Madison Consolidated Schools will withdraw from participation in the Southeastern Career Center in Versailles beginning with the fall of 2020.

Madison’s school board at Wednesday’s meeting approved a recommendation by Superintendent Jeff Studebaker to withdraw from the Center, a decision that allows Madison to give a required 12-month notice that students from Madison and funding on their behalf will end after this school year.

Studebaker said the benefits from attending the Career Center no longer match the financial obligation Madison pays into the facility. However, he added that the decision was based on more than just the financial commitment.

Participation in 2018-19 cost Madison about $200,000 to educate 20 students who used the curriculum. The fact that the facility is about a 50-mile round-trip from Madison and that Madison’s own vocational programs already serve more students and have been earmarked for expansion factored in the decision to withdraw.

Studebaker said Madison’s Cub Manufacturing programs and partnerships with Ivy Tech and local industries can now provide better options for Madison students. He said that by Madison going its own way, programs can be better refined to serve local needs and prepare students for local job opportunities while also keeping them on campus where they can use the schools’ other educational opportunities.

The next move will be for Studebaker to deliver a letter of withdrawal to the Career Center before its board meeting next week. That will give the Career Center more than a year to adapt to the loss of Madison students while also giving Madison time to consider what programs need to be expanded or added locally.

The Southeastern Career Center opened in 1966 as the state’s first vocational education center and has since then strived to provide students with a learning experience that combines technical skills with academic knowledge while also promoting work ethics, citizenship and self-esteem to prepare students for careers in business and industry.

Current member schools in addition to Madison include Batesville, East Central, Jac-Cen-Del, Jennings County, Lawrenceburg, Milan, Rising Sun, South Dearborn, South Ripley, Southwestern and Switzerland County.

For additional coverage, pick up a copy of Saturday’s Madison Courier.