Caps on class sizes could be eliminated in Jerry Brown’s budget


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Gov. Jerry Brown wants to overhaul the way California’s public schools are funded, sending more money to districts that serve poor students and eliminating mandates to spend billions of dollars on specific programs -– even possibly eliminating the state’s popular class-size reduction initiative.

Although the governor was coy in a recent interview about details of his proposal, administration documents indicate the governor is interested in eliminating caps on class sizes in early grades as part of the funding change.


According to documents from Brown education advisors Sue Burr and Nick Schweizer that were given to dozens of education leaders in November, the governor wants a plan that “collapses all existing state categorical funding, with the exception of special education, into … one flexible revenue stream for schools.”

In an interview last month, Brown said he had not yet decided whether to seek elimination of the class-size reduction program. The limit of 20 students per class in Kindergarten through 3rd grade has been eased in recent years to help districts cope with state budget cuts.

Now, it appears, the governor may seek to make that flexibility permanent. Among the other goals stated in the documents are to create a system that is “equitable and easy to understand” and provide districts with “supplemental funding for each low-income student or English learner.”


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-- Anthony York in Sacramento