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Over the next four years rising school costs forced tax increases and combined with declining farm incomes produced severe financial strains on municipal residents. Representations were made to the provincial government to relieve the situation, but to no avail. The government was not prepared to pass legislation to make Rhineland unitary and enable them to receive extra grants, but it did outline a procedure by which trustees could make Rhineland unitary without bringing the matter to a vote. The unitary division plan could be achieved by a majority vote of district trustees representing a majority of the electors. Having gathered the required signatures for this move by July of 1971, Rhineland elementary schools became part of the Rhine­ land School Division on January 1, 1972. With this development cen­ tralization became a fact in Rhineland and throughout the 1970's and early 1980's local schools continued to close with students bussed to the larger schools in Gretna, Altona and Plum Coulee.

These school developments also had a parallel development in Rhineland provincial politics. In 19591. M. Froese had been elected to the provincial legislature as the Social Credit candidate for the Rhine­ land Constituency. Other than his support for Social Credit principles, Froese also campaigned for public support for private schools and against the adoption of unitary divisions. Froese's position on the

J. M. Froese - Social Credit MLA for Rhineland 1959-1969.

Credit: Echo