Governor: Deficit Gone, More Money for Poor Schools

Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled his proposed 2013-14 budget Thursday and as forecast, it offers more for K-12, college students and the president of Cal State Long Beach praised it. What do you think?

Underprivileged schools would get more per-student funding than would other schools across the state under a proposed budget unveiled by Gov. Jerry Brown Thursday.

"Our future depends not on across-the-board funding, but disproportionately funding those schools that have disproportionate challenges," Brown said at a press conference.

The budget proposed by Brown also increases per-student funding for all levels of education.

By the 2016-17 school year, K-12 schools would see a $2,681 increase in pending for each student. At the CSU and UC levels, spending would increase by about $2,000 and $2,500 by 2016-17, respectively.

Cal State Long Beach President F. King Alexander late Thursday issued a response to Brown's proposed budget.

 “Governor Brown’s proposed budget is an important next step toward restoring funding for the California State University and Cal State Long Beach,” said Alexander, who noted the first big step was the passage of Proposition 30 last November.  

 “If approved, this budget would provide our university with much-needed additional funding to better serve students,” he continued.  “Although this budget brings good news, it is important to remember it will take several years of consistent reinvestment in our university to fully recover from prior budget cuts."

In unfurling his proposed budget, Brown said most categorical funding for schools should be eliminated and the money delivered more directly. 

"As you go up the line you lose control and build bureaucracy," Brown said of the categorical funds, which are federally mandated funds. "We want to put the money into local schools, but create greater control."

Brown also said the state's deficit is gone for the first time in years, adding it could reduce its debt substantially by 2016.

"The deficit's gone; the wall of debt remains," Brown said, noting the state's $36 billion debt could be reduced to $4.3 billion by 2016. 

Long Beach State University's King said, “California ranks near the bottom in the nation in terms of state funding per student, and we will need to be even more diligent in efforts to fully fund higher education in the years to come.” 

In an attempt to free up categorical funds that might better be spent for a district or school's particular needs, then-State Alan Lowenthal authored a bill sponsored by Long Beach Unified Superintendent Christopher Steinhauser in spring, 2010.

SB 1396 would have created a pilot program for two California districts - one expected to be LBUSD - that would've allowed discretion on categorical spending under strict auditing. It was endorsed by business groups throughout the region including the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, and passed 35-0 by the state Senate. But it failed in the Assembly Finance Committee which was viewed as heavily influenced by the California Teachers Assn.



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