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State Budget Stalled Over School Funding Fight

An Assembly fight over school funding has stalled state budget negotiations and increased chances that California won´t have a spending plan in place by the start of a new fiscal year on July 1st.

The two-house conference committee that is trying to negotiate a budget compromise abandoned plans to work through the weekend after the Assembly rejected a school funding bill sought by Governor Davis.

The bill got only 48 votes. It needed at least 54, a two-thirds majority. Democrats served notice they would bring up the measure again.

The conference committee had planned to wrap up its work by Sunday night, but the panel´s chairman says there´s no reason to meet until the school dispute is resolved and negotiators know how much of a budget deficit they have to erase.

The school bill would help the state meet school funding requirements by shifting $1.7-billion from this year´s books to the new budget.