Elwood Has Consolidation

SOURCE: The Clinton Advertiser, April 6, 1920

The proposition to establish a consolidated school district at Elwood was carried by a vote of 66 to 16 Saturday, April 3.

The new district contains 24 sections of land, with the town of Elwood in the center.  The territory includes a large portion of some of the best farming land in the county and will make an ideal situation for a good consolidated school.

The first movement towards consolidation of schools in this county was begun in this community more than ten years ago and the election of Saturday fulfills the hope and ambitions of the men and women who have looked forward to such an action.  With the great amount of thought and planning on the part of the people of this community, there is no doubt but the school will become one of the best consolidated schools in the state.

The election at Elwood Saturday completes the fifth consolidated district established within a year in Clinton county.  Six in all have been established, but no movement has been taken on the part of the Washington Township Consolidated district to comply with the consolidation law, and if this is not done this district cannot legally hold their rights as a consolidated district.  In order to comply with the law, consolidated must conduct a central school and transport the pupils.  The other districts are Elvira, Goose Lake, Welton and Calamus.  The total area of these five districts, together with that of Delmar and eight sections of Miles district from this county established three years ago, makes more than 167 square miles, between one-fouth and one-fifth of the total area of Clinton county under consolidation.

The consolidation movement in Iowa has been so successful and districts are being established so rapidly that school officials find it difficult to give the new districts the attention they should.  If the present movement continues, it will be but a short time before the greater part of the state will be under consolidation.

By the consolidation of the five districts during the past year, 24 one-teacher schools will be closed and only 15 teachers will be needed to teach the pupils from these schools.  Five schools were closed last year because of small attendance.  In many cases a stronger and much better school can be maintained if two schools are grouped together and taught by one teacher, thus saving money for the district and permitting other schools to have the teachers which might otherwise be deprived of this opportunity because of the dearth of teachers.

Someone has asked if it is probably that all one-teacher schools will soon be eliminated.  It is the concesus of opinion among the educators and persons familiar with the movement in the state that we will have a great many one-teacher schools remaining where transportation is not practical for a great many years to come.  It is the plan of the state department of education to have these latter schools standarized and made into strong one or two-teacher schools.  The plan is make large districts so that there will be sufficient pupils and sufficient taxable area to make good schools possible.  The standard school receive state aid annually.  By combining districts the serious teacher shortage that seems to be becoming constantly more imminent will be somewhat relieved.  It is the belief that consolidation and the combining of weak one-teacher schools will perhaps do more than any other thing to relieve this shortage of teachers.