Gov. Jerry Brown, who pressed California colleges and universities earlier this year to expand their online offerings, backed off Thursday, vetoing his own budget proposal to earmark $20 million in funding for online education.
Brown, who proposed in January to provide $10 million each to the University of California and California State University systems to expand the number of courses available online, will include that money in the college systems' annual allocation, but without requiring it to be spent on online education.
The action was one of a relatively small number of line item vetoes that the Democratic governor made as he signed the state budget Thursday for the fiscal year starting Monday.
Brown, who reached agreement with Democratic lawmakers on the budget earlier this month, vetoed only about $40 million from the budget, leaving a $96.3 billion spending plan nearly completely intact.
The administration said in a budget document that vetoing the budget provision including the online education earmark would give the UC and CSU systems "greater flexibility" to manage their money and instructional programs.
State Finance Director Ana Matosantos said, "The expectation is that UC and CSU are going to move forward with online education, understanding it's a high priority."
PHOTO: Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, D-Woodland Hills, chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, far left, celebrates after being presented one of the pens that Gov. Jerry Brown, seated, used to sign a copy of the state budget at the Capitol in Sacramento on Thursday, June 27, 2013. Associated Press/ Rich Pedroncelli