case one: Some students who just finished fifth grade at Franklin Elementary after being transferred there from Jefferson Elementary when it closed in 2013 would start sixth grade at Kenmore Middle in September. But most of their classmates will be going to Franklin Middle.

Those students will be given the option of starting at Franklin Middle in September. The district sent letters Tuesday to those families notifying them of their options with a deadline of Aug. 6 to inform Student Services of their decision.

• Case two involves some students starting fifth grade in the fall at Hamilton who would attend Hoover Middle in 2015 but transfer to Franklin Middle in 2016 and Kenmore East in 2017 – four schools in four years. Those students will be allowed to start at Franklin in 2015.

• Cases three and four involve some kindergartners and first-graders transferred to Edison Elementary from Jefferson. They would transfer again to either Franklin or Hoover elementary schools in 2016 but will be allowed to attend Edison through fourth grade.

• Cases five, six and seven all involve stopping kindergarten entrance into Roosevelt and Hamilton and sixth-grade entrance into Kenmore Middle for 2015. Students would instead be placed in their eventual school one year early.

• Case eight involves students who, under 2016’s new lines, would attend Kenmore East but have already enrolled in and attended Kenmore West for at least one year. Those students would be allowed to stay at Kenmore West.