Brown’s budget would raise school spending

SAN DIEGO — The state budget proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown Thursday is a good start toward restoring education funding, but the impact on the San Diego Unified School District is not yet clear, Superintendent Bill Kowba said.

The governor proposed raising spending on K-12 and community college education by $2.7 billion in the fiscal year that begins July 1. The hike would be $19 billion within three years.

Brown also plans to increase spending to the University of California and California State University systems by 5 percent.

“As we study the details of the governor’s proposal, we are hopeful we can maintain stable school staffing in the next budget year,” Kowba said. “After five years of cuts to education, it is a relief to see that trend reversed, but as the governor stated, it will take time to return education funding to the adequate levels that we saw in 2008.”

The SDUSD said its financial staff will study the funding proposal and issue a report on local impacts at a Board of Education meeting scheduled for Jan. 22.

He said education officials will probably lobby the Legislature for “enhancements” to what Brown proposed.

The governor said previous spending reductions and November’s passage of Proposition 30 led to a balanced budget and a chance to increase education funding.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson applauded the governor’s budget for restoring education funding, but said cuts to early- childhood education. He also said he remained concerned about the “fragile” fiscal condition of some local school districts.

Alliance San Diego — an organization that backed the Proposition 30 tax increases — issued a statement that called the budget proposal “a good start to not only fixing our school funding crisis but also moving California forward.”

Assemblyman Brian Jones, R-Santee, said he was “encouraged” by the governor’s focus on fiscal restraint, but called on Californians to closely watch the Legislature’s budget process in coming months to make sure revenue from the ballot measure goes to education.