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tive units. While the Commission did not advocate eliminating local boards of elementary schools, consolidation was implied.
The findings of this Commission were buttressed by the changing demographic picture in Rhineland which had resulted in a steady decrease in rural enrollments. 75 Consolidation of school districts, however, was not acceptable to the majority of Rhineland residents at this point. Most small communities were centered around their one room schools and churches and the loss of these schools was seen as detrimental to community cohesiveness. Mennonites had always asso ciated their traditional values and beliefs with their schools. Any loss of local control of the education of their children was seen as an erosion of these values. Thus, despite the supposed education and monetary advantages, few districts took advantage of consolidation before 1960. The only exceptions were the school districts of Aesop, Exeter and Kronsthal which were consolidated as Kronsthal #1994 in 1958.
A more contentious issue in the 1950's was the move to larger administrative units for secondary education. As early as 1951 the Altona Echo had called for the creation of larger secondary schools so that a greater range of courses, including technical and business train ing, could be provided." While Altona school trustees favoured a broader curriculum they argued they did not have the tax base to operate such a modem high school. A school ofthis type would only be possible with a larger school division.
Ever since the late 1940's school enrollment in Altona had been expanding tremendously, creating a continual space shortage. Merely the expense of providing accommodation for the expanding school population precluded any attempt to establish a composite high school division on their own. But, if a larger high school division with an enlarged tax base was to Altona's liking, it was unacceptable to most rural districts, and in 1955 Rhineland Trustees turned down the pro posal.
The 1957 Royal Commission on Education re-opened the contro versy with its recommendation that a provincial boundary commission be constituted to define tentative boundaries for enlarged units for secondary education. Approved by the legislature, the final decision was left up to the various divisions. Rhineland Division was nearly co terminus with the R.M. of Rhineland, though parts of Garden Valley School Division were also in the R.M. of Rhineland.
In the plebiscite held throughout the province on February 28, 1959, both divisions in the R.M. of Rhineland turned down the plan depsite the fact that most of the province had voted strongly in favour of the plan. In the Rhineland Division the vote overwhelmingly turned