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Front page history: Local schools needed more space, more teachers in 1921

The Danville Independent and Boyle County schools have faced growing pains over the past decades due to an increase in student population every year. Today, multi-million dollar projects in both school systems are currently underway — the construction of a new Boyle County Middle School and planned renovations for the existing middle school to be converted into an elementary school; and the reorganization and renovations at Toliver Intermediate and Hogsett Primary schools.

Even 97 years ago, the school systems were facing similar problems.

On Dec. 20, 1921, a front-page story described how overcrowded the Danville schools were and what options may be available to ease the problem.

Superintendent of the city schools Professor L.C. Bosley told members of the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors that there were currently 947 children enrolled in the city schools, with 300 of them attending school in the high school building. Bosley said something was going to have to be done to relieve the overcrowded condition. He said that in the first grades, two school sessions a day were being held, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, because there wasn’t enough room for all of the children in first grade to attend school at the same time.

In many of the other grades, Bosley said, teachers also have too many students in their classrooms to be able to teach them properly.

Bosley said that seventh- and eighth-grade students are also attending classes in the high school building. Only 17 would graduate from high school this year, while next year there will be 107 children promoted to the seventh grade — but there wouldn’t be enough room for them.

More classrooms and teachers were needed, and he expected next year the problem of overcrowding and too few teachers would be worse.

Bosley told the board that a new high school building should be constructed with plenty of land around it for athletics.

He also suggested that the county schools should take care of their high school students from the rural areas. At the time, Bosley said many of the children who live in the country around Danville aren’t provided with convenient schools and must attend the Danville schools. For example, about 20 students living out on Harrodsburg Road are now attending the city schools, Bosley told the group.

He said maybe a county school building could be built near the city limits which would help take some of the county students and ease the overcrowding in the city schools.

Bosley said that Professor O.B. Fallis, superintendent of the county schools was very anxious to consolidate some of the country schools and hoped to have the city build a new high school that would take care of some of the rural children. Of course, Bosley said, the county board of education must pay the city for the country children who attend the city school.

Bosley also called attention to the low school tax rate in Danville, while many other towns of the same size have a much higher rate.

He then asked the board members to consider cooperating with the City Board of Education in devising ways and means of relieving the overcrowding situation.

In national news, it was announced that a new series of silver dollars would immediately begin to be minted. The design of the new dollars had just been approved by President Harding. About 700,000 of the new dollars would be coined before the beginning of the new year. The new silver dollar was designed by Anthony De Francisci of New York and had the usual head of Liberty on the obverse side, while the reverse featured a large figure of an eagle perched on a broken sword, clutching on an olive branch bearing the word “Peace.” Further depicting the dawn of a new era, the background would show rays of a rising sun.