Dorman L. Commons, a former president of the California Board of Education who in the 1960's battled then-Gov. Ronald Reagan and State Superintendent Max Rafferty over education spending, has died of liver cancer.
Mr. Commons, 69, was appointed to the board in 1961 by Gov. Edmund (Pat) Brown. During his nine-year tenure, he oversaw the desegregation of schools, the unification of districts, and the upgrading of the state's curriculum.
In early February of 1968, a time marked by sharp reductions in state school aid, Mr. Commons attacked Mr. Reagan and Mr. Rafferty as "self-seeking politicians."
"This is a wealthy state," he said, "and we can afford to educate every youngster."
Within days of the remarks, he lost his board presidency, after four new members gave Mr. Reagan control over the panel.
At the time of his death on Sept. 23, Mr. Commons was serving as chairman of the California Commission on the Teaching Profession.
Vol. 07, Issue 06