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Francis G. Blair, State Superintendent of Public Instruction of Illinois, reports April 22, 1908, that there is but one consolidated school in the state of Illinois that transports the pupils at public expense.

Georgia has consolidation to a greater or less extent in more than sixty counties of the state, while in Iowa, more than onehalf of the counties of the state report consolidation in one or more townships of the county.

Maine and Vermont expend about one-thirtieth of their school money for transportation alone, while Massachusetts' expenditure of $213,221 for transportation of pupils is only about 1.18 per cent. of the total expenditure for her public schools.

While consolidation and transportation have made remarkable advancement in many of the eastern states, and particularly in Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, perhaps no greater progress or more rapid advancement can be seen anywhere than in Ohio and Indiana.

It was at Kirksville, in Ashtabula County, that the Ohio plan of centralization or consolidation had its origin in 1892. The erection of a new building in one of the districts of Kingsville Township brought up the question whether or no it would be better to abandon the school in that district and take the children to the village school at public expense. In the first case of consolidation in Ohio the schools were centralized at the village school. Finding special legislation necessary in order to consolidate and transport children at public expense, Ohio passed a bill, April 17, 1894, providing for transportation. April 27, 1896, the Ohio legislature passed another bill for the relief of the counties of Stark, Ashtabula, and Portage, and still later a general law was enacted permitting the people of any township at the annual town election to vote “yes” or “no” on the proposition to centralize the schools of that township; i. e., to abandon the small districts and transport the children at public expense to the central school. Under the law of 1904, the board of trustees may abolish all the subdistricts providing conveyance is furnished to one or more central schools for pupils living more than one-half mile from the schoolhouse. “Under this section the schools of a township can be centralized without submitting the question to the electors” (State School Commissioner). This law also provides that centralization, once effected, shall not be discontinued within three years, and then only by petition and election. A central graded school must be maintained in centralized townships, and a high-school course of not less than two years is authorized. Transportation must be furnished all pupils living more than three-fourths of a mile from the central building. Such, in brief, is the history of the legislation in Ohio on consolidation of schools and transportation of pupils.

1 Due, perhaps, to the large number of township high schools in the state.


Ohio has done much toward solving the rural-school problem. Her rural schools have attracted the attention of many schoolmen of other states and have been made the subject of frequent reports by visitors from all parts of the country. Consolidation has become so widespread in Ohio that at the present time, April, 1908, there are about two hundred townships in which the schools are centralized.

Ohio's first centralized school, the Kingsville school, is a typical example of rural and village consolidation, and perhaps I could do no better than to quote from the Arena for July, 1899, concerning the advantages and the satisfaction which it gives to the people of Kingsville Township. This report was made after the school had been in operation eight years and had outgrown the experimental stage, and while this school has made great progress in the nine years since this report was written, yet this same testimony might now be given of many other consolidated schools, not only of Ohio, but of other states both sides of the Mississippi. The quotation is as follows:

The residents of the subdistricts of Kingsville Township which have adopted this plan would deem it a retrogression to go back to the old subdistrict plan. It has given the school system of Kingsville an individuality which makes it unique and progressive. Pupils from every part of the township enjoy a graded-school education, whether they live in the most remote corner of the township or at the very doors of the central school. The line between the country-bred and the village-bred youth is blotted out. They study the same books, are competitors for the same honors and engage in the same sports and pastimes. This mingling of the pupils from the subdistricts and the village has had a deepening and broadening influence on the former without any disadvantage to the latter. With the grading of the school and the larger number of pupils have come teachers of a more highly educated class. Higher branches of study are taught; the teachers are more conversant with the needs of their profession; the salaries are higher; the health of the pupils is safeguarded, because they are not compelled to walk to school in slush, snow, and rain, to sit with damp and perhaps wet feet in ill-ventilated buildings. Nor is there any lounging by the wayside. As the use of indecent language is prohibited in the wagons, all opportunities for quarreling'or improper conduct on the way to and from the school are removed. The attendance is larger, and in the subdistricts which have taken advantage of the plan it has increased from 50 to 150 per cent. in some cases; truancy is unknown. It has lengthened the school year for a number of the subdistricts; it has increased the demands for farms in those districts which have adopted the plan, and real estate therein is reported more stable. The drivers act as daily mail carriers. All parts of the townships have been brought into closer touch and sympathy. The cost of maintenance is less than that of the schools under the district plan; the township has had no schoolhouses to build; it has paid less for repair and fuel. Since the schools were consolidated the incidental expenses have decreased from $800 to $1,100 per year to from $100 to $600 per year. In the first three years following its adoption Kingsville Township actually saved $1,000.

Green Township presents an example of consolidation distinctly rural. The people of Green Township had watched the school in a neighboring township for two years and had become so thoroughly converted to the new plan that they voted to bond the township for a long term of years to erect a $6,000 modern and up-to-date school building. This building stands in the center of the township eleven miles from one railroad and six miles from another. The building contains six schoolrooms, with two additional rooms, one of which might be used for a library room and the other for a reception room. It is heated by steam and has a basement under the entire building, part of which might be utilized for laboratories, gymnasium, etc. To this building are brought all the children of the entire township. The enrolment the first year was 180, an increase of thirty over the last year in the scattered schools. Eight wagons are employed in transporting the children to the central building. The school grounds comprise about three acres, much of which is now used for gardening and elementary agriculture.


Indiana is fast taking the lead among the states, if she has not already taken it, in the matter of consolidation and transportation. The number of schools abandoned has grown from 679, in 1904, to 1,314 in 1908—449 schools being abandoned from September, 1907, to April, 1908. The number of consolidated schools has increased from 280, in 1904, to 418 in 1908, while the number of children transported has increased from 5,356, in 1904, to 16,034, in 1908. The cost per day at the present time, April, 1908, for transportation of pupils in Indiana is $1,749.24, while the cost per wagon per day is $1.87. Such has been the progress of the consolidated system in Indiana in the last four years and even greater progress will be made in the immediate future owing to the large number of small, one-teacher schools which still exist in the state and the recent enactment of a law by the last legislature which went into effect April 10, 1907. At the present time there are 387 schools in the state with an attendance of fewer than twelve pupils, and 699 schools with an attendance of fewer than fifteen pupils.

The legislature of 1907 enacted a law making compulsory the abandonment of all schools in which the average daily attendance is twelve or fewer, and gives the trustees the authority to abandon all schools where the attendance is fifteen or fewer; provided, the conditions as to roads, streams and bridges permit of such discontinuance. The law provides further that it shall be the duty of the township trustee to provide for the education of such pupils as are affected by such or any former discontinuance in other schools, and they shall provide and maintain means of transportation for all such pupils as live at a greater distance than two miles, and for all pupils between the ages of six (6) and twelve (12) that live less than two miles and more than one mile from the schools to which they may be transferred as a result of such discontinuance. Such transportation shall be in comfortable and safe conveyances. The drivers of such conveyances shall furnish the teams therefor and shall use every care for the safety of the children under their charge, and shall maintain discipline in such conveyances.

Restrictions as to the use of public highways shall not apply to such conveyances. The expenses incident to carrying into effect the provisions of this act shall be paid from the public school funds.

E. C. Crider, County Superintendent of Tippecanoe County, submits the following statistical report showing centralization from 1899 to 1906.

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Note.-Of the additional teachers two were for rural schools, eight were for high schools, fourteen were needed because of centralization. Length of transportation routes, from 2/2 to 7 miles. Cost per day for hacks, from $1.00 to $2.50. Total daily cost of service, $63.75. Number of children per hack, from 8 to 27. Total number of pupils conveyed in the county, 623. All drivers but six provide their own hacks.

Mr. Crider reports that many of the rural schools of Tippecanoe County were so small that they could hardly be designated as schools. Animation and life were lacking. Very often there was but one pupil in a grade, so there were no companionship and competition in the work. The inexperienced teacher was often present. One school had not had an experienced teacher in ten years. Of the 123 rural schools of the county, fifty-four have been abandoned. As a rule, the idea of centralization has generally been well accepted. There are sometimes some objections made to the details in carrying out the plan but the idea has been seldom opposed. The principal complaint concerning transportation is in regard to the hack, the driver, the length of time

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