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Brown signs bill limiting some suspensions, vetoes college repair funds

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday signed legislation that will limit suspensions for students who “willfully defy” teachers and administrators.

Supporters of the measure say schools too often suspend or expel students for “willful defiance,” which they criticized as a catch-all term that includes refusal to complete assignments or disruption of school activities.

“Kids who have been suspended or expelled are two times more likely to drop out and five times more likely to turn to crime,” the bill’s author, Assemblyman Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento), said in a statement released Saturday. “Rather than kicking students out of school, we need to keep young people in school on track to graduate, and out of the criminal justice system.”

The bill, AB 420, bans expulsions for such offenses in all grade levels and bars suspensions for students in kindergarten through third grade. In kindergarten through third grade, more than 10,000 of our youngest students are suspended each year for willful defiance alone, Dickinson said.

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The governor on Saturday also vetoed $100 million approved by the Legislature for deferred maintenance at University of California and California State University campuses.

Each public college system would have received $50 million.

Brown said this year’s budget would have provided $200 million for deferred maintenance at the campuses and other state facilities if property tax revenues had exceeded expectations, which did not happen.

Brown said repairing aging infrastructure is a “major priority” for his administration, but did not want to commit that much funding in a year when the state faces “unanticipated costs such as fighting the state’s extreme wildfires.”

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