Today in Levy County History: Williston Grammer School closes early - no funds

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By Toni C. Collins, Levy County Historian

In April of 1929, a group called the Patrons of Williston Grammar School contacted Florida Gov. Doyle E. Carlton to lodge a complaint against the Levy County School Board.  At issue was the closing of the grammar school two months early, while the high school continued classes for the full eight-month term.
The Patrons argued that in 1927, they privately paid $4.00 per month for the two last months of school so the students could have a full eight-month term. The following year, they paid for one month so students could have an eight-month term.
In the current term, the grammar school closed after the sixth month with no option to pay for an eight-month term. The parents of students in the high school did not pay and those students were provided complete eight-month terms for all years. Is that fair, the Patrons asked?
School Board Superintendent H.S. Priest explained that a lack of funds forced the School Board to reduce the school term for the grammar school and direct available funds to the high school since those students must meet fixed state requirements to be promoted. In addition, the School Board warned grammar school classes may have to be suspended completely next year.
The Patrons pointed out that taxes were about 40-percent higher. But, said School Board members T.J. Sheffield, E.A. Etheridge and C.C. Whiddon, it is utterly impossible to carry on the entire school system in the current financial condition of the county and state.
As the financial situation for the entire nation worsened over the next several years, several local residents stepped forward and contributed their private funds to keep Levy County schools open during those trying times.