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San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara Counties, CA June 22, 2010 Election
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John Laird: Champion of Public Education

By John Laird

Candidate for State Senator; District 15

This information is provided by the candidate
John Laird Background: Champion of Public Education

John Laird has a demonstrated, lifelong commitment to quality, accessible, and well funded public education systems in California. John's parents were public school educators, he was educated from Kindergarten through college in public schools, served as a community college board trustee and taught at the university level.

During his eight years as a Cabrillo College Trustee, where he sat on the Accreditation Committee, John advocated for a strong early childhood education program as part of a campaign for universal preschool. While Chair of the Board of Trustees, John lead the very successful 1998 effort to pass a bond measure, which passed with 74% of the vote, and enhanced the college's ability to serve students and the community. John also served on the Cabrillo College Foundation's board, as well as the Community College League California's board, where he sat on the State Budget and Policy Committee.

As an Assemblymember for the 27th District from 2002-2008, including serving as Budget Chair from 2004-2008, John focused on defending against cuts, increasing affordability and expanding access to key programs and services. John carried a number of education-related bills that were signed into law, including legislation that increased children's access to school meals, addressed state mandate reform, restored funding for community college healthcare systems and expanded teacher training on intolerance and hatred prevention.

John earned a reputation for being an astute, no-nonsense legislator who stood up to Governor Schwarzenegger's attempts to cut public education funding. In 2006, John helped deliver the first on-time budget since 2000--a budget that reduced community college fees, restored funding K-12 education and increased the budget reserve while reducing the deficit. John was an essential member of the leadership team that fought to maintain or increase funding for K 12 during fiscally challenging times. He also led efforts to lower fees at community colleges in order to maintain student access, because he understands that California's community college system is both the entry to higher education for most students and California's leading center for job retraining.


John Laird knows we cannot afford our K-12 schools to continue to rank 46th in the nation in per pupil spending. And as a university educator, he knows higher education must be accessible and of high quality. John's top three priorities for improving California's public education system:

1. Fighting for a sensible package of budget and governance reforms to actually make it possible to fulfill the promise of Proposition 98 and guarantee that every Californian can afford a college education. Key among these reforms is modernizing California's antiquated and volatile revenue system, and requiring new ballot initiatives to pay for themselves--rather than relying on the general fund or existing special funds.

2. Applying his budget expertise to help develop long term strategies to improve state funding for public education. John believes we need to reform and enhance the revenue system, so we can increase teachers' salaries, lower class sizes and improve school facilities.

3. Changing the two-thirds vote currently required to approve the state budget. He believes this requirement fosters gridlock and budget brinksmanship that annually threaten education funding, forcing local school districts to face impossible choices that deeply impact students and school employees.

John recognizes there are no quick fixes. But he will work tirelessly to build the momentum necessary to make California's public education system world-class once again.

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ca/state Created from information supplied by the candidate: June 18, 2010 19:43
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