The Legislative session has finally come to an end. In virtually last minute votes, the Legislature approved a budget (E2SHB 1087) which is “kind” to gifted programs; enacted the new “minimum instructional program of basic education” and the HCP funding formula in ESSB 5919, effective September 2011; and failed to enact the Recommendations of the Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group (bills 1443 and 2111).
It will take us awhile to sort out the details of what this all means and where it leaves gifted programs for the next school year, but here are some preliminary remarks.
• The budget has two parts. Another supplemental for the current year was part of 1087. It made no changes to HCP funding, beyond what was done in the 5th supplemental (HB 1086).
• In the biennial budget for 2011-2013, enhanced funding is provided under the new formula for HCP. It is both good news and bad. Depending on what base line you use, the funding for districts took a cut of between $200,000 and $250,000. Harder hit were our associated programs. Centrum took a 50% cut in its funding and Future Problem Solving/Destination ImagiNation took a 100% cut in funding.
• ESSB 5919 authorizes the implementation of education reform measures (the “minimum instructional program of basic education”) beginning September 2011. Among its provisions is the new formula for calculating HCP enhanced funds. See Sec. 2(10)( c ) of the bill. This means that HCP services will be a mandated part of basic education. Nothing in either this bill nor the budget requires districts to offer any particular program or service, only that appropriate services must be provided. Districts remain free to determine what level of services are needed within the district. Districts will need to apply to OSPI for the enhanced funds, as they have for the categorical funds in the past. and submit their plan for approval.
While becoming a mandated part of basic education with an adequate funding appropriation is fulfillment of a long time Coalition goal, in view of the draconian cuts to education and social services, we aren’t celebrating too loudly.
What we do say loudly is a big vote of THANKS to all the advocates in the state whose efforts made this possible. We couldn’t have done it without you!
Below is section 511 of the biennial budget
NEW SECTION. Sec. 511. FOR PROGRAMS FOR HIGHLY CAPABLE STUDENTS
General Fund–State Appropriation (FY 2012) . . . .$8,741,000
General Fund–State Appropriation (FY 2013) . . . $8,794,000
TOTAL APPROPRIATION……………. $17,535,000
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.
(3) $85,000 of the general fund–state appropriation for fiscal year 2012 and $85,000 of the general fund–state appropriation for fiscal year 2013 are provided solely for the centrum program at Fort Worden state park.