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BCSD board bids farewell to Doc Ervin, ratifies contract for incoming Superintendent Mark Luque


The Bakersfield City School District presented outgoing superintendent Doc Ervin with plaques and other gifts as recognition for his work with the district during Tuesday evening's board meeting.

The board of the Bakersfield City School District formally bid farewell on Tuesday to Doc Ervin, who has been superintendent since he arrived in the district in 2016. Ervin will be heading south to become superintendent of the San Bernardino City Unified School District on June 1.

The board also ratified the contract for deputy superintendent Mark Luque who will replace Ervin when he leaves. Luque's term will last until June 30, 2024.

Trustee Pam Baugher presented Ervin with a plaque that was "an appreciation for keeping the district at the highest level of excellence during your leadership at BCSD and always making decisions in the best interests of students."

Ervin reflected on conversations that he had at the beginning of his tenure with board members, including the remaining trustees from that time Lillian Tafoya and Baugher. They set values and ultimately goals that drove the past five years: academic achievement, social-emotional learning and family and community engagement.

"We kept it very simple, very simple but we built the priorities under each one of those goals," Ervin said.

Ervin named some of the district's proudest accomplishments: rolling out wellness centers at school sites, creating a parent engagement program and offering academics and targeted supports to students that continued throughout the pandemic.

"We made good decisions for kids," he said. "We fought the good fight for kids, and I think you have to continue that."

In April, trustees at San Bernardino City Unified School District, a district of 49,000 students, ratified Ervin's contract. Originally, he was expected to start July 1 but his date was moved up to June 1. His salary will be $324,000. It includes benefits such as a housing allowance of $18,000 and an auto allowance of $9,000. 

Trustees on Tuesday ratified Luque's salary unanimously and without discussion. It's set at $235,000. That includes $6,000 he elected to have rather than a tax-sheltered annuity. His contract also stipulates that he is eligible for the same stipend management employees receive for their advanced degrees. Because Luque has a master's degree, he will receive an additional $1,500.
Luque's salary is tied to the fate of management employees in other ways: he will receive a raise or cut when they do.

Luque's contract has mostly similar terms to his predecessor. It provides the same medical, dental and vision coverage that non-management employees receive. The contract kicks in $500 annually toward life insurance premiums. He will receive $7,200 for transportation expenses for his duties within the district.

As an internal hire, the district didn't need to pay up to $12,000 in relocation expenses. But as an internal hire, there's a clause that gives Luque an incentive to stick around. 

Management employees who have been with the district for 10 years earn a 2.5% salary increase. Luque's contract stipulates that he be granted the same anniversary increment as management employees. Luque's 10-year anniversary will be June 23, 2024 — just a week before his term as superintendent is up.

Steve Comstock, the president of the Bakersfield Elementary Teachers Association, extended congratulations to Luque for his new role.

"I have had many opportunities to work closely with Mr. Luque in his time with BCSD and have always found him to have a sincere concern for the students, families, and employees that make up the BCSD community," Comstock wrote in an email to The Californian. "It is BETA's hope that Mr. Luque continues his inclusive, forward-thinking, thoughtful, and measured approach to leading our District."

Other big personnel changes were announced at Tuesday night's meeting. The board appointed Laura Orozco assistant superintendent of Educational Services. Ervin announced that Rona Chacon Mellon was named the director of Human Resources and Brooke Smothers Strizic was named executive director of educational services.

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  • Positive Cases Among Kern Residents: 158,270

  • Deaths: 1,828

  • Recovered and Presumed Recovered Residents: 150,950 

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  • Source: Kern County Public Health Services Department