Gov. Jerry Brown said today that he vetoed his own budget proposal to earmark $20 million for online education at the University of California and California State University systems only after leaders of those institutions assured him they would pursue online course offerings on their own.
"I had an agreement from both the segments that they would carry out online vigorously," Brown told reporters at an event in Sacramento. "As the leader of both governing boards, I'm actively engaged with both the University of California and the Cal State."
One of a relatively small number of line-item vetoes made by Brown to the state's $96.3 billion spending plan last week, Brown left the $20 million in funding for the UC and CSU systems intact, but without tying it to online education. He said he is "completely confident" the UC and CSU systems will expand their online course offerings without a budget requirement.
Brown's tone was different last fall, when he started regularly attending UC meetings to call for spending reductions and increased efficiency.
"We are going to have to restrain this system in many, many of its elements," the Democratic governor said in November, "and this will come with great resistance."
This afternoon, Brown said of the university systems, "I didn't want them to be too tightly constrained."
Brown's remarks came during an event celebrating the passage of his proposal to shift more K-12 education money to poor and English-learning students, a priority of the governor's this year. A modified version of Brown's proposal was approved in budget negotiations last month, and Brown traveled to Los Angeles earlier today to sign legislation required to implement the overhaul.
The school funding bill also eliminates most of California's categorical funds - money that can be used only for certain purposes.
At California Middle School in Sacramento's Land Park neighborhood, Brown called the legislation a "step forward for local control."
PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown poses for photographs at an event in Sacramento to celebrate the enactment of a school funding overhaul on July 1, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders