In this file photo, Kern High School District Board of Trustees members discuss name submissions for the district's 19th comprehensive high school.

Future growth, a possible bond measure and student safety following a fatal stabbing near Foothill High School were hot topics during Monday night's Kern High School District Board of Trustees meeting.

Scott Cole, deputy superintendent of business, explained to the board as the district's student population continues to grow in the next decade — it's projected to reach 42,000 by the 2025-2026 school year — KHSD will need to expand in several ways and ask for the public's help.

In November 2016, local voters approved Measure K, a $280 million general obligation bond, that has been used to address overcrowding and repair damages.

But with the student population growing by more than 3,000 students in the next few years, Cole explained there will be a need for another comprehensive high school, a new continuation high school, a second aquatic complex and additional facilities. Additionally, modernization projects across the district will also need to be addressed.

An estimated $373 million in local funds will be needed to complete those projects, whether Proposition 13, a statewide school construction bond measure on the March ballot, passes. Without its passage, it is closer to $600 million.

"It would cause the board and us to kind of take a look and prioritize what those needs are," Cole said if Proposition 13 were to fail this March.

If Proposition 13 passes, the board will consider approving a proposed $346 million bond measure for the November ballot. A first reading of a resolution recommending a bond will be presented at the next board meeting.

Governor's state budget

Cole also detailed how Gov. Gavin Newsom's proposed state budget could affect the district. Funding could change before the summer, when the budget is expected to be signed, because "with a new governor comes new priorities and new uncertainty."

What is known now, Cole explained, is that Newsom is proposing to leave the Local Control Funding Formula and Local Control and Accountability Plan structures in place, which relate to how educational agencies are funded and set goals to support positive student outcomes. He is also not looking to put additional dollars into underfunded retirement plans.

The 2020–2021 minimum guarantee for education is projected to be $84 billion, according to district documents.

The KHSD budget proposal will be brought to the board in June incorporating any changes from the May state budget revise.

Student safety

Attendees took advantage of public comments to share their concerns regarding student safety following a fatal stabbing outside Foothill High School last month.

On Jan. 21, 17-year-old Foothill student Jose Flores Jr. was stabbed and killed during an altercation after school.

Jason Cruz, 23, admitted to stabbing Flores, according to reports filed in Kern County Superior Court, and has been charged with first-degree murder. 

A 14-year-old has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, and a 17-year-old girl was also arrested on suspicion of homicide, police have said. 

One parent, who said she works in law enforcement, said she believes the school's safety staff is inadequate for a 2,000 student campus, and feels like those individuals may not be fit enough to stop fights.

One former Golden Valley High School student said she was in an altercation with another student for about two minutes and security staff "was not around" to break up the fight.

Trustee Jeff Flores defended and thanked the district's security staff and said "it's going to be dependent on all of us, all our community, to keep our campuses safe."

Board President J. Bryan Batey asked to receive an update on the Foothill High School situation, how the district responded and general information on campus safety at the next board meeting.

Ema Sasic can be reached at 661-395-7392. Follow her on Twitter: @ema_sasic.

(2) comments


"second aquatic complex and additional facilities"....more swimming pools will prevent off campus violence?....maybe a more focused approach vs a money dump at the issue of the day would be more effective use of tax dollars in the long term....

Gene Pool Chlorinator

There was no correlation between second aquatic complex and off campus violence; only that given the expected student growth rate, another aquatic complex would need to be built to serve the expanding base for water-related sports.

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