September the 20th, 1867
"The legal voter's of this District meet at the School House on the Monday evening at 7 o'clock according to notice previously given.
S. Tyrel was unanimously elected Director for the term of three years it was voted to hove eight months School in the insuing year three months in the winter three Months in summer two Months in the fall on motion that the District raised two hundred and fifty Dollars to pay School expences was voted to pay the clerk five Dollars for doing the School bisness voted to raise forty Dollars for School books and other repairs on motion that the report is excepted on motion that cleark get the wood on motion the meeting adjourned without date."
H. Phelps, District Clerk
Readin', Writin', Rithmetic
The School District No.5 account of the 1867 annual meeting is the first recorded testament of Randolph schools. Our educational system roots in the year 1857 when Laura Stark, daughter of pioneer Abiel Stark, began a one room school. Jennie Hopkins story in the Alpha continues the story until the year 1901--"Two years later a school house was built on the lot now owned by Griff L. Thomas. As time rolled on this building was found too small and the site was also changed. In October, 1867, two and one-half acres were purchased from Clark Alvord. This is the present site. The old building was first used for a workshop and then moved to its present place. It serves as a store for John W. Owens. The following summer the new schoolhouse was built, costing about $4000.00.
The first teachers in this building were A. W. Millard in the upper department and Ett Shepard in the lower. Up to this time the district consisted of the original plot together with six forties. In 1880, sixteen of the surrounding forties were added to the district and seven years later a second sixteen. Thus we find the district today composed of the original plot and thirty-eight of the surrounding forties. Other changes were made which showed our advancement. The wooden benches were replaced by new patent seats in 1880. In 1882 the recitation room was converted into a study room and a third teacher was employed... All this time the number of scholars was increasing and it was soon found that a new building was needed. Accordingly the old one was moved to its present site where it serves as the Woodman Hall. During the year 1895, a new building was erected which cost about $8000.00. Through the efforts of Mr. Lea, a high school was established in 1896... There are 216 pupils in the school, 52 of which are in the high school.
The records of the School Board supplement the history of the early years and reveal many items of historical significance, local interest, and universal humor. In the area of facts and figures, one could compare the 1867 budget of $250 which rose in 1920 to $18,000 and in another fifty years leaped to $563,610.50. A similar change occurred in the length of the school year. The children at the time of H. Phelps went to school in three segments -- for three months beginning the first Monday in December, three more months the first Monday in May and two months beginning the first Monday in September. During the years 1873-78, the board decided eight months was too long, so school was held for six months during the summer. At some time between 1878 and 1903 school was resumed at the previous eight months. It then preceded to the length of the present nine months.
The humor, human passion, and pathos were glimpsed even in the terse, factual teachers daily record and school board minutes. In 1869, the newly elected clerk failed to assume the responsibilities of his position. In a postscript to the annual meeting, the treasurer and director decided to perform a coup d'etat and reinstated the preceding clerk. The resignation and heartfelt sigh of the third, fourth, and fifth grade teacher employed at Randolph in 1896 can almost be heard as she records in the "days tardy" column for the entire class, "WITHOUT NUMBER."
Entering 1925, signs of conflict arose in the form of a petition from members of the community to the school board. They were objecting to the dismissal of teachers without any explanation to the instructors or the public---"Whereas, we are desirous that all teachers, students, and residents be given a square deal." Following this petition, the clerk of the school board received a letter from the State Superintendent of Schools saying that the voters could in no way dictate the hiring of instructors. This conflict was followed in 1938 with what appeared to be another skirmish. This was grounded in a PWA grant for school repairs and construction which the voters of Randolph defeated. In a personal, "historical" message the board clerk condemned the action as "a sad loss to our public school." In 1942 on a Sunday evening, the first of February at 8:15, the Grade School at Randolph burned. After much price haggling -- and a community drive for the desperately desired gym, --the new building was completed for the sum of $77,612.00.
Twenty years later Randolph met growing population pressures by erecting the present $500,000.00 High School in 1962, replacing the 1915 structure.
The comparison of a school district that encompassed about eight forties with one which requires seven buses to reach all the pupils and whose expenses have risen from five dollars for the "clearks" wood piling and repairs to one hundred fifty-five dollars a month for one bus driver, tells the story of the growth of public education in Randolph.
The preceding is from the book Randolph Centennial 1870-1970 by Nancy Schreiber