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districts had rejected the plan. These were Thames, Neuhoffnung and Kronstahl, all of which had their own high schools. Altona and Gretna on the other hand voted heavily in favour of the plan."
Trustees of the new Rhineland School Division took office on January 1, 1964 and soon after proposed the construction of a new composite high school in Altona. This proposal was voted on in Sep tember of 1964 and approved by the narrow margin of729 to 676. Only Altona's heavy vote swung the decision in favour of the school. Costing over $700,000, this school, named W. C. Miller Collegiate after Rhine land's late MLA, consolidated all public high school attendance in the division and offered many new options for high school education in Rhineland.
But if the larger division concept had been accepted for secondary schools, there was still stiff opposition to centralizing the elementary school system. This question had arisen in 1963 when the Mitchner Royal Commission recommended giving division boards the respon sibility for elementary education and most of the administration. While local boards would not be abolished they would only operate in an advisory capacity. Afraid of losing control of their children's education and unwilling to give up their community schools many opposed the scheme and deplored the government's use of bribery to gain accep tance."
While voluntary consolidation had been going on for a number of years it was still a heated issue and any attempt by the government to speed this process raised a great deal of opposition. 11 When a province wide referendum was held on the question, on March 10, 1967, Rhine land voters rejected the plan by a vote of 1,172 to 747. Despite support from teachers, school trustees and the Echo, only Gretna and Altona polls were in favour of the unitary division plan for elementary educa tion.
In an attempt to forestall any future attempt to introduce a unitary school division, a number of school districts including: Kleinstadt, Langevin, Neubergthal, Gnadenfeld, Schoenau, Halbstadt, Gruenthal, Strassberg, and Silberfeld consolidated with other districts. Rising teachers' salaries, tax increases and the difficulty in recruiting teachers had convinced a number of districts that the old system was no longer feasible and the consolidation was the lesser of two evils. 12 This rash of consolidation, ironically, encouraged the Rhineland School Trustees Association to circulate a petition to ask for another vote on the unitary division. When held in December of 1963, however, Rhineland voters again turned down the plan by an almost identical margin of 1,130 to 746.