Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

April 12, 2014

Neoga looks for ways to cope with money woes Building consolidation, tax increase among options

NEOGA — Financially strapped Neoga School District is now turning to committees to look for ways to make more drastic cuts following recent staff reductions.

Board President Tina Moore said school board members had been supportive of forming committees made up of board members, district staff and community members to explore possible cost-saving options. The options being considered are consolidation of buildings, an increase inproperty tax for operating expenses, or further co-oping, perhaps even consolidation, with other districts.

"The committees will work to establish information, processes and all of the information surrounding the three mainoptions that have been coming up over and over again," she said. "They'll work alongside the board to pull all that information together."

Moore said staff members are encouraged to speak with principals about joining one of the three committees and community members wishing to participate should speak with the district office.

Superintendent Chuck Castle gave school board members Thursday information regarding consolidation of buildings. namely the elementary and junior high schools. While the information does not make a recommendation, Castle said it does address staffing at each of the buildings, as well as potential for other cuts, such as the accelerated reader program. The information provided to the board also addressed the concerns of teachers and staff, which were given to the board anonymously.

"There's definitely a lot of information to sift through here and some interesting ideas," Moore said.

To deal with immediate financial issues the district may encounter as it nears the end of its fiscal year on June 31, the board established a line of credit. The line is intended to help the district make payroll while waiting for payments from the state over the summer. Moore said after analysis of the situation, it seemed to be the most financially viable option for the district with little chance of accruing debt.

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