On a 5-0 vote, the Madison Consolidated Schools Board approved a recommendation to put a $40 million building project referendum before voters in the May 2014 primary election.

The recommendation came from the building project task force during a presentation to the school board at a special meeting last week. 

School board member Joyce Imel made the motion to approve the recommendation "with enthusiasm, to precede with what we need to do."

The vote was met with applause from the audience. 

The plan includes renovations to Madison Consolidated High School and to Anderson Elementary School, which would replace E.O. Muncie Elementary School after renovations were completed. 

The Anderson proposal includes adding a classroom wing, a new main office area, a media center and expanded cafeteria.

The school could accommodate 650 to 700 students. Once construction is completed, students attending E.O. Muncie would move to Anderson at the start of a new school year.

Renovations and additions to Madison Consolidated High School would include construction of a gymnasium, converting the old gymnasium into a performing arts center for music and theater, renovating the school's "A" wing and the addition of classroom wings that would include a technology center. 

The school would also have a centralized media center, new entryways, a renovated main office area and a main entrance seen from Clifty Drive.

"I don't know if it would have been right for the board to have tried to tackle this on our own,"  School Board President Todd Bass said. "I think to do this and have it be successful, it would have to be community driven. For the plan to be community driven, it couldn't have any undue influence from the board."

Carl Glessing, vice president of the board, said he was worried the task force would come back asking for too much money for the project, but now feels it did a good job narrowing the renovations down to what's necessary.

"I really think if we do nothing now it's going to cost us in the long run," he said. I'm not sure that the board in itself would have ever come up with this detailed of a recommendation as the task force. I just hope in the end, the community supports it."

The board also approved a project hearing and preliminary determination hearing to be held on Jan. 8. The hearing is the next step necessary to get the referendum on the May ballot.

Dr. Ginger Studebaker-Bolinger, MCS superintendent, said she hopes to hold several information sessions for the public after the Jan. 8 meeting. Those sessions, she said, could include tours of the high school and E.O. Muncie.

Also at the meeting, Dr. Katie Jenner, director of learning, unveiled curriculum changes being prepared for the 2014-2015 school year. 

Four different career pathways are being implemented into the curriculum that will encompass Project Lead the Way classes and Advanced Placement classes in an effort to better prepare students for college or the workforce after leaving high school. 

The four pathways are: medical, manufacturing, entrepreneurship and engineering.

"It's really important for all of us to make sure the number one priority is to prepare our students for college or the workforce," Jenner said.

Courses being added include a human body systems class to the medical pathway; an introduction to advanced manufacturing and logistics course in the manufacturing pathway; and classes in information, communication and technology, landscape management and agribusiness management in the entrepreneurship pathway

Additional curriculum changes include an AP Capstone seminar and research class that would allow students to research a topic, write a paper and make a presentation on the subject in a format similar to a thesis project.

Jenner said Madison is one of 100 schools in the country selected to offer the program.

MCS received a $22,500 grant from EcO15 that will allow the school to hire a part-time college and career readiness counselor to help implement the new material.

The high school also will offer an AP psychology and AP world history class and Madison Consolidated Junior High School will offer more high school credit opportunities. 

The board also:

• Reviewed a proposed 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school calendar. Changes to the calendar include a proposed remediation period during fall break. Fall break would begin for most students on Oct. 8 and run through Oct. 17. Some students would attend remediation classes from Oct. 8 to Oct. 10, having their break begin afterward. 

Spring break would also be moved back to March 23-27.

• Approved the district's property and liability insurance with Liberty Mutual Insurance in the amount of $358,824. That is a two percent raise from the previous year.