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steinberged.jpgSenate Democrats today suggested reservations about major elements of Gov. Jerry Brown's bid to overhaul California's school funding system, saying they will announce an alternative plan this week.

Brown is seeking in his annual budget proposal to give K-12 school districts greater control over how they spend money they receive, while also directing more money to districts that serve poorer students and English learners.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg's office said in a prepared statement today that Senate Democrats agree with the "fundamental goals and concepts" included in Brown's proposal, but differences between Brown's plan and the one lawmakers are expected to propose are significant.

Steinberg's office said Senate Democrats on Thursday will propose a bill that would eliminate a proposal by Brown, a Democrat, to award districts additional money if more than half of their students are low income or meet other criteria. The lawmakers' proposal would instead distribute that money partly on a per-pupil basis for all students and partly on a per-pupil basis for certain disadvantaged students.

Brown had hoped to gain approval for his education funding formula plan as part of budget talks this year. The Senate bill would subject the matter to policy hearings, and Steinberg's office said the legislation will be referred to the body's education committee on May 1.

Assembly Democrats previously made a similar move, putting funding formula language into a non-budget bill.

Brown is scheduled to meet privately with local school superintendents on Wednesday to discuss his plan.

PHOTO CREDIT: Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, at the 2013 Democratic Party state convention in Sacramento. AP Photo/ Rich Pedroncelli



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