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Governor Brown’s budget pumps billions more into school funding

Vanessa Romo | January 9, 2014

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Big-v-Small-Money-SchoolAfter years of “drought” Governor Jerry Brown wants to make it rain on the state’s public schools.

Brown’s budget proposal unveiled today for the 2014-15 fiscal year dedicates an extra $10 billion to K-12 schools, plus an additional $6 billion to wipe out the debt to schools accumulated over several years of recession cuts.

It’s the the second year in a row education spending has gone up. For LAUSD it’s especially good news.

LA Unified Superintendent John Deasy told LA School Report he is surprised by the boost in the budget and the increase in Local Control Funding Formula funds.

Until now the state planned to disburse LCFF funds to school districts over the next three years. But the new budget would release $4.5 billion in LCFF money in one lump sum.

That figure is more than $2 billion than was expected.  It’s unclear how of that will go to LAUSD, the state’s largest school district.

But Deasy said he’d like to see one important change. He plans to lobby the Governor to “lower the debt payoff and, instead, increase the ongoing new money” and warned that, “we are still many millions of dollars below the 2008 funding level, when the state budget crisis officially began.”

Meanwhile, Warren Fletcher, president of the teachers union (UTLA) welcomed the news behalf of LAUSD employees.  “If there was any doubt before, it’s clear now that L.A. Unified has the money to repay employees for their financial sacrifices during the budget crisis and to give them their first salary increase in nearly seven years.”

Two LA Unified school board members offered their thoughts on Brown’s budget.

Bennett Kayser said, “The Governor’s Local Control Funding Formula is critical to LAUSD as it has so many foster care, English language learners, and Title 1 students; the faster the State can reach the goals of LCFF, the sooner the governor’s efforts will be realized and the neediest of children will be helped. Even with this good news, California still lags woefully behind the rest of the nation in per pupil funding and more must be done.”

Tamar Galatzan also weighed in saying, “I hope to be able to lower class sizes, rehire nurses, librarians, counselors and other critical staff members, and provide raises to all LAUSD employees who have made sacrifices during the recession. At the same time, we need to heed the governor’s call for wise and prudent spending to allow LAUSD to regain its fiscal stability.”

The news sets the stage for the LA Unified school board to hash out its own budget. There are two measures seeking to hire more teachers and to give raises on the agenda for the next school board meeting in January 14.

Previous Posts: Deasy Praises Brown Budget Proposal, Survey: Parents unaware they have a voice in school funding  

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