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The Kansas Government Information (KGI) Online Library
Kansas government publications, resources and information available from the State Library of Kansas

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Apr 20

Closing Kansas Rural Schools in the 1940s

Posted on April 20, 2017 at 4:04 PM by Bill Sowers

In the early 1900s the rural population of Kansas began to decrease. With this loss of population came the  dissolution and consolidation of rural institutions.  One of the most important rural institutions was the rural school, popularly known as the "one-room schoolhouse."  As these schools, scattered all over the Kansas landscape, closed one by one, remaining students had to attend schools covering a greater geographic area.

The closure of rural schools in Kansas brought about dramatic changes in the school districts map of the state.  A legislative research report was ordered and published in 1942 which included statistics on school district closings, reasons for closings, the development of "school centers," changes in the school district taxing system, transportation costs in larger rural districts and state aid to education in Kansas.

The document, "Closed Schools in Kansas" (1942. Kansas Legislative Council Research Department), included a large map of the state indicating types of schools, school boundaries, schools closed or consolidated, and districts where students from closed schools were sent.  This map is an amazing look at loss of population in rural areas by looking at the closure of rural school districts.

We have this publication online at the State Library of Kansas' KGI Online Library, along with the large statewide map.  The map is located at the end of the online document.  It appears in eight separate sections which you can magnify to get a closer look at the districts and movement of students within the state. To zoom into a map just click on the "Download" tab on the top right of the page, click on "open" and then increase the percentage view of the pages.

CLOSED SCHOOLS IN KANSAS
(1942. Kansas Legislative Council. Research Department)


(Special thanks for making the map viewable goes to Trista Philippi)