In the late 1700's and early 1800's, the area in and around the Town of Blooming Grove was dotted with small, one-room schoolhouses where children of all ages would attend. Children usually attended from the age of five to fifteen. School was conducted only part of the school year and there would be several sessions because most children couldn't attend due to their being needed on the family farms.
Education was not free back then. Parents had to pay tuition for their children to attend the school and teachers were instructed to keep a count of who brought in logs for fuel so an appropriate amount could be subtracted from that family's tuition fee. Likewise, if a father helped in the building of the school house or did repairs to it, an appropriate amount would be deducted from that family's bill. Below is what the school budget looked like in 1859 as recorded by John Kernochan, District Clerk. The total was $36.10 not including the teacher's salary! The agendas (also below) were handwritten in beautiful script and the earliest recordings are still kept in the school district's files.
These one-room schoolhouses did not have running water or electricity. In the colder months, the teacher would arrive early to start the fire in the stove so that the building would be warm by the time the children arrived. All grades attended together and there was one teacher for all the children. Several of those old school houses survive today and have been converted into private homes. The Windsor Hill School, built in 1870, as it appears today is at the left.
In 1812, the New York State Legislature passed the Common Schools Law which would give aid money to school districts who consolidated. That is when the one-room schoolhouses in the counties started to consolidate, finally building larger buildings to house more students. In 1933, the present day Washingtonville Middle School was built as a Kindergarten through 12th grade building. The school district was alternately School District #2, #5, #7 and went through many changes of boundaries and population throughout its history.
Below are two pictures of the present day Washingtonville Middle School as it was being built and the front of the building with it's magnificent cupola and stained-glass globe as it appeared shortly after being built. In the cornerstone of the building, pictures of the students from that year are kept. Some of the residents still remember being "marched" from the old school through the Village to the new school building the day of its opening.