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Franklin Street Public School

Franklin Street Public School

Education in early Canada followed the British model of elementary schools that operated privately. They were attended only by those who could afford the fees. The Common Schools Act of 1816 permitted local residents to build a school, provided they had a minimum of 20 pupils, and elect trustees to hire a teacher and manage the school. The government agreed to contribute to the teacher's salary.

In the 1840s, the school system was reshaped by a series of school acts, beginning with the Common School Act of 1841. This Act doubled the size of government grants and introduced compulsory property taxes as a means of funding elementary schools. In 1846-1847, the Village of Markham built a frame schoolhouse at or near the site of Franklin Street Public School.

Elementary school fees were eliminated across Ontario in 1871 and resulted in the removal of another barrier to accessible education. However, secondary school fees were not dropped until half a century later.

Franklin Street Public SchoolIn 1891, school attendance for children between the ages of eight and 14 became mandatory. (The mandatory age was extended to 16 in 1919.)

After the frame schoolhouse was severely damaged by a fire in 1886, it was replaced by a four room brick building that was named Markham Village Public School. Today, this structure is the west wing of the current school at 12 Franklin Street.

On February 28, 1906, the brick school was gutted by yet another fire. Students were temporarily accommodated in short-term facilities in the Town Hall, the Orange Lodge and Grace Anglican Church.

The building was enlarged in 1951 to accommodate a growing student population. The name was changed from Markham Village Public School to Franklin Street Public School in the 1960s when schools were being named for their street location.

Franklin Street Public School, present day  Franklin Street Public School and Students