In 1834, Pennsylvania enacted a
law to "establish a general system
of education by common schools." Until that time, several types of schools
were operating within the Township.
Schools were run by churches, by Trustees who held the school as real
estate for the benefit of the neighborhood, by a teacher for profit and by
Although the state had passed the 1834 law, many counties were reluctant to
join and levy taxes necessary to fund the school systems. Montgomery County
was an example. Our Township School Directors as found in the School
Directors' Minutes from 1834-1856 wanted to receive state funds, but the
rest of the county did not. Lower Merion School Directors petitioned the
General Assembly to join the educational system.
By November 1835, six schools (including the Academy) formally joined as
"common schools." The next year the School Directors built their first
schoolhouse, called "Wynne Wood."
From the beginning of the Lower Merion School District, the
School Directors approached the
Academy and its Trustees in a different way. On December 31,1835, the
Directors appointed a committee
"to wait on the Trustees of Lower
Merion Academy to ascertain whether
and upon what terms the said Academy
can be obtained after the 16th of
March next." Another committee was
appointed on the same day "to obtain
legal advice in regard to the power of
the Trustees of the Lower Merion
Academy to transfer the said house to
the Directors of Lower Merion Township."
For the year of 1836, the
Directors agreed to pay $150 to use the Academy unless the school law
changed. It did with section 17 which allowed the Trustees to control the
school and use public funds to support the school if "conducted in
conformity with the common school system of this commonwealth."
This loint administration of the School Directors and the Trustees governed
the school until 1914, when the Academy closed formally as a school. The
larger Cynwyd Elementary School was built on the Academy grounds, due to an
increase in the stable school population.