Friday, October 24, 2014

Moultonborough School Enrollment at 1940

The Meredith News
October 23rd, 2014
by Dan Heyduk

I wrote about pub­lic education in Moul­tonborough in the mid 1920s (May 29), but I was also interested to look ten years ahead to the mid 1930s. In 1926, Moultonborough had 107 students and six pub­lic schools, though only four of the six schools operated in that year or the next. In 1936, there were 118 students in five operating schools, with some schools hav­ing been closed and re-opened during the inter­vening years. Students needed to attend high school outside the town in 1926, and ten years later, Moultonborough still had no high school. Moultonborough paid tuition to other towns for thirty-one high school students in 1936. There were five teachers in the town schools, each earning $80 to $90 per month in 1926, and six teachers employed at $85 to $95 per month in 1936. Ethel Smith was paid $85 per month in 1926, and was still paid the same amount in 1936. Wood was being used for heat in 1926, with coal used for the first time in 1927, and nine years later both wood and coal were still in use. 1936 was the mid­dle of the Great Depres­sion (1930-39), which was reflected in the schools, as everywhere else. It was harder to collect tax­es, and some towns were forced to pay teachers with promissory notes (script), which local stores agreed to accept, due to insufficient cash on hand from tax re­ceipts. 
There was progress in the Moultonborough schools nonetheless. The superintendent worried that even though the town paid high school tuition, some students did not go because their  families could not afford the transportation, and the town voted to pro­vide up to $1.50 per week transportation allow­ance for each student’s high school attendance. There were a music su­pervisor and a school nurse in 1936, both serv­ing all the Moultonbor­ough schools. The school nurse also made visits to homes. Payment was made to the Meredith Electric Light Co., in­dicating that at least one of the buildings had electric lighting. Stu­dents had special weekly newspapers to read and some schools had record players for music educa­tion and exercises. The schools were holding dental clinics in 1936, and there was a program to provide eyeglasses to at least some students who needed them. Reported in 1934, and probably continuing in 1936, was a federal-state program to provide milk and cod liver oil to some of the children. By 1937, the su­perintendent noted that “much of the facilities set up for the caring of children during the de­pression are gradually being eliminated. Cod liver oil is no longer giv­en us to distribute. Nei­ther is Federal money available for corrective work.” But health evalu­ations of the students did continue, and dental and eye clinics did as well, with state support, so that the overall health of Moultonborough school students was better in 1937 than it had been in 1927. 
By 1940, the town’s school expenses had grown to $14,600 per year from some $11,500 in 1926, but teachers’ sala­ries still were essentially unchanged. In fact, both the national cost of liv­ing and average annual income had gone down during the depression years, so level salaries for teachers were not un­usual. In 1940, Moulton­borough school enroll­ment was 113 students, and five schools were still being operated, with six teachers (counting the Center Harbor vil­lage elementary school). The school nurse made a plea in 1941 for at least partial reimbursement of her travel expense. She served an area from Freedom to New Hamp­ton, and provided trans­portation for students to clinics, logging over 9,500 miles on her car. The depression ended in 1939, and the Moul­tonborough schools had survived and even im­proved – thanks in no small part to dedicated staff. The next year, the country began to go on a war footing, affecting the schools in yet other ways. (From Moulton­borough Town Annual Reports) 

1 comment:

Martha Lundegren said...

A note should be added about the subsidized school lunch program.
The military found that too many who joined or were drafted were malnourished. And had to be discharged.
To avoid this in the future the subsidized school lunch programs began.

"The percentage of students in New Hampshire who are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches grew by 66 percent over 10 years. As of October 2012, 46,659, or 27.3 percent, of New Hampshire public school students in grades 1 through 12 qualified for the program, up from 16.4 percent in 2002."