Brown’s line-item vetoes eliminate equalization money for special ed
Among the line-item vetoes imposed on the final state budget by Gov. Jerry Brown is one that will eliminate what was hoped to be a first step in equalizing funding among special education programs statewide.
Just as the new budget seeks to streamline a complex funding system for schools overall, the 2013-14 spending plan also calls for consolidation of a number of programs and the elimination of restrictions on the use of that money.
But because of long-standing provisions that resulted in uneven funding, allocation of state and federal funds to Special Education Local Planning Areas varies greatly - from $570 per average daily attendance to about $1,090, according to the non-partisan Legislative Analyst.
As part of the effort to distribute money more equitably,the Legislature has set aside $30 million to begin addressing the funding variance between SELPAs. The LAO estimates that if the state were to adopt funding rates to ensure that 90 percent of the state's students with disabilities were supported the same, it would cost about $300 million.
And that's exactly what Brown took out of the final budget with his blue pencil.
In his veto message, Brown said the additional funding created cost pressures to meet other demands including repayments of apportionment deferrals to schools and to implement the new Local Control Funding Formula - a landmark simplification of school funding that gives local school boards far more control over spending decisions.
In another interesting move, the governor removed $20 million that would have supported his own plan for advancing online education at state colleges and universities.
In total, Brown eliminated only about $50 million from the budget, the lowest in two decades.
In a statement, Brown expressed clear pride in the new agreement that appears to stabilize the state's ongoing fiscal conundrum thanks mostly to voters passing higher taxes last fall.
"California's finances are in very solid shape for the first time in a decade," he said. "We're making significant investments in the things Californians care most about - the education of our children and adequate health care."
He noted that when he took office three years ago, the state faced a budget deficit of $26.6 billion. Today, he pointed out, California has a budget surplus and general fund spending stands at $96.3 billion. The budget act signed today also establishes a budget reserve of $1.1 billion.
To see a summary of the final budget plan visit: