Kern High School District, California

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Kern High School District
Kern County, California
Kern High School District seal.png
District Profile
Superintendent:Bryon Schaefer
Enrollment:37,100 students
Graduation rate:79.6%[1]
Number of schools:32
Budget: $429 million
Website:School Home Page
Board of Education
Board president:Chad Vegas
Board members:5
Term length:4 years

Kern High School District is a school district in California that served 37,100 students during the 2013-2014 school year.[2] This district is the 20th-largest by enrollment in the state of California.

About the district

Kern High School District is located in Kern County, California.

Kern High School District is located in Kern County, California. The county seat of Kern County is Bakersfield. Kern County was home to 864,124 residents in 2013, according to the United States Census Bureau.[3]


Kern County underperformed compared to the rest of California in terms of higher education achievement in 2012. The United States Census Bureau found that 14.9 percent of Kern County residents aged 25 years and older had attained a bachelor's degree compared to 30.5 percent for California as a whole. The median household income for Kern County was $47,727 compared to $61,400 for the state of California. The percentage of people below poverty level for Kern County was 22.5 percent while it was 15.3 percent for the state of California.[3]

Racial Demographics, 2013[3]
Race Kern County (%) California (%)
White 82.9 73.5
Black or African American 6.3 6.6
American Indian and Alaska Native 2.7 1.7
Asian 5.0 14.1
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 0.3 0.5
Two or more race 3.0 3.7
Hispanic or Latino 50.9 38.4

Presidential Voting Pattern, Kern County[4]
Year Democratic Vote Republican Vote
2012 89,495 126,618
2008 93,457 134,793
2004 68,603 140,417
2000 66,003 110,663

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off from being exactly 100 percent.[5] This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.


Bryon Schaefer is the superintendent of the Kern High School District. He has served as the district's 21st superintendent since August 1, 2014. Schaefer worked in the district for 26 years as a math teacher, principal and assistant superintendent prior to taking on the role as superintendent. He also worked as an adjunct instructor at Point Loma Nazarene University. Schaefer earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of South Dakota, his master's degree in educational administration from California State University in Bakersfield and his doctoral degree in organizational leadership from the University of LaVerne.[6]

School board

The Kern High School District Board of Trustees consists of five members elected to four-year terms by specific geographic trustee areas.[7]

Kern High Board of Trustees
Member Trustee Area Assumed office Term Ends
Chad Vegas 3 2008 2016
Mike Williams 1 2010 2018
Phillip Peters 4 2014 2018
Jeff Flores 2 2014 2016
Bryan Batey 5 2006 2018

School board elections

See also: Kern High School District elections (2014)

Members of the Kern High Board of Trustees are elected by trustee areas to four-year terms on a staggered basis every even-numbered election year. Seats from Trustee Areas 1, 4 and 5 were up for election to four-year terms in 2014, and the seat from Trustee Area 2 was up for election to a two-year term in 2014. Seats from Trustee Areas 2 and 3 will be up for election in 2016.[7]

Public participation in board meetings

The Kern High Board of Trustees maintains the following policy on public testimony during board meetings:

If no advance request has been made, citizens wishing to address the Board of Trustees in a Board meeting should first complete a yellow request card, which is available on the reception table in the Board Room. The completed card should be submitted to the Administrator-on-Duty, or the Board’s Administrative Assistant, prior to the start of the meeting.[8]

—Kern High School District website, (2014)[9]


The table below displays the budget for Kern High School District:[10]

Expenditures by Category
School Year Staff Expenses Student Services Operational Expenses Debt Service Other Budget Total
Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget
2011-2012 $341,880,125 80.5% $30,145,951 7.1% $35,240,148 8.3% $17,613,995 4.1% $0 0% $424,880,219
2012-2013 $345,543,883 80.5% $29,388,636 6.8% $30,978,137 7.2% $23,133,711 5.4% $0 0% $429,044,367
Averages: $343,712,004 81% $29,767,293.5 7% $33,109,142.5 8% $20,373,853 5% $0 0% $426,962,293

Teacher salaries

Kern High School District employed 1,662 teachers in the 2011-2012 school year.[11] Teacher salary schedules are categorized by higher education achievement, professional development and years of service. A teacher with a bachelor's degree can earn a higher salary by pursuing graduate courses and gaining raises at credit intervals. The salary schedule also accounts for graduate degrees by providing higher starting salaries and greater potential salaries. The Kern High School District did not list salaries in their published salary schedule.[12]

Schools in Kern High School District


Kern High School District served 37,100 students during the 2013-2014 school year. Enrollment in the district decreased by 2.23 percent from 2009 to 2013.[2]

Total enrollment
Year Enrollment Year-to-year change (%)
2009-2010 37,928 -
2010-2011 37,452 -1.27
2011-2012 37,505 0.14
2012-2013 37,070 -1.17
2013-2014 37,100 0.08

District schools

Kern High School District operates 32 schools, which are listed below in alphabetical order:[13]

Kern High School District
School Name
Arvin High School
Aurora Center
Bakersfield Adult School
Bakersfield High School
Centennial High School
Central Valley High School
Constellation Center
East High School
Foothill High School
Frontier High School
Golden Valley High School
Highland High School
Independence High School
Kern Valley High School
Liberty High School
Mira Monte High School
North High School
Nueva High School
Regional Occupation Center
Ridgeview High School
Ruggenberg Career Center
Schuetz Career Center
Shafter High School
South High School
Stockdale High School
Tierra Del Sol High School
Vista High School
Vista West High School
West High School
Workforce 2000 Academy

Academic performance

California STAR program

California's Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program, which includes the California Standards Tests, the California Modified Assessment and the California Alternate Performance Assessment, measures student achievement in grades two through 11 for California's academic content standards. STAR results include English-language arts and mathematics in grades two through 11, science in grades five and eight through 11 and history and social science in grades eight, 10 and 11. In high school, math and science tests reflect the course in which the student is enrolled. There are five STAR performance benchmarks to indicate a student's academic proficiency. "Proficient" or "Advanced" indicates that a student is meeting or exceeding state standards. The table below shows the percentage of students in the district who scored proficient or advanced during the 2012-2013 school year.[1]

STAR Results, % of Proficient/Advanced Students, 2012-2013
Subject District (%) State average (%)
English-Language Arts 46 55
Mathematics 23 50
Science 55 59
History and Social Science 45 49


Lawsuit alleging racial discrimination filed against district

A lawsuit claiming the Kern High School District's discipline policies discriminate against Latino and African American students was filed in the Kern County Court on October 8, 2014. The lawsuit sued the Kern High School District and its board of trustees, but it also sued Tom Torlakson, the California Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the California Department of Education, claiming those agencies should have forced the district to change its discipline policies. The California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA), Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Dolores Huerta Foundation and Faith in Action Kern County are all involved with the lawsuit in addition to 10 individuals who were affected by the alleged discrimination.[14][15]

The lawsuit challenges the district's expulsion, suspension and involuntary transfer policies, claiming that African American and Latino students were more likely to be suspended, expelled or pushed into alternative schools and for more minor infractions than their white student counterparts. Before filing the lawsuit, a letter was sent to the district asking for the adoption of positive behavior interventions and support, restorative justice, the hiring of an independent consultant to analyze the information presented, the organization of a community monitoring system and taking out "willful defiance" from the district's discipline code. According to Sahar Durali, the plaintiff's attorney from CRLA, they received no response from the district.[14]

During the 2009-2010 school year, the Kern High School District reported 2,205 expulsions, a number that surpassed the reports of more than a dozen school districts with larger populations to be the highest number of expulsions in the state. The district says it has dramatically cut the number of expulsions since then and has been working on the concerns. The CRLA, however, called the falling number of expulsions "smoke and mirrors," and pointed to the district's use of involuntary transfers to alternative schools in place of expulsions. According the lawsuit, students at such alternative schools receive inferior educations. In some cases, the alternative schools were so far away from where the students lived that they were told to work independently at home. Many dropped out in such circumstances. The lawsuit asks the court to force the district to change its student discipline policies in order to end discrimination and to pay remediation services for students who were affected by the former policies.[15][16]

The district has not commented on this lawsuit. According to Kern High School District's public information and communications manager Lisa Krch, they cannot comment on pending litigation.[16]

District receives magazine pouches for semi-automatic rifles

During the 2013-2014 school year, the Kern High School District received 30 magazine pouches for M4 assault rifle ammunition to add to its 25 AR-15 semi-automatic rifles. The weapons were received through the Department of Defense Excess Property Program, or 1033 Program, and the district says it hopes it never has to use them.[17]

The semi-automatic rifles were purchased in early 2014 as a precautionary safety measure, according to the district's spokeswoman Lisa Krch. The district's safety officers carry handguns, and the rifles are only to be used in a worst-case scenario. With the number of school shootings on the rise, the district was worried that the handguns' 25-yard range might hinder a safety officer's ability to neutralize a threat to students. The rifles have a range of 430 to 650 yards.[17]

The district received grant money from the Kern County Law Enforcement Foundation to buy the rifles and ammunition, paying approximately $22,150 total. The Kern High School District is not the only school to have received such weapons through the 1033 Program. It is one of at least six in California.[17]

Contact information

Kern High School District seal.png

Kern High School District
5801 Sundale Ave.
Bakersfield, CA 93309
Phone: 661-827-3100

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Education Data Partnership, "District Reports: Accountability (API/AYP/Performance)," accessed December 1, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 Education Data Partnership, "District Reports: Profile of District," accessed December 1, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 United States Census Bureau, "Kern County, California," accessed July 14, 2014
  4. Kern County Elections, "Election Results," accessed July 14, 2014
  5. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
  6. The Bakersfield Californian, "Kern High School District names Schaefer new superintendent," March 3, 2014
  7. 7.0 7.1 Kern High School District, "Trustees," accessed December 1, 2014
  8. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  9. Kern High School District, "Appearances before the Board," accessed December 1, 2014
  10. Education Data Partnership, "District Reports: Financial Reports for the District," accessed December 9, 2014
  11. Education Data Partnership, "District Reports: Teacher Salaries," accessed December 1, 2014
  12. Kern High School District, "Salary Schedule for Certificated Employees," accessed December 1, 2014
  13. Kern High School District, "Schools," accessed December 1, 2014
  14. 14.0 14.1 Courthouse News Service, "Kern County Schools Blasted as Biased," October 13, 2014
  15. 15.0 15.1 Bakersfield Now, "Lawsuit claims discipline discrimination at Kern High School District," October 9, 2014
  16. 16.0 16.1 Truthout, "Suit Against Kern County Schools Alleges Disproportionate Discipline for Students of Color," October 21, 2014
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 The Bakersfield Californian, "KHSD gets magazine pouches for semi-automatic rifles," October 6, 2014