Bowser to run for county school superintendent | November 22, 2013 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

News - November 22, 2013

Bowser to run for county school superintendent

Promises accountability and transparency

by Glenn Wohltmann

Pleasanton School Board President Jeff Bowser will officially announce his run next week for a little-known elected position as Alameda County Superintendent of Schools.

The county superintendent is an elected position, heading the Alameda County Office of Education, which serves the 18 school districts and more than 400 schools in the county.

The mission of county school superintendents is to support the financial and academic stability of every district and school in Alameda County.

Bowser, elected to the Pleasanton School Board in 2010, said his aim as county superintendent would be to "return the county Office of Education to a service agency."

"It's been a long time since the county Office of Education has served in that function for the entire county," he added.

Bowser said his main goal is to achieve equity for all Alameda County students.

"What is needed is equity in opportunity and education throughout the county. That equity can happen through innovative approaches to educating our kids," he said.

He said that's especially important with the new state funding model that distributes money to school districts who get to decide their own priorities.

"With the change in funding in the state called (the) Local Control Funding Formula, the county superintendent plays a pivotal role in approving each district's Local Control Accountability Plan, LCAP," Bowser said. "I want to ensure that our under-served students are receiving the benefits of the added dollars that these districts are receiving. The districts need to be held accountable."

He's also promising greater transparency and accountability for the county Office of Education.

"I would conduct and publish satisfaction surveys from all of the districts. I would use those surveys to develop a plan to serve those districts and publish the results," Bowser said.

He said the county Office of Education receives $45 million in state funding from taxes and "no one knows what it does."

Current Superintendent Sheila Jordan is expected to retire at the end of her term. Two other candidates are already in the race for the 2014 election, including the county superintendent's second in command.

Karen Monroe is the county's associate superintendent and a former teacher in Oakland.

Ursula Reed is a city councilwoman in San Leandro who's already picked up the endorsements of dozens of elected and appointed officials across the county.

But Bowser said he's uniquely qualified for the job.

"I intend to take my background and experience and leadership and working as the president of a high-achieving school district to benefit other districts throughout the county," he said. "I am in a unique position to achieve these goals because I have been a teacher, a school site administrator, a district office administrator and an executive director at the county Office of Education."

"This is my passion. This is where my heart is," he continued. "Not too many people have an education leadership background combined with a political background."

Boswer's campaign kickoff event is set for 6 p.m. Monday at Bijou Restaurant, 1036 B Street, Hayward. Tickets start at $50.


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