Public Schools of San Bernardino County, California

San Bernardino County was segregated from Los Angeles County, of which it originally formed a part, by an act of the, Legislature, passed April 26, 1853; and the earliest history recorded of a concerted systematic effort to establish public schools in the territory comprised in San Bernardino County are of that year. T. 1. Herring was the first County Superintendent of common schools, and from the report of the school commissioners signed by him, and bearing date of November 17, 1853, the following is extracted:

Report Of School Commissioners, San Bernardino, November 17, 1853

Theodore Turley, David Seeley, James H. Rollins, School Commissioners, report as follows: Whole number of children between four and eighteen years in districts No. 1 and 2, 263; number of boys, 142; number of girls, 121.

“Amount raised by subscription and paid teachers, $1,438.

Names of teachers employed:

District No. 1

William Stout, eight months, $60 per month;
William N. Cook (grade No. 2), six months, $60 per month;
Q. S. Sharks, three months, $76 per month;
Sarah Pratt, three months and ten days, $50 per month.

District No. 2

Ellen S. Pratt, four months, $35 per month;
Louis Pratt, assistant (primary school), one month, $27.50 per month;
W. S. Mathes, one month, $27.50 per month.

Number of pupils taught in first and second districts, 206; daily average attendance, 160; amount expended for schools, libraries and apparatus, $300; amount expended for building or renting and furnishing school-house, $291.50. Total amount of all expenditures on account of schools, $2,029.50. The whole of the above was raised by subscription.

“County Superintendent of Common Schools.”

In the decade following the date of this record the number of children of school age multiplied more than fourfold, the number of census children in 1863, as shown by the record, being 1,072.

and D streets, in San Bernardino, and dedicated with imposing ceremonies. It is a two-story structure of rooms, and is still in use for educational purposes. Previous to this the schoolhouses were either adobe or wooden buildings, with inferior lighting and ventilation and primitive in style of architecture. This was the initiative step in a new era which has provided this county with the finest class of schoolhouses of all counties in the State. Until the adoption of the new constitution of California in 1880, the public school system of the State was under the supervision of the State Board of Education, and was uniform in the different counties; but with the adoption of the new constitution the control of the school passed from the State Board to the local County Board.

Source: An Illustrated History of Southern California: embracing the counties of San Diego, San Bernardino, Los Angeles and Orange, and the peninsula of lower California.

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