WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WIVB) - Monday night, the West Seneca School Board unanimously voted to consolidate East Elementary with East Middle School.
Parents had raised many concerns with the board over the past few weeks and voiced their opposition to the move. But beginning in the fall, East Elementary will merge with East Middle School, becoming a school with grades 5 through 8, and kindergarten through 4th grade students will be sent to Clinton Elementary.
"They made their decision. That was it," said parent Katy LaPorta. "And they don't take into consideration what the public feels at all."
The board is hoping to save around $7.5 million by consolidating the school.
"Every single study out there, basically in a school district similar to ours, shows that having a true middle school, which is more than 7 and 8th grade whether it's 6, 7, 8th grade or 5, 6, 7, 8th grade, is what's better for students," said Board President Daniel Nagy. "Most of it is we have 132 employees leaving us this school year, which is roughly 11 percent of our total population of employees ,so they are going to be leaving our payrolls."
But parents at the meeting are concerned there wasn't enough thought put into the decision.
Parent Peter Kalenik said, "They're not closing any buildings, so the building is still open, they still have to be heated, water, electricity, cleaned. Students are still using it so it's not as if a building is closing and they are saving money in that sense."
"Out of the seven schools, we are the better when it comes to state scoring. Our teachers work really well with our students. Now you're going to be tearing our students apart and our teachers they are going to be going to different buildings; it's not fair," LaPorta added.
Nagy responded, "Whenever you do something new, of course you're going to have some hesitance, but a lot of parents who have older children realize their children could have really benefited by having this at a younger age."
A Town of Tonawanda restaurant owner has been arrested and charged with strangulation and assault.
Investigators have pieced together who is responsible for dumping a dog on the side of the road inside a zipped up Coors Light thermal bag.
State Police need your help finding the pickup truck driver who pinned a mother against her vehicle as she was loading her baby and young son into it and then fled the scene.
The Cattraugus County Sheriff’s Office says a 17-year-old male from East Otto was arrested on Monday evening.
The Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel will unveil improvements to their gaming floor on Wednesday. The casino spent $26 million into the main gaming floor.
The Mounted Patrol from the Erie County Sheriff’s Department is kicking off its annual Mounted for Meals food drive.