Archive for the ‘WCGE Update’ Category

On behalf of the highly capable students of Washington State, we are grateful to see increases to highly capable funding in the education plans represented in HB 1843 and SSB 5607. As an element of basic education, and no longer an optional enhancement, the funding formula for highly capable services must be addressed.

Our goal as advocates is to work with the legislature, with OSPI, with school districts, with teachers, and with parents to ensure that access to highly capable services is made more equitable, so that all students who could benefit are referred, identified, and served appropriately. While both HB 1843 and SSB 5607 make some changes to highly capable funding, both continue to rely on a formula for eligible students that does not measure up. The existing cap on funding set at 2.314% of enrolled students is less than half the percentage of students districts identify and serve.

To reach all the students who need highly capable services requires that we do something different. Districts are working to ensure their programs now serve students across the state in grades K through 12, and we’re seeing that reflected in their reports to OSPI. Programs are changing, but funding from the state is not. Districts are continuing to rely on local levy dollars to fund a significant portion of this element of basic education.

In 2010, the Legislature funded the Highly Capable Program Technical Work Group to recommend changes to the highly capable program to make sure that all students, particularly those who have historically been underidentified and underserved, have access to the services they need to succeed. The work group recommended highly capable services be funded at 5% of student enrollment. We ask again today for the state to fund at that level, and to increase the number of hours funded as reflected in the HCPTWG report. The HCPTWG report also recommends the state restore funding to the Destination Imagination, Future Problem Solving, and Centrum programs that have served highly capable learners across the state, and fund staffing at OSPI and our ESDs necessary to support districts as they work to reach all eligible students.

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Your Coalition leadership has been setting the stage for the next legislative session by meeting with key legislators and organizing their support of gifted education.

We realize that we must make a bigger impact than our largely volunteer organization has done in the past, by stepping up our professional lobbying, messaging, and media outreach strategies. The Coalition needs your immediate financial support nowCLICK HERE TO DONATE

We need total contributions of at least $17,500 to achieve these goals, and we rely on you, our supporters, to meet it.

  • Any donation is welcome. If you have donated $40 in the past, please consider doubling or tripling it. CLICK HERE TO DONATE
  •  Ask your parent support or advisory group to become a supporting member of the Coalition by making an organizational contribution.

The Coalition accepts donations online by credit card and PayPal.  Please CLICK HERE TO DONATE

Checks can be made payable to WCFGE and sent to:

Washington Coalition For Gifted Education
18149  147 Ave. SE
Renton WA  98058

The Coalition will be very active during this legislative session working to obtain full funding for Highly Capable Programs; we look forward to requesting your advocacy action once our behind the scenes work is done.

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The major expense of the Coalition is the monthly retainer we pay our lobbyist. We’d like to pay her more but our yearly income won’t stretch that far.

Three questions you may ask:

(1) Why does the Coalition need a lobbyist?

Our charter says our purpose is “to foster and encourage awareness of the educational needs of highly capable/gifted students through communication and education of legislative bodies within Washington State.” In other words, we lobby the legislature.

To do this, members of the Coalition monitor the legislature’s web site and subscribe to RSS feeds to keep current on pending bills, hearings, etc. We maintain personal relationships with our own legislators. We follow political reporters for newspapers, and newsletters and web postings from other education and policy groups to keep track of what they are saying. The daily updates provided by WSSDA add much information.

But we need more than this. We need a lobbyist with experience and deep connections in Olympia to keep an eye on legislation beyond what can be gleaned from the internet; to cultivate personal relationships with supportive legislators in order to learn what they are thinking; to work with lobbyists from other education groups; to be “on the scene” for us in Olympia. Perhaps most important, she provides guidance to the Coalition in our work with legislators.

We use all this information to prepare and present testimony to legislative hearings and committee work sessions and to know when to call on advocates state wide to contact their legislators.

(2) Do we or our lobbyist treat legislators to meals or other “goodies”?

We do not spend your contributions to treat legislators to meals or other goodies. The Public Disclosure Commission and the Legislative Ethics Board will not be investigating us as they are other groups and legislators for questionable gratuities.

(3) Why do we bring this up?

Our fiscal year begins September 1 of each year. We open 2013-2014 with a balance of $1657. Our anticipated expenses for next year are $850 per month for our lobbyist; approximately $150 for rental of the Columbia Room and other expenses for Gifted Education Day; fees for filing required reports; printing and postage costs; and a membership in NEWS (the McCleary Decision people). A Treasurer’s Report is at the end of this email message. As it shows, we need income in excess of $10,500 per year in order to meet obligations and have a small carry-over balance.

While we do receive a large portion of our revenues from gifted organizations, we also rely on individual contributions from supporters around the state. Our goal continues to be to get the legislature to implement a new ample funding formula for Highly Capable Programs. Quite frankly, we struck out during the 2013 session(s). But we will be back, more energized than last year and with stronger arguments, for the 2014 session. To continue our work we need your financial support. We recommend that you make an annual contribution of at least $40.00 ~ and are happy to accept more.

Three options:

1. You can make a contribution to the Coalition with a check – use the membership form linked here.

2. We now accept donations online by credit card and PayPal. Please CLICK HERE TO DONATE on PayPal. You don’t need a PayPal account to use a credit card with them.

3. In conjunction with WAETAG and NWGCA, we continue to offer the Joint Membership. The form can be found on our membership page, on the Northwest Coalition for Gifted Education’s website at http://www.nwgca.org/donate.html, or you can go to the Washington Association of Educators of the Talented ang Gifted’s website at http://www.waetag.net/. Select Joining WAETAG.

We are often asked about employer matching funds. We are a political advocacy group, not a 501(c)(3) organization, so not all employers match contributions. Check to see if your employer will do so.

Contributions to the Coalition are not tax deductible to the contributor. The Coalition is chartered as a non-profit organization in the State of Washington and is the equivalent of a federal 501(c)(4) organization, though we have never sought federal tax status. If we show a “profit” at the end of our fiscal year, we pay tax on it as we last did in October 2011. We file a yearly tax return and do not anticipate owing taxes for 2012-2013.

We also need your cooperation when we call on you to contact your legislators on behalf of highly capable program funding and to participate in Gifted Education Day in Olympia. Our 2014 Day is February 28th. Mark your calendar now and plan to join us.

Thank you all for your generous support in previous years. We have come a long way but still have a long way to go to full implementation of Highly Capable Programs as an integral part of basic education. Our work, and yours, is not yet completed.

Here’s looking forward to a successful 2014 legislative session!

Treasurer’s Report Fiscal Year 9/1/2012 to 8/31/2013
Barbara Poyneer, Treasurer
Opening Balance
Our share of Joint Memberships
Funds Available
Lobbyist Retainer*
Columbia Room – 1/2 of 2014 fee
Filing Fees
Printing & Postage
NEWS Membership
Ending Balance
* We prepaid Donna’s retainer for Sept., Oct., and Nov. 2012 in the 2011-12 fiscal year for federal tax purposes. Normal yearly total is $10,200.00.

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The Coalition is pleased to announce that David Berg, Puyallup, and Janis Traven, Seattle, will be co-presidents for the next year. Both sit on the State Gifted Advisory Board and served on the Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group. Both have been active in gifted advocacy for many years and bring great knowledge and experience to the job.

If you need to contact either of them, you can do so at our wagifted@gmail.com address.


The following is a treasurer’s report for the fiscal year to date, including projected expenses before the end of our fiscal year on August 31st.

Opening Balance 9/1/12
    Individual vía Pay Pal
   Joint Memberships
   Total Income
Funds on Hand
   JM transmittals
   Other – NEWS
   Total Expenditures
Balance 6/12/13
Expenditures by 8/31/13
   JM transmittals
   Treasurer’s expenses
Projected Balance 8/31/13

The fund raising appeal in May brought in $1653.68. Without those generous contributions, we would have a negative balance on 8/31/2013.


We now accept donations online by credit card and PayPal. We recommend that you make a contribution of at least $40.00, and are happy to accept more.

Donate Button with Credit Cards

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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!


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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Gifted Education Day will be on March 19, 2013, and our GE Day handbook is ready. It is attached in 3 parts: Basics, Spotlights, Myths & Facts. If you were looking for something and don’t find it included, please contact us for more information.

For those bringing student groups, and who wish to make a curriculum connection with the trip to Olympia, there is a lot of information on the state web sites. The legislature web site has lots of materials on curriculum that might be used by you:

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A number of Legislative positions (in the 17th and, possibly, the 47th Legislative districts) will not be decided until recounts are concluded in early December. Otherwise the makeup of the Legislature is pretty well settled. If you want to check it out, go to www.vote.wa.gov  and click on election returns.

The Quality Education Council (QEC) and the Joint Task Force on Education Funding (JTF) are getting close to finalizing their recommendations to the Legislature. The Coalition has made presentations to both groups at their public meetings and submitted a position statement to them on Highly Capable funding.

Based on the most recent revenue forecast, it appears there will not be sufficient revenue to fund the increase in basic education funding necessary to meet the requirements of the McCleary decision. Governor Gregoire will be submitting her proposed budget in December (as required by law) and Governor-elect Inslee will submit his proposal after he takes office in January. No doubt there will be several budget proposals floated in the Legislature from both houses and both parties. All of this is going to make for a most difficult session. There are unverified rumors that some parts of basic education may be suspended for a year or two. I do not know if this is possible; the Coalition will do its best to keep you informed as to what is happening and to let you know when you need to contact your Legislators about HCP funding or other vital issues. Look for our regular messages and follow us on Facebook.  http://www.facebook.com/wagifted 

Gifted Education Day on March 19th is going to be an important piece of our advocacy efforts. Please plan to join us in Olympia. An XXL turn-out is vital to our chances to get a new, more equitable, funding formula for HCP into the budget.


We invite you to join us at our general meeting on Friday, November 30 at the Burien Community Center, 14700 6th Avenue SW, Burien, beginning at 10 am. We will be planning our strategy for the legislative session and begin organizing for Gifted Education Day. If you live in the Puget Sound area, please join us. Everyone is welcome!

On the agenda are (1) HCP funding issues, (2) The McCleary Decision and what it means for HCP, (3) Strategy for the upcoming legislative session, (4) Reports from observers at the QEC and JTF meetings, (5) Discussion on continuing to offer the Joint Membership with WAETAG and NWGCA, (6) Planning for Gifted Education Day.

If you plan to attend, please RSVP to wagifted@earthlink.net so we know how many to plan for.


Opportunity for Training.

The League of Education Voters is holding their 3rd advocacy training session in January. For more information go to the LEV Website.

More opportunities to learn about gifted.

SENG will hold its 2013 Annual Conference in Orlando from July 19-21.  More details are on SENG’s website.

The World Council for Gifted and Talented Children will hold its biennial 2013 conference August 10 through 14, 2013 in Louisville Kentucky. For more information, go to http://www.worldgifted2013.org/

Last, and certainly not least, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  We are thankful for your support.

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