LOS ANGELES (AP) – Gov. Jerry Brown traveled to a lower-income Hispanic neighborhood Friday to defend his proposal to shift some education spending to the state’s neediest children.

Brown told reporters gathered at an elementary school in an unincorporated area east of Los Angeles that his plan would give California the “biggest bang for our buck.”

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About half the children at the school are trying to learn English.

“They need a richer school experience,” Brown said.

With a proposed jump in school spending this year, Brown wants to target new dollars at districts with students who are lower-income, English-learners or live in foster homes.

But some lawmakers see the proposal as a money grab from suburban and more affluent areas, and they say hundreds of schools could lose out. Brown argued that it makes sense to send more money to schools where there is the most need.

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“We are all in it together,” he said.

Brown’s budget would push per-pupil funding in California to an average of $8,475 for the remainder of the current school year. Although the funding would dip slightly in the coming school year, it is expected to rise to $9,929 for the school year that starts in 2016.

The governor’s office said schools would return to their peak funding year, 2007-08, by the 2015-16 school year if current projections hold, but there are disagreements over the exact calculation.

Some education experts say even that level of funding would not be enough to fix some endemic problems in California schools.


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Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.