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Archive for April, 2011

THE BUDGET

The good news from the House and Senate is that the budgets passed in each house provide for implementation of education reform in September 2011 (Highly Capable Programming becomes a mandated part of basic education) and adequate funding for HCP. These provisions are part of the effort to implement education reform in September 2011, as originally scheduled, and show that reform can be implemented even in difficult financial times.

The House version of the 2011-2013 biennial budget contains funding for Highly Capable Programs and $50,000 for Centrum. See Appendix I below for budget details as approved by the House.

The Senate version of the 2011-2013 biennial budget contains funding for Highly Capable Programs and $85,000 for Centrum. See Appendix II at the end of this message for budget details  as approved by the Senate.

The House proposal comes to a total of $18,146,000 for the biennium, the Senate  to $17,705,000. Our goals for this session included Highly Capable Programs becoming a part of basic education in September 2011 with adequate enhanced funding. These goals are met in either of these budget proposals.

Since the state first began funding in 1984, Centrum and Future Problem Solving and Destination ImagiNation were essential elements in Highly Capable Program funding. We are disappointed that Centrum funding  was cut by $102,000 per year in the House proposal and $67,000 per year in the Senate. The reduced funding may keep the Centrum program alive.

We are disappointed that funding for Future Problem Solving and Destination ImagiNation was eliminated in both budgets. We made extensive efforts to have this funding restored but were unsuccessful. These programs provide opportunities for gifted and accelerated students that local districts are unable to offer. The need for these opportunities will continue to exist even after HCP becomes a part of basic education and we deeply regret that they are eliminated.

OTHER BILLS

Sections 207-208-209 of E2SHB 1443 will implement the recommendations of the Highly Capable Program Technical Work Group with a new definition of a highly capable student and more detailed guidance for discovery and identification of qualified students. The bill has passed both chambers in different forms so the process of concurrence and/or reconciliation has commenced.

Both budget proposals contain funding for OSPI to formulate new WACs to implement E2SHB 1443.

We will keep you informed.

Thank you for all the advocacy you have done during this Legislative session. The all-out effort for the supplemental budget (HB 1086) set the tone for the rest of the session and gave us a very strong base from which to operate.

Appendix I – House budget proposal  HB 1087

NEW SECTION. Sec. 511. FOR PROGRAMS FOR HIGHLY CAPABLE STUDENTS  
General Fund–State Appropriation (FY 2012) . . . $8,965,000
General Fund–State Appropriation (FY 2013) . . . $9,081,000
TOTAL APPROPRIATION…………….      $18,046,000

The appropriations in this section are subject to the following conditions and limitations:
(1) Each general fund fiscal year appropriation includes such funds as are necessary to complete the school year ending in the fiscal year and for prior fiscal year adjustments.
(2)(a) For the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years, the superintendent shall allocate funding to school district programs for highly capable students as provided in RCW 28A.150.260(10)(c). In calculating the allocations, the superintendent shall assume the following: (i) Additional instruction of 2.1590 hours per week per funded highly capable program student; (ii) fifteen highly capable program students per teacher; (iii) 36 instructional weeks per year; (iv) 900 instructional hours per teacher; and (v) the district’s average staff mix and compensation rates as provided in sections 503 and 504 of this act.
(b) From July 1, 2011, to August 31, 2011, the superintendent shall allocate funding to school districts programs for highly capable students as provided in section 511, chapter 564, Laws of 2009, as amended through section 1409 of this act.

Sec. 513

(16) $50,000 of the fiscal year 2012 appropriation and $50,000 of the fiscal year 2013 appropriation are provided for the centrum program at Fort Worden state park.

Appendix II – Senate budget  ESHB 1087

NEW SECTION. Sec. 511. FOR PROGRAMS FOR HIGHLY CAPABLE STUDENTS
11 General Fund–State Appropriation (FY 2012) . . . . . . . . $8,886,000
12 General Fund–State Appropriation (FY 2013) . . . . . . . . $8,819,000
13 TOTAL APPROPRIATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$17,705,000
14 The appropriations in this section are subject to the following
15 conditions and limitations:
16 (1) Each general fund fiscal year appropriation includes such funds
17 as are necessary to complete the school year ending in the fiscal year
18 and for prior fiscal year adjustments.
19 (2)(a) For the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years, the superintendent
20 shall allocate funding to school district programs for highly capable
21 students as provided in RCW 28A.150.260(10)(c). In calculating the
22 allocations, the superintendent shall assume the following: (i)
23 Additional instruction of 2.1590 hours per week per funded highly
24 capable program student; (ii) fifteen highly capable program students
25 per teacher; (iii) 36 instructional weeks per year; (iv) 900
26 instructional hours per teacher; and (v) the district’s average staff
27 mix and compensation rates as provided in sections 503 and 504 of this
28 act.
29 (b) From July 1, 2011, to August 31, 2011, the superintendent shall
30 allocate funding to school districts programs for highly capable
31 students as provided in section 511, chapter 564, Laws of 2009, as
32 amended through section 1409 of this act.
33 (3) $85,000 of the general fund–state appropriation for fiscal
34 year 2012 and $85,000 of the general fund–state appropriation for
35 fiscal year 2013 are provided solely for the centrum program at Fort
36 Worden state

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There was good news and excellent news for Highly Capable Programming in the initial House Democratic Budget proposal released on 4/4.
 
The 2011 –  2013 budget proposes just over $18 million in funding for highly capable programming over the next two years.  That is very comparable to the amounts funded from 2009 – 2011, which was the base for the formulas.  That’s the good news.  The excellent news is that the $18 million is calculated using new formulas implemented in last session’s education reform bills, and would represent an inclusion of highly capable programming in the State’s definition of basic education.  This would be a significant step towards protecting state highly capable funding in future years and towards moving forward on the promise of education reform for highly capable learners.

We were disappointed to see that Centrum and Destination ImagiNation, two programs that had previously been funded alongside highly capable programming in the State budget, were not funded in the 2011 – 2013 proposal. We are working on getting these funds restored.
 
No alternative proposals have yet been released in either the House or the Senate.  A House Republican proposal may be released on Wednesday, but House Democrats are confident they have the votes necessary to pass their proposal as presented.  There is not yet a date scheduled for a vote on the House Democratic Budget proposal, and we don’t yet know when any budget proposals from the Senate may be released.  While this is just the beginning of what could be a long process, this puts highly capable programs in a stronger position than has been seen in recent years.
 
Additional legislation that would provide for an improved definition of highly capable learners and establish improved identification criteria (E2SHB 1443) has also passed key votes in both the House and Senate.  Members of the Washington Coalition for Gifted Education testified before the House Education Committee in favor of the bill and worked with the Committee on some amendments specific to highly capable programming that we were very pleased to see were adopted.

If you want to see the budget documents, go to  http://leap.leg.wa.gov/leap/archives/index_budgetsp.asp Select 2011-2013 biennium, house, PSHB1087. This proposal contains a fourth supplemental for the current year as well as the 2011-2013 biennial so read with care. The other two documents are also valuable, especially the Budget Summary.

Stay tuned for additional information as it becomes available to us and for our requests to contact Legislators. These may come on very short notice.

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Two parts to this message.

1. The Washington State House budget proposal is due out on Monday for a 3:30 pm public hearing before the House Ways & Means committee. This means the authors feel they have the 50 votes needed to pass it in the House and send it on to the Senate.

 We have absolutely no idea of what funding is provided for highly capable programs in this proposal but should be able to see it when the proposal is made public, likely early Monday morning. We will keep you informed.

2. The usual minuet over Javits funding has begun in the federal Congress. We urge you to take the actions requested in this message from NAGC, the National Association for Gifted Children. As of right now, no Washington Representative or Senator has signed the letter. I checked the links and they do work (though www.nagc.org appears to be having problems at this writing).  

SUPPORT FUNDING FOR THE JAVITS PROGRAM FOR FISCAL YEAR 2012 – YOUR ASSISTANCE NEEDED

Gifted education advocates are fortunate to coordinate their efforts with long-time supporters on Capitol Hill to ensure that the Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act receives funding in each fiscal year. This year, even as Congress is embroiled in a spending cuts debate for fiscal year 2011, the work has begun for funding federal agencies and programs in fiscal year 2012, which begins on October 1, 2011.

To move our fiscal year 2012 effort along and to ensure success– we need your help before April 5 in the House and by April 12 in the Senate.

Once again, there are “Dear Colleague” letters circulating in the House and Senate requesting Representatives (or Senators) to join them on a letter to the Appropriations Committee subcommittees that fund education programs. Our ability to gather co-signers is an important indication of support for the program. As you know, the Javits Act is the only federal program specifically focused on the needs of America’s 3 million academically gifted students.

Please contact your Representative and Senators in support of the program. The House deadline is next week, please make those contacts first.

The letters request the subcommittee continue funding for the Javits program. In the extremely difficult funding climate, our Congressional supporters felt it best to not ask for any funding increase this year. The program currently receives $7.5 million, which funds the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented as well as a series of competitive research-based demonstration grants that explore classroom strategies to support disadvantaged gifted students.

Here’s what you should do:

(1)  Check to see if your Senators and Representative have already co-signed either letter.  Click here for the list of cosigners.
(2)  In the House of Representatives – April 5 deadline

Reps. Elton Gallegly (CA-24) and Joe Courtney (CT-2) are circulating the House “Dear Colleague” letter.

Please call or email your Representative’s office before April 5 and urge him/her to cosign the Gallegly-Courtney appropriations letter in support of funding for the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act in FY 2012.

Click here for email and telephone information for each Member in the House of Representatives
Click here for a copy of the House “Dear Colleague” letter

(3)  In the Senate – April 12 deadline

Senators Charles Grassley (Iowa) and Bob Casey (PA) are circulating the Senate “Dear Colleague” letter.

Please call or email your Senators’ offices before April 12 and urge your Senators to cosign the Grassley-Casey appropriations letter in support of funding for the Javits gifted students program in FY 2012.

Click here for a link to the U.S. Senate directory.
Click here for a copy of the Senate “Dear Colleague” letter.

Finally, as you write your messages and make calls, keep in mind It is always helpful to Members of Congress if you can explain the benefits of a program to your Congressional district or state.

For example, if your school district has participated in a Javits-funded grant or if your school district uses information from the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented to make improvements to the services offered to gifted students, be sure to include that in your email request.

If your district does not offer gifted education services, be sure to remind your Members of Congress that the Javits program is the sole federal program dedicated to researching ways to identify and serve gifted students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Thank you for your support — it’s YOUR work with Members of Congress that is making the difference!

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