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School Bd. votes to close Newcastle school

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HARTINGTON — Despite 90 minutes of emotional testimony in a jam-packed hearing room, the Hartington-Newcastle School Board voted 5-1 Monday to close the Newcastle school.

School Board member Jason Heikes made the motion to “discontinue all grades at Newcastle and evaluate the long term plans for the facility.”

"This should have been done years ago," he said.

Board member Dana Rosener attempted to soften the blow, but her motion to keep the Newcastle preschool open failed on a 5-1 vote.

"I think it's super sudden. I think we owe it to the community to look at other options," she said in offering the motion. "I think we need to maintain the school at least one more year to give the community a chance to make it better. If (enrollment) doesn't get better, this gives the community a year to try and figure out what to do."

About three dozen Newcastle area residents were in attendance at Monday’s meeting to share their opinions on an issue they first became aware of in May, when Board members began publically talking about declining enrollment numbers and the need to hire a new teacher or two in Newcastle to replace retiring teachers.

Check out the June 16 Cedar County News, or Cedar County News E Edition for the complete story