Skip to content

November 7, 2002

For More Information, Contact:
Daryl Savage or Karen Brunton at (650) 688-6384


SACRAMENTO – School kids are the beneficiaries of Assemblyman Joe Simitian’s (D-Palo Alto) latest round of legislation. The Governor signed into law three of Simitian’s four bills that provide funding to schools in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.

“I’m delighted that the Governor understands the importance of these education bills. They provide adequate funding and smart spending strategies which are essential for progress in the classroom,” Simitian said.

Specifically, the new laws:

  • restore funding for the “Tinsley Program,” a voluntary desegregation program in eight school districts on the Peninsula (AB 2781);
  • restore cost of living adjustments for the Santa Clara County Office of Education, which has lost over $2 million since a state funding freeze was imposed on certain County Office programs in 1995 (AB 47);
  • allow San Mateo County Community College District and San Jose-Evergreen Community College District to use a streamlined bid process known as “design-build” for school construction and major rehabilitation (AB 1000).

Continued Funding for Desegregation Efforts
AB 2781 restores funding to the Tinsley program, where school districts participate in voluntary desegregation. An inadvertent reference in the Budget Act resulted in this program being eliminated last year.

“I was on the Palo Alto School Board when we first began our participation in the voluntary desegregation program. The State funds we received helped make that possible. It’s important we continue to make progress in this area, so ensuring continued funding was one of my top priorities,” Simitian said.

Restored Cost of Living Adjustments for Santa Clara County
Simitian said he introduced AB 47 because the Santa Clara County’s Office of Education has not seen an increase in per pupil funding for some of its programs since 1995. “They’ve had to close schools and ask local school districts to contribute nearly $1 million to maintain the remaining programs. Some of our most vulnerable children attend these schools. As a matter of fairness to these students, we needed to revise the funding formula” he said.

“AB 47 finally puts to rest a faulty state funding mechanism, and it will help the Santa Clara County Office of Education to serve our community school students,” said Dr. Colleen Wilcox, the Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools. “This has been a 7-year-long fight for county offices and the students we serve. It couldn’t have been won without Assemblyman Simitian’s extraordinary efforts and leadership.”

Streamlined School Construction
This bill (AB 1000) authorizes a pilot project for the San Mateo, San Jose-Evergreen, and Los Angeles Community College Districts, and up to five individual projects in community college districts, to put together architectural services, engineering services, and construction services in a single package, for projects of $10 million or more. 

“The design-build option eliminates some of the bureaucracy involved in building new schools. It offers a common-sense approach for building schools quicker and more economically. It’s a useful tool with immediate impact,” Simitian said.

“This bill couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Ron Galatolo, Chancellor of the San Mateo County Community College District. “The voters have just passed a $207 M bond for new construction. Assemblyman Simitian’s bill allows us to stretch our dollars further and faster.”

One Disappointment – AB 1100
Assembly Bill 1100, designed to assist Sequoia Union High School District grapple with falling revenues caused by the formation of charter schools that have received an out-of-district charter, was vetoed by the Governor due to cost concerns. AB 1100 would have reduced the impact of a prior bill, SB 955 that required the Sequoia district to take over 100 percent of the funding for students attending charter schools. Clarifying language included in AB 1100 would moderate Sequoia’s funding responsibility by easing it in over three years and capping it at 70 percent, with the state continuing to pay the remaining 30 percent.

“I’m disappointed,” said Simitian, “that AB 1100 was vetoed. The bill helped Sequoia by ensuring that when students chose out-of-district charters or out-of-grade level charters, the District retained a portion of its per pupil funding to cover ongoing expenses. And the bill helped charter schools because it ensured they maintained full per pupil funding while reducing any friction that might result when students chose to leave their home district.”