Grand River Schools
In an early day, schools seemed to have been built where the most people lived, on land given by the owners of the land where the schools were built. Deeds to school property were not obtained in many cases until years later. In the case of No. 7 No. 1, No. 3 and No. 4, a; were moved from the original location when they were rebuilt. All except Grand River Center, which was the last to be organized, wee at one time or another rebuilt.
In 1866, the earliest records show there were already schools in Districts No. 7, No. 1 and No. 9.
In the 1880s, teachers’ salaries were raised to $27 for the summer term, and $32 for the winter term. School in the ‘80s was for a 6 month year. Later it was raised to 7 months, then to 8 and in 1918 to a 9 month year.
In 1885 notice was given by the board that churches and other organizations would have to build their own hitching racks.
It was in 1885 that the board first ordered slate paper blackboards, chalk and erasers for the township schools.
In 1895 the state passed a law requiring the counties to replace old school books and re-evaluate every 5 years thereafter. So in 1897, the Grand River Township School Board voted to replace the old books, including the McGuffey Readers and Spellers. Up until this time schools used pretty much whatever books they had. Ray’s Arithmetic, Ray and Robinson Reader, and Sander’s Reader were some of the early books.
In 1923 the board purchased seven sets of World Book Encyclopedias for the schools.
In the 1920s and ‘30s, no married teachers were hired, and contracts were declared null and void if the teacher married during the school year. Then women began to be elected school directors and even became president of the school board.
In 1925 the First National Bank in Greenfield closed its doors with all the township money. By 1933 an emergency meeting had to be called to study the financial condition of the township. It would take a $12.50 per month cut in their wages for the remainder of the year. Some agreed and some didn’t, but the board was able to raise enough money to finish the school year without cutting wages.
In the early days the school director built the fires for the teacher. Later the teachers were paid for building them, and later the teachers were to told to build their own fires. Buying cords of wood and later, coal, and getting it to the schoolhouses on time seems to have been a big order of business for the early school boards.
It was in 1914 that the board allowed each school $5 for a water fountain and ordered paper towels and cups. Hot lunches, too, began to be prepared at school by the teachers.
The first record of tuition being paid to other schools was in 1912, to Greenfield and Winterset. Later, as more pupils began going to high school, it became the rule, and soon buses began coming out to the country to pick up the high school pupils.
About 1956 Grand River Township joined the Greenfield Reorganized School District and began busing all the children to town.
The schoolhouses were sold at auction, all except Center, which was kept as a precinct polling place. No. 2 was purchased by Mr. Frank Hansen and presented to the Adair County Fair Board as a reminder of a past era. Every fall some of the past country school teachers conduct classes there for some of the school children of the county.
transcribed by Mary Cochrane, Adair County History, 1976