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Western Dubuque Community School District
Address: 310 4th St. SW, PO Box 68 | Farley, IA 52046
Phone: (563) 663-9626
Fax: (563) 744-3093
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The Early Years
Summary Highlights
Reorganization Effort:

While serving as the County Superintendent of Schools for Dubuque County, Wayne Drexler and members of a School Reorganization Committee along with many others provided visionary leadership that resulted in the formation of the Western Dubuque County Community School District. In 1957 the Iowa Legislature passed a reorganization law that required all school districts to have twelve grades with at least 300 enrolled students. At the time, Dubuque County had 62 independent school districts with taxing authority. Approximately, 465 students were enrolled in the rural school districts of Dubuque County. Only two of these rural districts (Epworth and Peosta) had a four-year public high school. Epworth was the only twelve grade school district.
Click the link below for enrollment numbers for the 1956-1957 school year.
Click the link below for the listing of the 1957 School Board Presidents.
School Reorganization Committee for Western Dubuque and Eastern Delaware Counties
  1. Carl Burbach, Chairman - New Vienna
  2. Merle “Bud” Ross, Vice Chairman – Dyersville
  3. Olan Tegeler, Secretary/Treasurer - Worthington
  4. LaVern Deutmeyer – Petersburg
  5. Joe L. Gaul – Luxemburg
This self-appointed group of concerned citizens took it upon themselves shortly after the reorganization legislation was passed to inform area residents of the law, its requirements and the choices that had to be made. Bud Ross organized many meetings in the area to answer questions, promote discussion and to organize an effort to form a new school district in areas that would cross county lines. He was the primary presenter and published a series of informative articles in the Cascade, Dyersville and Manchester newspapers.

The Dubuque County Board of Education and the County Superintendent also held many meetings at various locations in the county to explain the new law and gain input from the school districts and residents on their preferences. Each of the 62 school boards was asked to indicate the desires of the people in their particular district on an unofficial ballot containing four choices.
  1. Join the Dubuque School District.
  2. Form a district in Western Dubuque County.
  3. Split your district with a portion going to Dubuque and the rest to a new Western Dubuque district.
  4. Join a district in an adjoining County.
The results of this unofficial preference query split Dubuque County roughly in half with the eastern half indicating a desire to become attached to the Dubuque School District and the western half indicating a desire to form a new district in the western part of the county. Many meetings were also held with the County Boards of Education from adjoining counties to resolve proposed boundary lines for the new district that included areas of their counties. After four years of public input, the boundaries of the newly proposed District were submitted to the voters for approval. On June 15, 1960 the measure passed with 3,605 “Yes” votes and 194 “No” votes. Prior to reorganization all school districts in Iowa were located wholly in a county. The June 15th vote resulted in the new Western Dubuque school district to be located in five counties - Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Jackson and Jones.
First Year of Operation
On July 6, 1960, at a special election the following were elected to the first School Board of the newly formed District.

Laverne Deutmeyer, Petersburg area
Harold Driscoll, Cascade/Bernard area
Irvin Recker, Cascade/Bernard area
Merle Ross, Dyersville area
Raymond Scherrman, Farley/Epworth/Peosta area

On July 11, 1960 the Board employed Wayne Drexler as Superintendent for an annual salary of $11,000. As Superintendent, he provided the insight and leadership to get the newly formed District up and running. Following are few of the major tasks that he faced.
  • Hiring of Staff – Professional and Support
  • Establishment and Location of Attendance Centers
  • Development of Instructional, Athletic and Fine Arts programs for the students.
  • Creating the first school bus transportation system for the State’s largest geographic school district.
  • Providing a Hot Lunch program for the students.
  • Financial Issues: Revenue, Payroll & Operational Expenses.
  • Developing plans to provide permanent buildings for the District’s students.
On May 25, 1961 the first bond issue of the District for $1,333,500 for school buildings at Bernard, Cascade, Dyersville, Epworth and Farley was approved by voters (76%) along with a $11,500 bus garage.
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