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Orange County 1988 : A Look at the Year Ahead : EDUCATION : Thorniest of the Issues Will Be Decided at Polls

December 28, 1987|Bill Billiter \f7

Voters will have a major role in county education issues in 1988.

One special issue likely to be before the voters will be whether the county superintendent of schools should be elected or appointed. That position currently is an elective post, but several grand juries and a recent citizens' Blue Ribbon Commission have recommended that the superintendent be appointed by the five elected members of the county Board of Education.

Board President Sheila Meyers has predicted that majority of the board will vote early in 1988 to have the issue placed before county voters. "It's too late for this to be on the June ballot, but it can be placed on the November general election ballot," she said.

Supporters of an appointed superintendent have said that better organization of the county Department of Education can be made if the superintendent is responsive to an elected board. But opponents of a change, including incumbent Supt. Robert Peterson, have said such a move would be taking power from the people.

Voters also will decide a major school-construction question in 1988. State Sen. Marian Bergeson (R-Newport Beach) is proposing a $1-billion bond issue to be used for building new schools in areas of rapid student growth, such as Santa Ana and south Orange County. A majority of statewide voters must approve the measure.

Thirteen school boards and three community college districts in the county also will hold regular elections in November, 1988. These elections, once ho-hum affairs, are becoming more hotly contested, especially since teacher unions are scoring more than 80% success in electing their candidates to the boards and ousting incumbents deemed hostile to teachers.

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