The Grade Blog

Monday, Jun 02 2014 10:03 PM

KHSD hires two new special education employees

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BY LAUREN FOREMAN Californian staff writer lforeman@bakersfield.com

The Kern High School District appointed two coordinators in special education at a school board meeting Monday night at the KHSD district office.

Michelle Mills and John Eldridge, program specialists at KHSD schools according to the district website, will begin their new roles July 1.

The school board, with board President Chad Vegas absent, publicly announced the appointments Monday along with six other school- and site-level administrators after a closed session.

Bryon Schaefer, KHSD's assistant superintendent of personnel, refused to answer questions about the appointments or their connection to an investigation into the unauthorized use of district resources to support an employee's private business -- the Alternative Vocational Program, or AVP.

The district earlier confirmed some details in documents about that investigation May 23 in response to a public information request by The Californian about a facet of the KHSD special education program known as the Alternative Instructional Methods program.

Three AIM employees -- Anthony Acevedo, Jennifer Carr and Jeannie Jorgensen -- were placed on paid administrative leave as part of the district investigation earlier this year, according to those documents.

Acevedo registered his business, the Alternative Vocational Program, under the AIM office's 7115 Rosedale Highway address and "has been using District vans, fuel, supplies, equipment and facilities to run a for-profit business," according to a document obtained by The Californian.

After Carr initially reported what the district referred to as "an incident" on Feb. 19, she received a hand-delivered notice informing her of a required leave "effective immediately" on Feb. 21.

Jorgensen received a similar notice March 14, and Acevedo received his notice March 27.

Acevedo an AIM teacher, has a pay rate of $69,593 annually.

Carr earns an annual salary of $59,786, and Jorgensen earns $85,529, according to KHSD.

District officials have not said whether the employees remain on administrative leave or if the investigation has concluded.

The district maintains no employees have been terminated as a result of investigation.

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