History of Tri County
Three Communities as One
January 28, 1966, is the birth date of Tri County Schools, District #300. The people of the DeWitt School District #6; the Plymouth School District #98; and the Swanton School District #113; and the many rural schools found in Gage, Jefferson, and Saline County districts developed a reorganization plan to consolidate their junior/senior high schools. On October 4, 1966, by an overwhelming majority, voters passed a special bond issue for the building and equipping of a new junior-senior high school.
Construction of the new facility began in April of 1967. Plans for the school included a junior high wing, a senior high wing, music and vocational areas, cafeteria, gymnasium, auditorium, library, and counseling and administrative offices.
On September 9, 1967, the doors of the new school were opened to the students and the school year was underway.
Under the original reorganization plan, the communities of DeWitt, Plymouth, and Swanton were to maintain their elementary schools.
On November 17, 1981, another special bond election was held. Approval for the issuance of bonds to build an elementary school on the Tri County site passed by a margin of 57% to 43%.
On April, 1982, construction began on the elementary classrooms, library, activity center, multi-purpose room, and an administrative area.
In August, 1983, the elementary wing was ready for occupancy, and for the first time, the students of the Tri County District were housed under one roof.
The District Today
Today, Tri County services 400 plus students. The district covers an area of approximately 270 square miles; the maximum east-west distance across the district 22 miles; the maximum north-south distance across the district is also 22 miles.
Tri County Schools is located on Nebraska Highway 103 about 40 miles south-southwest of Lincoln, Nebraska, and among the municipalities of Beatrice, Fairbury, and Wilber. The three villages included in the Tri County School Community--DeWitt, Plymouth, and Swanton--are positioned in a triangular pattern and separated by an approximate distance of seven miles. The actual school site is in Jefferson county. One mile to the north is the Saline County line, and just across Highway 103 is the Gage County line; hence the name Tri County.
Tri County Schools became involved in the school improvement process in January, 1991, when seven, K- 12 staff members began to receive McREL A+ training. The Tri County School District was awarded a $5,000 State Lottery Grant for additional training and planning purposes during the 1994-95 school year. March 1, 1996, a consortium consisting of the Tri County Schools, the Tecumseh Public Schools, and the Palmyra-Bennet Schools (S.E.N.E.T.I.C.) was jointly awarded a major State Lottery Grant in the amount of $329,132 to obtain technology, materials, and training to enhance K-12 critical thinking skills. In July, 1997, the Tri County Schools were part of the Southeast Nebraska Distance Learning Consortium of approximately twenty-four school districts, four educational service units, four Southeast Community college campuses, and one state college, that received a State Lottery Grant in the amount of $1,694,049 to aid in funding the distance learning project for both training and equipment (grants did not include funding to the ESU’s or colleges). In the fall of 1998, the distance learning consortium expanded to approximately fifty, K- 12 school districts, with other area colleges exploring future involvement. Through expended course offerings, the distance learning consortium should provide much greater educational opportunities and increase educational equity for the students of the member schools.