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Kern High School Superintendent Don Carter plans to retire at the end of the school year.

The Dolores Huerta Foundation has launched an online petition asking the Kern High School District to broaden its search for a successor to retiring Superintendent Don Carter.

Carter is stepping down in August after a decade leading the largest high school district in the state. The KHSD board of trustees is limiting its search for a new superintendent to internal candidates.

The Dolores Huerta Foundation wants  KHSD to look at candidates nationwide, and on Monday posted a petition to that effect at Three days after it went online, the petition had 45 signatures.

“There are a lot of problems at KHSD, and it would be great to bring in someone who has a new vision and could change the direction the district is going in,” said Camila Chavez, the foundation’s executive director.

The foundation, which advocates for health, education and economic development for disadvantaged communities, also would like to see more racial and ethnic minorities in top KHSD leadership positions, Chavez said.

Civil rights groups and black and Hispanic parents have criticized the district for its extremely high suspension and expulsion rates, which they say disproportionately affect students of color.

Several speakers expressed their concern about the limited scope of the district’s search at the last meeting of the KHSD board of trustees.

At the time, board members said they did not want to expand the search because it would not give them enough time to have a successor in place for the start of the 2014-15 school year.

The foundation has called for the appointment of an interim superintendent in order to make time for more comprehensive recruitment.

KHSD spokesman John Teves and board President Chad Vegas did not respond to requests for an interview Thursday.


To view the petition, log onto: