The text for this blog posting is an excerpt from Schaumburg of My Ancestors by LaVonne Thies Presley, published in 2012. The book is an in-depth look at Schaumburg Township around the turn of the nineteenth century.
Her particular focus was the farm off of Meacham Road where her father grew up. However, LaVonne also took the opportunity in the text to create a detailed examination of the formation of the public one-room schools of Schaumburg Township. In the upcoming months a posting will be shared on each of those five schools. But, first, an introduction to the formation of Schaumburg Township public schools…
“At some point after the establishment of Schaumburg Township in 1850, the township was divided into five local elementary or public school districts. Each attendance area was assigned a district number. The exact date of the construction of each one-room school is not known. There is little reliable written documentation about early public education in Schaumburg Township. It appears that minutes from the districts have been misplaced, lost or destroyed. The numbering for these five districts was changed sometime after 1900 by the Office of the Cook County Superintendent of Schools.
In 1829 Illinois established the Office of School Commissioner which was responsible for the sale of public school land. The money from the sale of section 16 in each township was designated for the public (common) schools. By 1882 most land assets for school used had been sold. Though no written documentation has been found, it is assumed that there was enough money to cover some or all of the construction costs of Schaumburg Township’s five schools. The Schaumburg Township public schools were typically built on an acre of land.
The minutes from School District 53 public school note that it was an active school in 1860, which was ten years after the township system was put in place in Illinois. No records for the other four districts in Schaumburg Township have been found.
As seen in the Cook County Biennial Report of the County Superintendent of Schools from July 1, 1894 to June 30, 1896, …the one-room schools were listed as “country schools.” The assumption is made that the country school designations came about because the schools were not located in an incorporated village and were small districts that did not have consolidation with a central school board.
The number of yearly attendance days varied in these districts as children were needed on the farm during the planting and harvesting seasons. In the report from 1894-1896, the average number of months taught was six. Each of the one-room schools had its own school directors. In 1898 the Cook County Superintendent reported that the number of pupils enrolled in Schaumburg Township Public Schools was 86; however, the private school’s enrollment was 150 pupils. The Illinois School Board of Education reported in their timeline for 1890 that female teachers in Illinois earned an average of $44 per month while the male teachers made about $10 more. (At the time of the report, the schools in Schaumburg Township were numbered 1-5. These were later changed to numbers 51-55.)
…At the conclusion of the 1895-96 school year, the five Schaumburg Township public schools had an enrollment of 76 students while the three Lutheran schools in the township had an enrollment of 146 students. Also, the superintendent’s report noted that the libraries of the five public schools had a combined total of 374 books. A list of suggested book titles for the school libraries was included with the cost of each book ranging from 18 to 45 cents. It is not known if the superintendent visited the graded and country school in each township yearly or if they submitted a written accounting to him.
Between the 1890s and 1940s the population of each Schaumburg public school district fluctuated as children stared and completed their schooling. Moreover, non-German families moved in and out of the township for various reasons. A few German families sent their children to the English school for their primary education, but the children attended a Lutheran school for middle and upper grades. At times, when a school’s enrollment was too low to keep it open, the local farmers would send their 4 and 5 year old children to the public school. This raised the enrollment numbers sufficiently to keep the school open. Another farmer simply bought the school to insure it was kept open.
In the 1940s and 1950s only two schools were in good repair and remained open–District 51 and District 54. (District 51 is in Section 9 of the map and District 54 is in Section 22.) As people from the city moved to Schaumburg Township and built homes, the school enrollment numbers increased. If the number of children was too high for the two schools, Schaumburg Township had agreements with surrounding school districts to bus children to their schools on a tuition basis. Some of the districts included: Elk Grove, Bartlett, Palatine, and Barrington. This arrangement ended with the consolidation of the schools in Schaumburg Township in 1952 and the erection of a new four-room Schaumburg School on east Schaumburg Road in 1954.”
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library