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Yuba-Sutter cautious on Brown's budget plan
Though Gov. Jerry Brown may have painted his proposed 2013-14 budget on Thursday as the first one with good news in several years, Yuba-Sutter officials said they're taking a more cautious stance.
In his presentation, Brown said the state's improved financial picture and voters passage of tax-hike Proposition 30 last year allowed him to make good on a previous vow: More money for education.
"This is real investment," he said, showing a chart reflecting increases in per-student spending by 2016-17 under his plan. "It's not just dollars going in, it's dollars going in under new conditions."
One feature of the budget would tie education funding formulas with a district's average daily attendance, and provide supplemental money for students learning English and/or receiving free or reduced-price lunches.
Coleen Morehead, a trustee with the single-school Franklin Elementary School District in Sutter County, said her concern is whether the state will make up for the past.
During California's lean budget years, she said, local districts often saw deferrals in contributions to the revenue limit, the amount K-12 education is supposed to receive under Proposition 98.
"I would hope Gov. Brown starts to address the deferrals before he looks at new programs," she said. "When you talk about revenue limit, that's how we pay our teachers."
County officials also had their reservations. While noting many details of the budget are likely to be revised in the months ahead, Yuba County spokesman Russ Brown said some things were worth noting.
Among them were a suggestion to waive some mandates on local governments, though specifics were lacking, Russ Brown said.
"The question is, are they removed at county level?" he said. "So we'll watch that carefully."
He said the county is also interested to see how implementation of health- care reform filters down to local levels, and the ongoing process of criminal justice realignment.
Particularly, the county is interested to see how state funding affects health and human services, he said.
"It's the same story we've had year to year to year to year, for the last five or six years," Russ Brown said. "They've seen the greatest amount of shifting around."
Sutter County spokesman Chuck Smith said county officials had not explored the potential impact on the county.
What really affects the county won't be known until a final state budget is adopted, a step not likely for a few months, he said in an email.
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