HISTORY OF EDUCATION IN PASCO COUNTY

Reports to the State Superintendent
of Public Instruction


1900

This report appeared in the Bi-ennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of the State of Florida, for the two years ending June 30, 1900.

I am pleased to report that the progress made by the schools in Pasco is satisfactory. The country schools have classes in higher branches that were never taught prior to the last two years. The deportment of the children is better.

Owing to the advanced classes in our country schools, the Graded and High School is a necessity.

Our County High School continues to grow in favor and usefulness. Prof. N. McCullough, Principal, assisted by Misses Alice Leitner, Mattie Jordan and M. L. Weaver, who are doing a thorough and practical work in moral as well as literary training. This school supplies our county with teachers, and some of the best in the county. The Legislature should establish a High School in every county, and give it an eight months' term.

UNIFORM EXAMINATION.

The uniform examination law has proven to be a good school master, developing the professional teacher into a sphere of larger usefulness and relegating the business teacher to the shades of a private life. I would suggest that the law be so amended as to give us a State Grading Committee, and thereby carry the uniform law into full force.

SUB-DISTRICTS.

We have thirty-five districts voting a special tax of three mills. This special tax has been of great help to the patrons, children and school boards. The trustees use this special tax money in lengthening the term from four to six and eight months, purchasing school books, furniture, and for building purposes. These duties seem to awaken in them a greater interest in the prosperity of the school, and they look more closely after it. Then the board is not continually called upon for small articles that are necessary for the school

The next election it will be voted in every district in the county.

NORMAL.

Prof. N. McCullough conducted a private Normal last Summer and will continue to do so every Summer, or as long as the teachers are so well pleased with his methods. He has given the count a number of first-grade teachers, and we hope he will continue the good work.

COMPULSORY EDUCATION.

Pasco is not ready for the compulsory educational law, and will not be until the millage is increased. A four months' term is all that we can give now, and the special tax districts help the board by buying their school books, furniture and building.

FINANCES.

The board's indebtedness is small. School warrants are selling at a premium.

I hope the Legislature will have the wisdom to see the importance of striking out the 5 mill clause from the Constitution, and prepare the necessary legislation that will give the school board authority to levy a tax that will carry into effect the law which provides for the education of the children of Florida.

TEACHERS.

The teachers of this county have demonstrated their improvement by the rapid progress of their schools, the good deportment of their pupils, as well as raising their certificates. The teaching force of this county consists of eighteen first grade, twenty-three second grade and five third grade, earnest, faithful teachers. Quite an increase in the first and second grades and a large falling off in the third.

D. O. Thrasher
County Superintendent


1902

This report appeared in the Bi-ennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of the State of Florida, for the two years ending June 30, 1902.

The following is a brief history of the schools of Pasco county for the last two years ending June 30, 1902.

BUILDING.

The buildings are wooden structures ranging in price from fifty dollars to four thousand. In the rural districts, the material is purchased out of the special taxes and the patrons do the work free of the cost of labor. They are, as a rule, comfortable and well seated, and in the special tax districts are kept in a state of good repair. Building and repairing is paid for out of special taxes. We have one new building and two more being erected. New building two hundred dollars, repairs one hundred and fifty dollars.

FINANCIAL.

The board is in debt. Interest is hard to pay. Indebtedness seems harder and it has been made to feel more burdensome by the defalcation of the collector who preceded the present incumbent, which of course increased the indebtedness. It was the second defalcation during my term of office. The board is not worrying over the inevitable, the increased indebtedness is not a reflection on their financial ability or prudence as ordinary businessmen and when the Legislature gives the board the right to assess and levy the school tax, also check up the collector and call him to an accounting, there will be that (?) safeguard thrown around the school fund that does not exist and the children's right will be better secured. Our warrants find a ready sale at one percent premium.

STRIKE OUT 5-MILL LIMIT.

Let the next legislature give us a constitutional amendment striking out the 5-mill clause in the Constitution. I am sure Pasco will endorse it with a solid vote, there may be a few ignoramuses hanging on to the tail of progress, who may think that as long as ignorance is bliss 'tis folly to be wise, and vote against the measure.

SPECIAL TAX.

The special tax is a blessing for the children. It gives books, comfortable seats, good desks, builds school houses, tears down the old shutters, and puts in sash, chinks the cracks, lengthens the term and gives that progress in the schools that we could not have without it. There is a three mill tax, the maximum, voted in every school district in the county except two, and it will be voted in those during the year—both anxious for it. The patrons who see the benefit of it, and do not vote for it will never be awakened to a sense of their responsibility until Gabriel sounds his little horn.

TEACHERS.
The uniform examinations are developing the teachers into spheres of larger usefulness in the school room and neighborhood in which they teach. I am in favor of the Summer Training School, it has, in this country, proved an inspiration to the teachers to put forth a greater effort to attain the required proficiency. Give them to us annually in the interest of the children as well as the teachers. The progress of the teachers of this county is highly satisfactory.

COMPULSORY EDUCATION.

Give us money to educate the children that now attend school before we face an unwilling attendance. In fact, I do not think we need it in this county, we have about thirteen hundred children in the county (I refer to white) with over one thousand in the public schools. St. Leo College of St. Leo, well attended; Holy Name academy San Antonio, with a fine enrollment. This leaves but a small per cent of the children out of school and the larger part of them are in thickly settled neighborhoods. There is the negro, they pay six polls out of about one thousand legally subject to the tax and the collector says they pay less than thirty dollars on real and personal property. Last year the board paid five hundred and sixty dollars to negro teachers and with the compulsory educational law we could easily increase it to fifteen hundred dollars and thereby give him a better preparation to carry into effect and execute the crimes they find pleasure in perpetrating on their white benefactors. Let's educate the white children that will go to school, before we take up the indifferent and negroes.

HIGH SCHOOLS.

We have a good progressive high school with an eight months term and a corps of teachers, just up to date and striving to keep abreast with the best in the State. Of course, it is hardly necessary to mention this, as it is expected of the most backward counties, but I want to give notice that we will soon be in a position to ask for a State school, with two scholarships from each county. I believe that is the usual order of things along educational lines.

GRADING COMMITTEES

I am afraid of change, unless I knew how and by whom the committee would be selected. Too much favoritism might be shown and that to the injury of the cause. If the State Superintendent is to select the committee, I would say a State committee with an annual salary and to be appointed every two years.

D. O. THRASHER,
County Superintendent


1908

This report appeared in the Bi-ennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of the State of Florida, for the two years ending June 30, 1908.

Dade City, Fla., September 14, 1908.

Hon. W. M. Holloway, State Supt. Pub. Inst., Tallahassee, Fla.

Dear Sir:—The thirty-four schools of Pasco County received the last two years for teaching services $26,043.25, and $3,023.23 for new buildings. The schools are in good condition, taught by a good grade of teachers.

The Dade City High school has a splendid new building in addition to the six large, well-lighted rooms previously reported. The faculty consists of a principal and seven assistants. The school is doing good work.

The Trilby Junior High school has a nice building of three rooms, and a campus of five acres.

The San Antonio Graded school has an acre campus and two recitation rooms.

Blanton, Bailey, Pasco, Union, Hudson, and Fivay, each has two recitation rooms and one acre or more campus.

Slaughter, Withlacoochee, Sumner, Ellerslie, Richland, Childers, Independence, Darby, Clay Sink, Wesley, Matchett, Ehren, Prospect, and Greer each has one recitation room.

Richland, Sumner, Wesley, Slaughter, Hudson and Hancock had one month extension based on property valuation the past year.

Ellerslie, Childers, Prospect, Union, Independence, Matchett, Darby, Greer, Blanton, Emmaus, Withlacoochee and Lake Buddie schools were extended under the 80 per cent Act, and had eight months' good school work. All schools in the county have Special Tax funds except Hancock. There are five colored schools in the county; they are in session four months per year.

Respectfully submitted,
JOHN BARNES,
County Supt. Pub. Inst.


1910

This report appeared in the Bi-ennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of the State of Florida, for the two years ending June 30, 1910.

Dade City, Fla., Oct. 15, 1910

Hon. W. M. Holloway, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tallahassee, Fla.

Dear Sir:—It affords me gratification to find that there is quite an awakening among the masses in educational interest. Now, whether this feeling was quickened or aroused by the late education campaign I know not, but I think it had something to do with it.

RURAL SCHOOLS MERGED.

A call is made from nearly every portion of the county that has not already combined, for consolidation of schools. This incurs a greater expense to the School Board, as it requires transportation, better and more commodious buildings, and higher salaried teachers. It is my conviction that the extra expense is more than made up by the results.

FINANCES.

The present condition of the School Board is good, having run the schools one month longer than in previous years; making a number of needed repairs and erecting some new buildings. Now, on entering the incoming year, finds them out of debt, with a surplus of more than $4,000.00 in the treasury. For the first time since the creation of the county has the School Board been out of debt.

SPECIAL TAX SCHOOLS.

Every school in the county is in a Special Tax District but one. These resources are invaluable aids to the School Board in helping to keep up repairs and assisting in new buildings, in transportation and in lengthening school terms.

TEACHERS.

Considering the salary of our teachers, which is above an average, I think, in the State, they are not excelled by any county. A very large per cent. are progressive and experienced teachers, who spend, for the most part, their vacation in normal training schools that they may better fit themselves for their chosen profession.

TEACHERS' EXAMINATIONS.

My desire has been to raise the standard and credit of our teachers, but not at the expense of justice; and, so far, I have been able to secure only reliable and impartial persons to assist me.

GRADING COMMITTEE.

Thus far the grading committees have done their work very satisfactorily to the School Board. No charges of dishonesty or incompetency have been made.

COURSE OF STUDY.

A course of study and regulations for our schools have just been prepared. I trust this much-needed guide will prove very effectual in producing systematic work by the teachers of Pasco County.

SUPERINTENDENT'S SALARY.

My salary is now paid by the County Commissioners, as other county officers.

Respectfully submitted,
M. L. GILBERT,
County Superintendent of Public Instruction


1922

This report appeared in the Bi-ennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of the State of Florida, for the two years ending June 30, 1922.

Hon. W. S. Cawthon,
State Superintendent of Public Instruction,
Tallahassee, Florida.

Dear Sir:

NEW BUILDINGS AND REPAIRS.—During the last two years we have spent only $1,485.27 for new buildings.

One-room addition to Oak Hill school cost $547.10, which was paid from the Special Tax District Funds. Two other small buildings were erected in rural districts where transportation could not well be effected.

The old building of an abandoned school was used in the construction of one of these, thus lessening the cost to the School Board.

Bonds to the amount of $50,000.00 have been voted for the erection and equipping of a High School at New Port Richey. This building is to be completed by the opening of the next school year.

The repairs to buildings are made principally from the district funds and amount to about $2,000.00 per year.

FURNITURE AND EQUIPMENT.—Owing to the increase in attendance, we have had to place orders for 175 new desks. Many of our schools are yet wanting in equipment, due to lack of school funds.

SPECIAL TAX DISTRICTS.—There are at present twenty-nine special districts in the county. In fact, the entire county is included in these special tax districts. All, except one, are voting the limit for school purposes, and add every year about $15,000.00 to our county school fund.

Three districts of the county have bonded and erected modern brick buildings—Trilby, Elfers and Richland.

TRANSPORTATION AND CONSOLIDATION.—Where transportation can be effected, we have discontinued the district school and consolidated with the town schools.

We are now transporting twelve schools of the county. While this is more expensive than the one-teacher school, the results in way of educational attainments give us a good balance. Five of these schools are transported to Dade City, and out of an enrollment of 398 pupils, 124 are doing high school work.

COMPULSORY LAW.—This county employs an attendance officer, who acts also as a clerk to the superintendent, thus "killing two birds with one stone."

We find that the best way to enforce this law is to build up enthusiasm to where the law is no longer needed. This is being done here, and the duties of the attendance officer have been lessened to a marked degree.

The law is a good one and has been the means of many children having the benefits of school, when otherwise they would have been deprived thereof.

Our average attendance for the last year, with an enrollment of twenty-three children (white) less than the year before, was more than 14 per cent greater. Enough has heretofore been said of the defects of this law, and it needs no further comment here.

SCHOOLS.—We have four schools of the county doing high school work; one is a senior high, one is an intermediate, and two are doing junior work. The Thirty-five white schools of the county employ sixty-four teachers. Eight colored schools employ twelve teachers.

SALARIES OF TEACHERS.—Owing to financial embarrassment, we had to cut the salaries of some of our principals, as did other places. In fact, they were not paid in proportion to other teachers, but the grade teachers are paid the same "war-time salaries." We are making a strong fight to eliminate all third grade certificates, as well as the temporary.

In reckoning the salary, we consider the ability of the teacher to teach, the grade of his certificate, and the enrollment of his school. Everything else being equal, we do not feel that a teacher with ten or fifteen pupils should receive the salary of one who has thirty; nor do we feel that the inexperienced teacher with the same grade of certificate should receive the same as the one who is old in the work and making good. Salaries for white teachers run from $65.00 to $200.00. Colored teachers from $40.00 to $70.00.

HOME ECONOMICS.—Through our Home Demonstration Agent, Mrs. Harriet Ticknor, canning clubs, together with all other work of the department, have been established throughout the county. The people realize that this is a very important work, and we have no difficulty whatever in securing good clubs in every community. The result is, more scientific housekeeping, economic living, and more wholesome food, which is one of the necessities of life.

TEACHERS' INSTITUTES.—We have organized a Teachers' Institute which meets every month during the school term. These meetings are alternated between the east and west end of the county, owing to the distance between the two and the difficulty in transportation. The teachers seem to be very much interested in this work, and the good results can clearly be seen.

SCHOOL BOARD.—This county has been very fortunate in securing good men for members of the School Board. They are all good business men who are wide a wake to the educational interest of the county, and the welfare of the schools in general. After serving here for six years, one of our members declined to be a candidate to succeed himself. The other two were re-elected.

TEACHERS' EXAMINATIONS.—I feel the law relative to teachers' examinations should be changed; not that I find fault with the present Board of Examiners, but that they are overburdened and can not facilitate the work as should be done. This way of teachers having to wait a month before he can get a hearing, is enough in itself to kill the law, or bring about some modifications thereof. It also works a hardship on the Superintendent, who is anxious to know what his teachers have acquired.

We hope that the next Legislature will make some needed changes in the examination law.

FINANCES.—The real crying need of the schools is some other source from which to derive funds for their maintenance.

The ten-mill amendment, if passed, will give relief only to the districts that vote the increase. The question is: How many will vote it? That remains to be seen, but I fear many districts will not take advantage of it.

If we had an indirect tax, for instance on gasoline for good schools, as for good roads, the problem would be solved.

CONCLUSION.—Like so many other counties of the State, we have had to put on drives throughout the county to raise funds for the maintenance of the schools, but we are pleased to state that that the people have been loyal to the schools, and the drives have met with success. We are now organizing committees to push for the ten-mill amendment and expect to "put it over the top."

The school spirit continues to grow, and as it spreads, we are looking for better work in Pasco County.

E. B. O'BERRY,
County Superintendent


1924

This report appeared in the Bi-ennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of the State of Florida, for the two years ending June 30, 1924.

Hon. W. S. Cawthon,
Tallahassee, Florida,

Dear Sir:

Complying with your request, I beg to submit the following report on the school conditions of Pasco County:

HIGH SCHOOLS.—The Pasco County High School is located in Dade City, and was accredited this year as a Senior A. The Trilby school was accredited as a Junior A. Zephyrhills and the Gulf High schools are doing Senior High work, but were not able to meet the qualifications for a credit. We think we can have all these schools accredited next year.

NEW BUILDINGS.—Since last report, four new buildings have been erected in the county. For the benefit of the Coast Section, a new brick building was erected between Elfers and New Port Richey at a cost of $42,000.00 and paid from the sale of district bonds. A $7,000.00 frame building was erected at Odessa, and two smaller buildings were erected to accommodate children in remote districts where transportation could not be effected on account of bad roads.

BONDED INDEBTEDNESS.—The bonded indebtedness of the county is now $74,000.00 and included in only three districts. There are other districts wanting to bond for new buildings, equipment, etc., but under the present law, they can not bond for enough to meet their needs. We are doing all possible to put the proposed Amendment over in this county.

GENERAL FUND INDEBTEDNESS.—The indebtedness against the General Fund is now $82,000.00 consisting of serial time warrants, of five issues, the last of which was made to redeem some formally issued and to meet deficit in 1921.

At present $12,000.00 of these time warrants fall due every year, aside from the interest, which make quite an item when we consider an income of only $52,000.00. We need to refund some of these issues in order that we might have more money for school maintenance.

SCHOOL CONSOLIDATION.—Wherever practical, we have encouraged consolidation of schools, and have recently made several changes along this line. We are now operating fourteen transportation lines. We find this more expensive to the county, but the results obtained are far in advance.

SPECIAL TAX DISTRICTS.—Nearly all of the Special Tax Districts are voting 10 mills or a millage sufficient together with the aid of the county fund, to operate the schools for a term of eight months.

Some districts of the county are so large that they do not need to vote more than three mills while some can barely get by on ten. I do not feel like that is a square deal to all concerned, and would advise some legislation which would do justice to all. That could be brought about by permitting the school Board to redistrict the entire county and do away with districts where schools have been discontinued because of failure in population.

MAINTENANCE OF SCHOOLS.—Under present conditions, our revenue remains about the same, while our demands for money are greatly increased. It seems to me that the poor people are taxed to the limit, or about all they can well stand without adding more, but it is essential that more funds be acquired, if we keep our schools up to the standard.

If we shoot some of the gas to the schools instead of putting it all on the roads, I believe the question will be solved, and nobody materially hurt.

Respectfully,
E. B. O'BERRY,
County Superintendent

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