Madison Consolidated Schools held its first regular school board meeting Wednesday following the March 31 resignation of former Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Studebaker.
During the meeting, in the absence of a superintendent, school district leadership reported to the board about each of the action items on the agenda, and then at the end of meeting, board president David Storie read a statement about the process moving forward as the search begins for a new superintendent.
“First, I want to thank you the staff in the administration building for the extra work you have graciously accepted over the past two weeks. The board and I appreciate all you have done and are doing.” He continued, “Next, I want to thank my fellow board members who have added extra meetings last week and this week to your calendars as we prepare to begin the search for a new superintendent to serve our schools and community.”
He then said that after Wednesday’s meeting the board would meet in executive session with consultants from the Indiana School Boards Association (ISBA) that have been hired to help guide and facilitate the superintendent search process. “We believe ISBA can help offer an unbiased approach thus allowing us to make the best possible decision for our students, staff, families and community.”
“We appreciate the patience and support of everyone as we move forward during this time of change, which can be both scary and exciting,” Storie said. “Once we develop a plan and time frame, it will be shared with the public as well as how and when community input will be gathered.”
As part of the personnel report, the board approved an agreement to resolve employment status in which Studebaker signed on March 31, the day that he resigned. The agreement included consideration of board members to not make any statements impugning the personal or professional character of Studebaker, and for Studebaker not to sue the school corporation and all persons acting for or on the behalf of the school corporation. Additionally, the agreement provided Studebaker with $1,602 for accumulated and unused vacation days.
In other business:
• Approved the purchase of an audio enhancement system for Madison Junior High School, which includes paging, intercom and bells as well as classroom audio for each teacher. The total cost is $249,452.37. Alex Hobson, educational technology coordinator, said MJHS is “the last building to get a new system” in the school corporation.
• Approved authorization of principal Michael Gasaway to complete and submit nonstandard course waivers to the Indiana Department of Education in time for affected students to graduate on time. Scenarios involved instances when students transfer to Madison Consolidated High School from out of state, transferring between E.O. Muncie Junior/Senior High School and MCHS, and transferring between Select and face-to-face classes. Select PLACE (Personalized Learning Academy for Connected Education) is a self-paced learning model in which students receive teacher guidance,
• Approved an additional $1,962 to the original request of $116,211 for a 66-passenger bus with a wheelchair lift. Jill Deputy, director of transportation, said the original bid did not include the L Track system and specific seats that are required, and she said that with the track system and seats, it will allow this bus to be more flexible for students.
• Approved the summer school program which Madison Consolidated Schools anticipates to run May 31 through June 10 for Kindergarten through grade seven from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., and May 31 through June 17 for grades eight through 12 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The MCS summer school grant was submitted to the Indiana Department of Education in March for reimbursement for the summer school coursework.
• Accepted a Perkins Assessment Grant for $2,300 and the Perkins CLNA Planning Grant for $2,500 with the funds to be used to continue to upgrade career and technology programs including culinary, engineering, agriculture, manufacturing, graphics and business. The assessment grant is used for certifications for students. The CLNA planning grant will be used to complete the Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment for the 2022-2024 school years.
• Approved an agreement for services with yoga instructor Samantha Lyon, who is providing weekly yoga classes for faculty and staff as part of teacher wellness and burnout prevention initiatives, which are contracted hours being paid from federal grant money earmarked for wellness and mental health support. Shelli Reetz, director of student services, said that the “second session more than doubled in attendance from the first session.”
• Gave special recognition to MCHS students who placed at the State Solo and Ensemble contest including Ruby Massie in band, and Hannah Taylor, Shelby Priebe, Zoe Bullock and Emma Reilmann in choir.
• Recognized the Mayor’s Eagles, a program that started in the 1990s at Eggleston Elementary School, and is continuing at Lydia Middleton Elementary School. Harlan Heitz, the president, said he likes being a Mayor’s Eagle “to show leadership and be kind. As president, I like seeing people’s reactions after we do something kind. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, ‘If you can be anything, be kind.’ ” The organization’s officers are Madilyn Black, vice president; Kate Miller, secretary; and Alivia Hay, historian.