By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Kern Community College District trustees on Thursday will vote to finalize an agreement to outsource the leadership of the facilities planning and construction department in an effort to cut costs and streamline construction projects, reports show.
If approved, it would cost $762,700 for the first year to have Gafcon, Inc. -- a construction consulting and management company based in Southern California -- to take the position of director of facilities planning, design and construction programs for KCCD, which includes Bakersfield College, spokeswoman Amber Chiang said in an email.
In 2010, the district reviewed the facilities department to make possible improvements. It found KCCD needed more staff to handle anticipated construction and remodeling projects using bond money, and computer software to manage the process, Chiang said. Those deficiencies in the past resulted in "an inordinate number of change orders and time delays in completing projects which would escalate project costs."
"In response, the Kern Community College District determined that outsourcing this function would provide a more comprehensive and economic solution to the need presented," Chiang wrote in an email.
The company was chosen in May after a bid process, reports show.
Costs for KCCD will include Gafcon staffers and startup costs. By the second year, costs are expected to decrease by half, Chiang said. An appointed director from Gafcon would guide operations in the department including implementing new building planning, construction policies, procedures, scheduling and guidelines. The director would receive no more than $160 an hour, according to the contract.
KCCD's chief financial officer, Tom Burke, will oversee and delegate specific assignments, reports show. Cost savings will not be immediate, Chiang said, but rather in the long run with enhancements to the department.
"It's all about managing the bond money in the most responsible way," Chiang wrote.
In other business, trustees will vote on placing Jane Harmon as KCCD interim vice chancellor of education services. Doris F. Givens left that position recently to serve as president of Kansas City Kansas Community College.
Harmon will earn $12,614 per month, with eligibility to participate in a health benefits program through December. The interim assignment may be extended through June 30, 2012.
Standard School District trustees on Tuesday rescinded 10 layoff notices sent to teachers earlier this year, and appointed a former Frontier High School administrator as principal of Standard Middle School.
Ten of the 11 notices that the Oildale-area school district issued last school year to teachers were rescinded, and officials are hoping to rehire the 11th, a physical education teacher.
Also Tuesday, the board unanimously approved the appointment of Jason Hodgson, a former assistant principal at Frontier High. Kern High School District officials recently moved Hodgson and two other administrators at Frontier into teaching positions for undisclosed reasons.
"We flushed out everything that happened at Frontier and have no reservations whatsoever," Superintendent Kevin Silberberg said. "He was the best candidate we interviewed."
The vote to appoint Hodgson was 5-O in favor, which included the vote of Steven Napier, athletic director at Frontier High. The fact they worked at the same school for a year had no bearing on the appointment, Silberberg said.
In other business, the board accepted the resignation of principal Stuart Packard. He is now the superintendent of Buttonwillow Union School District.
Also, the district discussed a partnership with Kern Council of Governments and Bike Bakersfield to apply for a $500,000, four-year grant to address safety issues in the Oildale area.
Bakersfield City School District's board on Monday will discuss its search for a permanent superintendent with a firm it has hired to help find one.
Trustees in a special meeting will discuss with Leadership Associates the qualifications and characteristics sought in a superintendent as it kicks its search into gear.
Last month, the board chose the firm to search for candidates in California and nationally. It's the same firm used when the board hired former superintendent Jean Fuller, who is now a state senator. The firm's contract is for $24,500.
In the meantime, D. Kent Ashworth is serving as BCSD's interim superintendent.
The meeting is at 1 p.m. at 1300 Baker St.
More than 300 students from Kern High School District campuses will receive high school diplomas Friday during a summer school graduation ceremony at 10 a.m. at Bakersfield High School's Harvey Auditorium.
The majority of those honored will be seniors who, during summer school, earned credits to satisfy graduation requirements. Some of the students are graduating high school early.
Students will wear caps and gowns of their home school's colors. Mike Williams, a KHSD trustee, will be the ceremony's featured speaker.
A local high school student is spending his summer researching biological and natural sciences with faculty in labs at UC Davis.
Albert Leung, from South High School, is among 40 students attending the UC Davis Young Scholars Program. The advanced science program introduces students to the world of research in sciences.
Students work one-on-one with research faculty in laboratories for six weeks. Each student works on an individual project and prepares a professional-level research paper and presentation about his or her work.
Leung is researching the phospholipid bilayer of cells -- the barrier between the inside and outside of the cell -- to improve drug delivery within the human body.
To qualify for the program, students must have a strong academic record, have taken biology and two years of college preparatory mathematics and secure recommendations from teachers. In addition, applicants must write a personal essay.
-- Jorge Barrientos, staff writer