MCS Student Population is in Decline. What Can Be Done?

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MCS Student Population is in Decline. What Can Be Done?

MCHS students eat during A Lunch

MCHS students eat during A Lunch

Ashlyn White

MCHS students eat during A Lunch

Ashlyn White

Ashlyn White

MCHS students eat during A Lunch

Ashlyn White, Staff Reporter

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Throughout the last decade or so, Madison Consolidated Schools have seen a steady decline in enrollment. As a matter of fact, over the last five years, Madison Consolidated High School’s enrollment alone, has decreased over 120 students.

“Five years ago the High school was about 1,008 kids. This year we are at 875 kids,” said MCHS Principal Michael Gasaway.

If one were to parse the numbers, there are roughly 30 fewer students per class compared to 2015. For the school population number to go back to 1,000 there would need to be 250 students in each class; right now MCHS is around 200 per class.  

Acting MCJS Assistant Principal Jill Deputy has her own theories about the decline in school population. “I believe that the lack of high paying employment has caused some of the decrease. People have moved away to earn a better living. However, I have witnessed several businesses trying to create more positions that will allow people to make a higher wage. I also think that Madison has an aging community. We are dealing with a time that we have less young families and the families we do work with have less children. We have become a more mobile society,” Deputy said.

Gasaway added, “Usually when you see a decline in this area it is because businesses have left; which we don’t have that issue. Madison is very fortunate to have businesses staying.”

MCHS Principal Michael Gasaway

One issue on a more macro level besides employment, is the falling national birth rate. The cost of living and raising children all over the United States has increased. From the cost of gas, groceries, job wages, and housing. What draws people to schools are their academics, athletics, and opportunities offered at a school. The town of Madison, Indiana has had growth population decreases in 2015, 2016, and 2017. In 2015 there was 11,947 people in Madison. The growth rate went down -63 and the annual growth rate decreased -0.52%. In 2016 there were 11,852 in the population. The population plummeted another -93 people, and the annual growth rate decreased -0.80%. In 2017 Madison had 11,777 people. The growth rate continued to decrease by -75 people, and the annual rate diminished -0.63%, according to the World Population Review.

Some people across the community have posited that more open school enrollment rules and more competition from area schools have pilfered from MCS, but MCHS Assistant Principal Dan Grill has considered that possibility as well, and it does not ring true in his opinion. He also feels it is due to families relocating.

“If you look at the historical data of MCS as a district, there has been a steady decline in enrollment over the past 10 years or so.  Neighboring public, private, and charter schools nearby have remained at about their same enrollment during that time with the exception of the new charter school which has increased their numbers slightly.  That school is also located near two county lines reaching students from multiple counties. So, why are our district numbers decreasing? I’m not completely sure, but it looks as though we are not losing students to other districts,” Grill said. 

Acting MJHS Assistant Principal Jill Deputy

“One statistic to look at is the population of the city of Madison.  According to the US Census Bureau the population of our city has decreased by nearly 1,100 people from 2009 to 2017.  To determine how many of the 1,100 people were students we can use data from the Stats Indiana website. That leads us to estimate that about 15% of the 1,100 people could be school aged students up to age 17.  That estimated number would be about 165 students district wide that we possibly lost since 2009 due to families relocating,” continued Grill.  

So what can be done to help raise the number of students in the district? One possibility is just to continue to let students talk about the schools.

“Our kids speak for themselves when they talk about going to Madison. I get a lot of great feedback on the opportunities we have.  When a kid transfers in, they talk about how they didn’t have these opportunities like they do here at MCHS,” claimed Gasaway. “The more we tell our stories, the more the teachers who run clubs or organizations tell their stories, that might spark interest for people to say ‘I want my kid to go to Madison and have opportunities.’”

Added Deputy, “I think that Madison has so many opportunities for our students. So many schools across the state are behind in what they can offer. We need to continue to advertise these opportunities for our our students. So many times when I talk to new students after they have been with us for while, they remark on the quality of our schools.”

“On the school side we need to continue to highlight all the positive things our students and teachers are doing district wide.  We need to continue to grow our partnership with Ivy Tech Community College and local businesses, which will give our students employment opportunities leading to MCHS grads living and raising a family in Madison.  We need to revamp and expand our alternative program currently called MAP. I believe these things will continue to make our district a desirable school corporation.” claimed Grill.

MCHS Assistant Principal Dan Grill

“We also need to continue to find ways to make the City of Madison a desirable location for young families.  I’m not an expert in city planning, but having recently relocated from Speedway, which is on the west side of Indy, I love the business growth that has taken place the past three years here. I’m excited to see how the community continues to blend the historic relevance with new modern amenities that will attract younger families.” said Grill.  

While there is no clear-cut answer to the declining enrollment numbers it appears that the prominent factor in the declining numbers is the exodus of Madison citizens. Hopefully with the advent of new businesses like Mad Paddle Brewery and the recent announcement of a new hotel downtown combined with positive word of mouth from students, families, and staff, MCS enrollment numbers will begin to spike once again.

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “MCS Student Population is in Decline. What Can Be Done?”

  1. Sheila on January 24th, 2019 5:02 pm

    STOP THE BULLYING! you need to take it seriously and STOP taking it so lightly thinking it will just go away! They have way too much leniency on their school laptops! They’re a NIGHTMARE! They’re has to be TOUGH consequences for behavior. Especially bullying.

  2. Mystic on January 24th, 2019 5:10 pm

    Fix the bullying problem

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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