Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: Summary / Recent History

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School buildings and furniture were provided at the expense of the town, before it was divided into districts; after that time by the districts severally, till districts were abolished in 1885, when the town again assumed the expense.

The means for the support of schools have been raised principally by taxation. Money received through the state treasury from the Literary Fund, and a portion of that from railroads has been added to the sum raised by taxation, and the whole applied to the support of the schools.

In district No. 1, two grades -- grammar and primary, -- were sustained for forty years or more. In district No. 2, a like grading was begun in 1874.

In early times men only (as far as any records show) were employed as teachers. It is quite possible, however, that women sometimes taught the schools supported in addition to what the law required. Since 1800, women have been employed more or less, and recently, they have formed a large percentage of our teachers.

In 1873 the town appointed a committee of two from each school district, to devise a more equitable apportionment of the school money. They reported a method, which was adopted, namely: to divide among districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, in the proportion respectively of 29, 26, 12, 10, 12 and 11 per cent of all the money appropriated from year to year for the support of schools.

Recent History

The common schools of Hampton have, in late years, been fairly successful, as country schools rank, nothing specially worthy of note having occurred till the union of Academy and high-school, having a specified course of study, in 1885. Then, a new incentive to exertion arose, quickened through the energy and enthusiasm of Dr. William T. Merrill, who had already been a year in office as superintendent of schools, and who, as a trustee of the Academy, had in this second effort for union (a first having failed), been the moving spirit in the whole enterprise. The promotion of those best qualified, to the high-school, and, for the rest, the hope of future promotion, at once carried the schools into a new era.

A still higher benefit resulted from the enactment of a state law, the same year, abolishing school districts. One grammar school was then established for the town, with such primary schools as were deemed necessary. To quote from the annual report of the Board of Education in the spring of 1887, after the new system had been in operation a year and a half: "By the abolition of the district system, we have been able to give better tuition at less expense per capita, and the same opportunities of learning to all the children of the town, giving a graded system with a prescribed course of study, and promotions with reference to an established rule."

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