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Contact: Taylor Smith


Phone: (916) 750-0722


Senator John Laird Receives SSDA 2022 Legislator of the Year Award

CA Small School Districts’ Association recognizes Senator John Laird (D-Santa Cruz) as the 2022 Legislator of the Year.


Santa Cruz, California – The Small School Districts’ Association is proud to recognize Senator John Laird (D-Santa Cruz) as the 2022 Legislator of the Year for his consistent support and advocacy for children attending California’s small and rural school districts.

The award ceremony is on Friday, October 21, 2022, at 9:45 AM at the Santa Cruz County Office of Education during the SSDA CBO/Fiscal Leadership Conference.

During his time in the State Legislature, Senator Laird has been a reliable champion for high-quality public education and, in particular, has been a tireless advocate for the unique needs of children attending small and rural school districts. His sincere concern for the best interests of children and families drives his public service, while his ability to help his constituents understand and navigate the complex world of public policy making in terms of fiscal, political, and practical dynamics is unmatched.

“Senator Laird is a proven and effective champion for public education, and a legislator who has shown an especially keen understanding of the needs of our state’s smallest school districts – both navigating the pandemic and beyond,” said Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Faris Sabbah. “I cannot imagine a more deserving recipient of this recognition.”

Senator Laird’s skills as a legislator were tested as he chaired the Senate Budget subcommittee on Education Finance as the state climbed out of the COVID-19 pandemic. He proved to be a good listener and consummate problem solver, always available to listen to concerns from educators and find solutions.

As chair of the Budget Subcommittee, Senator Laird championed the largest-ever increase to the base funding for public schools. He also was the primary proponent of giving schools COVID-19 funding relief as attendance-based funding fell during the pandemic, ensuring schools had the crucial resources to address the needs of students.

“SSDA represents two thirds of school districts from all over California who are from rural, frontier and small school districts,” said Tim Taylor, SSDA Executive Director.  “As a state senator, Mr. Laird advocates for ALL children and schools throughout California and we appreciate his leadership to ensure schools are receiving resources, support and have a Senator who we can voice our needs to.” 

The mission of the Small School Districts’ Association is to provide relevant information and proactive assistance to small school district governing boards and superintendents through legislative advocacy, collaboration, professional development, and support services. To learn more, visit or email Taylor Smith at

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