The Solanco School District is nestled in the southern portion of Lancaster County amidst the rolling hills of south-central Pennsylvania. The name Solanco is an abbreviated form of Southern Lancaster County, the territory covered by the school district. The component municipalities of the school district are Bart, Colerain, Drumore, East Drumore, Eden, Fulton, Little Britain and Providence Townships, as well as Quarryville Borough.
The district consists of approximately 186 square miles, comprising an area from about seven miles south of the city of Lancaster to the Maryland state line (north to south) and the Susquehanna River to the Chester County line (west to east). This makes for an intricate busing system between the homes of the students and the seven schools in the district. Of the 22 school districts served by the Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13, Solanco is the largest district in terms of land, representing nearly 20 percent of the total county in landmass.
The earliest southern Lancaster County inhabitants were believed to be Quakers and Mennonites of Swiss and German origins, Englishmen, French Huguenots, and Welsh. A military arm was needed, and the Quaker government recruited Scotch-Irish from Northern Ireland. These immigrants were given land in the lower end of the district to fight off a Catholic takeover from Maryland.
In the early eighteenth century, Pennsylvania and Maryland were involved in a dispute over the border. It was both a border battle and a religious skirmish. By importing the Scotch-Irish, William Penn acted primarily to protect the border, which Marylanders insisted extended as far north as three miles south of Lancaster.
Education in the Southern End began in one-room schoolhouses in the early 1700s. Private academies soon developed. One of the better known, Chestnut Level Academy, opened in 1852. Higher schooling was also available for those who wished to continue beyond the eight grades offered in the one-room schoolhouses. There was a four-year high school built in Quarryville in 1881. Students from all over the district completed their twelfth year of education at the facility. In 1915, the Quarryville Junior-Senior High School building was erected on South State Street, and it still plays an important role as the central offices for the school district. During this same time period, there were other high schools in Southern Lancaster County. However, they were all three-year schools or second-class high schools. On September 23, 1947, eight townships surrounding Quarryville joined the borough to form and define Solanco School District. The nine municipalities included Bart Colerain, Drumore, East Drumore, Eden, Fulton, Little Britain and Providence Townships, and Quarryville Borough. Official district status was achieved in 1966. During this time, the one-room schoolhouses were phased out and elementary schools were built. Solanco Junior-Senior High School was opened in 1962 on the same site where Solanco High School now stands. Today, the Solanco School District includes four elementary buildings, two middle school facilities, and one high school.
Four elementary schools serve students in kindergarten through fifth grade, two middle schools house grades six through eight and one high school holds grades nine through 12. Total enrollment for the seven schools is about 3,300.