Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chess Club on Chopping Block - This Sucks

Chess club and intramural sports to be cut One person speaks at public hearing By Rajah Maples Monday, March 09, 2009 at 8:37 p.m. QUINCY, IL -- Only one person spoke in front of the Quincy School Board Monday night in light of looming budget cuts. The school board held a public hearing to gather input on tentative decisions to cut certain extra-curricular activities. You'll recall the Quincy [Illinois] Public School District faces a $2 million deficit and is looking to make cuts. Superintendent Lonny Lemon revealed only two extra-curricular activities that are on the chopping block so far -- the chess club at Quincy High and intramural sports at Baldwin. The latter would affect about a hundred students. Michelle Eberlin, a reading recovery teacher and president of the Quincy Federation of Teachers Local 809, was the only person who spoke at Monday night's public hearing. She asked the board to consider finding community alternatives for students involved in those activities. Eberlin also voiced her concerns about class sizes, which were a big concern at the start of this school year with the closing of Irving. KHQA's Rajah Maples caught up with her after the public hearing and asked her what she'd like to see happen. Eberlin says, "Having teachers who are dedicated not have to go from year to year with the fear of being downsized or cut because this is going into our second year, and it's going to be hard for us to recruit and retain staff members if this continues." Eberlin also passed out information to the board about the economic stimulus package. On Saturday, the U.S. Secretary of Education announced $44 billion in stimulus funding will be available to states in the next 30 to 45 days. But we're not quite sure yet how much money is on the way to area schools. The board also considered this summer's slate of life safety projects. The state approved all but two of them. The state rejected the proposed re-alignment of the Senior High School parking lot entrance with 33rd Street as a life safety project. As a result, the board tabled the rest of the $1.6 million dollar parking lot project temporarily. The board approved the remainder of the life safety projects, which will be completed this summer. Bud Niekamp was the lone "no" vote, saying many of the projects were not urgent and could be delayed.

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