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year from eight months to nine months. Thirdly, some have felt that increasing the qualification requirements for teachers also was a major factor in obtaining a better education for the young people. And, perhaps, it could be argued that had these three elements been adopted in themselves and applied to the one room school scenario; that would have taken some of the "wind out of the sails" for the consolidation people.

The voters of Milford Township of the time may have realized that with five towns lying close to its borders these communities may have pulled off portions of Milford Twp until there would not be enough territory and taxable property for the remainder to function as a viable independent high school. North Grant, Nevada, Fernald, Roland, Gilbert, etc had already had their consolidation turmoil and were probably looking toward the green pastures of Milford Twp for some extra tax dollars. So, to retain the community some voters accepted the philosophy that perhaps they'd better unite, pull together, and form their own school or they might not even have a school in their community.

Seen now as an intermediate step, our neighbor to the south, Grant Twp, devised a system of "Union Schools" in 1911 in which the one room schools were administratively grouped in threes (but not moved) and used as a unit in which the students were segregated by class (1-3, 4-6, & 7-9) in one of the three schools. By State of Iowa law of 1911, when a student finished this schooling he was eligible to attend any high school in the state he chose with the district to pay the tuition. The administration of these Union Schools published a very thorough and enlightening manual about this method of improving the education of the youngsters but this system also was swept aside and Grant Twp adopted the consolidation method earlier than did Milford Twp.

In 1906 the legislature had established the minimum size for a consolidated school at 16 square miles. Also, in this time period, elections could be held as often as every two weeks by simply arranging the district's borders somewhat differently and filing a petition for a vote and unbelievably, the time the polls were open could be adjusted. There is mention of a vote taken in Milford Twp in which the polls were open for an hour and a half!- noon to 1:30 - nine people voted and the measure carried- 6-3. In another instance, the central portion of the township had the most support for the issue at question and the only place to vote was at the Center School (No. 5). The election was held in January when the roads were undoubtedly difficult to traverse, if possible at all. The measure carried.

Again, from the east, on a beautiful, but cold, winter's day in 2007, a slightly exaggerated panorama view captures the open landscape of the center of Milford Township.
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© 2012 Mark Christian
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