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Gov. Brown Highlights Surplus, More Money For Schools

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Gov. Jerry Brown outlined his revised budget proposal on Tuesday, highlighting a small surplus and praising the effects of Proposition 30.

Despite a small surplus, the governor says he’s continuing to pull back the reins on spending.

“Everybody has to get used to managing, because we have been used to this overcommitment at the federal level and state level, and we are trying now to have honest budgeting and careful budgeting,” Brown said.

Fewer commitments is something Republicans are in favor of.

“The restraint—all that he has put into the budget—he is where he should be as far as we can see,” said Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway (R-Visalia).

Scraping away from what the governor calls the “wall of debt,” Brown hopes reinvesting in public education will help improve the economy in the coming years.

“We have climbed out of a hole with the Proposition 30 tax,” he said. “But it’s not time to break out the champagne.”

California has been one of the lowest-funded states in per-child spending. But after voters passed a tax-hike last fall, educators will now be able to spend an additional $1,000 per student in kindergarten all the way through high school graduation.

But it won’t stop there. By 2016, the money will increase by $2,700.

“We are supportive of adequate funding for all students, and this doesn’t get us there yet,” said Cindy Marks, president of the School Board Association. “ We are still $2,800 below the national average.”

While still a bit short, underperforming schools and those with a large number of english learners will get extra help to bridge the gap between low-income students and those in wealthier areas.

“We are recognizing the difficulty families have that don’t speak english at home, or who are very low income,” Brown said. “There is not a lot of money and they face challenges more affluent families do not.”

Republican Sen. Bob Huff agrees with the governor’s approach.

“Most school districts, even those who are getting as much money like the flexibility. It’s different in different areas of the state, but all in all I think the governor is on the right track.”

Parents are split on today’s news.

Kamiki Johnson is happy to hear Gov. Brown wants to spend more on his daughter’s education, because places like Grant High School could be getting more funding.

“If it benefits kids, and it benefits them doing something positive with their life, then go for it,” he said.

Gov. Brown said today if English language learners and economically disadvantaged students make up at least half of the school’s enrollment. the more of those students in the school, the more money they get.

Parents we spoke to say more money coming into a school is a good thing, but not if it’s at the expense of other students at schools that don’t qualify.

Parents now worry their children’s education could suffer if the money goes somewhere else.

At this point, it’s not clear exactly which schools in the Sacramento area would qualify for the extra money. Brown also wants districts to have more control of how to spend their money.

State lawmakers have until June 15 to approve a budget.

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