Clovis Unified’s history can be traced back to December 1959 when 80 percent of voters cast a “yes” vote to unify the six school districts that fed into Clovis Union High School. That day, the 10 elementary schools that comprised these six school districts and Clovis Union High School united to become Clovis Unified School District.
However, the district’s roots stretch far deeper than 50 years. Instead, they start in the Central Valley’s pioneering history. Many of the schools and the school names in existence today trace their beginnings back to tiny schoolhouses built by families who invested their own money, time and talents to help bring public education to the area. These families offered room and board to the first teachers who came to instruct their children, and who were willing to make sacrifices in order that their children would be able to learn.
By the time CUSD came into existence in 1959, families stretched over 198-square miles that comprised the new district. Forty-two percent of CUSD’s boundaries reach into the city of Clovis, another 42 percent into the city of Fresno, and the remaining 16 percent extending to the unincorporated areas of Fresno County and the rural community of Friant.
To oversee the new district, a governing board was created comprised of one trustee from each of the seven original districts of Clovis Union High, Clovis Elementary, Dry Creek, Fort Washington-Lincoln, Jefferson, Pinedale and Temperance-Kutner. Clovis Unified’s first trustees were Einar Cook, James McCrummen, William McFarlane, James Oliver, F. L. “Kelly” Parks, Everett “Bud” Rank, Jr., and William White.
The 1960-61 school year was the first year of operation for Clovis Unified School District. Enrollment totaled 5,037 students and the district’s budget was $3 million. Dr. Floyd B. “Doc” Buchanan was at the helm, serving as superintendent of Clovis Unified for the next 30 years during which time he helped lead CUSD to become a nationally recognized school district with a focus on always putting the needs of students first.
Today, Clovis Unified’s students and community benefit from high quality, successful schools staffed with outstanding educators. Lead by Superintendent Eimear O’Farrell, Ed.D., CUSD serves nearly 39,000 students and has 32 elementary schools, five intermediate schools, five high schools, four alternative schools, one adult school, one online school, the Center for Advanced Research and Technology (CART), and one outdoor and environmental education school.
“50 Unified Years”
To celebrate the district’s 50th anniversary of unification in 2010-11, Communications staff published “50 Unified Years: Building a Tradition of Excellence in Clovis Unified Before, During and After Unification,” a 238-page, hardcover book chronicling the history of Clovis Unified. In addition to the complete history of the district itself, each CUSD school has its own chapter dedicated to its history.
The book was the result of a pressing need to bring together in one place a well-researched and accurate source of information about the history of the district and its schools. Click here to learn more about the book and how to purchase it or call 559-327-9094.
If you have any CUSD memorabilia or old photos that you’d like to donate to the district, please contact Patti Lippert at 559-327-9094. The district is making a concerted effort to preserve the history of Clovis Unified – we’d love to know what you have.