Neoga Schools Considering Tax Referendum and Consolidation

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Neoga - While students hit the books in the Neoga school district, school administrators are trying to balance the budget.

The balance that has come at a cost this school year.

"We have that because we have sacrificed electives at our high school.  We don't have all of the special classes we had at the elementary.  By cutting those things from our budget, we are able to live within our means," said Neoga's superintendent Dr. Beth Pressler.

The Neoga school district has been no stranger to tough financial times. 

This past spring, a tax referendum that would help the schools failed.  Now they're looking at other alternatives to think long-term.  That thinking could also include a future consolidation with other schools.

"The board is trying to study how to address our short-comings in the immediate future and then more long-term.  Obviously it comes down to money for everybody.  That's why the conversation starts.  You consolidate because it provides kids with a better curriculum or more opportunities because, quite honestly, it's usually not an answer financially," Pressler added.

Springfield state representative Tim Butler says as state education money shrinks small schools statewide should seriously discuss consolidation.

"We have some of these smaller counties that have multiple high schools that i think should probably take a look at consolidation as way to save costs and try to have resources that aren't so thin right now," said Butler.

Neoga's school board will also re-visit the idea of putting a tax referendum on the March ballot.

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