Of interest to all Highly Capable advocates is what the budget proposals will provide for HCP funding. As part of basic education, costs of a classroom, utilities, teachers, administration, transportation, etc are covered under basic education funding. The considerable costs of identification, professional development, special curriculum and textbooks are covered by the supplemental HCP funding provided by the funding formula.
Everything on the budget is happening AFTER Gifted Education Day. The Revenue Forecast Council releases its quarterly revenue forecast on March 20th. This lets the Governor and Legislators know how much revenue the state expects to have this fiscal year.
It is the Senate’s turn to put out a budget first this year and the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus plans to present their budget proposal the week of the 25th and the House Democratic Caucus shortly thereafter. At some point Governor Inslee is expected to propose either a budget or an outline of spending priorities – which is not clear from news reports.
The current biennial budget provides $8,759,000 for FY 2012 and $8,842,000 for FY 2013 for HCP, a total of $17,601,000. The last budget prior to inclusion in basic education provided $17,993,000 for the biennium.
Governor Gregoire’s last budget proposal called for $9,472,000 for FY 2012 and $9,594,000, a total of $19,268,000; approximately a 9% increase. Since the HCPTWG and QEC Recommendations (see next paragraph) call for a new funding formula which we estimate as yielding about $45,000,000 per fiscal year, it is clear that no “real and measurable progress toward achieving full compliance” has been made toward full and ample funding as part of basic education.
McCleary calls for compliance by 2018, so the Legislature has a long way to go to reach this goal for Highly Capable Programs. We strongly suggest that it begin with this budget, enacting a new formula based on 5% of students, in a class size of 15, 6.5 hours for grades K-6 and 3.1 hours for grades 7-12.
Legislators are talking about an additional $900 billion to $1.6 billion for basic education. Surely they can find an extra $45 million for HCP!
GIFTED EDUCATION DAY – AND AFTER
We have been attempting to get HB 1560 amended to provide for a new formula, with little visible progress to date.
Last week we sent you a draft of a proposed resolution in the Legislature. This week we are pleased to send you a copy of the actual resolution, co-sponsored by 47 of 49 Senators. It is a very strong statement of support for gifted education but we should take it cautiously – many may have co-sponsored as a professional courtesy without reading it carefully and becoming aware of its implications. Different versions of this Resolution are circulating in the House and as a Proclamation from the Governor.
If the sponsors really believe what the resolution states, then they should immediately vote to implement the recommendations of the Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group as endorsed by the Quality Education Council. They should vote a more adequate and equitable funding formula to enable these programs to reach more students and help close the opportunity gap. They should substantially increase Highly Capable Program funding in the upcoming biennial budget and reach full and ample funding by 2018.
So come down to Olympia on March 19th and talk to your Legislators about the need for and value of Highly Capable Programs to both the student and the state; the requirements of the McCleary Decision for full and ample funding; and the recommendations of the HCPTWG and the QEC.
Before you do so, take a close look at the Power Point from NEWS, the plaintiffs in McCleary, presented March 10. The Coalition is a member of NEWS.
Be ready to push harder on the budget if the various budget proposals don’t “do right” for Highly Capable Programs when they come out. We will let you know if such action is necessary.
To end the State’s violation of Washington children’s constitutional rights by 2018, each State budget must:
(1) “demonstrate steady progress” implementing education funding reforms under ESHB 2261, and
(2) “show real and measurable progress toward achieving full compliance with article IX, section 1 by 2018.”
July 18, 2012 Supreme Court Order at ¶4
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