TIOGA, Texas (KTEN) — Dozens of residents attended a special meeting of the Tioga Independent School District Board of Trustees Tuesday evening to learn the fate of laid-off staff.

Because of financial difficulties, the Board laid off approximately 20 staff members. According to published data, Tioga had been operating with a total of 120 on its staff, including 66 teachers.

The district serves around 700 students.

The Texas Education Agency issues annual financial performance ratings for school districts across the state. Tioga ISD received a grade of "F" in the most recent report, signifying "substandard achievement."

One teacher said they were told they could be laid off last week, but rumors were already circling.

"You have your mind set that it's going to happen, but then when your heart feels it, it's totally different because then I had to go back and tell my kids, and they were devastated," former kindergarten teacher Beth Gunning said. "I had one that wouldn't let go of me all day." 

Besides laying off faculty, the Board voted to reduce the salary of the Tioga superintendent and athletic director.

Interim Superintendent Josh Ballinger said the board is working on being more transparent with the public.

"We're going to continue to do that — it starts tonight," Ballinger said. "If I get no message across other than [this], we are not putting a dollar figure on our employees"

The Tioga School Board declined to comment on the situation. It is unknown how Tioga ISD will compensate for the lost staff members.

Tioga is among a handful of districts in Texas that has transitioned to a four-day school week.