1 month, 2 weeks ago by Denise Donley
Final of three forums describe current facility situation
About 20 residents showed up with lots of questions regarding the future of the Quincy School District's facilities Thursday night.
School officials held the final of three public forums at the Early Childhood and Family Center to hear what Quincy residents think should be done. Concerned parents, grandparents and former teachers were among those in the crowd voicing their opinions.
Beth Buckley, former Quincy Public school district teacher, said these forums are important for the students’ futures.
“Our children are our future, and we have to put so much priority into what we do for our children,” she said.
The public forums were prompted by a recent building study. The School District's seven elementary buildings (K-3rd grade) were ranked "borderline" due to lack of space, limited technology and outdated buildings.
Joel Murphy, QPS Business Manager, said some people say buildings don’t have an effect on students, but he disagreed.
“That’s not true. Studies have shown facilities do have a direct correlation on students’ performance,” said Murphy. “They do better when they can see well, hear well, not packed into tight spaces and so on.”
Grade alignment at Quincy schools was also criticized during the recent study. Currently, elementary students are housed at seven schools, kindergarten through 3rd grade. 4-6th graders are at Baldwin, 7-9th graders are at the Junior High and 10-12th grade is housed at the Senior High.
This is not the norm in in other schools in the state and even the country.
Most school districts currently divide buildings into kindergarten through 5th, another housing 6-8th and then a high school building with 9-12th grades.
When asked if that setup could be done here in Quincy, Murphy said not in the current elementary buildings.
“With our current facilities, we wouldn’t be able to have the k-5 setup in our elementary schools. There’s not enough space in the building and in each classroom.”
With upgrades come costs. Many people in attendance questioned how building improvements or new buildings altogether could be paid.
“The district has a couple of referendum options when it comes to funding,” said Murphy. “We would have to go to some type of referendum. We can do a straight bond referendum, which would be an annual property tax for residents or have a county school facility sales tax. That tax would generate a pledge of $4 million a year towards $50 million in bonds.”
After collecting opinions and questionnaires from the three public forums, Murphy said a plan will be put together and presented at another round of forums to be held in November. There, Murphy hopes the District can finalize a plan and present it to the school board in December.
If the Board approves a plan, a tax referendum could go on the ballot as early as March 2014.
Click here to view the presentation show to attendees.