Clay County became one of the earlier Georgia school systems to consolidate down to one high school in 1949, when a ruling from the state made it the only solution.
The Clay County board decided May 17, 1949 to join Bluffton and Fort Gaines high schools together.
“The section was taken with some apparent hesitation by the board after public hearings at the courthouse Tuesday morning had revealed the step as one to be taken only because of curtailed allotments from the state,” said Fort Gaines’ News Record on May 19.
The state, said The News Record, had cut their allotment of teachers by four. Bluffton elementary was entitled to three, the elementary at Fort Gaines to six and the consolidated high school earned four.
Elementaries were kept in both cities. The new high school was housed in that building in Fort Gaines.
Clay’s board said it reserved the right to break up the monopoly on high school education if the situation ever bettered. It never seemed to do so, though conditions did not get worse.
When requesting money from the State School Building Authority in 1952, all Clay County High wanted was a vocational building, which at most cost $68,500.
Little changed at Clay until total integration in 1970, with students from A. Speight coming in. Clay County High combined with Randolph County in 1980 and as Randolph-Clay survives as the last of Georgia’s five post-total integration multi-county high school educational attempts.
Sources: The News Record – May 19, 1949, Aug. 21, 1952, Nov. 26, 1953