"That was a great school. One teacher for 13 or 14 kids. I still love the concept. We were taught discipline. We were taught sharing. We had a lot of lessons in life in that little country school that were great. Growing up and going to high school in McCool. I'm a small school advocate and I will be to my death. I love small schools. I love the one-to-one contact with the teachers. It's just a great, you know, it's a great system.
     "And I know the trend right now is to go, to consolidate and go bigger. And I haven't followed that trend of thought. I've liked the small school style. But rural education, I think you're in contact with nature…"
     Question: "You said that Geneva consolidated with Fillmore, was that right?"
     "That was Fairmont and Geneva."
     Question: "So, they called it the Fillmore…"
     "Fillmore Central."
     Question: "What happened in that? What was that consolildation process like?"
     "Oh, it was somewhat bitter. At the time, Fairmont had a pretty new school and the handwriting on the wall was the students were – there wasn't enough population. And if they could combine school districts, it would help them financially and create more people. And that – it's tough on – All of a sudden, you start to divide up communities when you're trying to consolidate. It's not that it hasn't worked. Centennial [consolidated district] has worked. And there have been a lot of examples. But I think the key there is, is it forced or is it voluntary? You know, when the people make the choice it's pretty easy to swallow. But when the Legislature makes the choice its a tough pill."

Paul Underwood – One-Room Schools


Other Excerpts from Paul Underwood’s Interview:

Cold War on the Farm
TV Dinners
Pesticides & Fertilizers