BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — As Kern County continues to grow in population, changes are coming for some local students and where they will be getting their education.
While some parents have been outspoken about how they are not happy about these future boundary changes, which would require students from surrounding schools to attend a new one being built, the Director of Research and Planning at KHSD says it's a necessary step up to help with an overcrowding issue.
“Highland is probably 600 over, Ridgeview is at least 600 over, Golden Valley is extremely elevated in terms of their numbers, and Arvin. It's also very high.”
These are just some of the schools within the Kern High School District that are dealing with overcrowding, which, Roger Sanchez, the KHSD irector of research and planning describes as problematic.
“Our gyms don't get any bigger. Our cafeterias don't get any bigger, the hallways don't, the meeting spaces don't get any bigger. And then it's like anything, ecause overcrowded you end up having more discipline issues.”
But come next year, Sanchez is hoping the new Del Oro High School will help with some of those issues, by moving students in the 9th and 10th grade, to these impacted schools through those boundary changes.
“This occurs over a 3-year period, so, we start siphoning off from kids from those campuses which then reduces the number of students at the existing campuses that are overcrowded. So instead of being at 2,600 you might be down to 2,400 or 2,350.”
Around 2,200 students is the capacity for the new high school. But, as for which students will be relocating, that remains a question as Sanchez says they're still in a planning process where a committee meets every week to discuss potential boundary changes.
“We're basing our decisions on practical and empirical data that shows exactly how many bodies we have and what was projecting to have in the future.”
Sanchez says when they first started, his team focused on the southeast area, where Del Oro is being built.
“Miramonte, South, Arvin to an extent. Those were the schools that were the reason why Del Oro was placed in that location.”
However, through the process that boundary change it was discovered overcrowding extended beyond that region, as Sanchez hopes some relief is coming for other impacted schools.
“You have to look at East. At Foothill, BHS, South, all the schools kind of in that range.”
This is all done a year in advance so students and parents have enough time to prepare for possible changes, and Del Oro is slated to have students on campus for the very first time at the start of fall of 2022.