To The Herald-Whig:
One of Quincy's best assets is our school system. We have excellent, dedicated teachers and board members who have given many hours to see that our schools are up to date and operating with quality educational practices for 2017. We tried to provide for the needs of all our students.
I have been in the educational field all my life and know it is not a profession one would enter expecting high salaries and benefits. While expecting reasonable wages, one enters the profession because of caring about kids and learning.
For many years I also have been a board member for a small group home of developmentally disabled adults. We value our employees who take excellent care of our residents. It has been painful when we have had to cut any employee benefits, but sometimes, for the sake of the residents and the staff, we have had to make unwanted cuts to stay alive and operating.
I have been in awe of the results the schools and community have had by using books such as Steven Covey's "The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People." It proposed many reasons to "think outside of the box" to find pathways that work, whatever the situation. A strike profits no one.
Let's look for another "box." Where are funds for increased school system operating costs to come from? The state of Illinois, with its current debt, may or may not produce future funds for Quincy schools. We cannot promise benefits on a "maybe."
With the building of our five new schools, our community has shown our children and youths that they are important and that education is important. It required "thinking outside the box" to create the path for funding and construction of those schools. Bravo, Quincy!
There must be a way to avoid the strike. It serves no purpose if the money is not there. If the money can be found in another "box," or another path, then the School Board should do it before anyone strikes.
I urge everyone, whatever their faith, to pray that a compromise can be found now, rather than after a strike has begun. The last time a strike happened it took years for the community to heal. I pray it does not happen again. We are smarter than that.