Education

Scrap Calif.'s Schools Chief Job, Gov. Schwarzenegger Says

July 14, 2010 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

As Yogi Berra would say, it’s deja-vu all over again in California, where, for the 19th time out of the last 25 years, the state has started a new fiscal year without an approved budget. And, as in the last several years, lawmakers are grappling with how to close an eye-popping deficit—a gap that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says has to be closed without raising taxes.

Last week, the governor (who has just got to be ecstatic that this is his final budget battle) took to the radio waves to call for ways to “streamline bureaucracy and to make government smaller.” His first idea to do that?

Get rid of the elected statewide schools superintendent!

OK, so he doesn’t outright say that California should dump the state supe’s job. But here’s what he does say:

...In California, we elect the superintendent of public instructions. [sic] But why? We already have a secretary of education and a board of education. Why do we need a superintendent of education?"

There are a couple of reasons, says Hilary McLean, a spokeswoman for Jack O’Connell, the current elected state chief. She tells the folks at the online investigative news site California Watch that scrapping the job would save the state a whopping $151,427, the salary for that position. And still, as McLean points out, you’d have to hire someone to run the state education department.

And there’s the matter of the state constitution. The state superintendent of public instruction is a constitutionally mandated position. The governor rightly asks why the state needs an education secretary, a state board, and an elected state supe. There’s a good argument to be made that there are too many chefs in the kitchen.

But he fails to mention that the appointed education secretary’s position was created less than 20 years ago when Pete Wilson was governor. Or that the current secretary, Bonnie Reiss, is pulling down $175,000 for a political appointment that carries little authority. The governor could save the state an extra $23,573 if he got rid of that job.

A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Profession Webinar
Professional Wellness Strategies to Enhance Student Learning and Live Your Best Life
Reduce educator burnout with research-affirmed daily routines and strategies that enhance achievement of educators and students alike. 
Content provided by Solution Tree
English-Language Learners Webinar The Science of Reading and Multilingual Learners: What Educators Need to Know
Join experts in reading science and multilingual literacy to discuss what the latest research means for multilingual learners in classrooms adopting a science of reading-based approach.
School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Get a Strong Start to the New School Year
Get insights and actions from Education Week journalists and expert guests on how to start the new school year on strong footing.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: June 15, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 8, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 1, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 11, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read