Ken-Ton's Jefferson Elementary School to Close Next Year

August 14, 2012 Updated Aug 14, 2012 at 11:17 PM EDT

By John Borsa

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August 14, 2012 Updated Aug 14, 2012 at 11:17 PM EDT

TOWN OF TONAWANDA, NY (WKBW) - This will be the final year for students at Kenmore-Tonawanda's Thomas Jefferson Elementary School.

The school board voted Tuesday night to shutter the building following this upcoming school year at a savings of $2.5 million.

Parents and teachers, who tried to save the school, left the meeting immediately following the vote. Some were seen crying and hugging each other outside.

"It's just hard because we're not just a school, we're a family," said teacher Danielle Johnson. "And it's just going to be difficult."

Superintendent Mark Mondanaro said state aid has been flat for nearly five years and the district needs to save money.

Ken-Ton has already eliminated programs along with 170 teachers and administrators in the past four years.

"It does sound heartless," Mondanaro said. "I understand that. I'm not here to sell it. I'm not here to convince everybody this is a fantastic idea..."

But it was an idea the school board could not ignore. Enrollment in the district has fallen from an all-time high of 22,000 to 7,300.