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Archive for April, 2013

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
Bruce Chandler
J.T. Wilcox
Vincent Buys
Reuven Carlyle
Eileen Cody
Cathy Dahlquist
Hans Dunshee
Susan Fagan
Tami Green
Kathy Haigh
Larry Haler
Paul Harris
Zack Hudgins
Sam Hunt
Laurie Jinkins
Ruth Kagi
Marcie Maxwell
Dawn Morrell
Kevin Parker
Jamie Pedersen
Eric Pettigrew
Liz Pike
Charles Ross
Joe Schmick
Larry Seaquist
Pat Sullivan
David Taylor

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.

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The Washington Coalition for Gifted Education represents all Highly Capable children in Washington. We are calling for an increase in funding to 5%, as recommended by the Quality Education Council, so that all districts can identify and support every Highly Capable child’s strengths.

Some background information:

All the proposals for the final supplemental budget for FYs 2012 and 2013 (the current biennium) call for $ 17,904,000 for HCP.

The Office of Financial Management has calculated that maintenance level funding for HCP for FYs 2014 and 2015 is $19,083,000.  This amount is what it will take to provide the same services in 2014 and 2015 as the $17.9 million did in 2012 and 2013.

The chart below compares budget proposals that will be considered in conference. All funding amounts are based on 2.314% of a district’s total student enrollment. Funding is Section 511 of the proposal.

 

Gregoire Inslee Senate House
$19,268,000 $19,277,000 $19,153,000 $19,236,000

 

These amounts are all barely maintenance level funding. This level of funding leaves 40% of districts, many small and rural, with no services or programs whatsoever.

Legislators have told us that they assume that the districts will use some of the $1 billion increase all budgets propose for basic education to cover the increased costs of the Highly Capable Program based on the revised WAC. The legislature cannot direct them to do so, so they have to “assume” it will happen. That is wishful thinking.

Contact your representatives and senator NOW and tell them you want the HCP supplemental funding increased to the 5% level.

The House budget will be on the floor for a vote within a few days so contact your Representatives as soon as possible. After that vote, the different bills will go to a conference committee so contact your Senator next.

Here’s how:  If you do not already know who they are, find your legislators here http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/

Next, call the Toll-Free Legislative Hotline, 8AM to 8PM at 1-800-562-6000 and leave this message for your State Legislators: “I want you to increase Highly Capable Education funding to 5%, the level recommended by the Quality Education Council.”

Follow up with short emails with the same message to your State Representatives and Senator. Email addresses use this format: Firstname.Lastname@leg.wa.gov or find them at https://dlr.leg.wa.gov/MemberEmail/Default.aspx

Thank you for your advocacy!

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