Neoga Board Cuts 11 Teachers as Part of Belt-Tightening

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Published on March 15 2013 1:10 am
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

There were tears in the eyes of some members of the Neoga Board of Education as they began the process Thursday night of cutting 11 teachers due to cost cutting.  The Board also restructured the duties of one of their principals and reduced the time of the school nurse.

Those honorably dismissed by the Board were Title I teachers Lisa Robertson and Allison Glenney, first grade teachers Gina Koester and Kristyn Bowman, third grade teacher Nicole Doehring, high school PE teacher and boys basketball coach Clay Haurberg, junior high teachers Nicholas Allen, Amy Rigney and Kimberly Romack who is also girls basketball coach, and Industrial Technology teacher Jay Koester.

The Board also reclassified Neoga Elementary School Principal Carol Smith to serve as principal 60% of the time and teach 40% of the time, and reduced school nurse Deborh Wiley-Sloan to halftime.

Action was taken on each educator individually, and each vote was unanimous.

Neoga Superintendent Charles Castle said the decision was hard, saying, "You see these young people and see their energy and excitement, and now this."

Here's a conversation following the meeting with our Greg Sapp and Charles Castle:

Castle said the teaching alignment will change, with Grades Pre-K through 3 in the Neoga Elementary School building, Grades 4-8 in Neoga Middle School, and Grades 9-12 at Neoga High School.  He said having the programs compartmentalized will make it easier should further changes become necessary down the line, acknowledging that no one is certain what the future holds as far as state funding.

As with most area districts where such cuts are occurring, the Neoga Board and administration has held public informational meeting to let residents know what's coming, and why.  There were about 25 people present for Thursday's meeting, mostly teachers at Neoga.

Also Thursday, the Neoga board accepted the resignation of Marlene Pickens as Ag teacher and hired Sage Wooley as school social worker.  The Board amended the school year calendar due to a snow day to make May 17 the final day of classes, and scheduled a special meeting for March 18 to deal with a student discipline matter.