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Wyandotte County, Kansas




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KCKS Public School System, 1819-1961
by Nellie McGuinn
Copyright USD 500, Feb 1966

Return to Previous Section 1932


On January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler was elected chancellor of Germany.  Every bank in this country was closed on March 6 upon newly-inaugurated President Franklin D. Roosevelt's order.  When Utah became the 36th state to ratify the Twenty-first Amendment early in December, the Eighteenth was repealed, and the experiment in prohibition was ended.

LIttle building went on.  Only repairs and minor improvements on schools had been made, except for the grading of Sumner Athletic field at 8th and New Jersey.  Funds from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and the Civil Works Administration paid for improvements on grounds.

The legislature passed four laws in 1933, two of which affected schools here:

  1. Tax limitations
  2. Reduction in valuation
  3. Placement of schools on a cash basis
  4. Adoption of a budget

As the board had been on a cash basis and a budget for twelve years, it had no difficulty with the last two.  The first two cut the annual income by $400,000.

The legislature declared school salaries out of line with other occupations and ordered a salary reduction for administrators, teachers, and all others connected in any way with schools.  Three choices were open to the Kansas City board -- to eliminate services, reduce salaries, or combine the two.  The board chose to combine the first two choices.  Free kindergartens, junior college, school nurses, and principals' assistants were dropped.  In the high schools, pianists, matrons, and 26 teachers were not employed.  The Teachers' Training Department was discontinued.  A 15% cut in salary was made and employees were warned a further change might be necessary before the school year was over.

When the legislature refused to authorize a tuition charge at junior college, letters were sent to parents of students asking for a voluntary fee of $25 a semester to keep the school going.  A bill introduced in the legislature in 1933 would require all teachers to take an oath of allegiance.  Executives always had signed the oath, the board announced, and teachers here took the pledge every day with the children.

At an assembly of teachers in the fall, the superintendent explained the board's action and the state of the schools in general.  The world-wide panic, most menacing in history, caused people to wonder why education had not helped to meet such a catastrophe.  A storm had broken on the whole system and curtailments were necessary.  But schools would recover, he said, although improvement would be gradual.

When industry refused to hire the country's youth, the burden of caring for them fell upon the schools with no help from industry.  In two generations the country had changed from rural to urban living, and working men wanted their children to go to school.  A vast change in curriculum would have to be made.

Despite hardships, school people carried on.  On January 10, 1933, Dr. Bert Nash and Dr. Raymond Schwegler of Kansas University talked on a study made at the college concerning left-handedness in young children.  Principals and supervisors were told of conflicting viewpoints on changing to the right hand for penmanship.  A Baltimore magazine praised the operation of church schools here.

When a group of mothers requested five-cent fares for school children, the railway company agreed.  The plan saved $1800 for the board.  The WLBF radio station belonging to the Kansan asked to set up equipment in the high school auditorium to broadcast programs given by the students.  Women belonging to the Sarah Ann Richard Study Club presented a portrait of Mrs. Richart to the library and the Teachers Council gave a painting of Mr. Pearson, which was hung in the Lecture Room.

At Hawthorne School its 35th anniversary was observed by the assembling of a school room of the nineties, with desks, inkwells, stool, dunce cap, sunbonnets, and a cowbell.  Old books belonging to patrons were on exhibit.  The history of the school was written by the children and copies distributed to visitors.  In it they told of the first flag pole, which was made from a cedar tree brought in by the children.

Next Section   1934

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History Site created on December 02, 2002
Page last updated: 02-Jan-2012

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