Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Gov. may pay money owed to schools

Governor to settle school funding dispute

By Clea Benson -- Bee Capitol Bureau
Published 1:55 pm PDT Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has agreed to give schools an additional $5 billion over the next several years, settling a dispute with advocates who said he shortchanged education when money was tight, a consultant familiar with the deal said Wednesday.
The governor will use part of a windfall of tax revenue to cover the additional amount that advocates claimed was owed to schools, said consultant Kevin Gordon, president of School Innovations and Advocacy. Education officials, including the California Teachers Association and state schools superintendent Jack O'Connell, said schools deserved an additional $3.2 billion and had filed a lawsuit designed to force the state to pay up.

The deal is intended to settle the lawsuit. Schools will receive $2 billion of the $5 billion in the budget year that starts July 1, with the rest coming over several years, Gordon said.

"In every school in the state, they care a whole lot less about politics an a lot more about meeting their basic fiscal needs," Gordon said. "The governor will undoubtedly be celebrated over the fact that he has stepped up to the plate on this issue and agreed to resolve it."

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