Madison School District votes to close Canaan Elementary


by Adrianna Hopkins

Posted on March 17, 2010 at 10:53 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 17 at 11:51 PM

This is all because of budget cuts. We've seen it in New Albany-Floyd County schools, Brownstown Central Community Schools and now Madison Consolidated School district. 

In every situation parents have begged for a better solution to the budget problems than to close their schools. And every time the superintendent and school board has said, "this is it."

"I went to three schools but Canaan has the best teachers. I don't know why anyone would want to close it," 5th grader Vladimir Schmidt told the Madison Consolidated School board members at the meeting Wednesday night.

From Canaan Elementary students to parents, everyone begged the Madison Consolidated School Board not to close Canaan Elementary.

Home to 120 or so students, parents described the school as the hub of their close-knit community.

But the school board has a $950,000 budget hole to fill. Closing that school would mean moving those students at least 11 miles away.

"Stop to think about whether you would want your kid riding a bus for 1 hour 45 minutes over rough terrain and winding roads," said one concerned parent.

"You're moving good students to one really bad school -- one that is near failing," said another concerned parent, Ken Miller.

"My son wakes up at 6:15am now. He'd have to wake up before 6 in the morning... that's a long day for a baby," said Vladimir's mother, Amy Schmidt.

One board member suggested using the rainy day fund to tie the school over for at least a year.

Another emotional board member said she saw no other option than to vote "yes" to closing Canaan.

Four to one the vote passed.

We asked State Superintendent Dr. Tony Bennett if more cuts are on the way. We also asked what is the next step for those families caught in the crosshairs.

"Most of that discussion is based on speculation..." said Dr. Bennett. "Families and students have to visit their new schools and the school corporation has to make them feel comfortable."

"I know it wasn't an easy decision... but I'm very very disappointed," said Canaan Elementary School parent Matt Rutledge.