Veteran State Lawmaker Visits Kern
O’Connell, D-San Luis Obispo, addressed 700 employees attending the Delano Union School District’s Back to School breakfast. He later toured the Kern County Superintendent of Schools’ Alternative Education facility under construction at the former Bakersfield Sandstone Building on East Truxtun Avenue.
O’Connell is a candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. His name will appear on the March 2, 2002 primary ballot.
During media interviews and in remarks to employees and district superintendents, O’Connell reviewed the state spending plan for public education signed recently by Gov. Gray Davis. He also noted that within the next 10 years, the state will need 300,000 more teachers to replace those who will reach retirement age and to accommodate anticipated class size reductions. He said recent student achievement scores indicate that class size reduction for students in kindergarten through fourth grade are showing positive results.
A former teacher, O’Connell first was elected to the assembly in 1982 and then the Senate in 1994. He serves as chairman of the Democratic caucus and Senate Education Committee and is one of the key budget negotiators with the governor.
In addition to being author of the High School Exit Exam, O’Connell has written laws to streamline business reporting requirements, clean up underground toxics, severely punish crack pushers and fine large-scale drug dealers, create the California Designated Driver Program as well as the California State University Channel Islands campus.
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