Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Senate counters Governor's funding plan for disadvantaged students

California Budget Education

Rich Pedroncelli/AP

State Sen. President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, second from left, discusses Gov. Jerry Brown's education plans, during a Capitol news conference in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, April 25, 2013.

State Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg on Thursday unveiled a funding plan for schools that  had already drawn the ire of Governor Jerry Brown.

Brown wants to make sure disadvantaged students get more of the funding pie, but the Senate disagrees with the formula the governor wants to use.  

Brown's plan would provide districts with funds for each disadvantaged student. Additional funds would go to districts with a majority of impoverished students.

The Democratic senate leader said those extra district funds are where he and the governor differ. 

“We are concerned about the same kids he’s concerned about,” Steinberg said.  “Under his formula there are thousands of kids that remain invisible.”

Those “thousands of kids” live in pockets of poverty in otherwise well-off districts, Steinberg said.  “They’re not getting the additional money.”

At a capitol press conference Wednesday, Brown said: “This is a matter of equity and civil rights. So if people are going to fight it, they're going to get the battle of their lives."

L.A. Unified's John Deasy was one of the district superintendents who appeared with the governor. Deasy said districts with a high concentration of English learners and poor students “need more resources to work with them.” 

Democrats also differ from the governor over how fast to change the school funding formula. They want to wait another year.  Doing that would give them the rest of the legislative session — until September —  to craft a plan. The governor wants the changes to take effect this year.

“Kids can’t wait.” Brown said. “California can’t wait.”

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