Return to Headlines

History of Rosedale Union School District

The history of the Rosedale Union School District was provided by a Kern County Superintendent of Schools document in 2010 entitled District Origins in Kern County.

The Rosedale School District and the Palm Street School District were consolidated in 1933 to form the Rosedale Union School District. In its first year of operation the newly formed district, its territory now covering an area of some 24 square miles, had an average daily attendance of 244 pupils.

The original Rosedale School District had been formed in 1890 and in its first year of operation, 1890-91, had an average daily attendance of 18 pupils. The Rosedale School, located six miles west of Bakersfield on Rosedale Highway, was destroyed by fire in 1893 and a new school built in its place. By 1920-21, district enrollment had grown to 70 pupils and by 1932-33, the last year before its union with the Palm Avenue School District, 120 pupils were in attendance.

The Palm School District was formed in April of 1894 with the schoolhouse located west of Rosedale School at the intersection of Noriega Road and Heath Road. The school and the district were so named because there were a number of large palm trees on the school site. In its first year of operation the Palm School had an enrollment of eighteen pupils. It reached a peak average daily attendance of thirty-one pupils in 1904-05 but by 1932-33, its last year as an independent district, enrollment had dropped to just twenty-one pupils.

Another small district, the Bellevue School District, had been formed in the Rosedale area in 1899. The district lasted just two years, lapsing when enrollment slipped to just seven students. The Bellevue district covered an area of thirty-six square miles and it was so situated that parts of that district’s territory can now be found in the Rosedale Union, Rio Bravo-Greeley, Panama-Buena Vista, and Fruitvale school districts.

An article in The Bakersfield Californian, dated March 18, 1935, noted:

a proposed consolidation of the Rosedale and Greeley school districts. The proposed union of the two districts was strongly supported by then county superintendent of schools, Herbert Healy, who appeared before the Rosedale board of trustees to point out “the educational advantages of a large school over a small one.” Mr. Healy failed to convince the board, however, and the proposal died from lack of support.

Following are enrollment figures that demonstrate the growth pattern experienced by the Rosedale district from 1922 to the period in the late 1960s when enrollment began experiencing significant increases due to development in the area. Enrollment in parentheses: 1922-23 (81); 1928-29 (73); 1933-34 (120); 1937-38 (204); 1948-49 (261); 1955-56 (374). By 1961-62, enrollment in Rosedale Union School District had risen to 523 students, heralding a growth trend that continues to the present day. In recent years, large blocks of land in the corridor between Hageman Road and Brimhall Road have been converted from agricultural to residential use and as the city of Bakersfield continues to expand westward, what was once an exclusively agricultural community is now a growing urban center. That urbanization is graphically reflected in district enrollment figures. The average daily attendance was 1,009 students in 1977-78 and had grown to 1,446 students by 1987-88. A dramatic increase in enrollment followed in the next eight years and by 1995-96 the district was serving 3,162 students. The Rosedale district continues to experience substantial annual increases in student population. Average daily attendance for 1997-98 was 3,388 students but a thousand more students had swelled the rolls to 4,333 by 2005. By 2009, the district’s ADA topped 5,000 students. Beginning with a 1975 bond election, Rosedale district residents approved the issuance of a series of general obligation bonds to provide additional school facilities for their growing student population. Proceeds from these bonds have been used to acquire new sites, build new schools, and refurbish existing facilities. Subsequent to the 1975 election, successful bond elections were also held in 1976, 1988, 1991, 1993, and 1994. Funds generated by the sale of these bonds were used to build Rosedale North Elementary School, opened in 1976, and Centennial Elementary, opened in 1990.

To augment funds generated by the sale of bonds, the Rosedale district, in 1992, using the authority granted by the Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act, joined with the Norris and Rio Bravo-Greeley school districts to create Community Facilities District No. 92-1 for the purpose of financing the construction and acquisition of additional school facilities. In December of 1992, voters in the Community Facilities District authorized the issuance of $350,000,000 in bonds to be apportioned among the three districts as follows: Rosedale $175,000,000; Norris - $87,500,000; and Rio Bravo-Greeley -$87,500,000. Rosedale completed a new district office facility in 1991, then opened Del Rio Elementary in1992 and Almondale Elementary in 1994.

On October 1, 1995, Rosedale Union School District issued Mello-Roos bonds in the amount of $4,295,000 for the construction of Independence Elementary School which opened in 1997. Freedom Middle School, a $10.1 million facility at Jewetta and Noriega roads, was completed in 2000.

In the past forty plus years the Rosedale Union School District has been served by just five Superintendents: Seth Rollins was the district’s chief administrator from 1955-1966, Floyd Luttrell from 1966-1969, Donald Himes from 1969-1974, Gary Mullhofer from 1974-1998, Jamie Henderson from 1998-2009. Dr. John G. Mendiburu from 2009-2019.  The current Superintendent is Sue Lemon.