Emotions high at Quincy School Board meeting

It turned out to be an emotional special meeting for the Quincy School Board early Wednesday evening.

The board met Wednesday night in closed session for more than 3 hours to discuss ways make $2 million in cuts. Before that closed session, the public had a chance to voice concerns at a standing-room only meeting.

Speakers made emotional pleas for their particular programs, including Irving Alternative School and the Teen Pregnancy Services.

Many talked about the two programs' success rates and how many of the students wouldn't have finished school had it not been for those services.

A counselor for the alternative school told the board that 50 percent of the students who attend Irving would've failed elsewhere.

The board did not take formal action on any reductions Wednesday night.

The School Board members went back into open session around 9:30 last night. We talked to Superintendent Lonny Lemon after the meeting. He says it was hard enough to cut the initial 1.8 million dollars due to cuts from the state. But now, being faced with another two million in cuts to be made, Lemon says it will impact students' education.

Lemon said, "You talk about cutting fat first, then meat, then the bone. We're certainly to the point where we're at the bone. It's difficult and it's hard."

What can parents expect for next year?

Lemon said, "It's going to affect programs and services to kids. There's no way of getting around it when you're looking at those dollars."

During re-opened session members *did* vote 5 to 2 *not* to allow a second public input session before it goes into closed sessions. Board members Bud Niekamp and Jeff Mays were the only Board members to vote in favor of the second public input sessions.

It also tentatively approved a resolution to reduce certain extracurricular assignments of tenured employees, provided the results of a public hearing.

The school board also decided to change its next meeting date -- it will now take place March 24th. Lemon says that's when the exact cuts will be revealed.