Reorganization & Consolidation

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Kenmore Tonawanda Union Free School District in Buffalo New York works with DecisionInsite on Reorganization and Consolidation Study

BACKGROUND

Kenmore-Tonawanda UFSD, a K-12 district near Buffalo, New York, was nearing the close of a two-year reorganization and consolidation study when it contracted with DecisionInsite. This school district was once the center of one of the largest suburban Town and Village growths in the nation. The school district’s peak enrollment years occurred during 1965-1970. Over years of declining enrollment, the district had closed 14 elementary schools and two auxiliary education facilities since 1974. By 1975, enrollment had decreased to 17,500. Today, the Kenmore-Tonawanda UFSD has a K-12 enrollment just over 7,000 students and is projected to continue declining to 6500 students by school-year 2019-20.

At this point, it was important to district staff to complete an extensive study before closing any additional schools.  The district needed to maximize the use of capacity at its two high schools, middle schools and elementary schools by closing additional schools and redistributing students without impacting student programs and academic learning options.

It was at this point that the Kenmore-Tonawanda UFSD staff began working with DecisionInsite to include an intensive study of 10-year enrollment and geographic projections and boundary configurations that would best accomplish the criteria and goals of their study. The study included numerous grade level configurations that were finally consolidated by the school district into four unique grade level configurations:

  • Scenario G: K-5, 6-7, 9-12 grade configurations – closing one middle and one elementary school
  • Scenario I: K-4, 5-7, 8-12 grade configurations – closing one middle and two elementary schools
  • Scenario J: K-6, 7-12 grade configurations – closing one middle school and two elementary schools and creating a 4-6 IB School within a school.
  • Scenario K: K-6, 7-9 and 10-12 grade configurations – closing one middle school and two elementary schools.

CHALLENGE

Manage a process that continues to build community support for the district and Board’s action to change and transition to a grade level re-configuration and school boundaries that address the issues listed and best meets the needs of all students.

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SOLUTION

Kenmore-Tonawanda UFSD contracted with DecisionInsite to utilize our technology, enrollment analytics and consulting expertise.  DI staff provided access to the DI website for enrollment projections, school capacity and staffing analysis, other significant reports and data, and SchoolLocator. A DI Senior Consultant worked with district leadership and the district’s boundary advisory committee throughout the boundary development and proposal process to provide the resources needed and listed above, and the experience of working with other school districts through similar activities.

RESULT

Based on the Kenmore-Tonawanda UFSD staff’s work and recommendation, the Board approved their new grade level configuration and associated boundary changes while closing two elementary schools and one middle school with critical buy-in and support from their parent community. Viable new school boundaries were created using Scenario I reconfiguring grades with K-5 elementary schools, 6-7 middle schools and 8-12 high schools. Neighborhood schools were maintained for their communities reducing the number of schools serving district students while more efficiently utilizing remaining school capacities. The need for student bus transportation was kept in check to the degree possible. Feeder K-5 schools were completed aligned to 6-7 middle schools, and each of the two middle schools was aligned to each of the two high schools.