KENMORE, N.Y. (WIVB) - One of the largest school districts in Western New York met with parents Thursday night to figure out what possible downsizing could mean for families in Kenmore and Tonawanda.
Seven of the consolidation plans the district is considering would close Holmes Elementary School. That's because of all the buildings in the district, Holmes has the smallest capacity. The majority of people who spoke at Kenmore East High School came in support of Holmes.
A focus group earlier this week indicated that closing Holmes and Kenmore Middle School may be the district's best option. But parents don't want to see the school board go that route.
"These faculty believe in these kids until they're able to believe in themselves. And I think that is a priceless commodity," said one woman.
Another parent added, "I'm afraid if our elementary schools are consolidated, all of our schools will lose that small community feel. There will be too many children for families to really get to know each other."
Most parents don't want to see any schools close. And they question if the $1.5 million saved each year is worth what closing schools would cost students.
One man stated, "Holmes is a very special case - geographically, socio economically, and the quality of the program those people have built over the last dozen years."
"Consolidation is going to be disruptive, there's no way around that. But I think it's unfair to disrupt the education of thousands of children," said one woman.
Another parent said, "I urge you to continue to recommend to the district to continue to study non-constructional, physical assets."
School board president Bob Dana says none of the trustees want to see schools close either. But some of the alternatives are unthinkable.
"I'm not interested in Ken-Ton going over the cliff while I'm sitting in this chair," Dana said.
Another parent even suggested another plan - opening Holmes as a Magnet school. But the bottom line, according to Superintendent Mark Mondanaro, is that consolidation must happen in some form because enrollment isn't what it used to be and state aid will not return to what it was before the 2008 financial crisis.
There is another Lake Effect Snow Warning in effect for Erie, Wyoming, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties from Thursday through early Friday.
A 26-year-old male employee of Ying's Wings and Things told police that Haibo Jiang, also known as Jimmy Ying, choked him until he passed out.
A Good Samaritan died Wednesday while trying to assist the driver of a tractor trailer who got stuck in the snow.
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will stop in Buffalo to make an announcement about a sustainable homes program.
State Education Commissioner John King is on his way to Buffalo. He is coming for a forum on the Common Core curriculum, downtown Thursday.
The Jo Bros are playing at Kissmas Bash Thursday night at the First Niagara Center. But the band split in September, saying there’s a deep rift.