The Senate Republicans passed their budget bill (ESSB 5048) last Friday, and the House Democrats are on track to pass their budget bill (HB 1067) this Friday. The bills have significant differences, and we expect some long and difficult negotiations between the two parties. There will be more opportunities for you to voice your opinion before a final budget is approved, but today is the best time to get involved.
The proposed 2017-2018 funding levels for highly capable programs in either budget won’t even allow districts to continue the services they offer today. Neither House nor Senate budget proposal addresses the persistent and pervasive under funding of gifted education, and both will do harm to our state’s gifted learners.
Both House and Senate proposals aim to limit services to 2.314% of our state’s enrollment, or about 25,530 students. In 2015-2016, districts identified and served 63,551 gifted students. All of these students deserve their appropriate, fully funded basic education. They have been waiting since 2009.
In the past few days, we’ve also shared our analysis of the Senate bill, our analysis of the House bill, and what the adoption of either proposal could mean for gifted students.
At a minimum, the state needs to allocate an amount that covers the actual costs of providing services to our identified gifted learners. Please contact your legislators today and request that the legislature fund the recommendations of the 2010 Highly Capable Program Technical Work Group:
- Fund 5% of enrollment
- Fund 6.5 hours per week in grades K-6
- Fund 3.1 hours per week in grades 7-12
You can find and email your legislator using the District finder at http://app.leg.wa.gov/districtfinder, or you can use the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000. Operators will take your message and transmit it to your legislator(s) so plan out in advance what you want to say, write it down, and then read it to the operator to be sure it says exactly what you want it to say.
Thank you for taking action to gain full, ample, and equitable funding for highly capable services. 63,551+ gifted students in Washington are counting on you!
Posted in Advocacy, Budget, Legislative Outlook | Tagged Action Required, Advocacy, Basic Education, Budget, Gifted, Highly Capable, Highly Capable Technical Working Group, Legislature, Washington, Washington State | Leave a Comment »
The proposed 2017-2018 funding for highly capable programs doesn’t even allow districts to continue the services they offer today. Neither House nor Senate budget proposal addresses the persistent and pervasive under funding of gifted education, and both will do harm to our state’s gifted learners.
Both House and Senate proposals aim to limit services to 2.314% of our state’s enrollment, or about 25,530 students. In 2015-2016, districts identified and served over 63,500 gifted students. All of these students deserve their appropriate, fully funded basic education. They have been waiting since 2009.
Districts across the state have long had to supplement state highly capable funding with local levy dollars to be able to identify and serve the gifted learners in their communities. It’s common to see a district spend more local levy funds than they receive from the state for this program of basic education.
To take one example: The Puyallup School District will receive $206,671 from the state in 2016-2017. They will supplement that with $236,271 in local levy funds. Next year, the amount they will receive from the state will be essentially the same, but they will not be able to use levy dollars to fund basic education.
What would they have to eliminate from this year’s budget to stay within the state allocation?
- They could eliminate their Young Scholars program which serves students K-2 and helps them to identify and develop students who might otherwise be overlooked.
- They would also have to eliminate their AP Capstone program, the first comprehensive and coordinated program Puyallup has had dedicated to serving gifted students in grades 10-12.
- Also on the potential chopping block:
- all professional development on gifted learners
- parent information nights for families of students who were referred for possible identification and service
- mailings seeking referrals to the program, and notifying potential students of testing opportunities and the results of the identification process
- the testing that they use to identify students referred for services
- additional curriculum for students identified as highly capable
- …and that still wouldn’t be quite enough
At a minimum, the state needs to allocate an amount that covers the actual costs of providing services to our identified gifted learners. To provide for improvements in the program that are essential to address issues of equity will require more. Providing the professional development necessary to build teacher capacity in the identification and service of gifted students costs money. Making changes to our referral and identification processes also has a cost. We request again that the legislature fund the recommendations of the 2010 Highly Capable Program Technical Work Group:
- Fund 5% of enrollment
- Fund 6.5 hours per week in grades K-6
- Fund 3.1 hours per week in grades 7-12
Posted in Advocacy, Budget, Legislative Outlook | Tagged Advocacy, Basic Education, Budget, Gifted, Highly Capable, Highly Capable Technical Working Group, Legislature, Washington, Washington State | 1 Comment »
Highly capable programs have been basic education since 2009. It’s past time for the Legislature to fulfill its obligation to these students, and today the House joins the Senate in missed opportunities.
While the Senate Republican budget proposal last week required a little study to fully decipher how highly capable funding and services would be affected, the House Democratic proposal is much harder to analyze. In our most generous interpretation, it’s incomplete. At worst, the House Democratic proposal completely overlooks the persistent and pervasive state level under funding of gifted education and provides only minimal maintenance level increases to state funding levels.
In 2018 and 2019 in their budget proposal (PSHB 1067), total state funding for gifted education remains essentially unchanged from status quo levels, allocating about $10.6 million in FY 2018 and $10.8 million in FY 2019. Districts are now prohibited from using local levy funds to cover costs of basic education as they’ve had to do for years, and this “maintenance level” funding will mean that students will see a catastrophic decrease in the amount of funding available to provide highly capable services. By our most conservative estimates that represents a cut of about $7 million annually from what was spent in the 2015-1016 school year, if everything else remained the same.
The problem is more complicated than that. Funding for highly capable services is based on a formula that involves the percentage of students eligible, a number of hours per week to be funded for each student, and an average teacher salary. That calculation arrives at an amount to be allocated to each district that they can use to provide highly capable services as they see fit. In a related bill referenced in their budget proposal (HB 2185), House Democrats are proposing no change to the percentage of students eligible, a slight increase in the number of hours per week to be funded, and an increase in average teacher salary.
Based on our rough calculations, that formula should drive about $17.7 million in gifted funding in 2017-2018, $22.4 million in gifted funding in 2018-2019 and 2019-2020, and $26.6 million in gifted funding in 2020-2021. Clearly, that doesn’t match up to what is allocated in their budget proposal.
At a minimum, the state needs to allocate an amount that covers the actual costs of providing highly capable services to the 63.5K+ actual identified students that districts have been paying with a combination of state dollars and local levy funds. To provide for improvements in the program that are essential to address issues of equity will require more. Providing the professional development necessary to build teacher capacity in the identification and service of gifted students costs money. Making changes to our referral and identification processes costs money. Providing services to all of the students who are identified costs money.
Right now, we’ll call this plan incomplete. If corrections are not offered soon, that incomplete could very quickly become a failing grade.
Posted in Advocacy, Budget | Tagged Budget, Funding, Gifted, Highly Capable, Legislature | 1 Comment »
We’re still digesting the Senate Republican budget that was released an hour ago, but initially we have many more questions than answers.
In 2018, funding for gifted education remains essentially unchanged. Since districts will now be prohibited from using local levy funds to cover costs of basic education, by our most conservative estimate that represents a cut of about $7 million from what was spent in the 2015-1016 school year.
In 2019, funding for gifted education is “doubled” (total state funding is doubled, but the total amount of state and local dollars combined that were spent in 15-16 is not doubled). Here’s where it gets tricky. The budget says that districts will receive $1K per highly capable student, and allocates a total of $22 million. That works out to 22K students funded – based on current enrollment and their actual formula in statute, it should actually be 25,530 students funded, which would mean less than $1K per student.
In 2015-2016, over 63.5K students received highly capable services, an increase of 8K+ more students than had been served in 2014-2015, and expanding and maturing gifted programs across the state could result in another increase for the current school year.
A formula that funds 22K students, when more than 61K students are identified and served is not ample, and the services that $22 million will provide will not be equitable.
Providing the professional development necessary to build teacher capacity in the identification and service of gifted students costs money. Making changes to our referral and identification processes costs money. Providing services to those students costs money.
If we assume that there is no cap on the number of students to be served, the state would actually be allocating about $346 per student. In 2007, before gifted services became a part of our state’s definition of basic education, when only about 2/3rds of districts offered services, and primarily to students in grades 3-6, the state allocated about $400 per student.
As we said at the beginning, there remain many more questions than answers.
(Edited on 3/27 to reflect new enrollment numbers from OSPI that showed 63,551 students receiving highly capable services in 2015-2016.)
Posted in Advocacy, Budget, URGENT | Tagged Basic Education, Budget, Funding, Gifted, Highly Capable, Legislature, Washington, Washington State Senate | 1 Comment »
On behalf of the highly capable students of Washington State, we are grateful to see increases to highly capable funding in the education plans represented in HB 1843 and SSB 5607. As an element of basic education, and no longer an optional enhancement, the funding formula for highly capable services must be addressed.
Our goal as advocates is to work with the legislature, with OSPI, with school districts, with teachers, and with parents to ensure that access to highly capable services is made more equitable, so that all students who could benefit are referred, identified, and served appropriately. While both HB 1843 and SSB 5607 make some changes to highly capable funding, both continue to rely on a formula for eligible students that does not measure up. The existing cap on funding set at 2.314% of enrolled students is less than half the percentage of students districts identify and serve.
To reach all the students who need highly capable services requires that we do something different. Districts are working to ensure their programs now serve students across the state in grades K through 12, and we’re seeing that reflected in their reports to OSPI. Programs are changing, but funding from the state is not. Districts are continuing to rely on local levy dollars to fund a significant portion of this element of basic education.
In 2010, the Legislature funded the Highly Capable Program Technical Work Group to recommend changes to the highly capable program to make sure that all students, particularly those who have historically been underidentified and underserved, have access to the services they need to succeed. The work group recommended highly capable services be funded at 5% of student enrollment. We ask again today for the state to fund at that level, and to increase the number of hours funded as reflected in the HCPTWG report. The HCPTWG report also recommends the state restore funding to the Destination Imagination, Future Problem Solving, and Centrum programs that have served highly capable learners across the state, and fund staffing at OSPI and our ESDs necessary to support districts as they work to reach all eligible students.
Posted in Advocacy, WCGE Update | Leave a Comment »
Today we were fortunate to have M. René Islas, Executive Director of the National Association of Gifted Children, here to testify before the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee. His remarks are attached: Gifted Education Day remarks from NAGC.
Joining him was Assistant Superintendent of Public Instruction, Gayle Pauley, and 2017 State Teacher of the Year, Camille Jones. You can view their testimony through the TVW Archive here.
Posted in Advocacy, Gifted Education Day, NAGC | Leave a Comment »
Governor Inslee has declared February 2, 2017, Gifted Education Day. We encourage you to remind your legislators that gifted education is basic education, and share with them what highly capable services mean to your family. Use the District Finder on the Legislature’s website, or call the Legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000.
Posted in Advocacy, Gifted Education Day | Tagged Advocacy, Basic Education, Funding, Gifted, Gifted Education Day, Highly Capable, Legislature, Washington Coalition for Gifted Education | Leave a Comment »