Sweet Home School Board votes to keep Heritage Heights open

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Sweet Home School Board voted Tuesday night to keep Heritage Height Elementary School open, despite money trouble looming in the school district.

Sweet Home Schools Superintendent Tony Day says the school board had wanted to consolidate Heritage Heights 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 after enormous support from parents, in a 5-to-2 vote, board members voted to keep the school open, deciding that there wasn’t enough time to make the transition to consolidate the elementary schools.

The Sweet Home superintendent had argued that consolidating the school was the answer to a short-term financial crisis and closing the school is a part of the long-term solution. The two board members who voted in favor of consolidation added that it would allow the district to expand programs at other schools, improving education for all students.

Rich Lowe, who is a teacher, said, “My biggest concern is that we’re going to lose staffing and we’re not going to be able to provide as much programming for the kids. We’ll see how it all plays out. It’s going to make us more efficient, it’s going to make us more effective, and it’s ultimately, I believe, going to make the district stronger.”

Board members who voted in favor of keeping Heritage Heights open cautioned parents that the district’s problems have not been solved and that the school could still close in the future. But for now, parents are happy about their victory.

“I feel so much better. I feel like I can finally get a good night’s sleep,” said Kathleen Naylor. “This has been wearing on us emotionally. It’s been just… tumultuous. It’s really been rough. It’s a great school.”

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