Although records are not available as far back as 1893, local senior citizens recall that year as being the one when a two-year high school program was first offered for the teenage young people of Red Bud. A few years later, the program was expanded to become a three-year high school. In 1928 Red Bud High School became a four-year institution.
Through the efforts of Mr. L. V. Finley, who came to Red Bud in 1928 and became the Superintendent in 1929, Red Bud High School was recognized as being fully accredited by the Illinois State Superintendent of Public Instruction’s Office in 1930. From 1928 through 1943 Red Bud High School usually maintained a faculty of four or five teachers, and an enrollment that never exceeded seventy-five students. During many of these years, both Sparta and Waterloo high schools operated bus routes that went through the City of Red Bud, and transported students from adjacent territory to those neighboring high schools. Because of such an inconvenient arrangement, the Red Bud Community High School came into existence as a result of a special election held in May 1943.
The Red Bud Community High School District was formed by the surrounding rural elementary school districts (Randolph County: Cleveland, Erle, Hapke, Little Oak, McCuen, Nelson, Ohlwine, Ruma and Monroe County: Ames, Brickey, Cambria, Kirsch, Lohrberg, Round Prairie) joining the existing Red Bud District for secondary educational instruction. The assessed valuation of the new district was in excess of $3,000,000.00.Soon after the election, the Cambria District voted itself out of the Red Bud District, and the following year the Marigold District petitioned to join the Red Bud District.
Since transportation was a growing problem, on August 25, 1943, a bid from Henry Rahn of 16 cents per mile was accepted for two years to transport students. By 1951, the number of buses had grown to five with two station wagons.
In 1943 Mr. L. V. Finley resigned to become actively involved in World War II, and was succeeded by Mr. Harry C. Koelling. The enrollment for the newly created district was 100 students and increased to 200 by 1946, and remained in that general category until around 1960.
During the years from 1908 through 1949, many innovations were included in the educational program offered to the students of Red Bud and the surrounding area. The curriculum was continually expanded and improved upon as soon as the interest and need justified these changes and funds were available. Many bond issues and building programs were proposed and completed during those years and served their purpose quite adequately.
In May 1949 an election was held to organize a new unit district which became the Red Bud Community Unit School District #132. Under this plan, all of the elementary districts that participated in the Red Bud Community High School District joined with the high school district and formed a single unit school district. Also under this plan, a single seven-man board was to operate both high school and grade school. Thus, the present Red Bud Community Unit High School received its first breath of life.
There were seven elementary teachers (enrollment 155), and eleven high school teachers (enrollment 198). The first budget was for $93,705.00 with an estimated deficit of $13,200.00. The first tax levy was for $60,450.00. On July 7, 1950 the infant unit district voted favorably on a $300,000.00 bond issue to be used with the $150,000.00 bond issue approved previously in September 1945, but never used because of soaring prices at the end of World War II. The composite $450,000.00 was used to construct the original portion of the existing high school building. Construction contracts approved on November 9, 1950 totaled $421,174.00 with the general contractor being Bauer Bros. Construction and Supply Company of Belleville, Illinois. The corner stone for the building was laid on July 18, 1951, and the building was completed in 1952. The assessed valuation of the district at that time was $9,000,000.00.
In 1955 Mr. Harry C. Koelling resigned, and was succeeded by Mr. Arthur N. Trammel who remained in the superintendent’s position through 1965. Mr. Eugene Brubaker was superintendent of the local school district through 1969. Mr. Eugene Holmes became superintendent in 1969 and retired in 1988. Mr. Wayne Collmeyer moved from the principal’s position to become superintendent in 1988. Mr. John (Larry) Ingalls became superintendent in 1994 and was succeeded by Mr. Steve Harsy in 2006 and Mr. Rick Goodman in 2010.  The current superintendent, Mr. Jonathan Tallman, was hired in 2012 after serving as the High School Principal for 1 year.
Since 1928 the high school serving the Red Bud area has had eleven superintendents and twelve principals, excluding the early superintendent-principal combinations. Mr. Adrian E. Phegley became high school principal during the time Mr. Koelling was superintendent and served in that position for many years. Mr. George Lochner served as principal for one year only. The other high school principals were Mr. Joe Gholson, Mr. Charles Pugh (1968), Mr. Thomas Eson (1970), Mr. Wayne Collmeyer (1976), Mr. Richard Hargrave (1988), Mr. Bradley Hall (2005), Mrs. Sarah Imhoff (2008), Mr. Jonathan Tallman (2011), and our current principal, Mr. Dustin Nail (2012).
Red Bud High School was instrumental in forming the Fort Chartres Athletic Conference in 1947, and remained an active member of that conference until joining the Cahokia Athletic Conference in 1971.
Red Bud has also been instrumental in establishing the Perandoe Special Education District in 1968, and the Beck Vocational Center in 1970. Both of these special districts serve almost all of Randolph and Monroe Counties, and a portion of St. Clair County; Red Bud is the administrative district for the Perandoe Special Education District.
Red Bud Community Unit High School was accepted into the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in 1971. The District is also part of the Belleville Area College District; the current name of which is Southwestern Illinois College.
There are presently thirty-two certified teachers, three teacher aides, one guidance counselor, and two administrators who are responsible for the education of approximately 450 students. The high school student body is made up of young people graduating from one public elementary school and three parochial schools within the district, one parochial school outside the district, and one public elementary non-high district.
The present physical facilities have emerged as the result of several building programs consisting of six additions to the original structure. The structure contains twenty-five classrooms, three shower and dressing facilities, two gymnasiums, two shop areas, library/media center, band room, cafeteria, teacher’s workroom/lounge, and two office areas.
The boundaries of Red Bud Community Unit School District #132 encompass 170 square miles of territory which has an equalized assessed valuation in excess of $192,672,000.00.
---Originally published March 1989, by Darlene Hentis.   Revised July 2012.