BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – Incumbent Laura Guerrero-Salgado is up against Ben Valdez for the open board seat in BCSD area 4.
Bakersfield city school district is the largest K thru 8 non-unified school district in the state. It serves over 30,000 elementary and middle school students. This is area 4 – it holds nine schools.
It lies on the east of the Union Avenue and west of Weedpatch Highway. Laura Guerrero-Salgado is the current seat holder for the area. She’s has served on the board for eight months.
“I have the experience to have already served on the board for the last few months, even though they’ve been virtual, right, but I’ve been able to bring that parent voice to the board,” Guerrero-Salgado said.
Laura is a mother to six children, five of whom go to schools in the district. She says being a mom has made her realize schools need to be more engaged with parents.
“As a working parent, I gotta stop going to work because I have to schedule an appointment to go see the teacher,” Guerrero-Salgado said. “And that’s not fair for any parent.”
Guerrero-Salgado has been an optician for 20 years. She recently got involved in the District Advisory Committee and is an ambassador for Parents as Leaders.
“Ive learned a lot from the last few meetings, and if there’s one thing I do do, I ask questions,” Guerrero-Salgado said. “I ask for clarity.”
She’s also a part of the superintendent’s parent advisory council and the return to school task force. Her other priorities include improving school safety and supporting emotional and social learning.
Challenging her reelection is Ben Valdez. He was born and raised in Bakersfield and got his Bachelor’s from CSUB. He works in real estate and takes care of his two nephews. One is attending elementary school in Area 4.
“So I have pretty much a vested interest in making sure that these students have a quality education and ensuring that we’re doing everything we can to be as transparent as possible,” Valdez said.
His top priorities are creating a secure learning environment, financial transparency, and reopening schools safely.
“Of course we need to get the schools back open we need them open again,” Valdez said. “Kids need social interaction. That’s a big part of growing up, is your social interaction with other kids with your peers, so we have to do it the safe way so that’s what Im really concerned about.”
We contacted the third candidate, Miguel Juarez Sr., twice to schedule an interview, but he was not available.