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The position of County Superintendent of Schools, established in the California State Constitution in 1879, has evolved to meet the changing needs of the state and its students. County Superintendents operate as intermediate service agencies providing direct and regional support to school districts, and serve as the primary implementation arm of the California Department of Education (CDE).  The responsibilities of these constitutional officers fall generally into these categories:

Educating specific student populations (i.e., special education and disenfranchised youth)

Monitoring and oversight of student academic environment

Monitoring and oversight for district fiscal stability

Providing academic support and assistance to districts and their schools

Providing direct services to small school districts

Reviewing school district Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAPs) and ensuring alignment of projected spending, services, and goals;

Providing technical assistance to school districts; and

Implementing regional support activities to assist district and school staffs.

Legal Framework for County Board and Superintendent Roles and Responsibilities

Statutory Functions of County Superintendents of Schools (PDF revised January 2023)

Understanding County Offices of Education

Quick Facts*

  • There are 6.227 million students in California (Source: California Department of Education, CalEdFacts: 2015-16)
  • There are 1,025 districts in California
  • There are 58 County Superintendents in California
  • 53 County Superintendents are elected; 5 are appointed
  • Appointed County Superintendents include: Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and Santa Clara
  • There are 7 single district counties in the state: Alpine, Amador, Del Norte, Mariposa, Plumas, San Francisco and Sierra

* Updated January 2017

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