History of Chili No. 11 School

Presented by Florence H. Brasser
May 1958


This is the year 1957-1958. The public relations committee of the Gates Chili Central School are attempting to write a history of each of the four large schools in this system. A history committee was formed with one representative from each school. This information for Chili No. 11 (Florence Brasser School) has been obtained from school records, by talking to older residents in the district, from former pupils, teachers and trustees, from the District Superintendent's office and being a faculty member for 30 years. There have been many changes and growth in District 11, starting as a little one room school and now it is large with many rooms and an enrollment of about 400 children.

We have been unable to find out when District 11 came into existence. After talking to C. Arthur Nichols, one of the older residents of the District, he recalls many names and incidents that happened in his early years. He and his ancestors have lived in the district for many years. His grandfather, Job Nichols, came here from England about 1850 and his father, Cornelius Nichols Sr., was born in 1858. He attended District 11 school. Cornelius Nichols Sr. later bought the place on the corner of Chili Avenue and Coldwater Rd. in 1886 from Tom Moore. This place had been a tavern since 1844 or possibly longer. The Chili postoffice had also been there and C. Nichols continued having the postoffice for 27 years. C. Arthur Nichols, still living in the house on the corner was born in 1882 and he also attended District 11.

It was recorded in the County Clerk's Office in Rochester, on January 4, 1855 that Isreal Chapman and his wife Charity, living on the farm between Nichols and the school, sold land to the trustees of district No. 11 for $65. It was 7 rods by 8 rods.

School records date back to the year 1892 and 1893. Expenses for that year were $300.24 of which $256 was for teacher's wages. For 2 more years the teacher's salary remained at $256. But in 1895-1896 it jumped to $272. At that time and for several years later the teacher collected part of her salary from the Supervisor of the town, who had the State Aid Public money. During these years it is noted that payments were made for items like coal, wood, brooms, pails, cleaning school house, stove pipe, water, whitewashing, repairing stove, cleaning yard privies etc. Mr. C. Arthur Nichols recalls that in 1897-1898, they made repairs on the building by putting in a hardwood floor, painted the plastered walls, which were badly marked up by the children, and put in new desks which were sold to them by his father. It was to cost $200 and there was much discussion and disagreement about having these repairs made. It did cost $259.89.

In 1901-1902 new shingles were put on the school building with a cost of $6.00 for the labor. For several years it is noted that the trustee received a salary of $10. In 1904-1905 the school house was painted at a cost of $40. The teacher's salary had now reached $340.10. The next year the schoolroom was papered at a cost of $30.40 and the teacher's salary was $351.

In 1910-1911 the teacher's contract was extended from 32 weeks to 34 weeks at $10.50 a week or $357 a year.

John C. Mallock became District Superintendent in 1912 of the 4th Supervisory District. This was part of Mr. Fred Hills Supervisory District previously.

In 1913-1914 the first money was paid for medical inspection which was $37.

By 1918-1919 wages were up to $576. The Mother's Club presented a Mocking Bird victrola to the school in 1920. New shingles were again put on the building for $75.07. Teacher's wages and janitor work was $1080 in 1920-1921.

During the winter of 1920-1921 the one room school building burned down. School Classes were held at St. Feehan's Church on Chestnut Ridge Road. A special meeting was called by Trustee, Mr. Hancock, at his home in March 1921 and another special meeting on April 14, 1921 for the purpose of voting on the erection of a new school building and to raise by tax $8000. The annual school meeting was held in May 1921 at the home of Mr. Hancock. On June 18, 1921 bids were received for bonds and was awarded to Security Trust Co. of Rochester. School building was started immediately and occupied in September 1921. It was made of large stone blocks with one large classroom and enteries on each side. The school was built by Jay Neracher and his brother. The teacher's wages for 1922-1923 was $1008. Miss Lindsley was the teacher. At the end of the school year in June she had $22.40 coming to her which she did not collect and the next year that amount was returned to the treasurer.

The Education Law of 1919 provided for schools to pay the tuition of children attending High School. The first recorded amount for District 11 was $50 in 1922-1923. Three years later $100 was paid for tuition. The janitor received $134.

At the May 1926 meeting it was voted to consider putting in the electric current if it did not exceed $250. The Mother's Club was to look after this. It was voted on to add $50 more to allow for electric lights. Also at this meeting it was voted to donate $10 to the Rural School Improvement Society and Mr. Story was named as a representative. This society was opposed to the existing law of forced consolidation and forced centralization. It was also decided to send high school students to a Rochester High School.

The following year (1926-1927) electric was put in at a cost of $284.47. Again it was voted to give $10 to the Rural School Improvement Society and to send Mr. Story to Syracuse to fight the Rural School Bill.

The janitor's wages were raised $2 making his salary $6 a week.

On June 27, 1927 a special meeting was called by newly appointed trustee, Mary Weeks, to vote on hiring a second teacher and having two half day sessions, morning and afternoon. This was decided to be done because of the one room space and large attendance. The two teacher's salary was $1908.

Many important questions were presented in the regular meeting May 1, 1928. These were in regard to repairs to building, new toilets to put in, a partition to divide the classroom. Support was still given to the Rural School Improvement Society by sending $15.

Because of these important decisions to be made a special meeting was called by trustee, Mary Weeks, on May 22, 1928 to vote on putting up a partition in the schoolroom and having all day session. Also to vote on putting in flush system toilets to replace the chemical toilets. The cost was not to exceed $1200. The trustee was authorized to borrow this sum if necessary and issue notes in the denomination of $300.

Florence Brasser came in September 1928 to teach the first four grades.

At the May 1929 meeting it was voted to appropriate $200 for playground equipment. This was the first for that purpose. Also it was decided to drop the Rural School Improvement Society.

The Compulsory Transportation Law for High School was made in 1930. In 1931-1932, $500 was in the budget for transportation and $1000 the following year. There was some discussion as to whether this item of $1000 for transportation should be left in the budget at the May 3, 1932 meeting. It was voted to remove this item from the budget. At the next meeting in 1933 it was again voted down. But in May 1934 it was voted to provide transportation to all High School pupils.

After a petition was presented by Mr. Marion Westfall, it was voted to send certain pupils to the Gates-Chili School No. 1 and pay their tuition of not over $25 per pupil. The west boundary was the lot line of the Barber and Jacobs farm on Chili Avenue. In May 1933 and May 1934 it was agreed to continue sending these pupils to No. 1 and pay their tuition.

The school had been having furnace trouble for quite a long time. There were many cold days in the winter. Therefore at May 2, 1933 meeting it was voted first to repair the old furnace but this was voted down and instead to buy a new furnace not to exceed $300.

It was also voted to extend the partition to the ceiling to keep the pupils in one room from disturbing those in the other.

The budget for 1934-1935 was $5808 of which $1950 was for two teacher's salary.

P.T.A. was first organized on April 2, 1934. Mrs. Christopher, Monroe Co. Director attended to give the meaning and purpose of P.T.A.. A regular business meeting was held April 16, 1934 and another May 24, 1934. The Association became quite well organized for a full program the next fall, September 1934.

Mr. John Erbelding was the first president of P.T.A., with Lillian Collins as Secretary and Raymond Deverall as Treasurer. The P.T.A. right from the beginning has been a very active organization. Many activities have been carried out, to raise money for improving our school and bettering conditions for the children and teachers. Some of the activities were card parties, bingo parties, movies, suppers, tramp parties, dances, plays, rummage sales, bazaars, etc.

The P.T.A. has helped to create more interest and concern by the people, especially parents than there would have been without it. There has been wonderful cooperation between parents and teachers. Through P.T.A. there is better understanding of school problems. It has been a great help to our school and we can be proud of its accomplishments.

The budget for 1935-1936 was $5669.00.

At the October 1934 P.T.A. meeting Mr. Mallock, Supt. of Schools discussed the need of an addition to the school. Other meetings were held by the school district and finally at a special meeting April 9,1936 it was voted to erect an addition to the present school building, and not spend more than $8000 for such purpose. $1000 of this amount was to be paid from the cash balance and the remaining $7000 to be paid in fourteen annual installments of $500 each, plus interest.

The new addition was started in April 1936 by the W.P.A. or New York State "Works Progress Administration." Two new rooms were added on the south side, making a total of 3 rooms. The new addition as well as the old part was covered over with brick. The new school was dedicated in September 1936 with Mr. Mallock and W.P.A. officials present.

In May 1937 an attempt was made to have gas installed in the school building but this was voted down almost unanimously. In May 1938 it was voted down to hire a third teacher. The budget was $9022.50.

In May 1939 it was voted to hire a third teacher. Betty Keppen was hired for middle grades.

The problem of discipline in school of the upper grade children was discussed at the May 1941 meeting. It was voted to support Mr. Morse the trustee and the teacher to obtain better discipline.

At a special meeting July 8, 1941, it was voted to buy extra land from the Holderle Brothers for $1500. The salary for 3 teachers in 1942-1943 was $3960. Money was put in the budget for a new driveway and to beautify the front of the property. The budget for 1943-1944 was $14,250 of which $600 was for increase in teachers' salary.

In May 1944 a budget of $15,994.50 was accepted. For the first time it was also suggested to have 3 trustees but this was voted down. Mr. Edwin Morris was voted to become clerk. He has served well and is still clerk up to the present year of 1958-1959.

In May 1944 a motion was made by Mrs. Wyant, that a special meeting be called to vote on having religious training in the school. In the meantime the trustee was to get an interpretation of the law from Albany.

The special meeting was held June 20, 1944. The law and interpretation decided against the motion.

It was voted in May 1945 to install a telephone in the school and $75 was put in the budget for it. Also $150 to buy a Gas Heater and install necessary piping. Total budget was $14,324.50. It was difficult to find someone to accept the office of Trustee. Sixteen people were nominated and declined. Finally Mr. Robert Newell was nominated again and accepted.

The salary for 3 teachers was raised $600 at the May 1946 meeting. $100 was included for architectural fees for plans of an addition to present school building. There was a discussion about an addition and a committee was appointed to investigate and report at the next annual meeting in 1947. At the next meeting Mr. Newell, trustee, presented the architects sketch of a new building with floor plan and explained item of $500 for architectural fees. It was voted for the committee to continue on and complete plans and buy additional land if necessary. We must be ready to build when prices become more stable.

Fire insurance was raised to $25,000 on the building. Total budget was $22,550.96.

May, 1948 each teacher's salary was raised $100. Janitor was raised $100 making a total of $800. Mr. & Mrs. Mertz were doing excellent work in cleaning. $300 was added to put a roof over the south entrance to keep off the ice on the steps in winter. Total budget was $24,869.60.

In 1949 Mr. John C. Mallock, District Superintendent of the 4th Supervisory District, retired. He had served for 37 years. Mr. Mallock had seen many changes in our schools and education during his years of service. He always worked for better schools and was always mindful of the teachers and the school children. Teachers felt free to take their problems to him and seek his advice. He was always very understanding. He will be affectionately remembered and recorded as an honest, reverent man and it could well be said of him, "well done good and faithful servant." Mr. Mallock died suddenly on June 20, 1952 at the age of 72 yrs. He was the last of the 4 original Superintendents.

Mr. A. A. Oliver became the next District Superintendent.

In 1949 the school became overcrowded again and a new basement school room was occupied in September 1949 by the third grade and part of the second grade. They were taught by Leslie Hawkins. A building committee was organized with Victor Jensen, the trustee. On October 25, 1949 the residents approved a $140,000 addition to School 11. This would include a gymnasium-auditorium seating 200 with a stage and a kitchenette in the basement. Also it included 4 new classrooms, one being a kindergarten. Harwood Dryer was architect. A contract was given to LeChase Construction Co. and work was started in July 1950.

Trustee, Victor Jensen, called a special meeting June 20, 1950 to vote on the proposition that the trustee be authorized to purchase one school bus and spend not over $7600 to be paid for in 5 annual installments. The vote was carried.

In September 1950 the first school bus had arrived and the first trip was made September 18, 1950 with William Tierney as driver.

In 1950-1951 first and second grades were large so there were half day sessions in that room. The first grade came in the morning and second grade in the afternoon.

Work progressed on the new addition all during the fall of 1950 and into 1951. In September 1951 the new addition was occupied. Kindergarten sessions first began at that time with Florence Dickson as teacher. Mrs. Vitale also came as the first part time music teacher. It was voted to have 3 trustees in 1951-1952. The budget for that year was $102,771.09.

Mr. Beardsley came in September 1952 as principal and also as 5th grade teacher. In 1953-1954 it became crowded again and it was necessary to make the second basement room. They were used by third and fourth grades. In 1954-1955 two rooms were rented at Parkminster Church at Pixley Road and Chili Avenue. They were occupied by the two second grades.

On August 3, 1954, on September 21, 1954 and again on October 4, 1954 the proposal to construct a $285,000 addition to the school was voted down. The plans were for seven new rooms and an all purpose room which would include a lunchroom and a gymnasium.

On January 13, 1955 voters approved construction of a $140,000 six classroom addition to the Chili District 11 School. This would be on the north end of the building. Two rooms were again rented at Parkminster Church and used by the two fourth grades. Also one room was rented at Henderson House at Chili Center and used by one of the first grades.

Mr. Alfred Henehan came in 1955-1956 as the first Physical Education teacher.

On May 4, 1955 it was voted to name the school, Florence Brasser School. It became official on Teacher Recognition Day on May 23, 1955.

In April 1955 Mr. A. D. Oliver, the District Superintendent of schools, died. Mr. Forman became acting Superintendent until February 1956. At that time Mr. Robert Dye was appointed. A reception was given in his honor on February 26, 1956, at Washington Irving School.

Because of the new building program the way was opened for a possible centralization with the four Gates School Districts. A meeting was held in January 1955 with the Gates Districts to discuss centralization. Finally centralization became a fact on December 8, 1955 when it was voted upon. The schools started operating as a central district on July 1, 1956. A central board was elected with Mr. Frank Holley as president and Mr. Erwin Morris from District 11 as Clerk. A new Junior-Senior High School was proposed. At the first Annual May meeting of the Central District in 1956, discussion of matters to be voted on were:

  1. Purchase of site for High School
  2. Purchase of 11 buses
  3. Budget for 1956-1957

Mr. Cecil Luffman became Supervising Principal on July 1, 1956. Temporary offices were established for the Central District in the basement of Thomas Edison School.

Land was then purchased on Wegman Road for the High School site, on July 13, 1956. There were 86 acres bought at a cost of $92,607.13. It was purchased from the farm of Vogel and Meisenzahl.

The 11 buses were bought at a cost of $66,390 and put in operation in September 1956. Our district was then transporting more than 3,500 children daily, counting public school, parochial, and high school.

Bids for the Administration Building were made and accepted on November 15, 1956. It was given to LeChase Construction Co. Work was started immediately on this building. Also plans for the bus garage and the new High School were under way.

Mr. William Kirkmire was promoted to Assistant Supervising Principal and Mr. William Hodgetts from Washington Irving School became Principal of Thomas Edison School. The Gates-Chili Central School Faculty Association was organized in the fall of 1956 with Elma Prince as the first president.

At the May 1957 annual school meeting a budget of $1,357,500 was voted upon and also the purchase of 4 more buses, making a total of 18, ready to transport approximately 4,000 students in all, in September 1957.

Bids for the Bus Garage and the High School were made and accepted on May 15, 1957. It was given to LeChase Construction Co. again.

In June 1957 the Administration Building was finished and occupied by the Central Office Staff. Open house was set for November 24 along with the completion of the Bus Garage.

In September 1957 a Junior High Program at Edison School included 3 ninth grade groups because Spencerport was unable to take them. Also the seventh and eighth grades from Florence Brasser School attended Edison School.

Construction of the High School proceeded well during the summer of 1957 and into the fall and winter. The appointment of Mr. Harold Beam as the Principal of the High School became effective February 1, 1958. He served as Junior High Principal at Edison and also worked on the necessary planning for the High School.

Adult Education Classes started in November 1957 with a total enrollment of about 100 persons.

Because of the severe weather bringing cold temperatures and much snow in February 1958 it was necessary to close school on February 4, 10, 17, 18, 19, and 20.

Three Citizens' Committees were formed to help in the planning of school organization. They met on January 28, February 25, and March 25. A complete Progress Report of the 3 committees was given on April 7, 1958 to the Board of Education. They had made much progress. The 3 committees were:

  1. Curriculum Planning and Development
  2. Future Planning Committee
  3. Recreation Committee

A reception for Mr. Beam was given on April 1, 1958 at Harding School.

Mrs. Marion Goodwin, teacher at Florence Brasser School, died suddenly April 7, 1958. She had been at this school for 7 years but had taught 12 years previously. She had excellent teaching ability and understanding. She was greatly missed.

The May 6, 1958 school meeting was held at Washington Irving School. Three vacancies were to be filled on the Board of Education. This meeting was attended by nearly 1550 voters and they had a marathon of 7½ hour session which disbanded at 3 A.M.

No candidate got a clear majority in two board contests. The voters had to return the next night and finally elected Elmer Meyer and Jack Westfall. John Lindsley was elected at the first meeting. About 700 more voters came out the second night. It was approved to purchase 4 buses at a total cost not to exceed $40,000. Also a budget of $1,685,793 was approved.


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