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Ken-Ton board votes to close three schools

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Two years into a study about the Kenmore-Tonawanda Public school system, and the school board voted Tuesday night to close three schools. The closings are scheduled for the fall of 2016. Ken-Ton  district administration prepared a 183-page report, outlining a series of scenarios as the district looked to cut costs. The school board decided on the study because the district financial situation was deteriorating so visibly under the toll of declining state aid, rising taxes, shrinking reserves and declining student enrollment.

After nearly two years of review, the board decided to close Kenmore Middle School as well as Hamilton and Roosevelt. An eighth grade would be added to the district's two high schools.

A decision had to be made," said Board Member Stephen Brooks.

"It's not the one I thought was the most logical but it's the one the community wanted. And, it's one that we have to work with, we have to start with, at least."

Brooks favored a plan which would have converted Kenmore West High School to handle grades 10-12 and Ken East would have become a 7-to-9 junior high.

Retiring Superintendent Mark Mondanaro says the changes will save nearly $five million.

Credit Mike Desmond/wbfo news
Ken-Ton school board members say their decision to close three schools reflects the community's wishes.

Currently, the district still has to balance its budget for next year, a task eased by some increase in school aid in the new state budget.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.