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Yes, the headline missed the point and the very loud, clear, and consistent messages from current students, parents, past students, teachers, staff, volunteers, neighbors, pastor of the nearby church, pediatric psychiatrists, neighborhood association reps, real-estate agents, and volunteer Reading Buddies: Madison Elementary School creates community and anchors our community.

Madison is a small (~200-student school) is a community school and a place of stability for students. Under the compassionate guidance of its principal, staff, and teachers, it has created a community of respect and caring within its walls and beyond. I volunteered as a Reading Buddy for three years at Madison and know first-hand that this is true.

This downtown OLY school--which just won BEST SCHOOL IN SOUTH SOUND--offers a safe and supportive place for many of our community's under-served students. Student after student spoke about their sense of belonging, being accepted, respected, and encouraged. Teachers and staff know all the students by name. It is walkable, bikable, surrounded by wide sidewalks, and served by Intercity Transit #60. Parents and students expressed the importance of being able to walk to their school and not be bussed elsewhere. Madison students have partnered with students at next-door Avanti H.S. in their shared and thriving garden. Madison is across from the future Armory Creative Campus--think of the possibilities for partnerships there!

None of the genuine caring and compassion that characterized the public comments on Tuesday night (and during previous months of meetings between parents and OSD) could ever be captured in the reports of OSD's hired consultants--FLO Analytics and Western Demographics. Closing school is a numbers game. The precious students and the community's shared values don't seem to matter here. Shame on OSD superintendent and most of the school board for not listening or seeing the bigger picture here. I'd recommend reading the report of OSD4ALL--a non-partisan, apolitical group--to learn more about the flawed analysis and to learn why Madison and McKenny Elementary Schools should remain open (

OSD should put a pause on their decision to close these two elementary schools and consider the many solutions that have been brought before them by the school and community.

From: Madison Elementary School community wants school board to take pay cuts to fill in budget shortfall

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