Aaron Steenbergen, a retired educator, had an unusual request for trustees Monday — he wants them to take a paycheck.

Current trustees across the state in similar sized districts regularly collect about $750 per month for their work, however Kern High School District trustees have stood by a policy since 2009 that asserts board service is a voluntary contribution to the community. They take no compensation.

“As is known, the KHSD has as an enrollment of over 37,100 students. Clearly, our current KHSD trustees and future ones are entitled — by law — to $750 per month compensation,” Steenbergen said, arguing that such pay could be significant in Kern County, where the median household income hovers around $50,000.

Steenbergen has brought the issue to the board at least five times in the last three years. It had been voted on twice, but died for lack of a second or motion.

Trustees made their opinion clear, however, Monday, unanimously rejecting Steenbergen’s request.

“We appreciate you wanting to take care of us and such, but I think we still view this as something we give back to the community, and we don’t do it for the income,” Trustee Mike Williams said.

Board President Phillip Peters agreed, adding that if the work is “not done from the heart with an attitude for service, that it’s not being done for the right reasons.”

Williams, surprised that his board is among the few that does not collect a paycheck, chalked it up to work ethic and “Kern County ethics.”


The Bakersfield City School District is inviting the public to participate in an online survey that would help shape how it spends state funding.

The Local Control Accountability Plan is required by a state educational funding model that provides districts flexibility on how they allocate state dollars to serve the needs of its students.

Districts must identify their greatest student needs, set targets for improving performance and allocate funding for programs and services to meet those goals.

The survey, which help guide the district’s plans, will be available on the BCSD homepage, www.bcsd.com. For more information, call 661-631-4618.


Know somebody hall-of-fame worthy?

Two local districts — Taft College and Bakersfield City School District — want to hear from you.

BCSD is accepting nominations for inductees into the BCSD Hall of Fame 2018 class. Since its inception in 2010, the hall of fame has recognized former students noted for their professional accomplishments and community members who have distinguished themselves with their service to BCSD.

Past honorees include House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, former Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall, civil rights leader Dolores Huerta and Kern County Supervisor Mike Maggard.

The deadline to nominate is March 2. BCSD Trustees will review entries and select recipients before inductees are announced March 22. They will be recognized during a June 8 gala at the Bakersfield Country Club.

Nominations can be submitted online at www.bcsd.com, or delivered to the BCSD Office of the Superintendent, 1300 Baker Street. For more information, visit http://bcsd.com/halloffame/.

Taft College is also accepting nominations for its hall of fame, which honors former students, teams, coaches, administrators, faculty, staff and community members who “have excelled through competition, made a difference in the lives of our students or been strong supporters of Taft College,” district officials said in a news release.

The hall-of-fame categories include a distinguished administrator, alumni, classified/management personnel, faculty member, an extraordinary service award, and an outstanding coach, female athlete and male athlete.

Nominations are available at http://taftcollege.edu/hall-of-fame/ or by contacting mblanco@taftcollege.edu

The deadline for nominations is March 15.


Bakersfield College is celebrating Black History Month with a series of events, including three this week.

The college will host an open discussion forum from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday at the Fireside Room, where author Michael Eric Dyson will speak about his book, “Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America.” During that four-hour forum, Dyson will deliver an “African-American Initiative Presentation” starting at 11:15 a.m.

Dyson will also speak at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Edward Simonsen Indoor Theatre about The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr.

Other events this month include:

HBCU Caravan: Representatives from more than 25 historically black colleges and universities will gather from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 12 in the Campus Center and Renegade Crossroads to deliver information and offer transfer guarantees to qualified students

Race and policing discussion: Law enforcement leaders from across the county will meet from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Feb. 20 in the Fireside Room to discuss transformational policing and how to bridge racial divides.

Black American History Parade: Bakersfield College will participate in the Black American History Parade, starting at 10 a.m. Feb. 24 at 21st and V streets.

Brown bag talk with Horace Mitchell: Bakersfield College invites students to bring their lunches and join retiring Cal State Bakersfield President Horace Mitchell for a discussion from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Feb. 27 in the Fireside Room.


Cal State Bakersfield accounting students will be offering free tax preparation services to the community every Saturday through the tax deadline, college officials said.

The students are fully-trained and have passed certification tests required by the IRS.

“These free tax preparations provide not only any community members, but also students, staff and faculty with complete tax returns in a timely fashion, enabling them to receive proper tax credits and refunds,” Byoung Bae, director and site coordinator of the CSUB Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. “Without this free service, many low-income families would not have their taxes done due to the up-front expense with private tax preparation companies or will be paying $100 to $300 to have their taxes prepared elsewhere.”

Services will be provided on campus and by appointment only every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. through April 14 in the Business Development Center, Room A218. To make an appointment, call the 211 Kern County appointment line or 661-654-3406.

Harold Pierce covers education and health for The Californian. He can be reached at 661-395-7404. Follow him on Twitter @RoldyPierce

(1) comment


Wouldn't the benefit of a paid school board mean that more than wealthy people could be involved? Would anyone truly run a campaign just to earn $750 per month? I think the point is that lower income individuals could more likely consider running for a school board trustee position were they to be compensated while doing their service. I'm not saying that it's the right thing to do, but based on the article I feel like everyone missed this aspect of the proposal.

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