The Kern High School District boundary committee released maps of three proposals, as well as a schedule of dates in June when the public can offer input on the changes.
The spur for the school boundary changes is the opening of Del Oro High School in the fall of 2022. Students who will be immediately affected by the changes are ninth and 10th graders zoned for Del Oro that year.
But because this boundary redrawing process is expected to be much more extensive, the parents of students who will be ninth graders in fall 2022 will also want to take note of the district’s proposed boundaries.
Roger Sanchez, KHSD’s director of research and planning, encourages parents to attend the public forums for a full presentation or send their input to email@example.com by July 16.
Del Oro High School, which will open at the intersection of Panama Lane and Cottonwood Road, is meant to relieve overcrowding at Mira Monte, Golden Valley and Arvin high schools. Those schools in the south and southeast side of the city see the heaviest boundary changes in the proposals.
But as the district began the process of redrawing boundary lines, it discovered that there was overcrowding at Ridgeview and Highland as well, Sanchez said.
The end result is that there are changes, some large and some small, at high schools in three quadrants of the Bakersfield area. The northwest quadrant is the only one completely unaffected.
In two proposals, 13 high schools are impacted: Arvin, Bakersfield, East Bakersfield, Foothill, Golden Valley, Highland, Independence, Mira Monte, North, South, Stockdale, Ridgeview and West. In Plan 3, Foothill’s boundaries are also altered.
Early drafts of the boundary committee’s work were leaked to the public to the chagrin of Sanchez, because they were incomplete and had faulty data.
These maps mobilized parents who live in neighborhoods zoned to Bakersfield High School: Quailwood, Amberton, Stockdale Estates, Olde Stockdale and Laurelglen. These preliminary maps showed what is known as The Rudder being redrawn for West High. This drew petitions and neighborhood signs.
Of the three proposals, Plan 3 keeps The Rudder completely intact. Plan 2 splits off the very southern tip of The Rudder. The northern part of Laurelglen is zoned for Stockdale High, and the southern part is zoned for Independence High. In Plan 1, The Rudder is entirely zoned for West High.
The proposals show boundary changes in the northeast. All three proposals show the area North of the River now zoned for Highland High to be zoned for North High. All three proposals show redrawing where Highland, East Bakersfield, North and Bakersfield high schools meet to make their boundaries contiguous instead of a checkerboard pattern.
For all three plans, there is an interactive map on the district’s website where the public can input addresses.
Sanchez said the process of rolling out the maps took a little longer, because COVID-19 social distancing protocols delayed in-person meetings.
But he said the committee is on track with the other deadlines outlined at the December 2020 board meeting.
Based on feedback the public gives over the upcoming weeks, the committee will present a final plan in August. Residents will have a chance to voice their thoughts then.
The ultimate goal is to bring a final proposal to the board in September for approval, giving families a year’s notice of where students will be attending school.