Community leadership and input will be critical as the discussion begins on whether or not Madison Consolidated Schools needs to upgrade its school facilities.

This is a tough time to be asking taxpayers to dig a little deeper into their pockets. But that's likely what the school administration will need to do to raise funds to either renovate or replace an aging high school and address issues at other schools.

Madison Consolidated High School opened in 1960, is in need of repairs, and is not equipped to handle today's technology. E.O. Muncie Elementary also has been mentioned as needing upgrades.

Superintendent Ginger Studebaker-Bolinger announced a critical first step in the fact-finding phase of the project - one that could make or break any building initiative.

Citizen involvement.

A citizen task force will be formed to develop recommendations on how the school corporation should proceed with building needs.

"We are at a pretty critical point now. A point where we need a task force to come together to study materials, to visit some schools, to ask some more critical questions, to receive some more financial information if necessary and really move this forward in terms of what we need as a community," Bolinger said at a meeting Tuesday night.

The public needs to be confident that any recommendation has been thoroughly researched and will serve families in the community into the future.

We look forward to seeing what the task force recommends - including projections of student population, financial considerations, and how new facilities will make our students attractive to the businesses and industry that provide jobs.

This effort must include the entire community - not just families with school-aged children.