Governor Appoints UC Regent as State Secretary of Education

Photo: Bonnie Reiss
Bonnie Reiss

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UC efforts to secure increased funding from the state may be aided by the appointment Tuesday of UC Regent Bonnie Reiss as California Secretary of Education.

Reiss will retain her position on the UC Board of Regents, to which Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed her in 2007. From 2004-06 she served on California's State Board of Education, to which she will now be Schwarzenegger's chief liaison.

"I enthusiastically support the Governor's priorities for education," Reiss said in a statement. "I believe that every door opened to me in my life has been because of education, and I am committed to working to ensure that all children have the tools they need to achieve success."

Though Reiss, a senior advisor to Schwarzenegger from 2003-07, has no background as an educator, Schwarzenegger said in a statement that she has demonstrated a commitment to public education.

"(Reiss) is a proven ally in upholding the academic standards that make our public university system the best in the world," he said in the statement. "Bonnie will fight to expand the educational opportunities available to all of our students and improve the accountability and efficiency of our public education system."

David Richey, a spokesperson for Reiss, said that securing school improvement grants from the federal government, as well as furthering a proposed state constitutional amendment that would guarantee funding for higher education, will be among the efforts Reiss will spearhead on Schwarzenegger's behalf.

"There are a large number of reforms the governor will push for," Richey said. "There's still a lot left on her plate."

According to a document provided by Richey, Schwarzenegger's proposed 2010-11 budget outlines several initiatives for public education, such as allowing school districts to decide staffing levels after the state budget is approved and eliminating regulations that give laid-off teachers priority for substitute teaching positions.

UC President Mark Yudof said in a statement that the timing of the appointment would be helpful to the university.

"The governor could not have made a better choice," he said in the statement released Tuesday. "Now, more than ever, we need an effective ally in Sacramento, and Bonnie certainly will be all that and more."

Zach E.J. Williams is the university news editor. Contact him at [email protected]

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