With local voters at the ballot box Tuesday, it is timely to look back at 1962. What does 1962 have to do with Clear Fork Local Valley Schools today?
In April 1962 Bellville’s Parent Teacher Association and Butler’s Mother Club invited the public to open house meetings in April to explain the necessity of voting for a school bond issue in the May 8 election. The bond issue would support building a new high school located between the towns of Bellville and Butler.
Clear Fork High School hadn’t been built yet.
Today, however, Clear Fork isn’t looking to build one elementary building. Consideration was given to community opinion and that opinion soundly asked for two buildings. And unlike the ballot issue in 1962, the one voters faced Tuesday was a renewal—that means it is not a tax increase and the state will fund 61 percent of the new constructions.
The village communities have a history of backing an environment that supports quality education.
In 1962, the publicity committee was chaired by Gregor L. Cherp, The Bellville Star’s editor, so it’s no surprise that he wrote in the April 5 issue, “Can we not educate youth more adequately by building a structure that would provide room for expansion? … No swimming pool, no automatic goo-gaws, no lost floor space. This building is a solid, down-to-earth structure.”
On May 10, 1962, The Bellville Star reported that the school district passed the $865,000 bond issue for the construction of the new high school. In December 1962, the Clear Fork board of education met in special session and approved the consolidation of the Butler and Bellville high schools into one school to be housed at Bellville beginning in September 1963 and the junior highs to be housed at Butler in anticipation of the new high school.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held in December 1962. The bids on the new building amounted to less than $12 per square foot. The new building was constructed on land purchased from Harold Secrist on state Route 97.