Gov. Jerry Brown talks about his plan for education funding at a news conference… (Rich Pedroncelli )
SACRAMENTO -- Reaction to the budget plan unveiled by Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday was generally positive.
Key political and education leaders in Los Angeles immediately endorsed the plan's provisions that would shift more funds to low-income schools and to schools with a high number of English learners.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joined LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy and United Teachers Los Angeles President Warren Fletcher in signing a letter to lawmakers expressing support for the governor's proposal.
“We believe [Brown's plan] will help foster educational growth in our communities and allow us to provide local solutions to the challenges we face,” they wrote. They said the plan “addresses the fundamental civil rights issue we are facing in our schools by channeling additional dollars to low-income students and English-learners. Schools would finally have additional resources to meet the extra costs of educating their highest-need students in order to help close the achievement gap.”
Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) called the overall budget plan a good basic framework.
"We appreciate the governor's commitment to maintaining fiscal stability" he told reporters at the Capitol. "The Legislature has made tough choices necessary to bring the budget into balance and we have no intention of backpedaling this year."
However, he said lawmakers will look for ways to restore some money to courts and reduce college tuition costs.
Perez also signaled there may be differences with the governor's funding formula for schools.
"Any change in formula has to result in an increase in funding for all schools" Perez said. "We're very optimistic we can reach an agreement with the governor in this area," he said.
Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, the Republican vice chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, praised Brown for a "prudent" spending plan.
"I think it was appropriate for the governor to have conservative revenue projections," Gorell said.
He said he would have liked to see more money held in reserve.
"We wanted to see more leadership on the issue of the rainy-day fund," Gorell said.
However, a change in the law allowing a majority vote on budgets and a decrease in the number of Republicans in the Legislature mean the GOP no longer has the leverage it once had to affect spending.
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