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The California Teachers Association has filed a lawsuit seeking to reopen the budget hammered out after weeks of tense bargaining this summer, charging that the spending plan violates the state constitution.

The lawsuit ends uncertainty in the state over whether education groups would test the accounting methods used to devise the budget. Under the state's constitutional school-funding guarantee, 40 percent of general-fund revenues must be appropriated to K-14 schools.

In order to square the state's books, however, the budget compromise signed in September recast $1 billion of last year's appropriations as a loan and earmarked $1 billion of this year's funding as a loan as well. (See Education Week, Sept. 9, 1992.)

The lawsuit, filed last month, argues that gimmicks were used to skirt the law, a charge made during the budget debate by Superintendent of Public Instruction Bill Honig.

Gov. Pete Wilson, whose office expressed disappointment that the C.T.A. had chosen to test what was described as a bipartisan agreement, filed his own lawsuit to provide him legal room to maneuver if lawmakers do not fix a glitch in the budget law that complicates the $1 billion loan. Without correction, the drafting mistake could create a $2 billion deficit.

Governor Wilson has vetoed, meanwhile, a bill giving the Shasta Union High School District extra funds often provided districts that lose enrollment.

The bill would have provided some additional funding to the district for two years after it lost one of its high schools, which joined with other nearby schools to form a new unified district.

Mr. Wilson said that costs should be low, since the building, teachers, and administrators transferred to the new district along with the students. "While there could be some additional costs associated with reorganization, they should be minimal and reasonably predictable,'' he said.

Vol. 12, Issue 10

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