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Public School System, 1819-1961
by Nellie McGuinn
Copyright USD 500, Feb 1966
The school system expanded in services, building activity and area. Expenses increased. The president of the board took up the matter of financial legislation with Senator Melton in February. The People's National Bank became a depository of some board funds. The city treasurer looked after the school funds. By the summer of 1909 the bookkeeping chore had become burdensome for Miss Tiera Farrow. To help finance the cost of an assistant, the board agreed to pay $25 a month for half the salary.
J. E. Boyle was appointed in September, 1909, to teach penmanship to the grades at a salary of one dollar an afternoon. A telephone operator was employed to work from 8 to 5 except Sundays. Telephones were installed in five schools recently annexed. The board granted two weeks' vacation to the office and library staff. Mr. Ockerblad was directed to give his full time to supervising physical education.
A recent law required fire escapes on school buildings. E. S. McAnany, counselor for the board, agreed in October, 1909, to discuss the law with the attorney-general and its bearing on the present levy. Later U. A. Screechfield, board member, interviewed Attorney General Jackson in regard to the law. By November 29, the architect and the superintendent of buildings were going over plans for fire escapes with the architect. Twelve fire extinguishers were purchased.
School officials were concerned over the number of children who left school to go to work, leaving their education unfurnished. The many foreign residents in old Kansas City, Kansas needed to learn to read and to speak English. The Polish people near Riverview School asked in the summer for permission to use the building for a Polish class. The group collected $24 to cover expenses for the work that would begin in October. Principal Miller of the high school offered in October, 1909, to organize a self-sustaining nigh school at the high school. The Polish class transferred from Riverview to the high school.
E. A. Clark in January, 1909, stuffed a deerskin for the museum at the library and was paid $50. The board ordered a pedestal and railing for the reindeer. A case for the deer and a smaller one for the birds were purchased in the summer. Architect Rose drew plans for the case. Clark agreed to work half time in the museum for $35 a month and was placed on the library payroll. As a taxidermist, he was in need of supplies, which the board furnished.
The library corridors were decorated by Horton-Tibbs, after various sketches for designs were submitted to the Board in February. The Women's Relief Corps gave a flag and flagpole for the library grounds. The Council of Clubs (Federation) placed a piano in the lecture room in November. The branch library at Armour's was granted permission to have its books furnished from the main library.
Teachers seems to get more attention in 1909 than was usual. They were dismissed to attend the Northeast Kansas Teachers Association when it met here in April and were promised later that those who attended the convention in Topeka could have full time. In September colored and white substitutes were reminded to report every day at school. The board promised moral support to the movement to organize a Teachers' Mutual Benefit Association. The superintendent was told to see that manual training rules concerning instructors were enforced.
Schools received most attention. Eleven lots adjoining Morse were purchased in January, 1909, and the contract for an addition awarded to G. R. Spaulding in June. A new school was needed near downtown, but west of old Everett. The board discussed a site at Eleventh and Washington, but in February it was decided to erect a new twelve-room building on State between Eighth and Ninth at the recommendation of Attorney William Wood. The school was called Horace Mann for the educator. A. J. Hibbs was awarded the contract April 26, 1909.
The site for an annex to Hawthorne was purchased in January and bids received in March. Lowell grounds were increased by an extra 100 feet and a tract added to Whittier. Puzzling items in the records say that on June 7, the board decided not to buy the land near Everett. On July 2 and on August 16 they state that a deal was closed for property east of Everett and across the street east of the high school. Lots at Longfellow were condemned in August, 1909. Sumner started a new addition in June, G. R. Spaulding, contractor.
The Central Union on March 1, asked the board to require contractors on the various buildings and additions to employ union labor. The board said that specifications must say that contractors have to observe the requirements of the eight-hour law.
[Annotation: Federal employees were granted a 10-hr day in 1840, but the Supreme Court did not recognize the legality of state legislation that limited the work day to 8 hrs until 1908. http://reference.allrefer.com/encyclopedia/L/laborlaw-early-labor-law.html
Representatives of the union again appeared on April 12 to discuss the union labor requirements in the specifications. The board promised to insert a clause in the preamble favoring union labor.
The Carpenters' Union on August asked that members be given part of the work already under way. The board ruled that further carpenter work at Riverview would be done by union men. L. B. Twitchell of the union would recommend workers to Superintendent Biscomb.
Splitlog Avenue, where Bancroft School had been built, was too narrow. The board petition that the street be widened. A sum assessed the board for advantages gained from the widening was subtracted from the damages awarded for the taking of the Bancroft site. Several lots near Abbott School were purchased in May.
[Annotation: Before Strawberry Hill was known as such, it was called Splitlog Hill.]
The board and the city disputed in January, 1909, as to which body should pay the special election costs. The case was to be referred to the District Court or the Court of Common Pleas. The bonds voted in the election were dated January 15. When W. W. Rose was elected as architect, his pay was set at 2 1/2% of the cost of the construction work for which he drew the plans. The board drew up a protest against the state printing of texts. A site was purchased for a shop building and a building planned.
On March 1, 1909, the Home State Bank was made a depository for 1/4 of the Special Building Funds money. The building superintendent went to the East to inspect methods of heating, ventilation and sanitation. Lewis and Kitchen wanted to bid on sanitary goods, as schools were being equipped with better facilities. The J. W. Taylor Construction Company was awarded the contract for another addition to the high school.
Discussion of filters and oil burners for heating took place at spring and summer board meetings.
. Home Cooling
In 1886, Schulyer Wheeler invented the electric fan , a principal method of home cooling until Willis Haviland Carrier, the father of air conditioning , designed the first scientific system to clean, circulate, and control the temperature and humidity of air in homes.
The radiator was invented by American,William Baldwin. His process of making radiators of cast iron brought central heating into the homes of most Americans by the start of the 20th century.
. Home Heating
"The earliest method of providing interior home heating was an open fire. Central heating appears to have been invented in ancient Greece, but it was the Romans who became the supreme heating engineers of the ancient world with their hypocaust system. Central heating was adopted for use again in the early 19th century when the Industrial Revolution caused an increase in the size of buildings for industry, residential use, and services." - Britannica
In 1885, the Blast Furnace Charger was patented by Fayette Brown.
In 1919, Alice Parker invented a new and improved home heating furnace.]
The question of liability in accidents to employees engaged in building improvements was referred to Attorney McAnany. When the Mercantile Club took its annual trip, Dr. J. A. Fulton represented the board. The Education Committee of the club told the board on July 22 that it wished action on the matter of electing a principal for the high school. The election had been set for July 24, but was held on July 22 because of the club's request. H. L. Miller was elected high school principal over a Mr. Butcher.
A change in standing committees was made by the new board in August, 1909. They were: Finance and Rules; Buildings and Grounds; Teachers and Salaries; Purchases and Supplies; Janitors and Engineers; Library and Supplementary Reading.
M. E. Patterson left the principalship of Sumner in 1908. On April 12, 1909, the board's attorney was instructed to attend to a financial accounting from the former principal. Patterson, on May 18, was given until June 1 to prepare an itemized statement concerning receipts and disbursements for entertainments under his management at Sumner.
The high school opened its doors to the public on Sunday, April 25, so patrons could view the work of the various departments. Principal Miller, Superintendent Pearson, and Board Member U. A. Screechfield were appointed to act in the matter of high school fraternities. The board made regulations and reviewed the 1907 laws of Kansas, Chapter 320, and insisted that the laws be enforced. After September, 1909, students who were members of fraternities or sororities would be excluded from school.
Argentine, a city on the south bank of the Kansas River, was preparing for annexation to Kansas City, Kansas on January 1, 1910. Other school districts on the outskirts of the Kansas City system wished to be taken in. At a meeting on November 1, it was decided that the board would have to take up the certificates of Argentine teachers when annexation was completed. The board met with the Argentine Board of Education and visited the schools there. G. S. Landrey, Argentine, served as advisory member on the board, which approved the action of the Argentine board in extending their school term, so the schools would close at the same time.
At a special meeting in November, Mr. Pearson told of conditions in other schools to be annexed. He recommended joint resolutions between the trustees of district schools and the Kansas City, Kansas Board. No change would be made in the operation of the schools. W. J. McCarty would supervise the schools coming in from the county.
The Ladies of the G.A.R. wanted to use the high school auditorium for Lincoln's Day and to take up a collection for a Lincoln monument. The Board planned to transfer the "Meeker Fund" to them. In March, Willard Merriam offered $200 to be awarded pupils doing the most meritorious work in the school. The board sent a vote of thanks to the ladies who purchased pianos for Longfellow School.
In June the superintendent arranged for another Lyceum course during 1909-1910, and established a kindergarten for Armourdale. The position of school matron was created for the high school, the matron to work under the superintendent. The largest high school class since the school's beginning graduated on May 27, 1909. Frank Leslie Schlagle, superintendent here from 1932 to 1962, was a member of that class.
Pool and billiard "parlors" flourished near schools. The board drew up a resolution on October 19 protesting the establishment and operation of pool or billiard tables in the neighborhood of any school. An ordinance at the time permitted them within 700 feet. The new shop was finished ahead of time in the fall. The board that enjoyed a flat rate on water payments, but meters were installed in November, 1909.
Vandals defaced the stone work at the high school. The board offered $100 reward for the discovery of the culprits. Near the last of November the board came to the aid of high school teachers who stayed behind to help pupils. The heat was ordered left on until they left. Sassafras wood was purchased for use in the manual training departments.
Doctors Fulton and Williams in December, 1909, offered to arrange for a physical examination for delinquent children. The board filed a contract with District 7 for reference.
History Site created on December 02, 2002
Page last updated: 02-Jan-2012