To The Herald-Whig:
I am writing to ask voters to review the facts for the proposed March 17 referendum. Even though my wife and I are graduates of Quincy Notre Dame and our children attend QND, we understand the importance of not only providing a strong public education in Quincy, but striving for an education system that is the envy of the Midwest. I believe Quincy Public Schools has been moving in that direction over the past number of years.
Illinois continues to face demands from rising unfunded pension obligations, infrastructure needs and rising health care costs. The state currently owes QPS an estimated (additional) $22 million annually to be considered fully funded based on the state's own funding formula. While I have a high level of confidence in Superintendent Roy Webb and the Board of Education, I don't have as much confidence in the state of Illinois. I would rather my tax dollars stay in town to be spent on our local school system, and that is the option being presented to Quincy.
I appreciate the School Board's efforts on this issue. It has been honest and transparent with the community. It has spent the last seven years addressing the areas to improve while cutting cost. When I look at all of the numbers, it's clear there is very little, if anything, to cut without affecting quality. The school district as a whole has built community trust and seems to have been exceptional stewards of taxpayer dollars. If our community agrees to give it proper funding, I'm confident our town will see a return on its investment in education.
Mark H. Schlipman