Parents voice concerns at KHSD community forum

June 25, 2021 /

The Kern High School District held its second community forum Tuesday which allowed numerous attendees to ask questions and voice their concerns or opinions about the district’s upcoming boundary changes.

With the addition of its 19th comprehensive high school, Del Oro, the KHSD Board of Trustees confirmed the criteria and process for updating its school boundaries in December of 2020. A committee of community members decided on the following three boundary plans for public consideration:

As the proposed map plans are being considered, the KHSD has scheduled three community forum events which would allow any attendees to express their concerns over boundary changes and allow suggestions towards which plan parents believe will work best. Shortly after the KHSD presentation at the forum, board members opened up the floor to anyone that wanted to speak.

At the community forum on Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021, the audience consisted mostly of concerned Bakersfield High School parents urging the committee to vote on boundary plan 3— the plan that keeps the BHS boundary lines the same as they currently are while adjusting the boundary lines of all the other schools.

“I’m in support of plan 3 because I feel it does the best for our children. I understand the concern of leveling the playing fields of all the different schools, but I feel like the capacity issue at BHS isn’t really an issue. We have been given information that the BHS current capacity is actually under by quite a bit of what the school can actually hold. And I know in years past they’ve had much larger attendance. So I have questions about how those capacity numbers are derived and if our school is one of the largest in the city—I’m making that assumption because I’ve been there— I don’t know why we need to have our children taken away if we have the capacity to hold them. And while other schools have different capacities, one size does not fit all. So some schools may be able to hold more students than others. Also, our school is fairly landlocked, so I’m not sure how the trajectories of 10 years from now hold out on the numbers changing dramatically. I’m also concerned with what is—and this is really my major concern—what is the measurable and compelling benefit to our students by moving them from a thriving, inner district, diverse school that, without a doubt, has some of the best rigor in town. From their AP classes, their STEM classes, through the innumerable clubs and opportunities available for these children to participate in. What is the measurable benefit of moving anybody from that school?”

A BHS parent that was in attendance of the forum

The goal of redistricting is to draw boundaries for Del Oro and to also design boundaries that will last the longest possible time. These boundary changes wouldn’t come into effect until the 2022-2023 school year and would affect the incoming 9th and 10th graders. Although Del Oro will be built in the southeast part of Kern County, redistricting will affect a multitude of schools in order to help alleviate overcrowding at several schools.

The schools surrounding Del Oro—Arvin (+660), South (+369), Mira Monte (+510), and Golden Valley (+622)— are currently all over their ideal capacity by hundreds of students. The capacity numbers for the schools that will be affected by the boundary changes are: Bakersfield (+115), East (+178), Foothill (+101), Highland (+670), Independence (+110), North (-25), Ridgeview (+655), Stockdale (+28), and West (-252).

Depending on the plan selected, affected areas will change schools starting in the fall of 2022 as follows: 9th and 10th graders from Arvin, South, Golden Valley, and Mira Monte will be sent to Del Oro. 9th graders from Bakersfield, East, Foothill, Highland, Independence, North, Ridgeview, Stock, or West could be redistricted to a different school.

Despite these possible changes, 9th or 10th grade students for the 2022-2023 year who have a sibling in the 11th or 12th grade will have the option to attend the same school as their siblings.

The KHSD will be hosting one final community forum on June 29th, 2021, at 7 PM. This forum will take place in the auditorium at Golden Valley High School. Any questions or comments about redistricting can be sent to boundaryquestions@kernhigh.org no later than July 16th.

With the impact on several schools, each map plan provides 1. new boundaries, 2. new boundaries with changes and 3. an interactive map (use your address to find your school). These maps and further information can be found here.

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