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CDE Trims Budget Through Partial Reorganization

By Jeff Hudson - July 10, 2009

Faced with budget cuts, plus the recent departure of Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Tony Monreal, a partial reorganization of the California Department of Education (CDE) was announced last week by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell.

Effective July 1, the following Branch and Division changes went into effect:

  1. Deputy Superintendent Deb Sigman will head the Curriculum, Learning and Accountability Branch which will include the following divisions: Accountability and Improvement, headed by Fred Balcom; Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources, headed by Tom Adams; a new English Learner and Curriculum Support Division headed by Phil Lafontaine; Policy and Evaluation, headed by Rachel Perry; Secondary, Postsecondary and Adult Leadership, headed by Pat Ainsworth; and Standards and Assessment, headed by J.T. Lawrence.
  2. Deputy Superintendent Susie Lange will continue to head the Finance, Technology and Administration Branch with no changes to her reporting structure.
  3. Deputy Superintendent Andrea Ball will head the Government Affairs and Charter Development Branch which will include the following divisions: Charter Schools, headed by Carol Barkley; Fiscal Policy, headed by Carol Bingham; and Legislative Affairs, headed by Lupita Cortez-Alcala.
  4. Deputy Superintendent Marsha Bedwell will head the Legal, Audits and Compliance Branch which will include the following divisions: Audits and Investigations, headed by Kevin Chan; Legal, headed by Amy Bisson-Holloway; and a newly-created Categorical Compliance Division, headed by Hector Rico.
  5. Deputy Superintendent Rick Miller will head the P-16 Policy and Information Branch which will include the following divisions: Child Development, headed by Camille Maben; Communications, headed by Hilary McLean; Data Management, headed by Keric Ashley; and Learning Support and Partnerships, headed by Gordon Jackson.
  6. Deputy Superintendent Dr. William Ellerbee will head the Special Services and Support Branch which will include the following divisions: Nutrition Services, headed by Phyllis Bramson-Paul; School Facilities Planning, headed by Kathleen Moore; Special Education, headed by Mary Hudler; and State Special Schools and Services, headed by Ron Kadish.

Speaking to the State Board of Education on Wednesday, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell noted the budget crisis that has affected both state government and local school districts. “The California Department of Education has not been immune,” O’Connell said, noting that there have been “cuts in every division. Every department has been hit.”

As an agency headed by one of the state’s constitutional officers, the CDE is not participating in the three monthly Friday furloughs ordered by Gov. Schwarzenegger, which affect many other state agencies.  Instead, O’Connell said the CDE has implemented budget reductions through attrition and other cost savings, such as restricting travel. “Thus far, there have not been any layoffs (at the CDE),” O’Connell said.  He also emphasized that “we have fewer staff per pupil than just about any state in the country.”

O’Connell added that with fewer people working at the CDE, “it may take more time to respond to school districts’ questions and concerns, it may take more time to respond to stakeholders groups, and even to respond to members of the State Board of Education . . . despite our best efforts. I do hope the budget issue gets resolved (by the Governor and the Legislature), and I expect there will be some more cuts to public education, but I do believe we’ll see some more revenue as well.”

Editor's Note: Jeff Hudson is the editor of EdBrief and an award-winning education reporter and writer in print, radio and television media.