Atwood-Hammond High School "Rajahs"/ "Rajenes"

Closed High Schools Alumni Apparel
IN THE BEGINNING - Where Closed High Schools Consolidated To
*Ctry. Schools-Wtsde. Cty.
*Schools That Start With "A"
*Atwood-Hammond HS
*Schools That Start With "B"
*Schools That Start With "C"
*Schools That Start With "D"
*Schools That Start With "E"
*Schools That Start With "F"
*Schools That Start With "G"
*Schools That Start With "H"
*Schools That Start With... "I"
*Schools That Start With "J"
*Schools That Start With "K"
*Schools That Start With "L"
*Schools That Start With "M"
*Schools That Start With "N"
*Schools That Start With "O"
*Schools That Start With "P"
*Schools That Start With "Q"
*Schools That Start With "R"
*Schools That Start With "S"
*Schools That Start With.. "T"
*Schools That Start With.. "U"
*Schools That Start With.. "V"
*Schools That Start With "W"
*Schools That Start With.. "X"
*Schools That Start With.. "Y"
*Schools That Start With.. "Z"

Atwood-Hammond High School Building 2014
Submitted by Dennis Downey

Atwood-Hamond HS Front Walk View
Photo by Dennis Downey

The History of Atwood-Hammond High School

Atwood (population 1,290) is located in lower-eastern Illinois about 25 miles east of Decatur.  Atwood is unique in that it stradles the county lines of Piatt (western Atwood) and Douglas (eastern Atwood) counties.U.S. Route 36 passes by the south side of town.  The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad travels through the center of town.  The Lake Fork Creek passes by the western edge of Atwood.
Atwood was officially recognized as a town in 1874. It's name is likely taken from a town of a similar name in the eastern USA. However, some say the town name is derived from statements made by early settlers who would often meet "at the wood" or that the original town was described as "one at the wood."
Hammond (population 518) is located in east-central Illinois about 17 miles east of Decatur.  This places Hammond in south-central Piatt County.  U.S. Route 36 is the main roadway to and from Hammond and runs by the south side of town.  The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad runs through the north side of town.  According to Map Quest ( the Hammond Mutual Ditch flows by the east side of town.
The village was established in 1873. Its original names included Shumway and Unity. It was decided eventually to name the village after the president of the newly erected Indianapolis-Decatur- Springfield Railroad line which passed through town. His name was Charles Hammond.
Both Atwood and Hammond supported their own high schools from the early 1900s (possibly even the late 1800s) through the late 1940s. It was in 1948 that the two communities agreed to consolidate their educational efforts. Atwood-Hammond High School was formed in the summer of 1948.

Atwood-Hammond HS Sign 2014
Photo by Dennis Downey

Atwood-Hammond HS Side View With Gymnasium
Photo by Dennis Downey

Atwood- Hammond High School served the two communities and surrounding farm kids very well for 64 years. The school survived consolidation talks as early as the late 1980s. In 2011 studies were conducted concerning the feasibility of consolidating the Atwood-Hammond School District with the nearby Arthur School District. In the spring of 2013 voters of both school districts passed resolutions to allow for the merger. The Atwood-Hammond voters passed the initiative by a vote of 456-327.
The 2013-14 school year was the final one for Atwood-Hammond High School. The final senior class graduated in May of 2014. In the fall of 2014 high school students from the Atwood-Hammond area will attend Arthur High School. The Atwood-Hammond High School building is projected to be torn down in the summer of 2014.
Atwood-Hammond High School Quick Facts

Year established:       1948
Year closed:               2014
Consolidated to:         Arthur High School
A-H HS nickname:      "Rajahs" (boys) / "Rajenes" (girls)
A-H HS team colors:   Black & Gold
A-H HS Fight Song:
The Atwood-Hammond High School sports teams have enjoyed many successful seasons over the years. The most successful was the IHSA Class 1A State Championship won in football in 1980. Below are listed all of the athletic accomplishments and season records as found on the IHSA website ( . The teams competed in the Little Okaw Valley Conference. We are seeking more information and photos of these and other great teams in Atwood-Hammond High School history. 
**From the Atwood-Hammond High School website (2014) :

Atwood-Hammond High School Mascot

"History of the RAJAH"
"Atwood-Hammond High School was the first of two schools to own the Rajah nickname. There is not a specific date that the Rajah nickname became effective, but it occurred sometime in the late 1920s. It was by accident that Atwood-Hammond High School became the Rajahs. Coach Clarence Edward Rogers, better known as “Rog” by his close friends, was a longtime Atwood coach.

Eddie Jacquin, a sports editor of a local newspaper, devised the nickname after Coach “Rog” while he was speaking with some officials prior to a football game. One of those officials explained that “Rog” meant prince of a fellow. Eddie Jacquin then stated “Rog is a Rajah”, which Rajah means an Indian prince or chief. Newspapers in the area began referring to Atwood as the Rajahs when writing about the Atwood teams.

Two schools, Atwood-Hammond High School in Atwood, IL and Indio High School in Indio, CA, are over 1800 miles apart and are the only two schools to have the Rajah mascot. For approximately 30 years, Atwood was the only school with the Rajah nickname, because Indio High School wasn’t built until 1958."

Atwood-Hammond entered into a co-op agreement with Bement High School beginning in the 1994-95 school year. The sports of football, girls basketball, baseball, and track were all a part of the agreement. The uniform colors were black, yellow, purple, and white. This agreement lasted until the 2011-2012 school year ended. Thank you to Andrew Brown for this bit of information.

A-H HS Football Bleachers - Fred Boll Field
Photo by Dennis Downey

The Atwood-Hammond High School "Rajahs" won the IHSA State Class 1A Championship in the Fall of 1980. This was an incredible accomplishment for what was probably one of the smaller schools in the field of teams. The Atwood-Hammond boys continued competing on their own for many years. It is believed to have been in the mid-1990s that the school began a cooperative agreement with nearby Arthur regarding it's football program. However, the Rajahs may have competing on their own well into the 2000's. If you have this information please contact us.
1950-51       1 - 6 - 1                                          Coach Les Gadbury 
1951-52       7 - 2                                               Coach Les Gadbury 
1952-53       5 - 3                                               Coach Les Gadbury 
1953-54       1 - 7                                               Coach Les Gadbury
1954-55       5 - 3                                               Coach Les Gadbury
1955-56       7 - 0      Undefeated Season!      Coach Les Gadbury 
1956-57       5 - 2 - 1                                          Coach Les Gadbury
1957-58       5 - 2                                               Coach Les Gadbury
1958-59       4 - 2 - 2                                          Coach Les Gadbury
1959-60       2 - 6                                               Coach Don Magee
1960-61       3 - 5                                               Coach Don Magee
1961-62       5 - 3                                               Coach Don Magee
1962-63       4 - 3 - 1                                          Coach Don Magee
1963-64       2 - 6                                               Coach Bob Williams
1964-65       2 - 6                                               Coach Bob Williams

1965-66       7 - 1                                               Coach Larry Higgins

1966-67       1 - 6                                               Coach Lynn Strack
1967-68       4 - 4                                               Coach Lynn Strack
1968-69       8 - 0      Undefeated Season!      Coach Lynn Strack
1969-70       1 - 5 - 2                                          Coach John Ganley
1970-71       4 - 3 - 1                                          Coach John Ganley
1971-72       2 - 6                                               Coach Willie Wellhausen
1972-73       1 - 6 - 1                                          Coach Willie Wellhausen
1973-74       4 - 4                                               Coach John Lyons
1974-75       6 - 3                                               Coach John Lyons
1975-76       3 - 6                                               Coach John Lyons
1976-77       0 - 9                                               Coach John Lyons
1977-78       6 - 3                                               Coach John Lyons
1978-79       3 - 6                                               Coach John Lyons
1979-80       9 - 1    IHSA Class 1A Playoffs   Coach John Lyons
                               Undeafeated Regular Season
                               1st Rd - Lost to Caitlin 35-8
                               Caitlin lost in semi-final round to Chenoa
                               Chenoa placed 2nd
1980-81     14 - 0    IHSA Class 1A Champs!  Coach John Lyons
                               Undefeated Season!
                               1st Rd Beat Jacksonville Routt 18-12
                               2nd Rd Beat Martinsville 14-0
                               Semi-final Beat Roseville 35-34 (O/T)
                               Title Game Beat Lexington 17-16
*Atwood-Hammond scored on a safety in the title game tying an IHSA record for number of safety's recorded in a title game!
1981-82       4 - 5                                               Coach John Lyons
1982-83       1 - 8                                               Coach John Lyons
1983-84       3 - 6                                               Coach John Lyons
1984-85       1 - 8                                               Coach John Lyons
1985-86       3 - 6                                               Coach Bill Estes
1986-87       4 - 5                                               Coach Tim Burk
1987-88       5 - 4                                               Coach Tim Burk
1988-89       6 - 3                                               Coach Tim Burk
1989-90       7 - 3  IHSA Class 1A Playoffs     Coach Tim Burk
                             1st Rd lost to Rossville-Alvin 36-6
                             Rossville lost to Arcola in Elite 8
                             Arcola lost to Lexington in semi-finals
                             Lexington lost to Orangeville in title game
1990-91       5 - 4                                               Coach Tim Burk
1991-92       3 - 6                                               Coach Scott Bales
1992-93       3 - 6                                               Coach Scott Bales
1993-94       5 - 4                                               Coach John Lyons
*The 1993-94 season is the last season as a solo school for Atwood-Hammond High School.  ( )

As the South Piatt "Wildcats"
Atwood-Hammond entered into a co-op agreement with Bement High School beginning in the 1994-95 school year.

1994-95     2 - 7                                                   Coach John Erwin
1995-96     2 - 7                                                   Coach John Erwin
1996-97     3 - 6                                                   Coach Jerry Smalling
1997-98     6 - 4    IHSA Class 1A Playoffs       Coach Jerry Smalling
                             1st Rd lost to Lexington 29-28
                             Lexington lost in 2nd Rd.
1998-99     5 - 4                                                    Coach John Hayden
1999-00     2 - 7                                                    Coach John Hayden
2000-01     6 - 4    IHSA Class 1A Playoffs        Coach John Hayden
                             1st Rd lost to Lexington 41-8
                             Lexington lost in Elite 8 Rd
2001-02     3 - 6                                                    Coach John Hayden
2002-03     5 - 5    IHSA Class 2A Playoffs        Coach John Hayden
                             1st Rd lost to Tremont 49-8
                             Tremont lost in Elite 8 Rd
2003-04     7 - 4    IHSA Class 1A Playoffs        Coach John Hayden
                             1st Rd Beat Fisher 35-13
                             2nd Rd lost to Leroy 33-0
                             Leroy lost to Galena in State Championship game

2004-05     4 - 5                                                    Coach John Hayden
2005-06     4 - 5                                                    Coach John Hayden
2006-07     2 - 7                                                    Coach John Hayden
2007-08     3 - 6                                                    Coach John Hayden
2008-09     3 - 6                                                    Coach John Hayden
2009-10     5 - 5    IHSA Class 1A Playoffs        Coach David Elder
                             1st Rd lost to Brown County 34-0
                             Brown County lost in 2nd Rd to Tuscola
                             Tuscola won IHSA State Title
2010-11     4 - 5                                                    Coach David Elder 
*2011-12    2 - 7                                                    Coach David Elder
*Last season for the South Piatt Wildcats

The Atwood-Hammond boys basketball program competed through the very final season of the school's existence. Following their football team's amazing season, and likely with nearly all of the same athletes, the team of 1980-81 had the largest amount of success in the IHSA State Tournament, making it all the way to the Sweet 16 in a two-class system. All of the seasons from 1950-51 through 2007-08 are listed on the IHSA website. Season records for the teams of 2008-09 through 2013-14 are needed. Several scores involving Atwood-Hammond in the IHSA State Tournament were located on a website titled "Illinois Postseason Basketball Scores." These scores are listed below as well.

1948-49 (need record)Bethany District Tournament     Coach's name needed 
                                    1st Rd Beat Arthur 44-35
                                    Semi-final lost to Neoga 39-29
                                    Neoga beat Findlay in title game
1949-50 (need record)Arthur District Tournament         Coach's name needed 
                                    Semi-final lost to Lovington 56-20
                                    Lovington lost to Windsor in title game  
1950-51        3 - 18      Atwood District Tournament      Coach Les Gadbury
                                    1st Rd lost to Arcola 58-43
                                    Arcola lost to Arthur in semi-final
                                    Arthur lost to Bethany in title game
1951-52        4 - 17      Bethany District Tournament     Coach Les Gadbury       
                                    1st Rd lost to Lovington 48-46
                                    Lovington lost to Arthur in semi-final
                                    Arthur beat Bethany in title game
1952-53        1 - 20    Postseason scores unavailable   Coach Les Gadbury 
1953-54        4 - 18    Postseason scores unavailable   Coach Les Gadbury
1954-55        6 - 16    Postseason scores unavailable   Coach Les Gadbury
1955-56        4 - 16    Postseason scores unavailable   Coach Ed Noffke
1956-57        8 - 17    Postseason scores unavailable   Coach Ed Noffke
1957-58        9 - 15    Findlay District Runner-Up       Coach Ed Noffke 
                                  Title game lost to Windsor 60-53
1958-59        3 - 18    Lovington District Tournament     Coach Les Gadbury
                                  1st Rd lost to Lovington 56-52
                                  Lovington lost to Windsor in semi-final
                                  Windsor beat Arthur in title game
1959-60        3 - 17    Postseason scores unavailable   Coach Joe Rockford
1960-61        9 - 12    Postseason scores unavailable   Coach Joe Rockford
1961-62      18 - 9      Lovington District Tournament     Coach Wayne Hammerton
                                   Semi-final lost to Arthur 67-53
                                   Arthur lost to Bethany in title game
1962-63      12 - 10    Lovington District Tournament     Coach Wayne Hammerton
                                   Semi-final lost to Bethany 50-47
                                   Bethany lost to Windsor in title game
1963-64      11 - 12    Postseason scores unavailable   Coach Wayne Hammerton
1964-65        5 - 15    Postseason scores unavailable   Coach Dean Stroble
1965-66      15 - 8      Postseason scores unavailable   Coach Dean Stroble
1966-67        9 - 13    Postseason scores unavailable   Coach Dean Stroble
1967-68      16 - 11    Lovington District Runner-Up  Coach Dean Stroble
                                   1st Rd Beat Findlay 75-65
                                   Semi-final Beat Windsor 65-64 (O/T)
                                   Title Game lost to Arthur 57-48
1968-69      18 - 10     Findlay District Champs          Coach Dean Stroble
                                   Semi-final Beat Bethany 72-68
                                   Title Game Beat Windsor 71-52
                                   Arcola Regional Tournament
                                   1st Rd lost to Arcola 64-62
                                   Arcola lost to Mattoon in title game
1969-70         9 - 14    Lovington District Tournament   Coach Earl Avenatti 
                                   Semi-final lost to Windsor 50-42
                                   Windsor lost to Findlay in title game
1970-71         8 - 16    Findlay District Tournament       Coach Earl Avenatti
                                   1st Rd Beat Windsor 62-56
                                   Semi-final lost to Findlay 96-50
                                   Findlay beat Bethany in title game
1971-72       10 - 14    Arcola Class 'A' Regional           Coach Jack Sunderlik
                                   1st Rd Beat Arcola 78-67
                                   Semi-final lost to Lovington 72-69
                                   Lovington lost to Sullivan in title game
1972-73       10 - 14  Postseason scores unavailable   Coach John Conklin 
1973-74       17 - 7    Postseason scores unavailable   Coach John Conklin
1974-75       16 - 10  Postseason scores unavailable   Coach Leonard McKean
1975-76         3 - 21  Postseason scores unavailable   Coach Leonard McKean
1976-77       18 - 8    Postseason scores unavailable   Coach Leonard McKean
1977-78         8 - 16  Postseason scores unavailable   Coach Tim Burk
1978-79       10 - 16  Postseason scores unavailable   Coach Tim Burk
1979-80       10 - 13  Postseason scores unavailable   Coach Tim Burk
1980-81       26 - 4  IHSA Class A Sweet 16 Finalist  Coach Tim Burk
                                  IHSA Regional Champions
                                  Regional Scores Needed
                                  Tuscola Sectional Tournament
                                  Semi-final Beat St. Joe-Ogden 52-40
                                  Title Game Beat Chrisman 53-39
                                  IHSA Super-Sectional Finalist
                                  Title Game lost to Pana 46-45
                                  Pana lost to Liberty in Elite 8 round
                                  Liberty lost to Dunlap in semi-final
                                  Liberty placed 4th in tourney
                                  Dunlap lost to Madison in title game
1981-82        9 - 14    Postseason scores unavailable  Coach Skip Romine      
1982-83        5 - 18    Postseason scores unavailable  Coach Skip Romine
1983-84        2 - 22    Postseason scores unavailable  Coach Bill Carpenter
1984-85        1 - 21    Postseason scores unavailable  Coach Bill Carpenter
1985-86        2 - 20    Postseason scores unavailable  Coach Bill Carpenter
1986-87        9 - 15    Postseason scores unavailable  Coach Tim Burk
1987-88      11 - 14    Postseason scores unavailable  Coach Tim Burk
1988-89        1 - 22    Postseason scores unavailable  Coach Harry Kunsch
1989-90      13 - 13    Postseason scores unavailable  Coach Harry Kunsch 
1990-91      17 - 9      Postseason scores unavailable  Coach Harry Kunsch
1991-92        1 - 22    Postseason scores unavailable  Coach Scott Bales
1992-93        1 - 22    Postseason scores unavailable  Coach Scott Bales
1993-94        0 - 23    Postseason scores unavailable  Coach Scott Bales
1994-95        1 - 21    Postseason scores unavailable  Coach Ray Lamb
1995-96        2 - 21    Postseason scores unavailable  Coach Ray Lamb
1996-97        1 - 22    Postseason scores unavailable  Coach Toby Whiteman
1997-98        2 - 22    Postseason scores unavailable  Coach Toby Whiteman
1998-99        7 - 18    Postseason scores unavailable  Coach Toby Whiteman
1999-00      17 - 10    Postseason scores unavailable  Coach Toby Whiteman
2000-01        4 - 22    Postseason scores unavailable  Coach Shane Smith
2001-02        9 - 18    Postseason scores unavailable  Coach Ed Coller
2002-03      11 - 19    Postseason scores unavailable  Coach Cory Whitt
2003-04      11 - 21    Postseason scores unavailable  Coach Ed Coller
2004-05      19 - 11    Postseason scores unavailable  Coach Ed Coller
2005-06        8 - 19    Postseason scores unavailable  Coach Ed Coller
2006-07      19 - 10    Postseason scores unavailable  Coach Ed Coller
2007-08      11 - 18    Postseason scores unavailable  Coach Rich Wilson
2008-09   Postseason scores, record, and coach's name needed.
2009-10   Postseason scores, record, and coach's name needed.
2010-11   Postseason scores, record, and coach's name needed.
2011-12 (need record)         IHSA Regional                  Coach's name needed
                                     1st Rd lost to Arcola 67-45
                                     Arcola lost to Windsor in semi-final
                                     Windsor lost in Sweet 16 Rd 
2012-13 (need record)         IHSA Regional                  Coach's name needed
                                     1st Rd lost to Lovington 68-33
                                     Lovington lost in Sweet 16 Rd.

2013-14   Postseason scores, record, and coach's name needed.
Three members of the "Rajene" track & field program earned medals in the IHSA State Meet. The names, events, and medals won by these athletes are listed below.
1994-95        Melissa McMillan    Class 'A' 400 Meter Dash     3rd Place
1997-98        Tosha Stevens        Class 'A' 1600 Meter Run     6th Place
2004-05        Lacy Mitsdarffer      Class 'A' 400 Meter Dash     8th Place
The "Rajah" track & field program produced four boys who earned a total of seven medals in the IHSA State Meet. The names, events, and medals won by these athletes are listed below.
1975-76       Randy Cherry      Class 'A' Pole Vault       6th Place
1976-77       Randy Cherry      Class 'A' Pole Vault       4th Place
2001-02       Andy Hendrix      Class 'A' Long Jump     3rd Place
2002-03       Andy Hendrix      Class 'A' Long Jump     7th Place
2003-04       Justin Wierman   Class 'A' Discus             6th Place
2004-05       Justin Wierman   Class 'A' Discus             5th Place
2009-10       Steve Bryan         Class '1A' Triple Jump  9th Place

Atwood-Hammond HS Track Conf. Champs 1958
Submitted by Larry West

First row: Steve Rahn, Delbert McDivitt, Joe Daugherty, Gerald Alexander, Timmy Behrend, John Pourchot, Bob Dallas

Second row: John Swartz, John Martin, Frank Andrews, Joe Sanders, Larry Harshbarger, Larry Sawyer, David Behrend, Dennis Behrend

Third row: Bill Beatty, Eddie Mosely, Jim Daugherty, Roy Dallas, Coach Les Gadbury, Larry West, David Schmidt, Jim Brown, Bill Austin
1958 Track "Bests"
High Hurdles         Roy Dallas          16.0           1st Place in Conference Meet
100 Yard Dash      Bill Austin           10.4           Tied School Record, 2nd in Conference Meet/4th @ District
Mile Run               Larry West          4:42           School Record/3rd in Conference Meet
                            Frank Andrews    5:01           F/S School Record
440 Yard Dash      Bill Beatty           56.5
880 Yard Run        Larry West          2:10           Tied School Record/3rd in Conference Meet
180 Low Hurdles    Roy Dallas          22.9           2nd in Conference Meet
220 Yard Dash      Bill Austin            22.6           School Record/Conference Champ/District 2nd Place
High Jump             Roy Dallas          5'11.5"        Conference Champion
                            Dave Schmidt      5'08.5"        F/S School Record
Broad Jump           Bill Austin           19' 3"          3rd in Conference Meet
Pole Vault             Dennis Behrend   10'3"
Shot Put               David Behrend      49'2.5"        Conference Champion
                            John Swartz         44'10"         4th in Conference Meet
Discus                  Joe Sanders        140'9"          School Record/4th in Conference Meet
                            David Behrend      131'            Conference Meet Champ
*Results reprinted from 1958 school yearbook.
The girls basketball program had some nice seasons on the hardwood court. We currently only have three seasons available to list here. We know that the girls basketball program formed a cooperative agreement with Arthur High School at some point. Season records, coach's names, and any other information is welcome regarding Atwood-Hammond High School "Rajene" basketball.
2002-03        6 - 17             Coach Lynn Farmer
2005-06        8 - 20             Coach Bill Lyons
2006-07        5 - 22             Coach Bill Lyons
The softball program was involved in a cooperative agreement with Bement High School at some point however the following records are listed on the IHSA website for Atwood-Hammond High School.
2002-03         10 - 10 - 1             Coach John Strack
2003-04           9 - 13                  Coach John Strack
2004-05         10 - 13                  Coach John Strack
2005-06           9 - 13                  Coach John Strack
2006-07         15 - 9                    Coach John Strack
2007-08         12 - 8                    Coach John Strack
Currently only two season records are listed on the IHSA website regarding the A-H HS volleyball program. If you have further information to add please contact us via the means listed at the bottom of this page.
2007-08         9 - 19             Coach Bill Lyons
2008-09       10 - 19             Coach Bill Lyons
Atwood-Hammond HS also competed in the sport of Bass Fishing, qualifying for the IHSA State Finals in 2009-10!
2009-10      IHSA State Qualifier        Coach Brian Fay
We know the experience at Atwood-Hammond High School was a very well-rounded one. We are confident that Band, Choir, Student Government, and other activities were offered. In addition clubs such as FFA, FHA, NHS, and many others were available for the students as well. If you have additional information regarding the activities at A-H HS please contact us.
If you have any further information to share regarding Atwood-Hammond High School please contact us via e-mail at IHSGDWEBSITE@COMCAST.NET or via USPS at the following address:

IHSGD Website
6439 N. Neva Ave.
Chicago, Il.  60631

Atwood-Hammond School District Offices
Photo by Dennis Downey

Atwood-Hammond HS Events Sign 2014
Photo by Dennis Downey

Small towns lovingly tug home their daughters and sons

Atwood-Hammond merges with Arthur school district

ATWOOD — Residents of two school districts have voted to be combined into a single district.

Voters in the Atwood-Hammond school district voted 456 to 327 on Tuesday to be annexed to the Arthur school district, while voters in the Arthur school district voted 967 to 242 to approve the annexation.

Atwood-Hammond Superintendent Kenny Schwengel said the merger will take effect for the 2014-15 school year.

"This is a sad and emotional time," Schwengel said. "Any time you look at possibly closing down a school building, it is sad.

"But, overall for the students and taxpayers it is going to be a better situation."

Schwengel said Atwood-Hammond students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade will continue to attend classes at their current school in Atwood.

But Atwood-Hammond High School will be closed, and the students in grades nine through 12 will attend classes at Arthur-Lovington High School, which will have a combined enrollment of about 300 students.

Schwengel said the issue was put on the ballot because of declining enrollment and shrinking fund reserves.

"This started four years ago when we were looking at possible cuts," he said. "We tried to pass a tax increase, but it failed by a 2 to 1 margin."

He said having a larger combined tax base and combined resources will help the larger district stave off severe tax increases and also hold the line the possible budget cuts that some school districts are considering.

"Had this ballot question failed, we were looking to have a 90-cent to dollar increase per $100 assessed valuation next year," he said.

He said the two school districts will spend the 2013-14 school year getting ready for the merger.

"We will coordinate the school calendars and have groups meet on scheduling, curriculum and other issues," he said.

Starting in the fall of 2014, the whole district will be known as Arthur District 305. The future name for the high school is yet to be determined.

"Atwood-Hammond District 39 will no longer exist," he said.