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      QPS evaluates options for district restructuring

      The Quincy Public School Board considered its options Wednesday night for restructuring the district.

      QPS business manager Joel Murphy presented three plans to the board at its monthly meeting.

      The first plan would support a K-5 system, where 9th graders would be moved into the high school and 6th graders would be moved to the junior high.

      This plan would also build three new elementary schools at the current sites of Monroe, Dewey, and Irving schools, and renovate three other elementary schools. Ellington School would be converted into a district service building that would house the maintenance and transportation departments. It is estimated this plan could be completed by the start of the 2016-2017 school year.

      The plan would cost roughly 71 million dollars.

      Murphy's second plan would direct more money into improvement of the elementary schools and cost around 73 million dollars. This plan would support a K-6 system and the building of the same three elementary schools.

      The third plan proposed that four new elementary schools be built at Monroe, Dewey, Irving and at the site of Baldwin Intermediate. The high school would become a 9th thru 12th grade building and the district would sell Madison School. This plan would cost about 79 million dollars.

      Murphy pointed out that the public could vote on these plans with one referendum, or break the plans into several parts to be voted on with different ballots. He suggested the single referendum was the most effective option.

      "We're able to correct the deficiencies we have in our buildings and provide new facilities on the elementary level at a much faster pace. We would be able to get the high school done and get that movement of 9th into the high school and 6th grade in to the junior high a lot quicker," Murphy said.

      The school board has previously voiced approval of the K-5 system that would move 6th grade students to the junior high and 9th grade students to the high school, but a decision is yet to be made on how to break up the grades.

      Murphy also pointed out that the projects could be funded with bonds or a county-wide sales tax increase. The county would increase sales tax from the current rate of 7.75 percent to 8.75 percent - District 172 would receive about 73 percent of the funds generated by the increase.

      However, Wednesday's consensus was that the board needs more public input before proceeding.

      The earliest that the public would vote on any restructuring plan is March 2014.