Children attending grades one through three at
in Tustin pose with their teacher in 1885.
When Tustin Unified School District began the
fall semester Wednesday, over 1,000 certificated teachers were on hand to
greet more than 22,000 students at 30 schools. What a difference from Feb.
5, 1872, when Sycamore School District opened in Tustin under the auspices
of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
About 28 students would attend Sycamore
School off and on with five of the children coming from the Columbus Tustin
family. One teacher was hired, Miss Anna Casad, with a contract for three
months. Compare her salary of $60 a month with the Tustin Unified School
District's budget of $166 million.
Class was held in a house owned by Columbus
Tustin, who received $8 in rent monthly. The new Board of Trustees voted to
assess a tax of $900 to build a schoolhouse plus a tax of $300 for school
purposes. However the Sycamore School District purchased Tustin's house for
about $700 in 1875.
Miss Casad didn't last long. Records show at
least 15 different teachers taught at Sycamore School during the 1870s. Male
teachers earned salaries close to $100, but women received stipends of $50
to $80 a month.
A two-story building with a total of four
rooms and a bell tower was built in 1882 to replace the first school, which
could accommodate fewer than 50 students. Students from Tustin City and
surrounding ranches attended the new school until a larger school with two
class buildings was opened in 1914. These schools were erected on the school
block, a site bounded by First, Main, B and C streets, reserved by Tustin
when he laid out the map for his new community,
Students wishing to continue their education
after graduating from the eighth grade went to Santa Ana High School until
1922 when the first Tustin High School was built on the property now
occupied by its replacement. Students from El Toro, Trabuco, Irvine and
Laguna Beach attended Tustin High in its early years.
The two schools, which served students
through eighth grade, each had about 150 students. Classes averaged 20
pupils. Most grades had two sections, but if there were too few for two
classes, two grades were combined into one class.
A fleet of big yellow busses cruised the area
which extended to Browning and Lemon Heights on the east, Ritchey on the
south, and Grand Avenue on the west, picking up students. Very few children
lived within walking distance.
The increase in the number of schools,
faculty and students since those days is mind boggling. Columbus Tustin
probably never dreamed that eventually his designated School Block would be
too small the serve the needs of the community.