In 1932 the thirty-seven country schools in Calhoun County were in operation much the same as they had been 25 or 50 years ago.
The first change in the county came with the opening or improving of the
high schools. Since the early twenties, Batchtown and Hamburg had operated
two – year high schools with enrollments of twenty to twenty-five students.
At Hardin and Kampsville, three years of high school work was offered. The
graduates of these schools had to go to another county to receive the fourth
year of work, their tuition being paid by the Calhoun Co. Non-High School
Brussels, which started high school work in 1931, had the first graduation of a four-year class in 1935. About the same time, a new district was formed in Point Precinct; land purchased for an athletic field, and a new gymnasium was erected with WPA help. The high school classes were held in St. Mary’s School until 1954, when the new Brussels Community High School was completed.
The Hardin High School, which was started in 1917, was operated by District 20. More than half of the students were from rural areas, their tuition being paid to District 20 by the Non-High School Board. In 1937 a new gymnasium was completed and the old grade school re-modeled. The school was recognized by the state as a four-year high school during the school year of 1939-40. The new unit district was organized in 1951-52, and high school pupils of Batchtown, Hamburg, and Kampsville were being brought to Hardin by school busses. The new Calhoun High School one mile north of Hardin was dedicated in 1961.
Kampsville had a two or three-year high school from 1917 to 1939, when the voters of the community approved a new district and organized a four-year high school. This school, recognized by the state, continued in operation until 1951, when it was closed and the high school pupils wee taken to Hardin. The problems at Kampsville were financial, as the district did not have enough taxing power to support a high school.
The first one room school to close its doors was the Little Rock District, in Richwood Precinct, in 1941. The School Board voted to send the four pupils, all of one family, to the Nicholas School, several miles west of Meppen.
In 1947 we find a number of North Calhoun school districts voting to close their schools and join a larger district. The ones voting to join the Pleasant Hill Unit were Lakeview, Elm Grove, Belleview, and West Panther Creek. The Hillcrest District was divided between Pleasant Hill and Nebo Districts. In each district, except Belleview, the building and land were sold and the pupils were transported to Pleasant Hill or Belleview. The school at Belleview was enlarged and improved and was used as an attendance center for the Pleasant Hill District. Byerton and a part of Hillcrest became a part of the Nebo District, and are now in the Pittsfield Unit.
In 1967, seven children of the Byerton community were attending the Nebo Elementary School while two were enrolled in the Pittsfield High School. Fifty high school students from North Calhoun are enrolled at the Pleasant High School, while the Belleview attendance center has an attendance of fifty-two.
Schools on the east side of the county as East Panther Creek, Pleasant Dale, Silver Creek, and Summit Grove became part of the Kampsville District in 1939, but maintained their school until they came into the Calhoun Unit in the early fifties.
Rural schools were closed in central Calhoun by 1951 and the pupils were transported to Hardin, Kampsville, Hamburg, or Michael. Later the Batchtown District joined the Calhoun Unit. In April 1953, Unit 40 asked the voters for permission to sell the following buildings: East Panther Creek, Silver Creek, Village Green, Crater, Summit Grove, Mt. Hope, Lower Gilead, and Monterey. A few of these buildings are still standing, and are being used for storage or as dwellings. After the closing of the Crater School at Michael, the district rented a new building from St. Michael’s Church, and classes have been conducted there since that time. The enrollment for the Calhoun Unit in October 1967 is as follows:
Calhoun High School 270; Hardin Grades 210; Kampsville Grades 164; Michael Grades 62; Hamburg Grades 32; Batchtown Grades 50; Hardin Kindergarten 42; Kampsville Kindergarten 24.
In South Calhoun, all of Point Precinct and the south half of Richwoods
Precinct organized a new school district known as the Brussels-Richwood
Community Consolidated Elementary School, District 41. They started closing
the rural schools in 1953, when Fruitland had its last term. By 1957, the
other schools were closed and classes were held in the old Brussels School,
and in rooms rented from the high school. In August 1967 a new elementary
school was completed. It contains a cafeteria, offices, and five classrooms.
Mr. A.L. Siemer, who has his office in the new building, serves as
Superintendent of the new elementary school and Principal of the Brussels
High School. The enrollment in the two schools is as follows: Elementary
school 66, Brussels Community High School 101.
In the Office of County Superintendent of Schools the following people served their county: (1931-1939), Mrs. Cuba M. Tureman; (1939-1943), George W. Carpenter; (1943-1951), Mrs. Cuba M. Tureman; (1951-1963), James V. McDonald; (1963-1967), Chester E. Knight; (1967- ), Chester E. Knight.
Edwin Ducey and James Ringhausen served as Assistant Superintendents during Mr. McDonald’s terms, while Mrs. Margaret Poore was appointed to the position in 1963 when Mr. Knight took office.
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