MCS board to study need for new school
Thursday, March 14, 2013 11:00 AM
Madison Consolidated Schools took the first step in what could eventually lead to a new school being built.
The Madison school board Wednesday night approved a motion to give school superintendent Dr. Ginger Studebaker-Bolinger the ability to conduct a feasibility study on building a new school.
The motion was made after the board reviewed a chart made by Mike Robinson, director of operations, that lists each school in the corporation and rates them on criteria including roof age, plumbing, electrical and overall building condition.
Madison Consolidated High School and E. O. Muncie Elementary School had the most problems of the schools in the corporation.
"We've got a lot of antiques out there," Board President Todd Bass said. "If we start repairing and replacing everything that needs to be repaired and replaced, once we dig into these buildings, then we're required by law to bring these facilities up to code. Then that's going to get us into other areas, because most of our buildings aren't up to code. So, we have to start considering other alternatives to making these kind of repairs in every building we have."
Robinson's report says that much of the high school "needs electric, plumbing and HVAC upgrading." E. O. Muncie is listed in fair to poor condition and the canopy to the school needs between $60,000 and $90,000 in repairs.
Bolinger said that many of the schools are not up to date technologically, and they aren't compatible with new technology.
If a feasibility study finds that building a new school building is achievable, then the board could send requests for bids from construction companies.
Also at the meeting, the board approved a personnel report, which included the termination of two bus drivers and the retirement of two others. One bus driver had been previously terminated.
The loss of the bus drivers left many parents upset about their children's bus schedule. Lisa Mix said that on Monday, her daughter's bus picked her up 40 minutes earlier than normal and dropped her off nearly an hour and a half after school ended.
Mix says she lives off Graham Road, about five miles from Madison Junior High School where her daughter is enrolled.
"I know how the budget works and that this solves one of the problems," Mix said. "But if you live on Graham Road, it shouldn't take you that long to get to school in the morning."
Mix has since started driving her daughter to and from school.
Robinson addressed the concerns at the school board meeting.
"We had an inexcusable breakdown in communication and it should never have occurred, but it did," he said. "I do want to apologize publicly for that. We are addressing the situation and addressing those individuals that need to do a better job of communication. We hope that it does not happen again."
Robinson said that the schools are still trying to restructure routes to compensate for having fewer drivers. He said he would make sure that students, parents and teachers would have the information about the changed routes in a more timely manner.
The school is looking into new computer software for next year that would determine the optimum bus route based on how many students are in the area and how long the school would like the average bus ride to be.
In other news:
The board approved the refinancing of a school bond to take advantage of a lower interest rate.
"This will ultimately save us money, allowing us to use funding for a variety of different uses," Bolinger said.
The refinanced bond is estimated to save the school corporation $235,000.
Approved a strategic framework for the next five years. The framework focuses on student performance, community involvement, human capital, environment and local and global preparedness.
The framework can be viewed online at www.madison.k12.in.us/
Accepted a request to offer a drivers education program over the summer. Classes will begin Monday, June 10 and will last between five or six weeks. The cost of the program will be $265 per student.