1946: Given Second Chance, Voters Embrace New District
Seventy-five years ago, in the aftermath of World War II, an important debate was taking place throughout our community. Those conversations - at the corner store, in the farmers’ fields, and at the kitchen table - would have dramatic implications about how students would be educated in the future. Those discussions continue to impact each child who attends our district.
In November 1946, residents would be asked to consider this crucial question: Would 17 schoolhouses continue to operate separately as they had for many years? Or, would local residents approve the creation of a new, centralized school district that could serve each child more equitably? The stakes were high for local students and their families.
The outcome of the vote was far from certain. Eight years earlier, residents soundly rejected a similar proposal. Many farmers, which were plentiful then throughout Rush and Henrietta, had shared concerns about potential tax increases. The idea was rejected in 1938 and tucked away for future consideration.
Between the first and second vote, a world war broke out across the globe. Only after the United States emerged victorious did the idea of creating a single school system begin to be discussed again seriously by the general public. In 1946, a Centralization Committee, led by John Calkins, voted to circulate a petition among residents of both towns to determine if there was support to hold a new referendum. There was, and another vote was scheduled for November 14, 1946.
This time, our community embraced a distinctly different path and overwhelmingly supported the creation of a centralized school system. Rush-Henrietta’s first Board of Education was formed, and work soon began on developing plans for a state-of-the-art school that would serve every child in grades K-12 under one roof. At the time, the concept was incredibly exciting and caught the attention of people throughout Monroe County. The new building, which became known as Rush-Henrietta Central School - serving every student in the district - opened to students five years after this vote.
This year, Rush-Henrietta celebrates its 75th anniversary of excellence. We hope you enjoy these historical flashbacks. Please share our posts with friends and on your Facebook page. There are many more to come!
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