School district voters to consider $108 million bond
State enrollment projections for the Quincy School District show “a tidal wave of kids coming through the system” in the next few years, according to Superintendent John Boyd.
That’s one reason the district is asking voters to approve a $108 million bond measure in February. If passed, it would provide upgrades at every school in addition to a new Quincy High School.
“We’re bursting at the seams,” Boyd said. “One third of our kids are in portables.”
District enrollment was 2,841 as of October. That’s anticipated to grow to almost 3,400 in four or five years.
But more space is just one effect of the bond measure. Renovation of existing buildings will allow a new grade-level configuration that educators consider more beneficial for young students.
Instead of including sixth grade in elementary schools, as is done now, grade schools would house kindergarten through fifth grade. Sixth-graders would move to a middle school (the high school would be renovated into a middle school) along with seventh- and eighth-graders.
School board member Tricia Lubach said the new setup would match best practices in schools nationwide.
“Learning happens best when students begin in a K-5 environment,” she said.
She and Boyd presented information about the bond during the Dec. 3 Quincy Rotary Club meeting. They have been making similar presentations to groups throughout the community.
Ballots will be mailed to registered voters Jan. 20 and must be returned with a postmark no later than Feb. 9.
Boyd emphasized that each school in the district would receive much-needed additions or renovations, although many people have focused mostly on the new high school, which would cost just under $80.5 million. He noted the district purchased the 58.9-acre high school site on the city’s north side several years ago “at a real good price.”
The 20-year bond would cost property owners $1.89 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. That means the owner of a $100,000 home would pay $15.75 a month or $189 a year. The rate for the owner of a $200,000 house would pay $31.50 monthly, or $378 annually, while the owner of a $300,000 house would pay $47.25, or $567.
The district’s existing debt, now at 23 cents per $1,000 valuation, would be added to the $108 million to be paid off.
Boyd said data centers in Quincy would pay 26 percent of the bond amount. That leaves 66 percent for citizens, farmers and other businesses to pay as well as 8 percent from state matching funds. The total state match would be $10.1 million.
Some of the projects earmarked in the bond include:
wMountain View Elementary and Pioneer Elementary schools: A new gymnasium for student and community use at each building. Physical education classes are now held in the cafeterias. The total cost would be $3,543,401 with $1,528,507 in state matching funds.
wQuincy Junior High: Would be renovated for use as a K-5 elementary school, one of five elementary schools under the proposed new grade configuration. The cost would be $13,066,277, with $7,349,139 in state matching funds.
wGeorge Elementary School: Would get eight new classrooms and a new gym. The total cost would be $5,358,826, with $1,254,654 in state matching funds.
wQuincy High School: Would be remodeled to serve as the new middle school. The cost would be $2 million.
wA new high school: Would cost $80,480,000.
wOther projects – include infrastructure improvements for $3 million to High Tech High and Monument Elementary School.
Boyd believes the upgrades would solve secondary schools’ needs for 10 to 15 years. The new high school would be designed for 1,000 students, with the ability to be expanded in the future if needed. High school enrollment was 788 as of October.
With business activity in Quincy flourishing and new companies coming to town, the superintendent said enrollment increases are inevitable.
“We’ve got good water here and a dynamic economy,” he said. “We have to prepare for that growth.”
— By Steve Kadel, firstname.lastname@example.org