AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – Martha Betti-Vicario is one parent who will be rallying Tuesday night to keep Heritage Heights Elementary School open.
Betti-Vicario’s three children have attended Heritage Heights Elementary School and she has lived in the community for 16 years. She describes the school community as a second family. If it closes, and consolidates with Sweet Home’s three other elementary schools, Betti-Vicario argues students will have to be bused four- to five-miles away and their education will be negatively impacted.
Tuesday night at 5:30 p.m. there will be a rally at 1901 Sweet Home Road near the high school for Heritage Heights parents and children to attend. After the rally to save the school, Betti-Vicario says they will be attending a 7 p.m. meeting at the same location where a vote will be held on the school’s future.
Sweet Home Schools Superintendent Tony Day says the school board wants to consolidate the school because they want to provide the best program for students and protect them against money problems down the road. School attendance has also been dropping.
But Betti-Vicario says the school is a crucial part of the close-knit community and the students’ success depends on it.
“The teachers at Heritage Heights and staff are a special breed. The principal is wonderful. It’s our family. There is pretty much no rhyme or reason why they would be closing our school,” said Betti-Vicario.
The Sweet Home superintendent says is a short-term financial crisis and closing the school is a part of the long-term solution.
Betti-Vicario has started a Facebook page to fight to save the school, and so far it has 245 members. Around 660 people have signed a petition to save Heritage Heights.