Ken-Ton layoffs begin as consolidation plan gets underway

KENMORE, N.Y. (WIVB) — Some Kenmore Town of Tonawanda teachers, aides and support staff have started receiving notifications that they’re out of jobs for the 2016-2017 school year.

These layoffs are connected to the district’s consolidation plan. The plan will close three schools – Roosevelt and Hamilton elementary schools and Kenmore Middle School – and reduces programs such as health and physical education as a way to eliminate excess money and save some funding.

These plans have been underway for some time. The district conducted several studies from 2012 to 2014 looking at enrollment and funding then came up with plans on how to save money around the district.

Now, those impacted by the plan are beginning to see the cuts.

“It’s a sad day in Kenmore,” said Carolyn Lynch, a mom whose son went to and excelled at Roosevelt. “It seemed every grade he went through, there was something special about each one of them [the teachers].”

Some of the cuts are still in question.

“We’re worried about where these cuts are being made and the impact it has on kids,” said Peter Stuhlmiller, the president for the Ken-Ton Teacher’s Association.  “The challenging part for all of us is the way the district is making decisions for laying off teachers.”

He says the district already isn’t meeting state requirements for health and physical education and the reductions are making the association question why these types of programs are being eliminated and the teachers, let go.

“We’re arguing that maybe we need to restore some programs,” said Stuhlmiller. “That was one of the benefits of consolidation that it would create some savings so that we could save some programs. The kids who need help aren’t getting it. This would have been the opportunity to restore those opportunities for kids and help the most at-risk kids.”

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