School Board looking at 'how we're going to get where we need to be'

School Board member Richard McNay, center, presents a committee report during Wednesday's meeting. | H-W Photo/Deborah Gertz Husar
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Mar. 27, 2019 9:40 pm Updated: Mar. 27, 2019 10:21 pm

QUINCY -- The Quincy School Board believes taking a step back to consider broader issues will help focus on moving the district forward.

But a board retreat, facilitated through the Illinois Association of School Boards, may not be the best option.

"A board retreat is more of a self-reflection, but the board really has a good idea of who they are, what their strengths are, where they need to improve," Superintendent Roy Webb said after Wednesday's School Board meeting. "What they need is the ability to come together, to talk, to debate and look at the future and start talking about how we're going to get where we need to be."

A retreat involving IASB also carries a cost to the district, and "we think that money would be not best spent there," Board President Sayeed Ali said. "We won't be able to get into some of the issues we want to talk about anyway."

A better option may be opening that discussion as part of a superintendent review, which is done in executive session.

Webb said, "They can really evaluate the district by how I'm doing, so it's an opportunity for them to review me, evaluate my performance and give me guidance on how I can move forward to help the district."

Ali said, "We're not going to ignore what the goals should be and what we're trying to accomplish as a board and a district. We'll just find a different way to do it."

Board member Carol Nichols said the discussion will provide a way to bring together goals for the board and the superintendent.

It's a chance to "sit down and think about everything, put everything on the table and discover what we have in terms of a one-year or five-year plan and come up with a suggested agenda," Nichols said. "The superintendent has his own agenda, and we mesh those two."

In other action, the Quincy School Board:

Adopted a Curriculum Committee recommendation to add three new courses at Quincy High School for the 2019-20 school year and revitalize the electronics curriculum at Quincy Area Vocational Technical School.

QHS will offer quantitative literacy and statistics as part of its transitional math curriculum and offer semester-long online courses focused on SAT preparation and online learning and digital citizenship.

QAVTC's electronics and robotics technology course will be more robotics-based than the existing electronics course and could provide a way to bring back the school district's robotics team.

Accepted a bid from Central States for a five-year lease for Bluebird buses. The lease -- with annual payments of $335,036 and a total cost of $1,657,981.57 -- covers seven 71-passenger buses, five 71-passenger buses with luggage, five 48-passenger buses with air conditioning and four 33-plus-two passenger buses with air conditioning.

Agreed to extend the contract of construction representative Dave Wombles through Sept. 30.

Approved a project to improve the long-jump and triple jump runway at Flinn Stadium. The $14,000 cost will be funded by the athletic department and track program.

Approved a $198,556 bid from Waterkotte Construction to replace plumbing fixtures in the girls locker room at Quincy Junior High School and a $245,800 bid from Fischer Builders for the junior high gym floor plus an additional $46,000 for leveling if needed.

Learned the Human Relations Committee plans to use feedback from a recently completed new hire survey and a survey done this month for the certified teaching staff to change things for the better in the school district.

Committee Chairman Carol Nichols said the QPS Foundation has provided $250, $50 for five people with names drawn at random when the survey is complete, as a thank you to encourage participation by the district's certified staff.