Madison school board commissions study amid declining enrollment

- FILE - Island Avenue Elementary School in Madison (WTNH / Noelle Gardner)

MADISON, Conn. (WTNH) — Like many school districts in Connecticut, the Madison public school district is facing declining enrollment.

“It’s a national trend. Birth rates have been down across the entire country,” Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice said.

For the past several years, Madison’s enrollment has declined. The town was once home to more than 3,500 students.

“Right now we have about 3,000. The projection is that we will level off at 2,500 students and that number is going to be looked at again,” Scarice added.

He says the Board of Education is conducting a study of the entire district including all six schools.

“We are conducting the study based on the condition of our buildings. Some of our buildings are very old,” Scarice said.

The study will look at declining enrollment. Right now, the Board of Education is looking at what would a five school district look like, with two elementary schools instead of three.

“We’ve talked about going from six schools to five. One school that might close might be at the elementary level and it’s possible one of those schools might be Island Avenue,” said Scarice.

Island Avenue was built in 1950. It is nestled among houses along the shoreline.

“Island Avenue is a great school. It has portable trailers on it right now that eventually would, If we would be able to keep that school open would need to be converted to brick and mortar,” says Scarice.

Some Madison residents don’t want to see the school close its doors.

“Us New Englanders we like our community schools. They are an important part of the community and social life for kids and adults,” said Nicki Dakis-Gallagher.

Scarice says it comes down to a community decision.

“We may have a decision that a school may close or the community and town may come to a better resolution or a different resolution. That’s why the process and the study is so important,” he said.

The study is expected to be completed by the end of this year. Any proposed changes won’t happen for several years.

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