QUINCY — Superintendent Roy Webb hopes getting into an academic routine will help ease some challenges at the start of the year in Quincy Public Schools.
“We are going through some growing pains at the start of the year with our staff and our students,” Webb said at Wednesday night’s School Board meeting.
Webb cited “culture shock” at Quincy High School where all students are attending in-person every day, as opposed to last year’s A Day/B Day schedule and remote learning, with the largest enrollment in years and changes at Quincy Junior High School where students again are moving from class to class compared to last year when teachers moved from class to class.
As students adjust to the changes, there have been some discipline issues, but “administration’s doing a good job of improving things,” Webb said. “Once we get into that routine, I think it will help out.”
Meanwhile, the district has seen a drop in COVID-19 cases.
After reaching a peak of 153 cases on Sept. 8, “it has dropped significantly,” Webb said, and as of Wednesday, “we’re at 42 active positive cases.”
Also Wednesday, board members approved the 2021-22 school district budget.
The $89.5 million balanced budget includes a 3% increase in salary, a 1% increase in Teacher Retirement System, or TRS, benefits and a 0.5% increase in Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, or IMRF, benefits and a 10% increase in health insurance costs.
In its four key operating funds, QPS expects to finish the year with a $20.2 million balance — thanks largely due to the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.
Without the federal funds tied to COVID-19, the district would be looking at “deficits and cuts of some sort,” Chief of Business Operations Ryan Whicker said.
In other action, board members:
• Listened to 70 minutes of public comment from 13 speakers on topics ranging from praise for Superintendent Roy Webb to promises that “we’re not done fighting for our rights and freedoms” and concerns about masks, quarantine, testing, COVID-19 funding and parent choice.
• Heard highlights of 2020-21 teacher retention, summer school, 5Essentials and MAP Insight reports already reviewed by the District Improvement Team.