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Garland County's First Consolidated Rural School

When a high school student travels about, for what ever reason, conversations usually arise concerning school activities and school. The question always imposed is "What school are you from?" This, when answered by Cutter Morning Star usually leads to the statement "Cutter what?" It is true that our name is rather unusual. Unusual yes, but nonetheless interesting in its origin.

Cutter-Morning Star was consolidated from three schools in 1922. Cutter School, located in the vicinity of Mill Creek Road; Morning Star School, located near the present Morning Star Methodist Church; and High Point School, located near the Missouri Pacific Railroad line ten miles east of the city.

CUTTER SCHOOL, District 21

The school was named for Charles Cutter, a man noted as a prospector, investor, guide, and organizer-leader. Mr. Cutter and his brother, John Cutter, published the world famous "Cutter Guide". Having heard of the amazing therapeutic hot springs, he ventured to Hot Springs, Arkansas from Missouri. Cutter came to the area in the late 1800's, fell in love with the area and homesteaded in the Mill Creek Valley area. Not only did he bring his family, but he also encouraged others to follow.

It was in the Mill Creek area that Charles Cutter began to organize and encourage a group of citizens to form a school. Under his leadership the group succeeded in forming a school. He donated the land for the school and his grateful neighbors placed his name upon the school. Hence, the birth of Cutter School District No. 21.

MORNING STAR SCHOOL, District 47

Morning Star School, a one-room school, was located five miles east of Hot Springs, just south of the Morning Star Methodist Church on land donated to the school by John Echols. While Morning Star was normally a one-room school, one year a partition was placed inside the building and two teachers taught students.

High Point School in District 47 was located two miles west of the High Point Railroad Station on the Missouri Pacific Iron Mountain Rail Line approximately 10 miles east of Hot Springs on Highway 88 East. The school was a one-room structure that was never painted, had no well and no "out-houses". Around one-half dozen families in the East and Northeast section of the district were served by High Point School

CONSOLIDATION

With Hot Springs High being the only high school in Garland County, until 1925-26, to get a high school education the children living in the rural areas surrounding Hot Springs had to either walk, ride horses, bicycles, or ride in wagons several miles to school. There were no buses or public transportation. Besides having to get there, special arrangements had to be made for them to attend.

Fred E. Johnson decided he would try to get this school dilemma changed. He canvassed both the Cutter district and the Morning Star District with a petition for consolidation of the two schools so that education through the twelfth grade could be offered to the children of the two districts. He secured a total of 35 names on his petition.

Upon receiving this petition the Garland County School Board decided to authorize an election to determine whether a new Rural Special District would be formed from the two school districts. The election was held on Tuesday, October 31, 1922 at the store of T.W. Hughes on the old Benton Road, now Highway 88 East. Consolidation was approved by a vote of 32 for and 10 against. This gave birth to the FIRST RURAL CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL SYSTEM in Garland County, born October 31, 1922. The district was given the number "21" and the name CUTTER-MORNING STAR.

The three original schools continue to be operated by the newly formed district until the erection of the new school. The Board of Directors purchased ten acres on February 9, 1924 to begin building the new school. The 1925-26 school year was the first year the new Cutter-Morning Star School building was used. The first school buses in Garland County were purchased by Cutter-Morning Star September 28,1925.