Time is running out to get the HCP funding formula changed. The last bill alive is HB 2051, which was heard in the House Appropriations Committee this morning. Because of the short notice given on this bill HCP advocates were not able to testify. We need you to flood the House Appropriations Committee with messages before the executive session tomorrow (April 23) at 1:30.
We oppose Section 3(10)( c) of HB 2051 for Highly Capable Program funding. The Legislature asked OSPI and the State Gifted Advisory in 2010 to define what constitutes a basic education program for Highly Capable students. These recommendations, including an appropriate state-level funding structure, were sent to the Quality Education Council which has three times adopted them and sent them to the Legislature.
Yet, Highly Capable is the only basic education program that has not received increased funding in the $1.3 billion McCleary appropriations proposals before the Legislature.
Highly Capable Programs are an integral part of basic education which means Highly Capable students as a class are entitled to a basic education. A basic education no matter what district they attend. Students who are sometimes identified as behavior problems in elementary school or who might become drop outs in middle and high school are often unidentified gifted students whose needs have not been assessed and addressed. Gifted students in small, rural, and high poverty school districts are entitled to the same opportunities for a basic education as those in urban and wealthy districts. Current funding levels do not provide this opportunity. Requiring parents of Highly Capable students to lobby their school board to ensure access to a basic education in NOT equitable, yet that is what the current level of state funding requires them to do.
Ask legislators to please fund Highly Capable Programs at the 5% of FTE level and at the hours recommended by the QEC. Providing Highly Capable Students a basic education is good for both the students and the State.
Please contact the members of the House Appropriations Committee as soon as possible. Use any of the information provided above to formulate your message. A list of committee members follows. Because using the Legislature’s email service requires you be a resident of the district, you will need to email each member separately. The format for names is FirstName.LastName@leg.wa.gov. It may be easier to use the Legislative Hotline: 1.800.562.6000.
If you do so, be sure to write out your message before placing the call. Operators take down your message verbatim and send it on to the legislators so having it written out before you begin ensures your message is clear and gets to the legislators as you composed it.
Ross Hunter, Chair
Timm Ormsby, Vice Chair
Gary Alexander, Ranking Minority Member
This may well be our last chance to influence the budget this session. Please contact the above legislators before 1:30 Tuesday afternoon!
Thank you for your advocacy for and support of our Highly Capable students.