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Governor’s Revised Budget Boon For Schools

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Aired 5/17/11

Gov. Jerry Brown's new budget proposal for the coming fiscal year released Monday contains some good news for San Diego public schools. Increased education funding could ease the $115 million in cuts the district has been planning for.

— Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised budget includes an expected $6.6 billion boost in state revenues through the end of the next fiscal year.

Brown want to use part of the windfall to increase K-12 education spending by $3 billion. That would translate to about $48 million more for San Diego schools.

Board members will start considering how to distribute the expected funds next week.

“They have always put a priority on the classroom and not increasing class sizes," San DIego Unified Chief of Staff Bernie Rhinerson said about where board members are likely to direct the additional money. "So, one of the things they have said in the past is our Kindergarten through third grade class sizes, which were going to shoot up to 30 children per class.”

Keeping class sizes down would mean recalling some of the more than 750 teacher layoff notices the board approved last week.

But the governor's May revision is hardly a final budget. The increase in education dollars also depends on the legislature approving extensions of current vehicle license fees, sales taxes and dependent credit exemption levels - all of which are set to expire at the end of June. Brown will also ask legislators to approve a voter referendum on those extensions for later this year.

Whether legislators will go along with Brown's plan is far from certain. But Rhinerson said he was encouraged by Democrats and Republicans coming out in support of a budget that protects education spending.

“This is good news," he said. "But we have to keep up our vigilance in watching what our legislature does so that that final budget is adopted to protect education and to be something very close to what the governor is proposing.”

The school district and the state legislature have to finalize their budgets for the coming fiscal year by June 30th.

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