Brown's budget expected to aid schools' energy efficiency
When Gov. Jerry Brown releases his budget proposal Thursday, he will include his plans for $500 million in new spending on energy efficiency and related programs.
Much of that money is expected to be earmarked for retrofitting schools to help lower utility bills, according to Capitol staffers. They say Brown's plan will largely mirror a proposal put forward by Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) to improve schools' energy efficiency with better insulation, lighting and ventilation systems.
Over five years, de Leon said, the money could help provide new job opportunities and improve about half of the state's 10,000 public schools, allowing them to put more money into classrooms instead of utility bills.
"We get the best bang for our buck when we invest money in our public schools," he said Monday outside the Senate chamber.
Capitol staffers say the administration is also weighing whether to use some of the $500 million to train new workers for energy projects.
The money comes from Proposition 39, which was approved by voters in November. The measure changes corporate tax policy to generate an estimated $1 billion annually.
Half the money will go to the general fund for general education spending and other programs, while the other half is dedicated to clean energy initiatives.
H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the Department of Finance, declined to comment on budget proposals before the governor's announcement Thursday.
-- Chris Megerian in Sacramento
Photo: Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) giving a thumb's up) at a Sacramento event with Tom Steyer, who bankrolled the campaign for Proposition 39. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press