A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit involving a dispute over the enrollment of students in Kern County Office of Education-operated schools, according to a press release.
In October 2014, the Dolores Huerta Foundation, The National Brotherhood Association, Faith in Kern and several community members filed a lawsuit against the Kern High School District, the Kern County Superintendent of Schools and Kern County Office of Education and several state education entities alleging the KCOE unlawfully discriminated against students of color. Those causes of action were dismissed as to KCOE by the assigned judge during the course of the litigation.
The agreement, finalized Wednesday, calls for enhanced communication with parents and students regarding KCOE-operated schools, enrollment options and available instructional methods at the various school sites, according to the press release. It also provides for periodic internal review of data collected by KCOE, and for trainings by KCOE to its staff and to interested school district staff regarding the statutory authorizations and processes for enrollment of students in KCOE-operated schools.
Under the agreement, at school sites where there is no traditional classroom instruction option, KCOE will expand its online classroom option to include all core content areas and A-G courses. Five of the student plaintiffs will be offered career counseling and online career development instruction in remediation for alleged educational violations.
“We are pleased that we were able to work collaboratively with the plaintiffs’ representatives to resolve the few remaining issues in this lawsuit, and to agree on enhanced communication and coordination with parents, students, and school districts regarding high-quality, student-focused options we offer to students in Kern County,” said Kern County Superintendent of Schools Mary Barlow.
“We are very pleased with KCOE’s commitment to make changes we believe will have tangible positive impacts on students in Kern County through added focus on the referral to community school process, clearer information to students and parents regarding available instructional options and services, ongoing data review, and offering of services to some of the plaintiffs,” said the plaintiffs’ lead counsel Cynthia Rice.