School Administrators Study Closing School Buildings
By Eileen Buckley
Buffalo, NY – The Buffalo Board of Education was asked Wednesday night to begin exploring the possibility of consolidating some City schools to save the district money.
Schools Superintendent Marion Canedo says she would like to consolidate approximately six Buffalo public schools. Canedo says they need to determine how much money it would save the district as it faces a potential $42 million shortfall for the next school year.
In order to consolidate, Canedo says they need to find out if nearby schools have the capacity to take on more students. Canedo says eventually they would try to close those schools. But she says, by law, the school board can not vote on closing a school until an environmental study is conducted. She says the schools would not be closed for the upcoming school year, but it is likely some students could be moved to a nearby school.
"Consolidations could occur," she said. "And remember if you consolidate, you are essentially just putting a school in moth balls, so to speak. You certainly don't have the electric costs, the heating costs. You have to keep some heat in there so you don't damage the building. You have to have some engineering, but we might be able to share some of that."
The superintendent could only identify one school the board wants to close -- School 75. No students currently attend. Canedo says it is only used as an ancillary office site. But it can not be shut down until the environmental study is conducted.
"So even if I say and the whole board votes to close a school, if the environmental study says you shouldn't do that, then we can't close that school even though we might want to and it might be in the best interest of the district," she said.
Canedo says the environmental study examines social concerns of the neighborhood surrounding the school. She says although all Buffalo schools are included in the joint schools construction project, some are more than 80 years old, with little capacity, and a high maximum cost allowance for rehabilitation.