From right to left, top to bottom, Michael Frazier, Kyle Harsin, Joyce Imel and Lee Ann Imel
From right to left, top to bottom, Michael Frazier, Kyle Harsin, Joyce Imel and Lee Ann Imel
This year's Madison Consolidated Schools Board race will feature eight candidates vying for two seats.

The field includes one current school board member, a former longtime Madison administrator, a current Madison teacher, a Hanover College professor, a paralegal, a merchandiser, a sales manager and a retired businessman.

The seat, which has a four-year term, will begin Jan. 1. The annual salary is $2,000, which is determined by the state, and an additional $50 for every school board meeting or special session attended.

The seats up for election are currently held by Carl Schaum, the president of the board this year, and Andy Lytle, who is running for the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners and did not file for the school board race.

The Madison Courier will profile the candidates today and Monday. They will be published in alphabetical order.




Michael Frazier

1.) What would your top three priorities be as a school board member?

The main priority in education is students and the development of programs. We should develop and implement opportunities that enhance cutting-edge advancements in technology for students and instructors, professional development for educators, and up-to-date information that boosts the desire for continuous preparation of students for college, careers and vocations.

The second priority becomes facility upkeep. An implemented management plan would conserve and preserve corporation assets.

My third priority is financial responsibility for taxpayer dollars. Money should be spent justly and wisely.

2.) With a decline in enrollment this year, what can Madison Consolidated Schools do to stay competitive with area schools?

I believe we have maintained a competitive status by providing quality programs and motivated employees within our corporation. Sharing our accomplishments with the community will help cement its trust in us. The unfortunate closing of several schools has caused concern. Concerted effort must become a priority to help regain trust in our quality education, programs and future.

3.) Provide a grade (A, B, C, D, F) for the current education quality at Madison Consolidated Schools. Explain.

Many programs within our facilities are outstanding. Nothing is perfect and there is always room for improvement, review, change and challenge. As educators, we tend to "average" scores, therefore, I believe that our corporation should earn a B rating.

4.) Would you support a referendum for facility upgrades? If so, what would your priorities be?

Yes, I would support a referendum for facility update. Thirty-seven years of experience working in Madison Consolidated Schools has given me numerous opportunities to evaluate the condition of our facilities. We must attempt to keep up with the pace of technology and society. Our students are living in a global society and deserve opportunities within our facilities that we can financially support realistically.

5.) In what areas can Madison Consolidated Schools find savings, trim its budget or generate revenue?

Financial responsibility requires common-sense tactics and management finesse. We need to promote the quality education offered at Madison Consolidated Schools. Opportunities and programs that subsidize monetarily, such as vocational and industrial arts, should be emphasized.



W. Kyle Harsin

1.) What would your top three priorities be as a school board member?

The first priority of the next school board must be an examination of the financial status, if we are to address the future and provide a quality education for our kids. Secondly, our students, parents, teachers and taxpayers deserve a more open and transparent decision-making process. Third, the past few years have been difficult for our school system, and I would like to take steps to improve the morale, culture and pride in and around our schools.

2.) With a decline in enrollment this year, what can Madison Consolidated Schools do to stay competitive with area schools?

It is a new era for public schools in Indiana. Agree or disagree with the decisions made in Indianapolis, we now have to compete in that environment. With our current financial circumstances, we need to improve budgeting and funds from the state, but to stay competitive, we must promote the quality of education to current and prospective students. I would encourage greater partnerships with local business and industry to provide more opportunities for our students, and in turn, promote our students throughout our community. To attract quality students we must provide a range of opportunities in the classroom, athletics and the arts. 

3.) Provide a grade (A, B, C, D, F) for the current education quality at Madison Consolidated Schools. Explain.

The most recent available rating from the Indiana Department of Education's website gives Madison Consolidated Schools system a 'D' grade for 2011. However, the quality of families, teachers and children in our system are FAR above this assessment. It is the school board and administration's responsibility to put ourselves in a position to succeed and achieve more.

4.) Would you support a referendum for facility upgrades? If so, what would your priorities be?

Any facility upgrade and its respective financial support would have to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. There are many variant details to be considered. For example: Which facility? What is the public opinion? What is the current economic state of the community? What is its overall impact to the school system?

If elected, it will be my duty to review these details and make the best decision for the school system.

5.) In what areas can Madison Consolidated Schools find savings, trim its budget or generate revenue?

Each dollar spent from every fund has to be scrutinized and prioritized. It is very important that we examine financial decisions we have made that have put us in this current crisis. Most importantly, the board needs to move forward in a completely transparent manner. The attention to detail in our budgeting has never been more important. Critical thinking is the basis for good decision making.



Carolyn "Joyce" Imel

1.) What would your top three priorities be as a school board member?

• Maintain and enhance academic excellence for Madison Consolidated students. This involves so many factors, including but not limited to, providing professional development for our teachers; being sure teachers have the resources they need, which includes the latest technology, time to collaborate with one another; and increasing parental involvement and support.

• Examine closely financial challenges and explore alternate funding sources. We cannot continue to do more with less. State mandates continue to be passed to the corporations without any additional funding, which is draining cash balances of corporations dry. A solution must be found.

• Student attendance continues to be an issue. If the students are not in school, we cannot teach them.

2.) With a decline in enrollment this year, what can Madison Consolidated Schools do to stay competitive with area schools?

With declining enrollment, it complicates several issues, including probably the most significant in that our funding per pupil is obviously lower. Madison Consolidated Corporation has excellent schools. Our end product is the students who graduate and either continue on to higher educational pursuits, be it academic or vocational, and the hundreds of students who remain in this community. They are the backbone which facilitates the city of Madison and Jefferson County to function efficiently. Where would we be without our medical technicians, store clerks, maintenance personnel, construction workers? The list goes on forever. Those contributing citizens are in large part graduates of MCS. We need to do a better job of keeping the community informed about all the positive things that are happening for our children. Despite all the set-backs we have encountered over the years, we have NEVER neglected to put students first.

3.) Provide a grade (A, B, C, D, F) for the current education quality at Madison Consolidated Schools. Explain.

Madison Consolidated Schools are A schools. That may not be what you see from the state of Indiana's criteria, but from a person who has worked more than 40 years in the Madison corporation, without a doubt, this is an A school system. There may be years when our standardized test scores do not measure up, and I cannot explain why that happens; however, I am confident that we provide excellent programs, instruction with fidelity, respect the uniqueness of our students and their abilities, provide a safe and comfortable school environment and strive for excellence. That does not mean that we can rest and be content with where we are. We must continue to raise the bar and exceed expectations.

4.) Would you support a referendum for facility upgrades? If so, what would your priorities be?

Yes, I would support a referendum for facility upgrades. I do not have sufficient information to provide a list of priorities for the facilities; however, I am aware that the high school has serious issues with the physical plant and those will need to be addressed in the near future. Also, we continue to be informed about the pool project at the Madison Junior High School. At the time of my retirement in 2011, E.O. Muncie was in the process of upgrading the heating and air conditioning system, which was a critical need in that building. Lydia Middleton with its recent renovation is hopefully in great shape. The year I became principal at Deputy, the building was totally renovated, but that was the mid-'80s. There are probably capital project needs that should be addressed in that facility. I also served as principal for Rykers' Ridge, but due to the fact many years have passed since my tenure there, I cannot speak with accuracy to the physical needs of the facility.

5.) In what areas can Madison Consolidated Schools find savings, trim its budget or generate revenue?

Where could we find savings? That is a very difficult question. Prior to my retirement in 2002 then again in 2011, we were constantly seeking answers of where we could cut spending without lessening the quality of instruction. Ideas were bounced around from turning off lights in the classrooms every time you left to rationing paper to readopting textbooks already in use to cutting the hours of support personnel and on and on. My point is, this is not a new problem. Yes, it appears to have reached a far more serious level at this time due to less and less funding from the state. We have always been mindful of saving any way possible. If the Madison community elects me to serve on the school board for the next four years, I will work diligently to search out areas where the corporation could see significant savings.