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Bill Habermehl, Head of Orange County Office of Education, steps down

Bill Habermehl speaks at a Spotlight on Education panel.
Bill Habermehl speaks at a Spotlight on Education panel.

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The elected superintendent of the Orange County Department of Education announced on Thursday that he’s resigning nearly three years before the end of his term.

Superintendent Bill Habermehl says it’s time to hang up his hat after 45 years as a science teacher, football coach and administrator in Orange County schools.

The county’s Department of Education board appointed Haberhmehl superintendent in 2001, a position he went on to win election and reelection for three times.

Habermehl said he wants his successor to gain some experience on the job before he or she runs for election.

"To run an election in Orange County can be very expensive," he says. "Just to get your name and a 200-word statement on the ballot can cost over $32,000. So it’s not something you want to walk into with six weeks notice."

That said, he still believes the superintendent’s post should remain an elected job.

Habermehl is particularly proud of the program he initiated, ACCESS, that educates 10,000 students who’ve dropped out or have been expelled.

The Orange County Department of Education employs 1,300 people and with a $214 million annual budget.