VIDEO: Lee brings perspective to QSD 172
7 months, 3 weeks ago by Bob Gough
New interim superintendent taught in Quincy for 11 years
Cal Lee spent the beginning of his educational career in Quincy and he’ll wrap it up here as well.
Lee began work this week as the second interim superintendent of the Quincy School District. He takes over for Bud Martin, who finished up a 60 day contract as the first interim following June’s departure of Lonny Lemon.
As did Martin, Lee, 59, will make $600 per working day on the job, which will total $60,000 for the 100-day effort. Martin made $36,000 for his time during the summer months.
State law requires a School Board to name an interim superintendent when someone vacates the position. School District’s can promote interims from within, but the Quincy School Board opted not to go that route, with School Board members citing a desire to have someone from the outside give QSD 172 an assessment and evaluation from the outside.
Lee brings that perspective, as well as a familiarity with the community having received his undergraduate degree at Quincy University (then Quincy College) and having taught in Quincy at the public and parochial schools as well as at Chaddock.
Lee was in Quincy for the first 11 years of his professional career before spending 14 years in the Champaign School District and then the last 11 years as Moline’s superintendent.
Interim superintendents can serve a maximum of 100 days. When Lee’s turn is done in January, QSD 172 will either have to hire one more interim or promote one from within.
Lee acknowledges the District’s financial condition takes precedent as the biggest issue that must be dealt with. He said other school districts have to deal with the same issue, but there is a reason Quincy’s problems are worse that other districts of a similar size.
“I know some people don’t want to hear this, but I’m not going to be here long so I can say it: The District needs community support. The tax rate is low,” Lee said.
The tax rate on Quincy’s education fund is $1.84 per $100 in assessed evaluation. The overall rate to QSD 172 is $4.03. Moline’s education fund rate is $3.27 and the overall tax rate is more than $5.00 per $100 in assessed valuation.
Moline, where Lee retired from in June, has a tax rate of over $5.00 in assessed valuation.
Lee said Moline’s budget is about $100 million annually. That school district has about 7,500 students while Quincy has about 6,600 enrolled this year and the budget that will be voted on by the Quincy School Board next week will be about $77.2 million.
Lee said he had offers to work at other districts as an interim, but he wanted to come to Quincy because of his background with the community.
“I was happily retired,” Lee said. “But I knew the situation and I’ve followed Quincy. I can make recommendations, but not changes. That will have to come from the Board.”
Lee plans to spend a great deal of time in the buildings during his 100 days. He’ll spend most weekends back in Moline.
“Our focus is to prepare the kids for whatever path they are going to choose…whether it’s four-year college, two-year college, a vocation or the service,” Lee said. “We have to do our job to get them ready to succeed.”