To The Herald-Whig:
I am writing to urge a YES vote on the Quincy Public School District's March 17 referendum. The proposed referendum is necessary in order for the Quincy Schools to be competitive in attracting and retaining teachers.
Quincy has NEVER passed a referendum in the education fund, and the education tax rate is the lowest of comparable Illinois school districts, and even lower than other (smaller) Adams County schools. The Quincy school district has difficulty filling open positions, and the current rate of teachers leaving the school district is at an all-time high.
Both the city of Quincy and the Great River Economic Development Foundation are trying to attract families and workers to Quincy. However, that goal will not be met without a competitive public school system.
QPS has been forced to spend less per student than the districts we compete against. They are not able to provide the resources or pay to retain the great educators they do hire. Most people are not aware that outside groups like PTAs, local businesses, FPA, QPS Foundation and booster clubs pay for the district's athletics, music and clubs that are offered. If the district is forced to cut, it will not be those programs because funding for extracurriculars we already cut long ago. A school district can only stretch a dollar so far before it starts to impact education and ultimately the community.
The salaries and benefits in the Quincy schools are so poor that many teachers are leaving the district to go to better-paying school districts that have passed referendums in the past, or to better-paying jobs in business or industry.
The Quincy School District used to be competitive with surrounding schools but the failure EVER to raise the education fund tax rate has erased this advantage.
In my opinion, a YES vote is necessary not only for improving the school district, but also for the city of Quincy and GREDF to attain their goals of increasing the city's population, to secure new businesses to fill the vacant retail buildings and to attract industrial workers.
Therefore, if you want to Make Quincy Great Again, please vote YES on the March 17 school district referendum.
Quincy Public School superintendent, retired