GASP! Did They Really Do THAT?

Gasp! Did They Really Do THAT?

Cancel school so everyone can attend the circus? Refuse to allow a newly married teacher to continue teaching? Shut off electricity use at night in schools to save money? Are you kidding?

What a difference a century makes; These shocking decisions were recorded in Wichita Falls school board minutes from January 1911 to April 1934


July 14, 1912 Prof. T.F. Toland resigned as superintendent. Mr. G. H. Carpenter of Brownwood was hired to replace him at a salary of $2,400 per year, payable $200 per month.


Dec. 10, 1912 Mr. Carpenter was authorized to pay the sum of $5 per month for someone to act as a librarian.


Jan. 16, 1913 Mrs. Tevis came before the board with a complaint that her son was sent home for misbehavior in school. She thought it unjust to her son that he not be allowed in school until he apologized for his behavior. The apology was part of the school’s rules and regulations.


Feb. 4, 1919 Teacher raises were passed. Those making $60 or $65 were raised to $75, principal from $100 to $200 per month and Superintendent to $300 per month. All janitors will be raised $10 per month.


April 14, 1919 It was ordered that school be dismissed on Thursday April 17 on account of the circus.


July 26, 1920 School begins Sept. 13. Children under 7 years old will not be permitted to attend public school owing to the crowded conditions in the lower grades.


Feb. 1, 1921 The Board considered if it was deemed advisable to give credit for Bible study and left the decision to Superintendent Lee Clark.


March 7, 1921 The Board unanimously recommended that all children and teachers be vaccinated as soon as possible to help stamp out the disease of small pox, and each year proof of same is to be shown.


Sept. 29, 1921 The board secretary requested to have electric lights completed in Barwise and Washington schools.


Sept. 13, 1922 Librarian Ethel Nycum came before the board to discuss her position since she had married. The Board’s rule was to employ no married woman. The board decided not to make any exceptions to the rule at this time.


Sept. 14, 1922 A motion was made that a definite plan be outlined by the superintendent and the principals for the reading of the Scripture in the schools at least one time each day, and that it be read without comment.


Sept. 20, 1922 A motion was made in the school board meeting that Circus Day be a holiday for all city schools.


March 23, 1926 The Board received a telegram from Mr. A. Zundelowitz with an offer to give $30,000 for the building in the Hamilton/Martin addition if they would name it “A Zundelowitz School.” Board President W.B. Chauncey went to California to discuss the matter with Mr. Zundelowitz. Because this was the largest donation made to the school district, Mr. Chauncey suggested it would be more fitting to name the new junior high for him: Zundelowitz Junior High School on Polk Street, with the name cut in stone. Mr. Zundelowitz promised to be present at the building’s dedication.


April 16, 1928 The Lions Club of Wichita Falls requested permission from the board to spearhead the purchase of an elephant for the zoo at Scotland Park for the school children. “They could purchase as many pounds of the elephant as they might desire.”


Sept. 7, 1928 Any child who will not be 7 years old before June 1, 1929, may not be admitted to the public school. Any child who will be 7 years old between Sept. 1, 1928 and June 1, 1929, may attend school by paying $2.50 per month during the entire year.


Jan. 6, 1930 A new law requires that 6-year-olds attend school. This will add at least 750 students to the Wichita Falls schools.


Dec. 9, 1931 Enrollment for the first three months of school stood at 8,601 and by November it climbed to 8,884. The district sent a letter to teachers with strong encouragement to shop in Wichita Falls.


July 24, 1933 The Superintendent notified all principals that no entertainment was to be held during the evening due to the cost of electricity.


May 16, 1933 The board approved the following money-saving cuts to cope with the Depression:

  • Band director salary cut from $108 per month to $50 per month
  • Increase class sizes to save $10,000
  • Reduce school from 9 months to 8 ½ months to save $15,000
  • Shorten teacher sick days from 5 to 3
  • Raise scholastic age for starting school to 7 years old, reducing first-grade teachers to 12 or 14.


June 14, 1933 The City Teachers Association volunteered the following money-saving cuts to cope with the Depression:

  • Reduce salaries from 10 percent to as much as 28 percent
  • Shorten the school year to prevent further salary cuts or teacher dismissals

In response, Wichita Falls merchants reduced their prices to teachers by 50 percent.


April 2, 1934 Board members reviewed the results of a teacher questionnaire, which revealed:

  • 71 percent of teachers are single
  • 23 percent of teachers are married
  • 10 percent have master’s degrees
  • 29 percent have bachelor’s degrees
  • 60 percent are undergraduates
  • Average teaching experience: 10.8 years
  • Maximum salary: $2,000
  • Median salary: $975
  • Minimum salary: $630
  • 190 teachers spend an average of $16 per month for rent
  • 94 teachers spend an average of $11 per month on utilities
  • All teachers spend an average of $23 on groceries each month
  • 60 percent of teachers contribute an average of $459 per year to relatives
  • 45 percent of teachers pay an average of $12 per month on old loans
  • 20 percent of teachers are paying an average of $34 on their homes each month. Two teachers lost their homes because of decreased income.
  • 180 teachers were prevented from attending college because of decreased income
  • 33 percent of teachers save an average of $9 per month for emergencies
  • 66 percent of teachers save nothing


Taken from the History of Wichita Falls Public Schools and Their Principals