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Center Joint Unified School District


History of Center Unified School District Time Line

History of Center Unified School District Time Line

JG Gould, who later served on Board of Trustees, settled on his ranch near the Placer-Sacramento Cos. Line
  • A petition found by Austin Hunt describes School District No.2 in Center Township which became "Center School District".   We can assume a school was built April 7.
  • Boundaries of the school district were the north half of the Center Township.   A census was taken by Mr. Dyer from Rocklin to the Sacramento River.   The census showed a need for the school.
  • The union District of Placer County was established in the area of Mr. Dyer's census.   JG Gould, Dyer and J. Williams were the first trustees.   Mr. Gould was the first clerk.   Miss Howe was the teacher.
  • 1865
  • Elisha Driver began serving on the Center District school Board of Trustees until his death in 1913.
  • 1864
  • The first school has one room.   There were 4-20 students who attended year-round.   The fluctuation in attendance was because the older students were needed on their farms and ranches during harvest.  
  • County Superintendent's records contain a petition to transfer JJ Williams' Ranch from the Lincoln to the Center School District.   The boundaries were changed in 1872.   The Lincoln School District was the old Lincoln-Elverta School, founded in 1855   It used to stand on the corner of Elverta and Elwyn Ave.  
  • Abram Keithly was the clerk of the Board of Trustees.   He served on the Board for 45 years.
  • Center School was "thoroughly repaired".   This leads us to believe that the school (located at the present McClellan High School site was quite old already.  
  • Student Stats. 11 Boys & 6 Girls
  • Teacher: Mr. E. Panabaker
  • Clerk of Union District board - OJ Gould
  • The Union District of Placer Co. and the Center District of Sacramento Co. shared the responsibilities of the school.   The Union board of Trustees paid the bills and managed the affairs from August to January, and the Center Board from February to July.   Students Attended school year-round.
  • A page out of Elisha Driver's personal journal dated 1883, shows the purchase of land for school purposes, the fence to be maintained by both districts.
  • Arthur Gould, Grandson of JG Gould, went to school at Center.   It was a one-room school located at the present McClellan High School site.   His father went to this same school.   The teacher was Miss Lillie Cross.   The building was worth about $900.   The teacher taught grades 1-8th for $900 a year.  
  • A 12' X 24' addition was build onto the old school building to accommodate the definite 17 students.
  • Clerk of the Board for the Union District - C.A. Hines
  • The foundation was laid for a new school.   The old building was pulled away, and a new 24' X 36' section was added.   The one-room was now 24' X 48'.   52 Students now attended.
  • The first school was used for storage.  
LATE 1890's
  • Mr. A. Keithly, clerk of the Board of Trustees, bought our bell.   It was an old church bell and weighs 700 lbs..   The bell may be the oldest in the Sacramento area.
  • A 12' addition was built on to the from of the school for a belfry.
  • Arthur Gould, in a 1961 article in the Sacramento Bee , said the bell was so heavy that when it was rung, the whole building would shake.   Therefore the bell was not used to call children to school.   They were afraid it would "come through the roof".
  • Mel A. Driver went to school at Center in 1910.   He remembered the bell calling he and the other children to school.   Maybe they fixed it somehow.
  • John R. Dyer - Clerk of the Board of Trustees, Union District.
  • Charles A. Driver on the Center Board.   He served for 30 years.   His father, Elisha was still on the Board.   They served together until 1908.
  • Placer County School Office records show Center and Union District's attendance together.
1908 (Feb 7)
  • Center District (Sacramento Co.) and Union School District (Placer Co.) consolidated to form the Center Joint School District.
  • The new Board - A Keithly, E Driver, and A.D. Gould.
  • The name Center was chosen because of its central location between Rocklin and Sacramento.
  • Melville A. Driver began school at Center.   His teacher was Miss Fletcher.   They went barefoot and in overalls most of the time.   Each morning, they started off with the Flag Salute, then they would line up and march into class.   They used the McGuffey Readers.   They would go up by class to a bench in the front where the teacher would give them their assignments.   There was a lot of memory work.  They read aloud every day.
  • CA Driver returned to the School Board after E Driver passed away.   He served until 1933.   While Mel A. Driver was attending Center, our school along with several others from our area, took the train to San Francisco to the Pan Pacific Exposition.   He remembers the wonderful Panama Canal Exhibit with working gates and ships, all in miniature.
  • Center Joint School was the School Auxiliary of the Roseville Chapter of the Red Cross.
  • During the time CA Driver was serving on the Board, there were battles over annexing Center to the Roseville School District.   The school would have been moved into town, and the children bussed to school.   Driver and others fought the idea and Center stayed here.
  • Teacher Mrs.. McIntosh "A nice lady and I enjoyed her classes very much" - Richard Berger
  • Description Of The Second School House - This was the building built in 1896 with the 12 foot addition for a belfry.   It was white framed building with a red-shingled roof, and the belfry was on the front end.   The first school stood behind it, and was probably used as storage.   There was one room with a library under the belfry.   There was a piano, desks, chairs, and an old-fashioned stove for heat.   Outside was a horse and buggy stable, windmill with a horse trough for the farmers to use on their way to Sacramento, and a tank house.   There was a large yard with baseball diamonds, many trees, see-saws, swing and action bars.
  • In the early 1900's, our students that wanted to go to High School , had to go to Sacramento High School.   Some stayed in town all week, coming home only on weekends and holidays.   Later, many took the N. Electric train into town each day.The $5.00 monthly train pass was reimbursed by the state.
About 1927
  • The second school house was replaced by Center Joint School - a red brick and plaster building, built in the style of the old west.
About 1928
  • The first old school building was purchased by Eric Carlson and Axel Anderson.   They moved it 9 miles to their new ranch near the Sacramento River.   It was used as a Garage, ship and granary.
  • Sometime during this time, the bell was taken down.   It was found later in a barn.  
  • This third school stood where the McClellan cafeteria now stands.
  • Description Of The Third School House This description is in "Two Months on a Ranch" by Richard Berger, based on the journals he kept while staying with his uncle, Gus Lindgren, on the Kasser Brothers Ranch, a 640 acre grain, almond, grapes, and chicken ranch located on both sides of what is now Kaser Rd.   The school was red brick "and very pretty".   Inside were boys and girls dressing rooms, library, small kitchen, telephone booth, stage, and a fairly large auditorium which was also the classroom.   It had modern furniture and steam heat, office, and two large hallways.
  • The bell was found, and they hung it on a 15' tower on the Gould Ranch.   The Gould Ranch was a listening post, and the bell would have been used to warn our community of an air raid..
  • Cyril Spinelli began serving on the School Board, and continues until he and his family moved in 1963.   For his years of dedication and service, he was declared an honorary life member of the Board - June 4, 1963
  • The Bell was taken down and placed under an old walnut tree on the Gould Ranch.
  • Center Joint has 2 classes.   One met in the large hallway, and the other in the auditorium.
  • Arthur Dudley School was built to accommodate the new McClellan-Capehart housing.   The student population of some 300 soon rose of over 700 to take in the Center students while Center was being built.  The Brick Center Joint was torn Down.
  • Arthur Dudley has contributed much to the Sacramento area since 1920.   He served as the Secretary of the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce.   He is often called the "Father of McClellan" because of his involvement in bringing the Air Force Base to our area.
  • Center Elementary was near completion.   Four rooms were ready for the 1-3rd grades.   This relieved some of the overcrowding at Dudley.
  • The bell was brought back by Cyril Spinelli. A monument was built for the bell in the Center Elementary school yard.
  • Melville E. Driver was on the Board until 1985.   A Driver has been on the Board for 94 years.
  • Cyril Spinelli School built - Two attempts were made to unify Center Joint with the Roseville High School District.   It was defeated both times.
  • Center Joint became an Early Childhood Education Center.   The k-3rd graders from Dudley and Center Elementary went to Center Elementary, and the 4-6th graders went to Dudley.   The ECE was the early beginnings of the SIP program.   Mr. Tom Wright was very instrumental in its development.
  • District's first Instructional Aids and Parent Volunteers were used in the ECE program.
  • Later, Spinelli also started an ECE program.
  • Center Joint became a Junior High School
  • An election as held to vote on unifying the district to include K-12 grades.   We are now the Center Unified School District.
  • The district kept the 9th graders and subsequently adds a class each year thereafter.
  • The new Center Junior High School was completed and temporarily occupied by 9-10 grades.
  • The New Center High School was partially finished.
  • Students occupied a portion of the campus while construction continued.
  • Center Joint School became Center Elementary School.
  • Oak Hill Kindergarten School was built.
  • North Country Elementary School was built.
  • Oak Hill Kindergarten School was closed.
  • Oak Hill Elementary School was built (built on same site as Oak Hill Kindergarten School).
  • McClellan High School was relocated to the Center Elementary School site.
  • Wilson C. Riles Middle School was partially complete and housed 6th grade students while 7th and 8th grade students remained at the Center Junior High School campus.
  • January, the 7th and 8th graders joined the 6th graders at the new Riles MS campus.
  • The district celebrated its Sesquicentennial, with activities at each of the school sites during the 2007/08 school year.  There was a district-wide celebration in May 2008.
  • Modernization was done to Gerety Stadium, with new seating/bleachers, an all weather track and an artificial turf field.
2022 (Spring)

  • The district began construction of Rex Fortune Elementary School, the district’s fifth elementary school. Rex Fortune Elementary is scheduled to open for students on August 7,       2023.

    • The district began construction to expand facilities for Career Technical Education at Center High School. These facilities are scheduled to house students beginning August 7,         2023.


  • Center High School Career Technical Education Center was named in recognition of Raymond F. Bender at the April 19, 2023 Board of Trustees Meeting.