School Boards of Later Years

The following was reported in the “Vindicator,” “A diligent servant, one of the school trustees, took a quiet snooze to himself at the board meeting, on Tuesday p.m. and woke up just when the question of a new pump and well was being discussed. We can’t say there was any connection between the subject of discussion and the waking, but a pump is a suggestive thing at such a time.” Perhaps the thought of a dowsing with cold water in his subconscious mind brought him to his senses eh? It must have been a tame meeting compared to some of them!

However, Oshawa owes much to the school boards which down through the years have brought the Public and High school system second to none in the province. The following was reported in the “Daily Reformer” June 30th 1927,

“In the early days the work of the schools was supervised by trustees, these being elected along with the town and city council. The first school board as we know it now did not come until 1890 and some of the members were nominated by the county council.” This system was changed in 1926 by vote of public supporters.

“In the year 1927, the Board became the “Oshawa Board of Education” composed solely of men elected by the citizens of Oshawa to administer the affairs of the schools. By this, the taxpayers were given a greater voice in the expenditure of money on education. In the year 1884, it was thought that a huge sum of money had been voted when the schools were allotted $35 000 to carry on their work. In 1927 around $244 000 of the city’s money will be used with the government grant in addition.”

“The change from a city and county combination boards was a natural outcome, for Oshawa schools by that time, were extensive enough to have their own district and separate management.”

Rev. Father P.J. Bench sat on the school board in 1927. His work dealt mainly with the High schools which were attended by the graduating pupils of separate elementary school. There was only one at that time, mainly St. Gregory on Simcoe Street North.

There were seventeen members on the Board before changes came into effect. Afterwards there were ten. Ten members still comprise the Board of Education for the protestant schools. Two additional ones represent the Roman Catholic Secondary students, many of whom attend the protestant High schools. These Catholic members are elected by their voters.

Mrs. Edith Conant Myers was the first woman member of the Board of Education to be elected in Oshawa.




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