Boy, those were the days. I’ve been sort of immersed in Kendall County ca. 1875 for the past few weeks, and came across an interesting rundown of schools in the county at that time in a November issue of the Kendall County Record. There were 79 school districts, and…but here, just read the report:
Some School Statistics
We make an abstract of the County Superintendent’s Report to Hon. S.M. Etter, State Superintendent, and offer it for the examination of our readers.
The census report from the different towns gives us 5,674 persons under 21 years of age against 5,890 in 1874 and 6,097 in 1873, showing a gradual decrease in the number of minors in the county.
Of the total number in the county under 21 years, 2,821 are males and 2,853 are females.
There are 79 school districts; and the average number of months school is kept in the county is 7.53 each year.
The total number of pupils enrolled in the different schools is 3,205, against 3,118 in 1874 and 3,256 in 1873, showing nearly the same attendance each year.
The total number of male teachers employed during the year was 44; female teachers, 108; whole number of teachers engaged during the year, 152.
The report of school libraries is very deficient and shows that branch of improvement has gone to decay.
Bristol reports two districts having libraries with 226 volumes; Kendall reports three districts having libraries with 140 volumes. That is all. As no additions have been made to these libraries since they were first bought, it might be well to have that item omitted from all future reports.
The total expenditures for the year were $31,901.60; balance on hand in the townships, $9,306.90.
The highest wages paid to a teacher was $110 a month; the lowest was $20 a month.
$31,901 looks like a large sum to be expended in one year on our schools, but it is not much per scholar when averaged. According to the total number of pupils enrolled in our schools, it costs $9.95 per year to school each pupil. According to the number of school age, it will take $8.65 per year per pupil.
Sort of interesting, don’t you think? Especially the part about the county’s population decreasing. That was to continue for several more decades until it finally turned around and the population started growing again.