Vienna Township Rural School District
The Vienna Township Rural School District contained publicly funded schools--many of them one-room buildings--located throughout the Township from 1805 to 1915, when a centralized school building was approved to be constructed.
Public schooling in Vienna began in the fall of 1805 in a building on Samuel Clinton's farm, south of Vienna Center. This building was originally used as a pigsty. The historical records disagree on the first schoolteacher, naming Miss Tamar Bartholomew, Mrs. Ira Bartholomew, or Mr. Horace Flower.
The first permanent one-room schoolhouse was opened in the fall of 1806. This building, measuring 20 feet by 26 feet, stood on the northeast corner of Vienna Center. Perhaps this is the building the Connecticut missionary Reverend Thomas Robbins mentioned in his diary. He wrote on March 19, 1805: "The people here [in Vienna] are calculating to build a good framed school-house to use for meetings." This schoolhouse served the entire township until about 1840. By that time, eight new one-room schoolhouses were being erected around the Township. Three more one-room school buildings were constructed to accommodate the needs of neighboring townships. These schools were called joint district schools and the residents of both townships shared the costs.
Each school and schoolhouse has its own history.
Vienna's schools continued to flourish into the early twentieth century. In early 1915, Township voters approved centralizing these schools into one building. Vienna Centralized School was housed in a new brick building constructed on the north side of Warren-Sharon Road, east of Vienna Center.
The former Vienna School Number 1 on Vienna Township Green lay vacant from until 1927-1928, when it served as an emergency schoolhouse for two overflow classes until December 21, 1928. Indeed, the number of students that year required the use of a "Portable Building" located next to the new school. In 1933, the "Old Schoolhouse" on the Green was rented to the Vienna Grange and the Vienna Methodist Church Sunday School for $1 annually.
The Vienna Board of Education voted, on December 10, 1927, to have bonds issued by the Vienna Township Rural School District for the purpose of constructing and finishing a fireproof addition to the centralized schoolhouse. The sum proposed was $72,000, and a tax levy was to be made outside of the fifteen-mill limitation, estimated by the County Auditor to average 3.40 mills for a maximum period of 21 years. This would pay the principal and interest of the bond.
The construction was well received. According to a report to the 1929 Trumbull County Schools Annual:
The second semester found us occupying the new building. The new rooms, the new furniture that occupied them, gave a new impetus to school work. A special feature was the new Gymnasium which has been appreciated by the community in general as well as by the parents and pupils of the townships. The earnest and untiring efforts of an interested Board of Education are recognized in this connection.
In July 1933, the Vienna Board of Education voted to provide funds for a second addition to the 1915 brick school building:
Be it resolved by the Board of Education of Vienna Township Rural School District that for the purpose of accommodation of schools of said district it is necessary to alter the present building and to build an addition thereto, including the heating and equipment of same at a cost of $55,000.00.
A further resolution stated that Board president William H. Francis and clerk F. W. Catchpole be authorized and directed to make application to the Federal Emergency Relief Administration for public works funds necessary to provide the improvement. A five-bay, 32' x 60' garage was built in 1934 with the help of the federal Civil Works Administration. The cost to the District was approximately $843 for materials.
The last addition to the Vienna Centralized School building occurred in 1952: a combined gymnasium and auditorium, two classrooms, and the manual training and shop areas. The auditorium was dedicated as Vienna Memorial Auditorium.
In 1959, talks regarding consolidation between Vienna Township and Fowler Township school systems was initiated by the Trumbull County School Board. Fowler Schools faced a revocation of its charter due a lack of sufficient enrollment in its high school. Vienna, although having sufficient enrollment for the following year, would have been caught short when the state minimum was subsequently raised.
On April 6, 1960, the Vienna Board of Education made the following resolution:
That the Vienna Board of Education desires to consider and implement reorganization with Fowler for the following reasons:
Since reorganization has progressed on a township by township basis in this county and since larger administrative school units are being fostered throughout the state and since Vienna and Fowler Townships are more clearly compatible than Vienna and any other adjacent school district, this reorganization appears to be appropriate.
Since larger enrollments provide better course selection and more extensive course offerings, consolidation would benefit high school pupils of both communities.
Since the required staff would be larger, one additional special teacher would be provided by state funds.
Since the combined Junior-Senior High School population would be at a near 500, a full time librarian would be employed to meet State and North Central Standards.
Special benefit would be afforded Fowler High School pupils because of North Central Accreditation and special services at Vienna.
Because of the larger number of elementary pupils in a reorganized district, better opportunities for special help to children on the extreme of learning levels becomes possible.
Vienna Township and Fowler Township to the north consolidated their school districts on January 1, 1961, creating the Fowler-Vienna Local School District, thus eliminating the Vienna Township Rural School District.
Martin, Fred L., and Genie Ulp, "Vienna Township Schools, Then and Now," in Vienna, Ohio, "Where We Live and Let Live": Town 4, Range 2, of the Connecticut Western Reserve (Apollo, PA: Closson Press, 1999), pp. 161-163.
Additional research by Christine Novicky, 2021.