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Contact Information
Iola USD 257 Central Office
305 N. Washington Street
Iola, Kansas 66749

Normal Office Hours
M-F 7:30 - 4:00

Summer Office Hours
M-F 7:30 - 4:00

Phone: (620) 365-4700
Fax: (620) 365-4708

Welcome to Iola USD 257

The mission of USD 257 is to “inspire all students to succeed”. In USD 257 we believe that education will prepare individuals to contribute to family, vocation, and society. We believe that all students can learn and quality education should be made available to all. We believe students should be continually challenged at their ability level and that higher expectations yield measurably higher results. We believe that students should be treated with respect. We believe education is a process rather than a product.

USD 257 Statement on the Future Use of the Bowlus Fine Arts Facility


A concern has recently been expressed about whether proposed changes to the USD 257 curriculum taught in the Bowlus Fine Arts Center currently under consideration would violate or breach the terms of Mr. Bowlus’ Will and thus risk forfeiture of the Bowlus Trust. 

    The USD 257 Board of Education is keenly aware of and takes seriously its concurrent fiduciary responsibility as Trustees of the Thomas H. Bowlus Trust. The citizens of the Iola area, and in particular the students of USD 257, as the beneficiaries of the Trust, can be assured that this USD 257 Board of Education, whether acting in its capacity as the USD Board of Education or as Trustees of the Bowlus Trust, will take no action that would violate or breach the terms of the Will and thus forfeit the Trust. 

    As we approach the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the wonderful gift and legacy that Mr. Bowlus gave to this community, it is also a fitting time for the USD to re-evaluate whether it can do more to meet and fulfill Mr. Bowlus’ stated intent in making this gift.

    I have always been dedicated to the proposition that the best tool with which to equip our youth to confront the future is an education, and that such education should include an appreciation of things artistic, musical and cultural, as well as things academic and scientific.  It is to that end and for such purposes that I dedicate the aforedescribed premises. 
                                -- Thomas H. Bowlus

    Just as the definitions of “things artistic, musical and cultural” have changed and evolved over the past 50 years – who, for example, 50 years ago could have foreseen the advent and importance of today’s computer generated graphics and music, digital photography and video, or the almost unlimited opportunities to share or express these new art forms that social media venues provide -- so too must USD 257’s programs and curriculum change and evolve to teach and expose our students to these new and evolving genres of artistic expression in a way that is relevant and meaningful to their future endeavors. 

    This evaluation process of the Bowlus curriculum has been an ongoing process for several years. The possible construction of a new high school facility has opened numerous opportunities for curriculum development within the Bowlus that were not previously possible, and some of those curriculum ideas have become part of the discussion and discourse regarding the new high school. These curriculum discussions are still in a conceptual and preliminary stage, however, while input from post-secondary institutions, artists, performers, and other deemed experts in the field is gathered and considered. 

    Should a curriculum program for the Bowlus ultimately be articulated, and specific courses defined and approved, which radically differs from the current use of the Bowlus facilities, if deemed necessary
by our legal counsel, the opinion and approval of the Court will be sought before any final decision is made to implement the program to insure that the program would not violate the terms of the Will and result in forfeiture of the Bowlus Trust.

    We invite your comments and suggestions regarding this exciting new opportunity as we move into the second half-century of the Bowlus Fine Arts Center.