James Rufus Koren, Staff Writer
Created: 05/17/2011 09:34:54 PM PDT

The revised state budget plan released Monday provides about $3 billion more to public schools, but local school officials say even if that money materializes, it won’t mean reversing the deep cuts districts have had to make.

The 2011-12 budget proposal presented Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown assumes the state will see about $6.6 billion more in tax revenue than originally thought. Of that windfall, schools will get about $3 billion.

But the lion’s share of that money will go to undo some of the state’s deferrals – that is, delayed payments – to school districts, including a $2.1 billion deferral approved by the Legislature in March.

In other words, said Fontana Unified School District Superintendent Cali Olsen-Binks, “They’re giving us money they owe us, and they’re giving it to us this year instead of deferring it to next year.”

Under the new plan, Bear Valley Unified School District would get about $870,000 in 2011-12 that it otherwise would have received in 2012-13, said Walter Con, director of business services for the school district.

Con said that would mean the district would have to do less short-term borrowing to pay its bills.

But he and other school officials say the state will still defer billions in education money and that the new plan doesn’t improve the overall financial picture for districts.

Under the governor’s initial budget plan, schools were planning for a cut of either $19 per student or close to $350 per student. Danny Tillman, president of the San Bernardino City Unified School District board, said the new budget doesn’t improve on those numbers.

“It just allows so that things don’t get worse,” Tillman said. “In essence, all the negative things going forward are still going to take place.”

Olsen-Binks said Fontana will still have to cut about $24 million from its budget if lawmakers don’t follow along with Brown’s proposal to temporarily extend a set of 2009 tax increases.

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