Commission considering closing school in West Seneca

WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Over the next four years, officials expect to see 230 fewer students in the West Seneca School District. As a result, it’s likely one or more elementary schools will have to close sometime in the next few years.

A commission of 25 volunteers is putting together proposals to bring to the Board of Education that include moving the district offices, making the middle schools fifth through eighth grades, spreading students more evenly throughout the district, and closing one or more elementary schools.

The 21st Century Commission says it’s a looking at all of the elementary school to determine the best fit for closure.

Co-chair Linda Breidenstein explained, “What we are doing is fact-finding and then what we will be doing is sending that information to the Board of Education and the Board of Education will be making the final decision.”

Potters Road Elementary, where capacity is at 47 percent, is the predominant school being considered for closure. Ideally, capacity should reach 80 percent to have the school functioning.

Tammy Gregorczyk, a parent in the district, said, “[I] want to know where my children are going to go to school. I don’t have a problem with schools closing. I don’t think dividing families is fair.”

The commission says West Seneca is a big district and has a large capacity, but there aren’t enough students to fill it. Enrollment in West Seneca Schools stood at just over 7,700 students in 2000. By last September, it had dropped by almost 1,000 students. This year enrollment fell below 6,700.

The district projects it will fall to 6,300 students or lower by 2019.

The volunteers will bring their proposals to the Board of Education in November. The commission hopes that the board will have a plan in place when looking at the budget in February.

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