1957: Residents Press Pause, Reject Two New Schools

  • Our school district was nearly a decade old before its ambitious expansion plans encountered significant resistance from residents. That bump in the road occurred in 1957, when voters turned down a proposal to build not one, but two new schools to address skyrocketing student enrollment. In fact, the request was rejected not once, but twice.

    The $3.8 million proposal called for the construction of a 600-student elementary school in Henrietta’s River Meadows-Riverview Heights area. In addition, it would have provided for a junior high school near the corner of Pinnacle and Lehigh Station road that would accommodate 800 students. Throughout the community, a debate about the merits of the proposal took place. Many voiced concerns about the location of the proposed elementary school.

    Turnout during the first vote, held May 7, 1957, was light and the prevailing thinking was that the low interest level contributed to the proposal’s defeat. Needing two-thirds of voters to say yes, the proposition garnered 57.6 percent support among the 1,160 valid ballots cast. The vote was 669 to 491.

    A second vote was scheduled for June 21, 1957. Far more people turned out this time to vote, but the result was the opposite of what had been expected. “On the second vote, the turnout was larger and the defeat more crushing,” the Democrat and Chronicle reported the next day. With two-thirds approval still needed for the proposition to pass, less than half of voters said yes when asked a second time. More than 2,600 residents cast ballots.

    In retrospect, perhaps the outcome should not have been a surprise. Residents in other local towns had reacted negatively to similar building requests made by their districts. In response to the two-time rejection, Rush-Henrietta formed a citizens committee to study the building and educational needs of students.

    One of the committee’s primary findings was that a 21-room school should be built immediately to meet the needs of elementary school students. Any guesses? See post 20 for the answer!

    [Post 19] #75Posts75Years

    Click the "i" in the upper left corner of the photo below for more information.

    © Copyright 2022. All rights reserved.

View this Post on Facebook