Pass / Fail | So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

Governor Brown's $10 billion increase gets mostly applause

File: School desks.
File: School desks.
Photo by Jonathan/Night Owl City via Flickr Creative Commons

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Governor Jerry Brown's budget proposal Thursday to increase education funding next fiscal year by $9.7 billion made a lot of fans - but didn't please everyone.

Public schools would get $61.6 billion in the 2014-15 fiscal year under the governor’s plan. The Legislature would have to approve the plan.

Los Angeles Unified school board member Tamar Galatzan said she hopes the district will hire teachers to lower class sizes - and rehire nurses, librarians and counselors. She also wants to give all employees raises with the extra money.

“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,” Galatzan said in a written statement.

About $4 billion of the increase will fund Brown's Local Control Funding Formula, a revamp instituted last year that gives schools with large numbers of disadvantaged kids - primarily low income and English learner students - more funds to reach improvement goals.

USC’s Guilbert Hentschke said there’s a tension in this budget that arises from, “restoring the old and then funding the new. That itself is going to be contentious even if we had one of those issues on the table it would be tricky to negotiate through how that money is being spent.”

For the first time this year, students will take newly written standardized tests on computers. Adonai Mack, of the Association of California School Administrators, said the governor hasn't put aside enough money to prepare.

“A range from $1.2 billion to about $2 billion dollars we think would be sufficient to move forward,” he said.

Brown also proposed a $125 million increase for the University of California and Cal State systems.

“The good news for the CSU and its students is that the proposed budget will enable the University to improve existing programs and services, and maintain tuition at the current rate for the fourth consecutive year,” said CSU Chancellor Tim White in a written statement.

UC’s budget chief Patrick Lenz also praised the proposed increase and welcomed a proposed four year funding for the new Middle Class Scholarship Program that would provide greater assistance to students who may not qualify for financial aid or may qualify only for partial aid.