Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

The Potential Educational and Economic Advantages of the Unification
of the William S. Hart Union High School District.

Cursory research indicates author Clifford S. Thyberg was superintendent of the West Covina Unified School District from the 1950s to the 1970s.


The need for unification of California school districts has been recognized for many years. The William S. Hart Union High School District has been in existence for only two years, but already the need of better articulation between the high school and the four elementary schools within the district is apparent.

The existence of wide variation in wealth of the various elementary districts also poses other problems that have arisen in the area — financial problems, transportation problems, school housing problems, and the coordinating of school services.

Statement of the problem.

The problem selected for this project resolved itself into the making of a survey of the four elementary school districts comprising the William S. Hart Union High School District in northern Los Angeles County, California. This was undertaken with the view of determining the feasibility of unification of the area into a single unit of administration, or other worthwhile units of administration. This study seeks to determine the educational and economic advantages of such undertakings.

The following questions were considered fundamental to any valid solution of the problem:

1. What would be the effects of unification on the financial conditions of the district involved?

2. What educational advantages would be achieved by unification?

3. What would be the effect of unification on transportation in the districts?

4. What would be the effect of unification in regard to building facilities or needs of the districts?

5. What other alternatives would be possible besides unification of the whole area to gain the advantages inherent in a larger administrative unit?

In this project the area to be studied will be confined to the present area of the Williams. Hart Union High School District. No attempt will be made to study the possibility of combining with either of the adjacent high school districts — Antelope Valley Joint or Los Angeles City.

Historical Sketch.

The William S. Hart Union High School District has been in existence only two years. It was formed in 1945 when attendance in the elementary districts of Castaic Union, Mint Canyon, Saugus Union, and Sulphur Springs reached an average daily attendance of more than five hundred, and when the valuation of the district reached a value of more than $5,000,000. This met the requirements of the Education Code of the State of California, Section 3661, which required that in order to form a new high school district there must be at least five hundred or more units of attendance in the aggregate elementary school districts and an assessed valuation of $5,000,000 or more.

The increase in valuation of the district was brought about primarily by the discovery of new oil fields in the Newhall and Castaic Union School Districts. The increase in attendance was brought about by the location of the Bermite Powder Company in Saugus, their subsequent employment of one thousand or more workers at the peak, and the influx of population from the nearby urban area of Los Angeles mainly employed at the huge airplane factories in the nearby San Fernando Valley. A hundred or more homes were built by the Bermite Powder Company in the Newhall area alone. Former summer cottages in the nearby canyons acquired year 'round residents.

When first formed the new high school district was called the Santa Clarita Union High School District. In the fall of 1945 the name of the school was changed to the William S. Hart High School in honor of the former star of silent Western pictures who was a long-time resident and benefactor of the area.

Because of building restrictions and the inability to construct a suitable building, the students of the high school have been divided into two groups. The students of grades ten, eleven and twelve in the first year of the new school's existence continued to attend the San Fernando High School of the Los Angeles City High School District on a tuition basis. These students will continue at San Fernando until they have graduated. In the meantime, the graduates of the elementary districts for 1945 and 1946 and subsequent years will attend the William S. Hart High School in Newhall. For the past two the high school has existed on the grounds of the Newhall Elementary School. It is expected that the fall of 1947 will see the housing of grades nine, ten and eleven in their own school on a site in Newhall. Eventually it is planned to maintain a junior-senior high school of grade seven to twelve inclusive.

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Dalbey: Survey of Schools 1933


Hart School Site Acquisition 1945


Unification Study 1948


Story of Hart High (& District) 1952


Irvin Shimmin, Superitendent 1951-1963


Unification Effort 1964


Jereann Bowman 1963/69


Recall Vote 9/15/1970


SCV School District Reorganization Plan 1970-71


Board & Admin (Partial) 1976


Board 1986-87


H. Clyde Smyth

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