Today’s News: Schools get a boost in Brown’s budget; LAUSD moves to cut suspensions; USC feels the music

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Governor’s budget. Gov. Jerry Brown’s latest budget proposal includes more money for schools, and less money for just about everything else. Even with state revenues surging, Brown’s revised budget trims $1.3 billion from the plan he presented in January.

“Everybody wants to see more spending,” Brown said. “That’s what (Sacramento) is. It’s a spending machine. You need something? Come up here and see if you can get it! But I’m the backstop at the end, and I’m going to keep this budget balanced as long as I am around here.”

The governor’s $96.4 billion spending plan does include more money for schools – about $1.6 billion – but even that is controversial. Brown wants to give the extra money to districts with more low-income students and English-language learners. He says spreading the extra funding around evenly among all the state’s districts would dilute its impact. But opponents say some districts, including those with many poor students, would lose out. Sacramento Bee

School discipline. A divided L.A. School Board has voted to ban suspensions of defiant students. Instead, teachers and administrators will be directed to use alternative methods of discipline. The 5-2 vote makes LAUSD the first school district in the state to eliminate suspensions for something called “willful defiance.” The catchall category can involve anything from back talk and using a cell phone in class to refusing to wear a school uniform. Proponents of the ban say African-American students were disproportionally affected by the policy – accounting for 26 percent of suspensions even though they make up only nine percent of LAUSD students. L.A. Times

Morning meal.
A program that provides breakfast to some LAUSD students in the classroom will be expanded despite complaints from teachers that it creates messes and takes away from instruction time. The L.A. Board of Education voted yesterday to continue the Breakfast in the Classroom program, which currently feeds about tens of thousands of students at nearly 300 schools. The board also opted to accept more federal money to expand the program next year. L.A. Daily News

Idol makers.
Hip-hop kingpin Dr. Dre and music producer Jimmy Iovine are pledging $70 million to create a new academy at USC that aims to prepare students for a changing music industry. The academy will open next year with classes ranging from engineering and computer science to fine arts and business leadership. L.A. Times

Clergy abuse. A judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit that claims a fugitive Mexican priest molested a boy 25 years ago. Instead, the court combined claims by 11 alleged victims into one trial that will start later. The lawsuit claims Rev. Nicolas Rivera molested the boy in 1987 while in Los Angeles, where he was working for one year after being severely beaten in his home parish in Mexico. An investigation suggested the priest molested as many as 26 children during the nine months he spent in California. L.A. Daily News

Fire rings.
O.C. mayors will get together today to talk about fire pits on county beaches. The meeting is being led by Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, who serves on the South Coast Air Quality Management District board, which is considering a ban on the fire rings. Newport Beach wants to ban the fire pits because of health risks from smoke. But officials in Huntington Beach and San Clemente want the rings to stay. O.C. Register