Madison Consolidated High School is projecting a 92 percent graduation rate for this year's senior class.

That is 20 percent above the 2009-2010 graduation rate, and almost three percent above last year's graduation rate, Dr. Katie Jenner, director of learning at MCS, said  

Jenner said the school, and the Indiana Department of Education, track students from when they enter high school as freshmen through their senior year. And, based on tracking, Jenner said, they're on schedule to graduate.

"I can tell you that that takes an enormous amount of work from our teachers and our students," she said.

Jenner presented the Madison Consolidated School board with the school's most recent ISTEP, Advance Placement (AP), SAT and ACT scores, along with how those numbers compare to the rest of the state and nation.

Jenner said that Madison students "crushed" their AP test scores. 

In AP art history, studio art, English language composition and calculus, the school scored, on average, a three or higher out of five. 

Jenner did say she had spoken with teachers at the junior high school about changing their approach, especially in the area of language arts. 

Only the eighth-grade class tested above the previous year's ISTEP scores, and each grade tested below the state average. 

"It's a challenge. Across the country what we are doing is not working. So the junior high is going to move forward in trying to realign the standards of the curriculum by basically taking some interesting books, some books that could potentially hook our readers."

Jenner said they're also looking at ways to reinforce critical thinking at the junior high school.

Also at the meeting, the school board approved a $7,000 grant that will pay for student tracking systems to be placed on school buses, and the $50,000 matching grant from the state to help fund school resource officers. 

Dr. Ginger Studebaker-Bolinger, MCS superintendent, said that after speaking with Police Chief Dan Thurston, she believes the school district can have one officer in place by January. 

There's no word yet on when an officer from the Sheriff's office could be in place. 

The school board also approved the hiring of Ice Miller LLP to serve as bond counsel to the school corporation, and H. J. Umbaugh & Associates as financial advisors as the school moves forward with a possible referendum, based on the recommendation of the building project task force. 

"Any time you go into a project of this magnitude, it helps to have someone who's an expert on board with getting it done," School Board President, Todd Bass, said. 

Fees from each firm will vary, depending on the amount of work requested from each. 

Ice Miller, for example, usually charges between $35,000 and $55,000 for counsel on a bond of $45 million. 

The school would not be responsible for that fee if the referendum is not passed.