Niagara Gazette — There were serious concerns about voter apathy toward the approaching school election that year as it was the first time that members of the school board would be elected by the people. Three seats were open by members leaving due to expiration of their term. Up to that year members had been appointed by the mayor.
As mentioned above the vote on the granting of authority to the board of education to issue bonds to finance construction of the three above mentioned schools was also on the ballot. Another item was the financing of $500,000 for the reconstruction of the lighting and electrical systems of 33 existing schools. Citizens were urged to participate and organizations were asked to stimulate discussion to arouse interest in these matters. R. William J. Small, superintendent of Schools warned if the referendum did not pass, some schools would go to half-days the following year. Plans had already been made for 79th Street School, Evershed School, Sugar Street School and part of 93rd Street School.
Dr. Small state that “the time has come when schools cannot be isolated. We don’t realize the real value of education but our founders felt that education was basic to our type of democracy.” He revealed a survey conducted by an economist from New York University in 1945 under the auspices of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which revealed that where there are good schools, there was good business. The chamber was so convinced it published a pamphlet titled “Education – An Investment in People.”
Dr. Small traced the need for more schools to an increase in enrollment due to the high birth rate beginning in 1947 (baby boomers) especially in the LaSalle area where there was a shift in population over the past 10 years.
The first principal of 39th Street School was Mrs. Victoria Polley. When the building closed in 1982, Mrs. Ann Hodge was principal. The former school was sold to Treasure Knit, Inc. for $346,000 for use as a light manufacturing facility with warehouse space.