DALTON, NE — The leader of the Leyton school district will be back to work this week.
The Leyton School Board voted unanimously to reinstate superintendent Chris Geary effective immediately at Monday night's school board meeting. Geary had been on paid administrative leave since January.
Geary will work with interim superintendent Chuck Bunner to get caught up on all projects and budget of the district. Once the two believe Geary is up to speed, they will submit a statement in writing to the board and Bunner's contract will be voided.
Multiple people spoke up at the meeting in support of Geary's reinstatement. Stuart Morgan farms just west of Dalton and pays taxes that go toward the Leyton school district. He told the board he was upset at how funds were used to investigate Geary.
"You've cost this district a lot of money," he said. "It's gonna be at least $50,000 plus legal fees, plus future legal fees. I would request you reinstate Mr. Geary tonight and stop wasting our taxpayer money on frivolous things like this."
Another concern brought up by the public was the lack of transparency by the board when putting Geary on leave. Since Geary was placed on paid leave in January, several residents have spoken out on the process.
Many have expressed frustration no reason was given as to why Geary was put on leave. Some have told the board they believe the decision was made based on personal feelings toward Geary and not on facts.
Leyton Elementary and Junior High principal Dana Morgan said she believes what is best for students was lost in the situation.
"Our school district can not afford to continue to have decisions being made on personal feelings because that is not what is best for any student much less all of our students," she said.
Dana received applause from the roughly 50 in attendance after wrapping up her comments.
When time came to take action, school board member Sam Schumacher presented the motion for Geary to be reinstated on Monday, May 24, and work with Bunner until Bunner's contract ended on June 20.
Schumacher said it would be better to wait until after school let out for Summer to officially reinstate Geary so the district could begin working toward next year with a clean slate.
Some in attendance objected to this motion because they did not want to wait two weeks for Geary to be reinstated.
"The students need to see Mr. Geary," one attendee said.
After discussion amongst the board the motion failed as no board member seconded it.
Fellow board member Lisa Carter then motioned to reinstate Geary immediately and to allow him to work with Bunner for as long as the two thought necessary or until Bunner's contract expires. After discussion, this motion passed unanimously.
Both Carter and Schumacher started working on the board after Geary was placed on leave. They took over for Galen Bartling and Anne Rexroth who resigned in the days following the decision to put Geary on paid leave.
After the meeting, Geary could be seen receiving hugs, high fives and hand shakes from some in attendance who are happy to see the superintendent resume his role.
No reason was ever made public as to why Geary was placed on leave. Last week, Geary told News Channel Nebraska the complaints filed against him had been dismissed, leading to Monday's reinstatement vote.