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California Gov. Jerry Brown. (Photo: Gov. Brown at a news conference at Google headquarters on September 25, 2012 in Mountain View).
The so-called Big Three — Democratic legislative leaders and Governor Brown — planned to hold a press conference Tuesday afternoon to detail the budget deal they reached.
The most significant development was the compromise lawmakers achieved on a new funding formula for K-12 schools that directs more funds towards disadvantaged students.
Under the plan all school districts will get an increased base grant, plus a supplemental per-pupil grant for students who are either English learners, low-income or in foster care. Districts where 55 percent of the students fall in that category will get an extra “concentration grant” to help educate them.
Under the plan all school districts will see funding restored to pre-recession levels.
Legislative leaders had proposed to spend $2 billion more than the governor — based on the legislative analyst’s more optimistic revenue projections. In the compromise deal, however, they agreed to craft the budget based on the Brown Administration's projections for the state budget. In turn, the governor granted legislators some modest spending increases for programs:
- $350 million (over 4 years) for a middle-class college scholarship program for students of families earning less than $150,000. The scholarships could reduce the cost of higher education by as much as 40 percent.
- $100 million for state-subsidized preschool and early learning programs.
- $51 million to support CalWORKS grants.
- $63 million for trial courts to prevent further closures.
- $206 million in mental health spending to add thousands of community crisis beds.
- $80 million for partial restoration of adult dental benefits for 3 million Medi-Cal recipients.
The plan includes a $1.1 billion reserve and would repay billions in state debt, including $2 billion owed to school districts, the rest to other high-interest debt.
The legislature is required to vote on the budget by June 15.