Madison, IN School district proposes closing 2 schools to save $ - News, Weather & Sports

Madison, IN School district proposes closing 2 schools to save $1.5M

Steve Gookins Steve Gookins

MADISON, IN (WAVE)- A southern Indiana school district is learning a tough lesson in economics as budget woes could force two elementaries to close. That is not sitting well with parents.

Madison Consolidated Schools is considering closing Anderson Elementary and Dupont Elementary Schools. Interim Superintendent, Steve Gookins, told WAVE 3 it is in an effort to save $1.5 Million.

"Madison Consolidated is headed for a dead end road financially," Gookins said Friday, "If some decisions are not made."

Emily Moore and James Jones, parents of students at Anderson Elementary, are not happy with the administration's recommendations of closing Anderson Elementary and Dupont Elementary. They along with other parents are fighting to keep Anderson open.

"Because we want our children taken care of and we want to have the best education that they can," Moore, the parent of an Anderson Elementary 4th grader, said.

Gookins said he was approached by the school board in December 2011 and told him there were financial problems. Gookins poured over data. As for why the proposal to close the schools, Gookins points to declining enrollment at the elementary level, and a general fund shortfall.

"Dupont was considered because it had no room expand. It was a small building and it was not totally handicap accessible. Anderson was considered because it helped with the general savings. It does not have any room to expand," said Gookins.

Students would be sent to other schools and if the proposal is approved, there would be layoffs.

"I would like a meeting," Christi Risk, the parent of a child who is scheduled to attend Kindergarten at Anderson said. "I would like an open meeting where people form the community can go and voice their concerns and school board members can give us factual information. Right Now, we feel like our voices aren't being heard. "

Jill Deputy the principal at Anderson Elementary School said, "This is the best proposal per evaluating several options. Maybe not our favorite one. There are pluses and minuses to any proposal. But, this seemed to gain the most things for every child to be educated the most efficiently," she said. "It's very difficult and it's a heart wrenching situation and we get very emotional because we're very attached to our local schools. But, we want our students to be attached to the quality services that we're going to be able to provide as we consolidate those services in the financial constraints that we're in."

"They can make more cuts. I understand they'll have to make cuts," said James Jones, the parent of an Anderson Elementary School 4th grader. "But I don't understand why taking the best school that has the greatest academics would benefit this area."

Interim Superintendent Gookins said he empathizes with parents who have concerns. "I understand. But, I want everybody to know, My recommendation is what I consider to be in the best interests of all children, all taxpayers and for Madison Consolidated Schools going forward."

The Madison Consolidated school board will decide yes or no on the issue in a public meeting on May 29th at 6pm in the Madison High School cafeteria.

A link to a slide show presentation from Madison Consolidated Schools, outlining specific facts, figures, reasons and information on the proposed school closures can be found here .

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