Families of students at Madison Consolidated Schools will not have to pay any textbook rental or technology fees for the 2019-2020 school year.

MCS Superintendent Jeff Studebaker announced that the costs normally paid by parents when they are registering their parents for school in the fall will be covered by donations.

“It’s been incredible,” said MCS Communications Coordinator Ashley Schutte. “People are very appreciative…it seems almost like people are asking ‘Is this real?’”

It is very real.

Next year will be the pilot year for the initiative. MCS personnel said their conservative estimate for the cost is $300,000.

The donor: SuperATV, a family-owned and -operated business on Madison’s hilltop.

“The response has been unreal,” said Harold Hunt, owner and president of SuperATV. “We are proud to be part of such a great city and community and schools are a core component of those. It’s enabled us to attract the best employees to help make all of this happen.”

SuperATV makes quarterly donations to MCS as part of a partnership agreement. Last year, MCS received $375,000 through SuperATV’s regular donations, according to MCS.

“It was exciting and a great opportunity to be able to help the community,” said Lindsay Hunt, vice president of sales and administration at SuperATV. “Dr. Studebaker brought the idea to us, then we started brainstorming. And, it didn’t take too many meetings before we had things ironed out.”

Studebaker and Bonnie Hensler, MCS director of finance and human resources, began working last year to find a way to help parents cover costs of the supplies for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

“Last year we were working on the development of the supplies lists,” said Studebaker. “The list ranged anywhere from $50 to $100 for that stuff…I made it a goal to get rid of that expense then and there.”

Studebaker and Hensler have been working since to try to find ways to eliminate this cost to parents. Their efforts grew into a search for ways to cover the costs of textbook rentals and technology fees for those families who do not already qualify for free or reduced fees.

“The SuperATV agreement allows them to make a donation to us every quarter…we felt like it would be a perfect use of some of that money,” said Studebaker. “SuperATV’s money already pays for Ivy Tech tuition money, allowed last year to start sliding scale for pre-K costs, start a pilot program at Deputy Elementary for after-school care with sliding scale…”

The donations being used in this new way are expected to save parents about $132,500 in supply costs for the more than 1,700 enrolled Kindergarten through eight grade students. Supply lists are not generated for high school students.

Book and technology fees range between $200 and $400 per student — a variety of factors decide exactly how much a student’s fees may be including their grade level and which courses they sign up for when they are old enough to choose between different electives.

When parents register their children next fall, they will still receive an invoice, but there will be a credit for the amount of their child’s fees, bringing their balance due to $0. The supplies Kindergarten through eighth grade students are typically expected to bring with them on the first day of school will already be waiting for them at school, already paid with the donated funds.

“We are forever grateful for the generosity of SuperATV and Mr. Harold Hunt,” MCS administrators said in an email. “Mr. Hunt has been a valuable partner in education for all students at Madison through SuperATV’s support of our Ivy Tech partnership helping to cover the cost of tuition for students, he is an avid supporter of our CTE programming (Career Technical Education) where he opens his doors for students and encourages them to begin working in internships learning all aspects of the business, and actively supports our Cub Manufacturing and Cub Engineering programs by providing members of his leadership team to serve as advisers and mentors to our students.”