Senate leader criticizes Brown’s school plan


SACRAMENTO -- Senate leader Darrell Steinberg says that, for all practical reasons, he should support Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to redistribute school funding. His hometown, Sacramento, would benefit.

“I should be for it,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “End of story.”

But Steinberg, one of the top Democrats in the Legislature, is helping to lead a counteroffensive against the governor’s education funding proposal.

Brown wants to provide more money to school districts with high numbers of students who are poor or English learners.


“I think it’s fair. I think it’s just,” the governor said on Tuesday when he unveiled his revised budget proposal. “I think it has great moral force.”

Steinberg said he doesn’t dispute the basic idea behind Brown’s plan, but he disagreed with the method. Instead of calculating students on a per-district basis, he said it should be done by school.

That way, he said, individual schools could still see more money even if the overall district doesn’t have a high concentration of poor students or non-native English speakers.

“If a kid is in a school of concentrated poverty, why shouldn’t that kid get the civil rights benefit that a kid in a concentrated poverty district gets?” Steinberg said.

The senator said he expects Democratic lawmakers will be able to reach an agreement with the governor.

“I’m not drawing lines in the sand,” he said.



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Twitter: @chrismegerian