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March 28, 2007

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Hema Sareen Mohan (650) 688-6384


SACRAMENTO - State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) was named “Legislator of the Year” by two education groups recently, the California Association of Student Councils and the Association of Low Wealth Schools.

“We chose Senator Simitian because he fights for fair funding for the students of California - not just this year, but as an ongoing hallmark during his time in office.  He has been tenacious and compelling in his efforts, and his proven success has led to last year’s inclusion of $350 million in the state budget for low wealth school districts,” said Paul Mercier, President of the Association of Low Wealth Schools.

Tess Lerner-Byars, a high school senior who is President of the California Association of Student Councils, said “As the only student led, statewide organization, the California Association of Student Councils is in a unique position to recognize contributions from legislators that affect the youth of California.  We selected Senator Joe Simitian for his consistent support and his leadership in issues and legislation benefiting youth.”

“I’m gratified by the recognition from both of these groups,” said Simitian.  “We’ve made important headway on education policy in the past year.  I plan to continue to legislate to provide opportunities for all students in California.”

The Association of Low Wealth Schools was established in 1973 by a group of concerned superintendents, teachers, school board members, and parents, who believed that every school district in California should receive equitable funding.  The Association became particularly active as the notable Serrano v. Priest case was navigating the courts.  A “low wealth school district” traditionally has been a district that receives less money than the statewide average per pupil.

The California Association of Student Councils is a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing skilled leaders and serving as an advocate for youth.  Since its inception, the association has trained over 100,000 students during conferences and summer camps.

A former local school board president, Simitian is currently a member of the Senate Education Committee and the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education, which review legislation that affects education policy and finance for the 6 million students in California.

Simitian was recently appointed to the State Allocation Board, which oversees the distribution of billions of dollars for the construction and modernization of local public school facilities.  He also chairs the Senate Select Committee on California’s Master Plan for Education.


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