Link to YouTube Link to Live Stream Link to Instagram Link to Pinterest Link to Twitter Link to Facebook

The War Years 1940 - 1950 - Part 2

During the war years, the government financed a number of nurseries, which were staffed by the School District. Half the old apartment house, formerly used as an administration building, was devoted to a nursery and the government constructed others. These were portable, temporary structures. They were discontinued in the fall of 1945 when federal funds were withdrawn.

After Consolidated Aircraft located at Tucson Municipal Airport, the need for defense labor rose to the point that teachers were permitted to work at the plant during Saturdays and Sundays and not more than two hours per day during the week.

In the summer of 1943, a number of servicemen were beginning to be discharged because of wounds or for other physical reasons. Some of these had not finished their high school work and desired to re-enter Tucson High School. They had matured; some were married. That fall it was decided that the married high school undergraduates could complete their high school work, but they would not be permitted to take part in extra-curricular activities. The married girls who had not finished their high school studies were not permitted to return. On October 22, 1946, Superintendent Morrow issued the following bulletin:

"Veteran students in high school must observe the high school rules about smoking in the school building or on the schoolgrounds. Also, carrying liquor to high schools games when seated with high school students will not be tolerated."

Following the ending of the war, the High chool District received federal funds for educating veterans under the Servicemen's Readjustment Act, Title II.

Morrow was a believer in raising teachers' salaries to a professional level in order to secure the best qualified teachers and retain them after they were hired. In 1940-41, elementary school teachers' salaries ranged between $1,488 to $2,208 per year and high school teachers received from $1,536 per year to $2,688.

Principals, assistant superintendents and the superintendent were paid higher salaries proportionate to their duties.

Morrow recommended cost-of-living increases during the decade as a method of raising pay, as well as increment raises for longevity with the District and added pay for degrees above the Bachelor level as well as extra pay for hours of graduate work completed. During the decade, in 1943, a new teachers retirement system was enacted by the State Legislature, providing an increase in benefits.

In the school year 1949-50 teachers on all levels were being paid from $2,784 per year to a maximum of $4,704.

Because of the stress of the war years, the first part of the decade saw few modernizations in the educational activities of the system. With the end of the war, educational advances were made. A few in the 1940-50 decade were:

--An automobile driving course was started at Tucson High School in the 1941-42 school year.

--The positions of Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education and Assistant Superintendent of Junior High and Elementary grades were created.

--Married women were employed as teachers when needed during the war years, but only as "permanent substitutes."

--Principals in the larger schools were beginning to be relieved of teaching assignments.

--Beginning and ending dates for the elementary schools and the high schools were made to coincide in 1944. Elementary school children previously started a week later than high school students in the fall.

--Distributive Education was inaugurated in 1946. Through this program students learn retailing methods in the classroom and work part-time in retail outlets.

--A new science course was established for grades one through eight.

--Summer recreation programs after the war were again in progress under a cooperative agreement between the School District and the City of Tucson. Main centers of the programs were Mansfeld, University Heights, Sam Hughes and Carrillo Schools.

Summer school courses were offered on a tuition basis in grades four through eight and in the high school. Present policy is to operate summer sessions in high schools only, on a tuition basis.

--On May 22, 1947, the School Board approved releasing one teacher in each junior high school for half-time counseling services and in the high school six teachers were released for half-time counseling. The District also employed a full-time director, or co-ordinator, of guidance activities and counseling services. This service developed into the present Department of Pupil Personnel. It includes a Casework Division, Elementary Pupil Personnel Services Department, Health Consultant Services, a Psychological Division and a Measurement and Evaluation (testing) Division.

--Francis A. Vesey, on June 11, 1947, was appointed Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds of the school system. This was the beginning of the present Engineering Department, which supervises school construction and produces architectural specifications for the construction. Vesey had under his jurisdiction the Maintenance Department until 1966, when maintenance was made an individual department. Vesey retired at the close of the 1966-67 school year.

--In September, 1948, Morrow suggested to the School Board that it back proposed legislation which would create a five-member School Board, giving broader representation to the Board. This was enacted into law in 1953 and in 1954, the first five-member Board was elected.

--Also in September, 1948, the Board hired Mrs. Laura Ganoung as supervisor of a program to educate handicapped children. This was the beginning of the Special Education Department which conducts programs in Covert, Gump and Howenstine Schools and also a number of Special Education classes in other schools. Mrs. Ganoung is still head of the department.

In April, 1949, Morrow reported that the new guidance department "is doing commendable work and the counseling system has brought the number of pupils who drop out of school down to the lowest in the history of the school system." Again, on November 22, 1949, Morrow reported to the Board: "Owing to the testing and guidance programs under Mrs. Ganoung, drop-outs in senior and junior high schools have been reduced 40 or 50 per cent and tardiness and truancy have been reduced 65 percent."

--On January 19, 1949, Morrow took his first official stand on the desegregation of the public schools. Morrow told the Board that a delegation of Negro parents from the south side of Tucson had called on him asking that a second colored school be constructed in the area, as the Dunbar (Spring) School at 300 W. Second Street was too far distant for children on the south side to attend.

In reporting on the request (the second school for Negro children was never built) Morrow told the Board of his desire that the law requiring segregation of Negro children be repealed.

The State Legislature did repeal the segregation law on March 30, 1951 and in the fall of 1951, Tucson School District 1 desegregated--the first school district in Arizona to do so.

Time Magazine, in its August 3, 1953 issue praised Dr. Morrow and the District's action.

Integration in the Tucson Schools in the fall of 1951 under the leadership of Superintendent Robert D. Morrow was carried out so successfully and has continued to develop as the "real step forward" he predicted it would be that many educators, officials and citizens of other communities and states have written to ask how it was accomplished.

Although segregation of black children had been compulsory in Arizona schools since Arizona became a state, preparations for desegregation were made by Tucson educators with the full cooperation of the newspapers in Tucson, which treated the subject as something natural and right. Senior high schools were not segregated so the change in law affected only elementary and junior highs.

Nearly all children, parents and teachers have shown a spirit of fair play in the matter during the past 16 years. The first year, boundary changes were made which placed a majority of black children, formerly in one elementary and one junior high, in a few schools and a minority in some others, but the growth and movement of population in Tucson resulted in enrollment of black children in well over half of the elementary and junior and senior high schools in the district. All students attended schools serving the boundary area in which they lived.

The number of black teachers also increased steadily. Asian and Native American teachers were also employed in Tucson School District 1.

Some of the teachers were in schools where the majority of pupils are white children. Credited with helping integration were the orientation programs for children entering first grade, for sixth graders entering junior high school, and for eighth graders entering high school.

In a letter sent to all school staff members before integration in 1951, the superintendent stated that "we shall at all times consider all teachers as fellow citizens and fellow Americans and all boys and girls as American boys and girls rather than as American Indians, Anglo-Americans, Negro-Americans, Spanish-Americans or Chinese-Americans."

In the 1950s, the children in Tucson Schools studied the contributions to our culture of the various ethnic groups and generally seemed to accept their classmates as friends regardless of race or creed.

Black and Chinese-American students were often elected to student office and won recognition in both scholarship and athletics.

Both the Parent Teacher Association and the Arizona Education Association stated that Tucson had been one of the best convention cities because the hotels and motels accept all delegates. Integration of the schools here has probably had a beneficial effect in this regard.

The 1939-40 School Board was composed of S. C. Davis, Peter E. Howell and F. W. Fickett. Fickett, opposed by J. Homer Boyd (who later served as a Pima County Supervisor), was re-elected for a three-year term on October 24, 1940, 1,827 votes to Boyd's 1,358. Fickett was made President the following January, and Davis was elected Clerk.

Howell was re-elected on October 27, 1941, unopposed. He received 158 votes. In January, he was elected President and Fickett was named Clerk.

Davis was re-elected in the October 31, 1942, election with 124 votes. Four electors wrote in the name of Anne P. Rogers, a former teacher who retired in 1934 and after whom Rogers Elementary School was later named. Davis was elected President while Fickett stayed on as Clerk of the Board. Davis died on March 14, 1943, and County Supt. Mrs. P. H. Ross appointed O. H. Barnhill in his place. Howell was then elected President to succeed Davis and Fickett remained as Clerk.

Fickett was re-elected on October 30, 1943, receiving all votes cast (98) and in January, 1944, Howell was elected President with Barnhill to serve as Clerk.

On October 24, 1944, Howell was again re-elected, receiving 101 votes. He had no opposition. In January, Howell was re-elected President and Barnhill was renamed Clerk.

Barnhill was re-elected to the Board on October 27, 1945. He received 726 votes, defeating S. G. Roberts who received 278 votes. Howell was re-elected President and Barnhill remained as Clerk. On October 26, 1946, Fickett was re-elected unopposed and received 86 votes. Write-in votes were given to Mrs. Thelma McQuade, 3; H. H. d'Autremont, 2, and Ludwig Lundberg, 1. Again, Howell was elected President and Barnhill kept his Clerk's position.

Howell again was re-elected on October 25, 1947, getting all 175 votes cast and he was re-elected President of the Board. Fickett was elected Clerk.

O. H. Barnhill did not run for re-election in 1948 and on October 30, Oliver Drachman was elected out of a field of four candidates.

Drachman, a member of the well-known Drachman family, three of whom had previously served on the Board, received 1,890 votes. August Wieden received 457 votes, Scott Henderson 392, and Curtis Rice 57. Fickett became President of the Board, and Drachman was elected Clerk.

Fickett was re-elected unopposed on October 29, 1949, receiving 450 votes. Write-ins were John Ross 2, J. H. Terry 3, M. J. O'Brian 1, Andrew Martin 1, C. B. Cedillo 1, Harry Webber 2, and W. N. J. Shaw Jr. 1.

The decade ended with a school population of 18,100. There were 518 teachers, not counting guidance personnel, attendance officers, principals and the superintendent.

Yearly budgets for the decade were:

Year High School Elementary Schools Total

1940-41 $ 236,523 $ 711,176 $ 947,699

1941-42 331,753 737,253.32 1,069,006.32

1942-43 368,609 833,954 1,202,563

1943-44 387,220 995,682 1,382,902

1944-45 359,346 (1) 1,005,041 1,364,387

1945-46 512,609 1,105,636 1,618,245

1946-47 624,393 1,248,801 1,873,194

1947-48 (2) 931,633 2,008,105 2,939,738

1948-49 1,067,002 2,549,492 3,616,494

1949-50 1,224,882 2,881,501 4,106,383


(1)High School budget decreased because of drop in attendance due to World War II.

(2)Permission was obtained from the Pima County Board of Supervisors to exceed the 1947-48 budget by a total of $34,000 due to the unexpected influx of veteran students.

First Hundred Years, By James F. Cooper, Edited by John H. Fahr, Tucson, Arizona, 1967