MDPS board approves plan to consolidate buildings

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published May 31, 2019

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MADISON HEIGHTS — Several programs within Madison District Public Schools will be shuffled to different buildings as part of a larger plan to consolidate operations and cut costs to the tune of $1.5 million.

The details were included in a proposal by MDPS Superintendent Angel Abdulahad that was approved by the MDPS Board of Education at its meeting May 29.

“The consolidation of two buildings into one, with one principal, will yield almost $200,000 to $300,000 in savings in itself,” Abdulahad said.   

The superintendent was referring to moving the students in the alternative high school program, Madison Preparatory Academy, from their current location at Halfman Elementary to Madison High. Both the high school and the alternative high school will share the same building at 915 E. 11 Mile Road, and both will be managed by the new principal, Leslie Renne-Kegebein.  

This is an expanded role for Renne-Kegebein, who is currently the principal of Madison Prep and will now be overseeing both high school programs.

“She has demonstrated herself to be a competent and caring person,” MDPS Board of Education President Mark Kimble said.

“She has a real connection with the kids,” Abdulahad said. “She really takes the time to sit and listen to them, and to give them a chance to express themselves, so that she understands them before she makes decisions. What I’m hoping is she can bring that same culture of understanding and build on it at Madison High School.”

Benjamin Harwood, the current principal at Madison High, will become the new principal of Wilkinson Middle School, a position vacated by Abdulahad when he was appointed as superintendent. Abdulahad said Harwood will continue the middle school’s work giving students opportunities to prepare for the Michigan Advanced Manufacturing Collaboration, or MAMC, at the high school.

“I’m confident Ben will grow the feeder program for MAMC that was established at Wilkinson by adding new coding classes, so that in turn the high school students will be ready to take more advanced classes at MAMC,” Abdulahad said.

To make room for the alternative high school, space will be freed up at Madison High by moving the students of KEYS Grace Academy — a charter school — back to Edison Elementary, located at 27321 Hampden St., which KEYS leases for its K-5 program. There are about 150 students in KEYS’ middle school program who will move from Madison High back to Edison Elementary.  

And with Madison Preparatory Academy no longer there, Halfman Elementary will become an exclusive Early Childhood Center, expanding the program to utilize the entire building located at 25601 Couzens Ave., focusing on developmental kindergarten, kindergarten, and possibly first grade in the future.

“This will free up space at Madison Elementary for enrollment since it’s always growing,” Kimble said. “It’s a smart move any way you look at it.”

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