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Brown rallies support for school-funding changes

Posted: April 24, 2013 2:54 p.m.
Updated: April 24, 2013 2:54 p.m.

John Deasy, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, left, discusses his support for Gov. Jerry Brown's education spending reforms.

 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Standing with school leaders from San Diego County to Shasta County, Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday called his education funding plan a civil rights "cause for the children of California" as he tries to persuade reluctant members of his own party to include his proposal in the upcoming state budget.

The Democrat wants to give school districts more control of the money they receive from the state and provide poorer districts a disproportionately larger share of state aid. Yet Brown is running into reluctance from his own party, including lawmakers who represent affluent areas that would not gain as much under his plan.

Democrats in the Senate plan to propose an alternative that does not include extra money where more than half of students are low income.

"This is a matter of equity and civil rights," he said at a Capitol press conference Wednesday. "If people want to fight it, they're going to get the battle of their lives because I'm not going to give up until the last hour."

Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, said she agrees with the governor's aims to provide more local control and provide more financial aid to English language learners, students from poor families and foster children. But the lawmaker, who represents prosperous Bay Area communities such as Walnut Creek and Orinda, said the governor is wrong to pit rich suburbs against poor communities.

She said she would like to raise the base grant amount to every school district for essential items, like textbooks, and maintain some existing funding rules. She also noted that it's simply the Legislature's job to examine a bill that is hundreds of pages long.

"It looks like the governor is taking the gloves off, and we're still here working on a solution," she said in an interview.

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