Rapid and substantial as we have seen the growth of Sioux city to have been, in population and commercial importance, intellectual progress has been maintained in a degree fully equal to its material progress; and, today, it is the acknowledged educational center of the great Northwest. Fortunately, from the birth of the city to the present time, her school interests have been confided to earnest, active, representative men, with broad and liberal views of education, brought with them from their New England homes, where the advantages of common schools had been tested by experience, and under whose administration and fostering care a system of graded schools has been established which affords educational advantages unsurpassed by any city in the State. Her citizens have been liberal-even lavish-in the expenditure of money for the erection of elegant and commodious school buildings, and their equipments, with all the modern improvements calculated to facilitate the acquisition of a common school education.
The public schools of the city are embraced in what is known as the Independent School District of Sioux City, which was organized in July 1869. The first Board of Directors was composed of six members, consisting of A.M. Hunt, President; William L. Joy, W.R. Smith, John Cleghorn, F.J. Lambert, and George Falkenhainer. John P. Allison was Treasurer and F.M. Ziebach, Secretary. The present Board of Directors consists of John P. Allison, President; William L. Joy, J.C.C. Hoskins, L. McCarty, C.R. Marks and A. Groninger, two of whom are elected every two years for a term of three years. During the first year after the organization of the district into an independent one, the first schoolhouse of any now in use was built. At present there are eleven schoolhouses in use, of which three are rented, and the others belong to the district. Additional buildings are in contemplation to meet the growing wants of the district. The schools are all graded, as primary, secondary and intermediate, culminating in the High School, which latter, though few in its number of pupils, has attained a high degree of efficiency as a factor in the educational system of the city. The schools are under the management of A. Armstrong, Superintendent, with a corps of thirty-two able teachers. Instructors only of acknowledged ability and ripe experience are employed, who are emulous of attaining the high standard of excellence for which Iowa, as a State, has become justly renowned. Of these, three are males, at an average salary of $90 per month, and twenty-nine females, at an average salary of $40 per month. The Superintendent, has general charge of all the schools, and receives a salary of $1,250 per annum. The last annual report of the county Superintendent gives the number of school age in the district, as 2,185, while the actual attendance upon school, as appears by the City Superintendent’s report, is 1,329. School is in session ten months of the year, and the average cost per pupil is $1.27. The value of the school buildings is estimated at about $75,000. The grounds in most cases, are surrounded by substantial fences and adorned with shade and ornamental trees.
Source: Woodbury County Iowa, History of Western Iowa, 1882