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COBWEB CORNERS: More about early school districts

By Mel McFarland

        I talked about this in my first Westside Pioneer column, but I often get asked about the school districts and what the numbers mean. The county at one time had a superintendent, and the county was divided into 60 community districts. Over the years, the number of districts was reduced, and in the 1960s the county superintendent's position was eliminated.
       The school districts go back to 1874, but it seems that most of the county superintendent's records before 1900 were destroyed in about 1907. In that year, there were 86 teachers in the smaller districts in the county, 63 of which were in one-room schools. There were four primary districts: Colorado City was District 1, Colorado Springs 11, Fountain 8 and Manitou 12. These were the only districts with high schools. The average salary for their teachers was $50 a month.
       In 1910, the eastern portion of the county was granted permission to build a new high school at Calhan. It was a union high school, serving all the rural communities east of Colorado Springs. In 1903 there was a consolidation of the school districts around Fountain, eliminating many districts with only one school, a couple without any school! Just after World War I the consolidation idea spread. District 40 and 23 combined as did 22 ,52 and 55. District 3 absorbed the one room schools for Tructon and Drennon at this time too. Districts 32 and 18 consolidated in 1918, and a new district was formed at Table Rock, near the Douglas County line. The consolidation of Falcon's schools into District 49 saw District 4, 24 and 17 go away. A later consolidation saw the schools around Monument, 5, 6, 10, and 19 including Table Rock, and later, Palmer Lake to make that all one district.
       The consolidations meant a better tax base for the remaining districts as the county's population grew. There was less consolidation in the years after World War II, but schools improved with standard requirements for schools and teachers. With stronger district school boards and superintendents, the county superintendent was eliminated. The idea of consolidating all the districts into one comes up now and then, but I doubt it will be done, ever.

(Posted 5/4/14; Opinion: Cobweb Corners)

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