Crawford County, Kansas  
Short History of Crawford County Schools

The first school in the county was built about 2 miles southeast of Fourth and Broadway in Pittsburg at Pleasant Ridge. By 1883 there were 111 school districts in the county. The schoolhouses were contructed of the following materials: 1 stone, 3 brick and 97 wood-frame. In 1882 there were a total of 7,114 children of school age in the county with 5,546 of those enrolled. During the early days of the county as in most of the country, most kids lived on farms and attending school was not a major priority for families. The children that lived in the towns were at a better advantage in terms of having an uninterupted school year. In 1883 the average daily attendance was 2,999, with it being evenly spread between girls and boys. The job of teacher was usually held by young men or women, with their salaries being $34.45 and $27.35 respectavely in 1883. If a female married female teacher became pregnant, her tenure as teacher was more than likely over and she would have to resign. A common practice of rural teachers were to spend the weekends at their pupils homes. I was lucky enough to meet my grandfather's 7th grade teacher, Hazel Watts. She had been his teacher in 1918 and told me stories of spending the weekends at grandfather's farm. The average monthly salary of the male teachers was $34.45, female teachers $27.35. The total value of the school property in 1883 was $75,000.

By 1960 there were thousands of school districts in Kansas. To reduce this to a more manageable number, the State Board of Education in 1963 passed the Unification Act which required each school district to offer grades 1-12 with kindergarten being offered at the discretion of that local school district. This reduced the number to 306 and allowed planning boards in each county to decide how the districts would be divided up and what the boundaries were. The deadline for the counties to make these decisions was March 1, 1964. The recommendations were submitted to the State School Superintendent for approval. Crawford County divided itself into about 7 or 8 districts with those being consolidated again in the 1980's into the 5 school districts there are today.