NEOGA — School board members recently OK’d an intergovernmental pact with Stewardson-Strasburg schools that combines several programs and allows the districts to share certain services.

The cooperative agreement allows the districts to share a social worker, as well as business, agriculture and industrial technology staff. The districts will also co-op their early childhood education programs.

Neoga Superintendent Charles Castle said the contract will call for the Neoga-hired business teacher to be contracted to Stew-Stras, while the Stew-Stras-hired agriculture and industrial technology teachers will be contracted to Neoga. The shared staff will spend half of their time at Neoga schools and half at Stewardson-Strasburg schools, and the districts will split the costs of transportation, Castle added.

Early childhood students from Stew-Stras will be bussed to Neoga for the shared program, said Stewardson-Strasburg Superintendent Steve Harsy. Once the children reach the required age and their portfolios allow it, they will return to kindergarten at the Stew-Stras district.

Each school board plans to vote on sharing psychologist services at their next board meeting, both superintendents said.

Harsy said his district estimates “phenomenal savings” over the course of the next school year by taking advantage of the co-op. For Neoga, the agreement is part of a process that was mapped out for the community several months ago. The plan includes $692,127 worth of savings for the 2013-14 school year.

In the Neoga school district’s April newsletter, Castle wrote that the news from the state hasn’t changed in the last couple of years.

“Basically districts that rely heavily on state aid are being starved out,” he wrote. “Our fund balances are dwindling and we will have no choice but to continue to make cuts and adjustments until revenues return to those levels. It is simply a bad situation with no easy solution.”

Contact Zyskowski at or 217-238-6869.

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