Ben Allen


The Santa Monica-Malibu school board on Wednesday nominated a former member for a professional honor.

A resolution was passed unanimously in support of State Senator Ben Allen as a candidate for the California School Boards Association’s outstanding freshman legislator award.

For about three decades, the association has recognized state politicians for their support of public schools.

The local school board’s nomination form was submitted Thursday morning, district spokeswoman Gail Pinsker said.

The final selection of honorees will be made later this month, according to the CSBA website. The awards are expected to be presented during the association’s annual conference in December.

The local school board praised the efforts of Allen (D-Santa Monica), who has tackled a variety of issues related to education during his time in state office.

“Senator Allen continues to make public education a priority,” the resolution reads.

In addition to serving on the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee and that group’s education subcommittee, Allen has worked on several bills dealing with education-related issues.

Allen co-authored Senate Bill 277, which aims to increase vaccination rates by banning personal-belief exemptions. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill into law earlier this year following a measles outbreak that affected a Santa Monica High School baseball coach and an infant at the school’s child care facility.

Another bill Allen wrote, Senate Bill 380, intends to encourage students to become teachers by offering them college scholarships in exchange for five-year teaching commitments.

He has also sponsored bills on Common Core science education, English language education and career technical education.

“Certainly education has been at the heart of my work,” he told the Daily Press last year. “And there’s a lot of experiences that I’ve had that I can build off of as I’m working with various issues relating to the state.”

Allen was elected to the local school board in 2008 and served for six years, including as president and vice president. He was a major supporter of Measure ES, which voters passed in 2012 and which allocated $385 million in bonds for infrastructural and technological upgrades in local schools.

Allen, who was born and raised in Santa Monica, attended local public schools and served as student body president at Santa Monica High School.

He studied history at Harvard University before earning a master’s degree in Latin American studies at the University of Cambridge and pursuing a law degree at UC Berkeley, where his research focused on the law and politics of California school finance.

Allen has also taught a public policy course at Santa Monica College and worked as an adjunct faculty member at UCLA’s law school, where he taught a seminar on education policy.

“Of course, remember that half of the state’s budget is in education,” he told the Daily Press last year. “It’s an enormously important part of the state’s work so all of my education work, both on the school board and teaching, is very relevant to working at the state level.”

Contact Jeff Goodman at 310-573-8351, or on Twitter.

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