The Grade Blog

Monday, Apr 28 2014 07:48 PM

KHSD teacher registers private business under district address

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BY LAUREN FOREMAN Californian staff writer lforeman@bakersfield.com

The same employee who was placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into the possible diversion of Kern High School District resources to his private, for-profit business listed his company's address as 7115 Rosedale Highway -- which also happens to be the address of the school district office at the center of the investigation.

KHSD confirmed Friday it is investigating allegations that some of its special education employees, without the district's knowledge, used district vans and other resources to operate a side business.

The district confirmed that Anthony Acevedo, a teacher in KHSD's Alternative Instructional Methods (AIM) program, is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. He is also the registrant listed in a county document that names the business in question, the Alternative Vocational Program, or AVP.

The Kern County Clerk's office Monday confirmed Acevedo filed a form with the county office Dec. 9, 2010.

He used Vista West High School's Rosedale Highway address -- that's where the AIM center is also located -- to register AVP as a fictitious business name, according to Valentina Zuniga, supervisor at the Kern County Clerk's office.

Acevedo, contacted at his home Monday, said that the district had advised him not to comment.

John Teves, spokesman for KHSD, also declined to comment Monday because of the "very confidential" nature of the investigation.

"I need the benefit of an attorney as to which questions of yours I can answer and any related concerns," he wrote in an email.

The Kern Regional Center contracted with AVP through March 25, when AVP discontinued its services for the center.

The Kern Regional Center serves more than 7,500 clients — 7,537 in March — according to Nancy Lungren, a spokeswoman for the regional center's state funding arm.

She said Monday the Department of Developmental Services is looking into "the circumstances of the contract" between the Kern Regional Center and AVP.

DDS oversees and monitors 21 regional centers in California and has the authority to audit both regional centers and vendors.

Lungren said any determination regarding an audit at this point would be premature.

But she added that it's "always an option."

Chad Vegas, president of the KHSD school board, cautioned the public against making too many assumptions about the KHSD investigation in a Facebook posting Sunday.

"We are aware of how big a mess this is and are taking steps," he wrote. "For legal reasons we haven't put out much info yet. However, it was the admin who discovered the problem and began dealing with it."

Mike Williams, another KHSD school board member, emphasized in a separate Facebook message Monday that district assets and staff members were used without authorization or school board knowledge.

"Those knowingly involved will be held accountable," he added.

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