Madera Unified School District

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Madera Unified School District
Madera, California
United States
District information
Motto Where the futures of children are driven by their aspirations, not bound by their circumstances.
Grades K - 12, Adult
Established 1966
Superintendent Ed Gonzales
Students and staff
Students 19,000
Other information

Madera Unified School District is a public school district serving Madera, California.


The district was first incorporated in 1966 to consolidate administration of schools in and around the City of Madera. The district has 25 schools (13 K-6 elementary schools, 3 K-8 country schools, 3 middle schools, 2 high schools, 2 alternative education centers, 2 charter schools). In recent years, M.U.S.D has added 4 new schools (3 elementary schools and 1 middle school) and completed Madera South High School (formerly named Madera High School - South Campus).


Elementary Schools[edit]

  • John Adams Elementary School
  • Alpha Elementary School
  • Berenda Elementary School
  • Caesar E. Chavez Elementary School
  • Eastin-Arcola Elementary School
  • Lincoln Elementary School
  • James Madison Elementary School
  • Millview Elementary School
  • James Monroe Elementary School
  • Nishimoto Elementary School
  • Parkwood Elementary School
  • John J. Pershing Elementary School
  • Sierra Vista Elementary School
  • George Washington Elementary School

Middle Schools[edit]

  • Jack G. Desmond Middle School
  • Martin Luther King Jr, Middle School
  • Thomas Jefferson Middle School

High Schools[edit]

K-8 Schools[edit]

  • Dixieland School
  • Howard School
  • La Vina School

Charter Schools[edit]

  • Ezequiel Tafoya Alvarado Academy
  • Sherman Thomas Charter School

Alternative Education[edit]

  • Furman High School
  • Adult Education

New High School[edit]

In late 2008, Madera Unified purchased land for a new high school in the northern part of town.

Voting Rights Act lawsuit[edit]

Madera Unified's capitulation when faced with a 2008 lawsuit about the manner in which school board trustees were elected, as well as a judge's related ruling on the matter, has reportedly influenced other California school districts and other governmental bodies to change from at-large representation, which dominates the state's school districts, to a by-district system. Four Madera plaintiffs, represented by San Francisco-based Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, alleged that the at-large voting system resulted in racial polarization that resulted in the city's Latino majority of 82 percent being politically marginalized, which they said violated the state's 2002 Voting Rights Act.[1] That statistic is slightly misleading, however, as only 44 percent of those eligible to vote in an MUSD election were Latinos, according to a press release by Anayma DeFrias of the aforementioned LCCR. The Madera case was one of the first to be filed under the California Voting Rights Act.[2] The school district settled out of court without admitting guilt but agreeing to change how school board trustees were elected, according to The Madera Tribune daily newspaper in 2008.[citation needed]

MUSD Attendance Areas 2009-2010[edit]

2008-2009 School Year Budget Cuts[edit]

During the Great Recession Madera Unified was forced to cut nearly 100 teachers, raise class sizes on all grade levels, close two elementary schools—Ripperdan and Eastin-Arcola—reduce busing services, freeze staff pay raises and benefits, reduce music programs and staff among other cuts. As of 2013 increased state funding has allowed the district to hire additional teachers to reduce class sizes in K-3. Eastin-Arcola was re-opened in 2014. The other cuts remain in place.

Recent Superintendents[edit]

The Madera Unified School Board placed Superintendent John Stafford on leave with pay for the remainder of the 2010-11 school year. No reason was given. After a short search a new superintendent, Gustavo Balderas, was hired in 2011 on a three-year contract. Balderas surprised the district by resigning to take another superintendent position in Southern California in 2012. During the search for a replacement for Balderas accusations were made of improper conduct by several board members in regards to the search, and that search was aborted and an investigation launched. In the meantime the board rehired former superintendent Julie O'Kane as interim. In July 2013 it was announced that Ed Gonzales, former teacher and principal in Madera Unified, was hired as superintendent.


  1. ^ "Madera Unified case is changing elections throughout California," Los Angeles Times, Jan. 4, 2009,
  2. ^ "Voters Sue Madera Unified School District," Indybay, Aug. 21, 2008,

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