If there’s one thing people are passionate about, it’s their school. So when the talk turns to combining schools, people think about mascots going extinct, kindergarteners taking long bus rides, and having to brave the mean, big-city streets, even if the big city is Macomb or Galesburg. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum’s oral history web site now includes the stories of school reorganization, and all of the benefits and pitfalls therein.
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“In the 1940s, Illinois had 11,996 school districts,” says oral history volunteer Phil Pogue, compared to today’s “roughly 865 districts.” Pogue helped collect 46 interviews for the project. The director of oral history for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Mark DePue, says the project is in line with the mission of the library’s predecessor, the Illinois State Historical Library