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Obama asks governors to spare education from state budget cuts

February 27, 2012 | 12:12 pm

Jerry brown
President Obama urged the nation’s governors Monday to reject cuts to education as states across the country struggle to balance their books.

“Nothing more clearly signals what you value as a state as the decisions you make about where to invest,” Obama told governors in a White House meeting. “Budgets are about choices, so today I’m calling on you to choose to invest more in teachers, invest more in education, and invest more in our children and their future.”

Gov. Jerry Brown, who was among those in attendance, said California is limited in its budget choices.

“The fact is we only have so much money,” Brown said. “That’s why I’m asking for waivers for the Medicaid program which I haven’t gotten yet. So I’ve got to keep pressing.”

Brown’s budget calls for deep cuts to K-12 schools and additional reductions to the state’s public university systems if voters do not approve his tax initiative in November.

Brown met Sunday with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to ask for permission for California to charge co-pays for Medi-Cal recipients. Sebelius’s office rejected a similar request earlier this month.

Brown administration officials say the federal waivers could save the state more than $500 million per year.

Jerry Brown takes on Washington Times reporter

Brown takes case for Medi-Cal cuts to Washington

Jerry Brown gets no promise of federal help for Medi-Cal

--Anthony York in Washington

Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown with state Finance Director Ana Matosantos in January, discussing Brown's proposed $92.5-billion budget for 2012-13. Credit Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press