80 Years Ago today, on September 16, 1938 at the Tioga Town Hall a gathering of 544 community members came together to answer the question:
“Shall a Central School District be Organized as laid out by the Commissioner of Education and a Central School be established therein under the provision of Article 6-B of the Education law?”
That evening the “Tioga Center Central District”, as it was originally known, was formed by a vote of 345 to 190.
New York State Commissioner of Education
Frank P. Graves (1921-1940) had laid out was a sweeping centralization of no
fewer than 18 smaller school districts including:
“Union Free School District No. 3 of the Town of Tioga, and Common School Districts Nos. 4, 5, 6, 6[sic], 8, 9, 10, 11 and 17 of the Towns of Tioga and Barton, Common School Districts Nos. 16 and 18 of the Towns of Tioga and Candor, Common School District Nos. 5, 12, 15 and 19 of the Town of Barton, Common School District No. 1 of the Towns of Barton and Tioga, and Common School District no. 12 of the Towns of Candor and Tioga… ”
The “Tioga Center Central District” did not yet include every school that would eventually make up the modern Tioga CSD, most notably the dozen or so independent school districts around and within the town and village of Nichols. Like Nichols School District #1, many of the districts named in this resolution were already the result of consolidations of even smaller one-room school houses in the area such as Germany Hill, Smithboro, and Straits Corners.
There are no records in the school district archives indicating why the 31 community members listed on the petition sought to create a centralized school district. One key factor may have been the financial incentives provided by New York State to promote rural school centralization during the great depression such as the Cole-Rice Law of 1930 that provided tax equalization, building construction, and transportation aid. Another factor may have been the availability of federal funds for the construction of new schools as part of the depression-era Works Progress Administration (WPA). A note in the TCS Archives from December 1940 indicates the district received a “Federal Allotment” on July 26, 1938 and just thirteen days after the centralization vote, on September 19th, that they “Voted on Building + Site”.
Having created the centralized school district, the Nominating Committee then recommended the first five members of the new district’s “Trustees” who would now be referred to as members of the Board of Education. These first five Trustees were Byron L. Winters, Albert LaPlante, Edward Foster, Samuel C. Duff, and Joseph Ott. The meeting ended with a final certification of the vote signed by Chairman of the Committee, Byron L. Winters and Town Clerk, Floyd Rider.
We are all indebted to those brave community members who together took that leap of faith and created the Tioga Central School District 80 years ago. That’s why September 16th is an important
date in the history of the Tioga Central Schools, and an important starting
point for the hundreds of successful TCS graduates then and now!