Kern High School District board members authorized their staff Monday to continue the process of acquiring property for future high school sites, a routine land speculation process the district engages in as it plans for future growth.

Board members opened the 30-day public review period for the preliminary environmental assessment report of an 80-acre property it is considering purchasing in northwest Bakersfield at Nord and Hageman roads.

“Part of the due diligence is preparation of a preliminary environmental assessment,” KHSD Deputy Superintendent of Business Scott Cole said.

The district also authorized the purchase of two properties — a 246-acre property at Wible and Engle roads, and a 77-acre property at Cottonwood Road and East Panama Lane. 

The authorization begins a lengthy process that includes public hearings, a requirement to get approval from the state Department of Education and Department of Toxic Substance Control, and environmental studies, Cole said. 

"If either property is not determined to be a suitable school site, the transactions will be terminated," Cole said. 

Meanwhile, Lamont residents came out in force to once again call on board members to plan a comprehensive high school in their community. Currently, Arvin High School enrolls students from that town.

“Our community does not want to be divided. We want a high school within walking distance in our area,” said Jose Gonzales, president of the Greater Lamont Chamber of Commerce. He and a group of residents have been lobbying the school board for months to plan a school in their town.

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Please tell us how the KHSD is justifying the purchase of 246 acres on Wible and Engle Road!!! The average size of a High School in KHSD is about 75-80 acres. The property to be purchased is three times bigger than this! Can KHSD better serve tax payers by purchasing a more adequate size property? What is the price tag of this 246 acre property?  And Please share with the public why Bryan Batey (KHSD Board member) has a conflict of interest with the purchase of this property as he stated during the Board meeting as he recused himself, while the rest of the KHSD Board voted in favor of purchasing this property. Please investigate and report on this.

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