History of #204
History of Community Consolidated School District #204
Prior to 1950. School-age children living east of Pinckneyville attended the one-room school closest to their home. In each of these one-room schools, there was one teacher who was the "master of all." This practice continued until the area's population began to decrease throughout the 1940's.
Area's Population Drops. Enrollments in the area's various one-room schools dropped as the area's population declined. Since school funding is closely tied to student enrollment, these schools eventually found it impossible to provide their students with the quality of education parents desired. Then, as now, the state's solution to such circumstances is consolidation. However, at that time, the state forced small schools to consolidate by mandating the minimum number of students enrolled to maintain a school district.
The Birth of "Community Consolidated School District 204." On April 9, 1949, six small schools located immediately east of Pinckneyville voted to consolidate into one new school district, Community Consolidated School District #204. These six schools included: Upper Arm, White Walnut, Upper Holts, Lower Arm, Shakerag, and Lower Holts. Of the six districts, only Upper Holts voted against the plan. Ironically, the new 204 School building was built in the Upper Holts region. In the same election the people gave the new school authority to levy taxes for the education fund and the building and site purchasing fund.
Charles W. Neville. The consolidation election which created Community Consolidated School District 204 came as a result of the efforts of many individuals. However, the efforts of Charles W. Neville are most notable. Following the state's passage of the Average Daily Attendance requirements, Mr. Neville (Perry County Superintendent of Schools) scheduled a meeting at each of the six rural schools east of Pinckneyville. The purpose of the meetings was to explain to each school's community how much more it would cost to keep each school open without consolidation. He ended each meeting by asking residents to sign a petition for consolidation. Mr. Neville eventually obtained the necessary signatures and a vote to consolidate was passed.
204 School District Begins Operation. In May, 1949, the first 204 School Board was elected. During the first year, 204 teachers taught in one room schools because the new 204 School building had not been built. Right from the start, the Board, faculty and staff established the school's reputation as a sound educational institution. That reputation has continued to this day.
The 204 School Building is Erected. In the fall of 1949, bonds were issued to build the new 204 School building. It was decided to build near the center of the district on Illinois Highway 154. In January 1950, the Board employed an architect and by June construction had begun. On December 19, 1950, the building completed. Shortly thereafter, the 204 teachers and students moved in to the new building.
204 District Boundaries Change. In March 1951, the Cross School District #28 annexed into District #204. In June 1951, the Round Prairie District #27 annexed into the 204 District. In February 1964, information was released to the 204 Board stating that the Du Quoin School District #300 had bid for annexation of a considerable portion of District #204's territory. After several rounds of what proved to be a fruitless fight, Philip A. Provart (Perry County Superintendent) awarded the land in question to District #300. (This occurred on July 1, 1970.) In 1969, Pinckneyville District #50 annexed a portion of 204 property where the District 50 junior high building is now located. The most recent boundary change occurred on July 1, 1993 when Tamaroa School District #211 annexed into the 204 School District. This annexation more than doubled 204's area (i.e., from 42 square miles to 84.83 square miles). The annexation of District #211 was a welcome addition to District #204. It helped provide a more stable enrollment which allowed 204 to maintain its reputation as an outstanding educational institution.
The School Meets the Needs of a Growing Enrollment. There have been several additions and improvements to the original 1950 building. A garage was constructed in June 1951. Two new classrooms, two restrooms and a furnace room were added in January of 1964. One of these two new classrooms became a kindergarten room in January of 1967. Ever since, 204 has operated as a kindergarten through eighth grade school. Two temporary classrooms were added in the fall of 1972 and four more classrooms were added in 1996 to accommodate increased enrollment. A new gym, additional classrooms, office area, and two restrooms where added in 2005.
Special thanks to Gene Broombaugh for allowing the use of information contained in his research report ("History of Community Consolidated School District #204 in Perry County, Illinois") in this web page.