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Monday, September 17, 2001

For More Information, Contact:
Jamille Moens at (916) 651-4011


SACRAMENTO – Assemblyman Joe Simitian announced today that his bill to create 10 new high-tech high schools in California has won approval from both the State Senate and Assembly, and has gone to the Governor for signature.

Assembly Bill 620, jointly authored by Simitian (D-Palo Alto) and Assemblyman Howard Wayne (D-San Diego), provides $2 million each to 10 school districts that establish high-tech high schools and provide matching funds for that purpose.

The bill authorizes the state to conduct a competitive grant program.  Ten grant recipients will each receive $2 million in one-time funding, and each school district will match the grant with local funding and provide evaluation reports to the state.

Signature by the Governor is virtually assured since the bill was sponsored by the Administration.  Simitian was asked to carry the bill by virtue of his status as a Silicon Valley legislator, Chair of the Assembly’s Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance and a former School Board President.

“These new high schools will use forward looking technology to support a rigorous college prep curriculum,” said Simitian.  “Students will learn their core academic subjects and be well-prepared for higher education and the high tech workforce.”

While there is no guarantee that any of these High Tech High Schools will be established on the Peninsula or in the South Bay, Simitian said he is optimistic about that prospect.  “Local school districts have been working hard to make sure that today’s graduates are ready to succeed in the New Economy,” said Simitian.  “These resources, used in a targeted way, are just what local districts need to get the job done.”

“We are pleased that the state is investing in high school education and recognizes the power of technology as a tool for learning,” said Jo Ann Smith, Superintendent of the Sequoia Union High School District.  “The grants will provide essential funding to help districts develop innovative and modern high schools.  Sequoia Union High School District plans to aggressively pursue one of the grants.”

Hewlett-Packard spokesman John Hassell commented, “This is exactly the kind of effort we need to produce a technologically trained workforce here in California.  It’s so important to give these young people the skills they need to participate in our industry.”

“Students are excited by technology, and we already have several good models of high-tech high schools in the state,” noted Simitian.  “This bill allows us to expand a successful education idea and serve more students.”

The bill is now in the Governor’s office, where the Governor will either sign or veto the bill.