2 months, 3 weeks ago by Bob Gough
Lack of consensus leads to delay
A week after saying there would be a vote on to put a referendum on the March ballot to ask taxpayers to fund new building construction the Quincy School Board withdrew the plan at Wednesday night’s meeting.
“At this point and time we have not achieved the consensus needed to move forward on the proposed changes,” School Board President Stephanie Erwin said. “The QPS Board is continuing to move forward to assess and develop plans. It has been a long and sometimes difficult journey. The need continues to exist.”
Erwin and Vice President Jeff Mays were the most adamant supporters of putting a referendum on the March 2014 ballot, but ever since last week’s special School Board meeting where Erwin chastised some people who asked the Board to take some more time to inform the public on all facets of the plan to build new elementary schools and convert them to K-5 buildings, move the 6th grad to Junior High and the freshmen to Quincy High School, support wavered among other Board members.
“This is not the end of the building campaign,” said Board Member Sheldon Bailey, who was considered by many as the potential swing vote on the Board. “It is a time to take a little bit more time with what we are evaluating. We’ve made a lot of progress in six months. We’re just pausing to consider the information.”
Mays was concerned that interest rates may not be as favorable when the Board decides to put the issue on the ballot. He said the Board has spent more than $52 million on building life safety issues over the last 20 years without going to the voters and wanted to take the $75.4 million plan to the voters.
“We have the opportunity to do something,” Mays said. “There won’t be a bigger decision. I don’t mind going to the public. This is a pretty good package. I thought.
To kill this discussion…just seemed to me to be foul.”
“We are divided on this issue,” Erwin said. “We did not want to come across that way to the community.”
The next ballot opportunities after March would be November or February 2015. Mays said he did not believe putting it on the February ballot would be fair because it would be such a low turnout election.
The School Board also approved the 2013 levy of $33.6 million, which is about $1.6 million more than the 2012 levy. The tax rate dropped from 4.064 cents to 4.062 cents.