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"History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin, 1914, Past and Present"


Chapter  25 - The Public Schools of Eau Claire


by W. H. Schulz


City School System

(-As transcribed from pages 406 - 407)

The year 1889 marks a great change in the school affairs in the city of  Eau Claire. By an amendment of the charter the old district system was abandoned and the territory of the city was made to constitute one school district, to be known as the School District of Eau Claire.  According to the provisions of this charter the commissioners therein provided for constitute the Board of Education.   It provides that on the same day each ward in the city shall elect one school commissioner and on the first Monday of July, 1890, and bi-annually thereafter, a similar election shall beheld in each one of the odd numbered wards of the city.  All school commissioners so elected to hold office for two years, except those elected on the first Monday in July, 1889, by the even numbered wards, who are to hold one year.  By the provisions of this charter all the property vested in the superseded school districts became vested in the School District of Eau Claire.  The Board of Education is given the power of organization and general management of the schools.  The first Board of Education was composed of the following members:  R. H. Chute, president; C. R. Gleason, secretary; First ward, F. M. McDonough; second ward, C. R. Gleason; Third ward, H. C. Howland; Fourth ward, G. Ferguson; Fifth ward, Charles Alexander; Sixth ward, R. H. Chute; Seventh ward, J. F. Ellis; Eighth ward, T. F. Frawley.  The schools in Districts Nos. 1, 2 and 3 during the first year of the consolidation were in charge of the principals of the three high schools in their respective districts.  Prof. McGregor was elected city superintendent of schools for the entire city during July, 1890.  The high schools which had been previously maintained in the city had been placed on the accredited list of the state university three years before their consolidation.  The Central High school was also placed on the accredited list.  Prof. M. S. Frawley was elected the first principal of the Central High school.  He continued to be its principal for twenty-three years, showing that his services were highly appreciated. He saw this school grow from an attendance of a little over 100 students to an enrollment of 650.  During his administration the school became accredited to the North Central Association and has always remained accredited to that association to the present day.  This has been a period of great extension in high school work, not only in the number of students attending, but in the enlargement of buildings, increase of equipment and expansion of courses of study.  A commercial department and a domestic science department were added during his administration.

The number of pupils enrolled in the schools during 1890 were 1,610 males, 1,567 females; total 3,177.  There were six grade school principals and fifty-eight teachers. The expenses for the same amounted to $40,763.42, of which $26,699 was paid out in teachers' salaries and $5,222 for repairs.

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