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The Kings of Oak Springs - Episode 43 - Karl King and the School Board
The board meeting was in January
Karl was in his ‘third term’ as a School Board Member
After serving on the High School Planning Committee for some time, Karl King had become Vice-President and a member of the Board of Education of the subscription high school in Oak Spring in August of 1878 along with Thomas Crane, Jane Mc Donald, Charlotte Truesdale, and Russell Nixon. When the High School opened that fall, Kate King was a member of the initial Freshman Class. In the following months, it was decided that this Board would administer the Patton School as well as the high school since the ‘ownership’ was virtually the same.
When the Public School District came up for a vote of the community in a Special Election in August of 1880, and passed, Karl was one of those five board members elected to that first official Board of Directors of the public school that consisted of Oak Creek Township, including the Town of Oak Springss. In organizing itself, Thomas Crane and Karl King initially took one-year terms. Jane McDonald and Russell Nixon took two-year terms, and Charlotte Truesdale took the three-year term. The Board had hired Quinton Chambers as Superintendant of the newly organized Public School District. In the August 1881 school election, both Thomas Crane and Karl King were re-elected to full three-year terms.
By January of 1882, twice a month school board meetings on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday evenings of the month had become a regular part of Karl’s life, as well as that of the others involved. Thomas Crane had served as President of the Board in each of the first two years of the existence of this board, Karl King had served as Vice-President, and Jane McDonald served as Secretary. At the January 18th meeting, there was some discussion among the board members about each of their future plans with respect to serving on the board.
It was a wintry January day
Future plans were discussed
Jane McDonald: Three of us have children graduating from the high school this spring. My William is my one and only, so, frankly, I do not plan to stand for re-election in August. As a woman, part of me wants to see if I could actually be re-elected. But, I really don’t feel this is the time to encourage negativity. We’ve actually been pretty lucky, to date. I’m sure there are others who are anxious to be of service. Letting them know early that there will be a vacancy on the board will give them a chance to plan. Russell, I assume you will run for re-election?
Russell Nixon: Yes, I certainly plan to. Are you ready to go public with your decision, Jane?
Jane: Yes, I am. If you want to do a short interview with me after the meeting to go in next week’s newspaper, that would be fine with me.
Russell: We’ll do that. Thank you.
Thomas Crane: While we’re on the subject of board organization, I’m going to recommend that Karl be chosen as President after the next election. I’m serving a second year for continuity, but I think a regular rotation, or at least a change, each year, makes for a stronger board. Do you agree?
Caroline Truesdale: Yes, I agree. You are doing a great job, Thomas, but giving others the experience, and showing a different face to the public, I think are positives for the board.
Nixon: Frankly, I hadn’t thought about it. But, now that it has been mentioned, I agree with Caroline, there are good reasons to move it around.
Karl King: And, it would set a good precedent, I suppose, for future boards. I’ll be preparing myself for that happening. Thanks for the warning, Thomas.
Thomas: My pleasure. You’ll do just fine. We are each dedicated to doing the best job we can, for the District.
Quinton Chambers: And that is why it has been, and is, such a pleasure to work with each one of you. We probably should get on with the agenda.
Karl loaded his supplies and headed home
Reaction to Jane McDonald’s announcement
Later the following week, Karl King was in the Oak Creek Farm and Home Supply, talking to manager, Simeon Bishop.
Simeon: I was quite surprised to read that Jane McDonald would not be running for re-election to the school board.
Karl: She brought it up at the board meeting, last week. I was surprised, at the time, but, hearing her say it, I wasn’t at all surprised. She was really there to do her best, as a mother, to see that her son got the education she wanted him to have. She also did it for the community, as well, of course, but watching her say the words, that came through loud and clear.
Simeon: She and Daniel have come a long ways. They seem to have a plan for their lives and are living it out.
Karl: I agree, totally. And I think the next part of the plan is to continue to bring William along, as he completes high school, to where he can take over what they are building one day. That isn’t all just happening by accident.
Simeon: Yes, I see them regularly. They each have specific things they want to accomplish, on some schedule that only they know, it seems. That is fairly unusual around here, I can tell you!
Karl: I admire it, for sure. I’d try to do that, but it seems I come up short, so much of the time.
Simeon: Well, I don’t know about that. I was about to add, that you are one of the few others here in the valley that I see in the same light. You have done very well here in the few years you’ve been in the valley.
Karl: Thank you, Simeon. You are very kind. I try hard. I’ve got a good family, friends and neighbors that have been very helpful.
Simeon: Yes, and you all work as a coordinated team… exactly what I was talking about.
Karl: Well, I’d best get these supplies back out to the farm, to try to live up to your expectations!
Note from the author
This is the forty-third episode of this short story series, and the third of what will be Volume Three. The stories are set in the Ozarks Mountains setting of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga historical fiction. This Episode is set in January of the calendar year 1882. The 20-Episode Series OSx, “Life in Oak Springs and more” fills in the gap of time between Episodes 40 and 41 in this series. These episodes move the story forward for the entire "Saga" series.
The earlier episodes of the King Family series have now been compiled into two eBooks, titled: "The Kings of Oak Springs,” Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (20 episodes each). See the link, below, to get yours.
“The Homeplace Saga” historical fiction family saga stories are the creation of the author, William Leverne Smith, also known as “Dr. Bill.”