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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 1938


Spain and Manchuria were trouble spots in 1939.  On March 29, General Franco announced a victory over the insurgents after long and bloody fighting.  President Roosevelt proclaimed a limited national emergency here in our own country.  Defense work began in the schools.

In the Memory Garden at McKinley School, a large spruce tree was planted for Miss Leona Sheppard, former principal and later supervisor in the schools.  At Park School, Miss Ella Mahaffie, retiring principal, was honored at a tea.  Newspaper articles drew the attention to the Mahaffie family's link to pioneer days when the Mahaffie Inn housed travelers at the first state coach stop 1/4 mile east of Olathe on old 50 Highway (Santa Fe Trail).

Mahaffie Farmstead and Stage Coach Stop - 110 N. Kansas City Rd.,  Olathe, Kan. - 913-782-6972
Located in Olathe, it was used as a Sante Fe Trail Stagecoach stop, and the basement was a dining room for travelers. Built in 1857

On August 31, 1939, another link with early years was broken when M. E. Pearson resigned from teaching education and psychology courses at Junior College.  He had taught for seven years after his retirement as superintendent.  At the age of 77 he planned to go to his daughter's home in Nampa, Idaho.  Lewis H. Brotherson was named business manager.

The first School Safety Patrol in Wyandotte County was organized on November 28 at Bryant School.  American Legion Post 199 and the Dads' Club were co-sponsors.  Four complete sets of uniform were purchased for the boys.

Business and industry moved westward.  Junior College, occupying rooms in the gymnasium and Horace Mann School, needed a home of its own.  In the spring of 1939 Horace Mann pupils were transferred to Central School and a two-story, five-room addition built on the east of Horace Mann building.

A ground school aviation course at Junior College, established in September, was part of the National Defense Program.  The National Youth Administration granted Dean Wellemeyer's request for student financial help by allowing 61 students to serve as laboratory and research assistants at a salary of $10 per month.  These assistants did not replace regular Board of Education Employees.

Five members of the original faculty who opened the school in 1923 on the "wooden campus" on the third floor of old Wyandotte High School were Violetta Garrett, Sadie B. Mann, Lucy T. Dougherty, Maude B. Van Cleave, and Christine Wenrich.  C. F. Kukuk and Ed Ash were athletic and basketball track coaches.

At Argentine the Kansas City Structural Steel, long a part of the district, began the sponsorship of an apprenticeship program for boys.  Lights were installed in the new stadium, equipped with dressing rooms and having a seating capacity of 2,800.  The contract had been let for fencing and sodding.  An eight-room modern building was erected at Attucks at Bluff and Central in the Rosedale district.  A new Parker building was started at 33rd and Haskell, consisting of ten rooms, kindergarten and activity room.  Four rooms were added at John Fiske in Armourdale.  Enrollment at Cooper had dropped until it was no longer feasible to operate it.  When industry took over the district, the school was closed in 1939.

On December 15, Sumner students moved into the new cream and tan brick building at Eighth and Oakland.

Additional rooms and a corridor connecting the annex and the main building were constructed at Rosedale High School.  At Northwest Junior, seven rooms included those for shop, art and music were added to the main building.  For all of these projects, the government bore 45% of the cost.

A school for retarded children operated at Prescott by Mrs. Fred Green was sold by her to Mrs. J. Enloe, an assistant.  The school moved to Kansas City, Missouri.  The health program in the schools was extended through the junior and senior high schools.  Thirty-seven of 41 schools had kindergartens, the most complete service ever offered.

The Kansas legislature in 1939 passed a School Employees Retirement Law which affected Kansas City schools.  The Board of Education and teachers were to contribute equally to the fund.  After 30 years of service and a minimum of age 65, a teacher could retire on a pension of one-half salary for the last ten years of teaching.  One percent a month would be deducted from each person's salary.  Four teachers were retired upon the passage of the bill. 

Next Section   1940

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

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