Posts Tagged ‘Highly Capable Technical Working Group’

The Senate Republicans passed their budget bill (ESSB 5048) last Friday, and the House Democrats are on track to pass their budget bill (HB 1067) this Friday. The bills have significant differences, and we expect some long and difficult negotiations between the two parties. There will be more opportunities for you to voice your opinion before a final budget is approved, but today is the best time to get involved.

The proposed 2017-2018 funding levels for highly capable programs in either budget won’t even allow districts to continue the services they offer today. Neither House nor Senate budget proposal addresses the persistent and pervasive under funding of gifted education, and both will do harm to our state’s gifted learners. 

Both House and Senate proposals aim to limit services to 2.314% of our state’s enrollment, or about 25,530 students. In 2015-2016, districts identified and served 63,551 gifted students. All of these students deserve their appropriate, fully funded basic education. They have been waiting since 2009.

In the past few days, we’ve also shared our analysis of the Senate bill, our analysis of the House bill, and what the adoption of either proposal could mean for gifted students.

At a minimum, the state needs to allocate an amount that covers the actual costs of providing services to our identified gifted learners. Please contact your legislators today and request that the legislature fund the recommendations of the 2010 Highly Capable Program Technical Work Group:

  • Fund 5% of enrollment
  • Fund 6.5 hours per week in grades K-6
  • Fund 3.1 hours per week in grades 7-12
You can find and email your legislator using the District finder at http://app.leg.wa.gov/districtfinder, or you can use the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000. Operators will take your message and transmit it to your legislator(s) so plan out in advance what you want to say, write it down, and then read it to the operator to be sure it says exactly what you want it to say.
Thank you for taking action to gain full, ample, and equitable funding for highly capable services. 63,551+ gifted students in Washington are counting on you!

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The proposed 2017-2018 funding for highly capable programs doesn’t even allow districts to continue the services they offer today. Neither House nor Senate budget proposal addresses the persistent and pervasive under funding of gifted education, and both will do harm to our state’s gifted learners.

Both House and Senate proposals aim to limit services to 2.314% of our state’s enrollment, or about 25,530 students. In 2015-2016, districts identified and served over 63,500 gifted students. All of these students deserve their appropriate, fully funded basic education. They have been waiting since 2009.

Districts across the state have long had to supplement state highly capable funding with local levy dollars to be able to identify and serve the gifted learners in their communities. It’s common to see a district spend more local levy funds than they receive from the state for this program of basic education.

To take one example: The Puyallup School District will receive $206,671 from the state in 2016-2017. They will supplement that with $236,271 in local levy funds. Next year, the amount they will receive from the state will be essentially the same, but they will not be able to use levy dollars to fund basic education.

What would they have to eliminate from this year’s budget to stay within the state allocation?

  • They could eliminate their Young Scholars program which serves students K-2 and helps them to identify and develop students who might otherwise be overlooked.
  • They would also have to eliminate their AP Capstone program, the first comprehensive and coordinated program Puyallup has had dedicated to serving gifted students in grades 10-12.
  • Also on the potential chopping block:
    • all professional development on gifted learners
    • parent information nights for families of students who were referred for possible identification and service
    • mailings seeking referrals to the program, and notifying potential students of testing opportunities and the results of the identification process
    • the testing that they use to identify students referred for services
    • additional curriculum for students identified as highly capable
    • …and that still wouldn’t be quite enough

At a minimum, the state needs to allocate an amount that covers the actual costs of providing services to our identified gifted learners. To provide for improvements in the program that are essential to address issues of equity will require more. Providing the professional development necessary to build teacher capacity in the identification and service of gifted students costs money. Making changes to our referral and identification processes also has a cost. We request again that the legislature fund the recommendations of the 2010 Highly Capable Program Technical Work Group:

  • Fund 5% of enrollment
  • Fund 6.5 hours per week in grades K-6
  • Fund 3.1 hours per week in grades 7-12

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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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“…for highly capable students, access to accelerated learning
and enhanced instruction is access to a basic education.”
ESHB 2261, Sec. 708

Helping students learn and grow is a goal of every school. Implicit in that goal is an understanding of how to work with special populations of children. Gifted and talented education (known as Highly Capable Programs in Washington State) encompasses the expertise needed to properly identify and serve not only the students who demonstrate high achievement, but also those who have the ability to achieve at high levels. The term also  covers the specific services and programs offered as well as the teacher training necessary to provide the academic guidance gifted students need in order to thrive. Gifted and talented education, then, is the system by which districts recognize and serve this special population of children. (National Association for Gifted Children).

In our state, basic education for Highly Capable students is a program that allows these students to continue to show measurable growth. A portion of the students any district serves are Highly Capable. Some of them are identified and programs provided; some are not identified and have no services available. Our intention with this statement is to provide information to assist you as you develop a proposal for a reliable and dependable funding mechanism to support basic education programs, including Highly Capable Programs.

The basic costs of educating a student are a classroom, a teacher, curriculum materials, and maintenance, supplies, and operating costs (MSOC). These basic education costs apply to all students. Since Highly Capable  Programs are an integral part of basic education, these funds should be used to provide HCP program services for these students.

There are additional costs for educating a highly capable child including identification and curriculum materials. The Legislature provided funding for these additional costs based on 2.314% of FTE. The current biennial budget provides $8,745,000 for FY 2012 and $8,788,000 for FY 2013.

Districts may, and many do, expend additional funds to reach more students. Based on the most recent annual report, for the year 2008-2009, the Highly Capable Program grant of $8,938,800 funded services for 24,428 students. Districts used local funds of $34,532,205 to serve an additional 21,762 students. In total, districts spent $43,471,005 in state and local dollars combined to provide highly capable program services to 46,190 students. Thus for each $1 the state spent, districts spent up to $5 of their own funds. State and local dollars combined to provide highly capable program services to 46,190 students. With an estimated one million students in Washingtonʼs K-12 schools, this equals 4.62% of FTEs rather than the 2.314% in the formula.

With the passage of HB 2261, the Legislature authorized the Funding Formula Technical Working Group to study the costs of basic education and supplemental allocations.

Based on information provided to it, the FFTWG determined that the 2.314% funding basis was too low and recommended that a research-driven study be commissioned to determine the appropriate percentage. The recommended study has not been authorized.

The FFTWG also recognized that the new formula might create allocations for small districts that are too little to provide any meaningful Highly Capable Program; thus a floor may need to be developed.

Subsequent legislation established the Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group which was composed of experts from higher education, classroom teachers, parents, and representatives from state commissions for cultural, linguistic and racial minority groups, persons with disabilities and state Tribes. The HCPTWG submitted the report and recommendations to the Legislature In studying the question of funding and identification, the Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group:

  • Determined that the current enrollment limit of 2.314% is a constraint based more on funding than comprehensive identification of eligible students.
  • Found that HCPSs comprise at least 5 % of total enrollment.
  • Recommended that the “enrollment assumption be revised from 2.314% to 5% to mitigate the number of identified but unserved highly capable students” (HCPTWG Recommendations, page 24) and that the hours in the formula be increased to 5.

Current state funds alone do not provide an appropriate educational opportunity for all highly capable students in Washington state. The Quality Education Council reviewed the FFTWG and HCPTWG reports and has recommended to the Legislature that it base funding for fiscal years 2014 and 2015 on a minimum of 5% of FTE using the class size and hour recommendations of the QEC from the August 13, 2012 review of Prior Recommendations.

We support this recommendation and also request that:

  • The Legislature provide funding equivalent to the total of state and local funds currently spent.
  • A study be authorized to determine the appropriate percentage of FTE to be included in the funding formula.

If Washington is to continue to be a global leader in creativity and innovation, it is essential that we give our best and brightest young people the finest education we can.

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The legislature is going into special session beginning Monday since they have been unable to agree on a second supplemental budget during the regular session. While we all hope they will limit themselves to the budget, any bills may be considered so who can guess what will happen.

All the various budget proposals with even a breath of life in them treat Highly Capable Program funding similarly. The small differences in the total amount to be allocated result from different case load counts and pension adjustments and do not reflect an intent to decrease funding to the districts.

Last minute actions kept levy equalization funding at the current level while prior versions of the budget made a big cut. It is hard to know what the compromise that eventually emerges will do so, if you have strong feelings about LEA, contact your legislators now.

More information may be posted but as of right now, the most recent budget proposal is in amendment 1344 on the ESB 5967 page at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=5967&year=2011


Several bills which would have enacted some of the recommendations of the Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group, including a new definition of a highly capable student and guidelines for identification, got caught in an intramural squabble and failed to get out of committee in both houses. The Coalition had serious concerns about these bills, so this is not entirely a bad thing – better no bill than an unsatisfactory one – and we will be back to work on the issue in the next regular session. Meanwhile, we will continue our work with OSPI to get as many of the recommendations as possible included in the necessary rewrite of the Washington Administrative Code (WACs) and to get the rewrite done as soon as possible. Your strong showing on Gifted Education Day makes our work easier.

With all the various educational issues that came before the legislature, you may wonder why the Coalition did not call your attention to any of them. This is because the Coalition is a single issue political advocacy organization: appropriate educational opportunities for highly capable students. We advocate with legislators and administrators for these students and usually do not become involved in other issues, thus leaving our supporters free to take individual stands as they see fit.


We have been successful in obtaining a permit to use the Columbia Room for Gifted Education Day 2013 on February 8. The date is early enough in session to avoid conflicts with cut off dates which make it difficult to get appointments with legislators and, so far as we know, does not conflict with school holidays. Please mark your 2013 calendars now!


The following comes from the National Association For Gifted Children, our national organization which lobbies with the Congress.

No Federal Funding For Gifted Ed In 2012 – Congress Directs Department To Continue Research

In mid December, 2011 the Congress approved a package of appropriations bills to fund federal agencies and programs through September 2012.  The “omnibus” bill does not include funding for the Javits program, which was de-funded in 2011, but the report that accompanies the omnibus appropriations bill includes some supportive language for gifted education.

The “report language” urges the Institute for Education Sciences (IES), the U.S. Department of Education’s research arm, to continue research into the learning needs of gifted and talented students, to retain a national research center on the gifted, and to include gifted and talented children in the key data collection efforts and reports developed by IES.  NAGC and CEC will discuss with Department officials several ways in which IES can meet Congress’s intent to continue this critical research.

Gifted students have been fortunate to have long-time friends in the Congress who lead the effort to secure support for funding for the Javits program each year. Gifted education supporters have done a great job in developing bipartisan support in both the House and Senate for the needs of gifted students.  It’s imperative that we keep up the education and advocacy efforts with every Members of Congress so that there is increased understanding and support that can be translated into federal initiatives.

The annual federal budget process is now underway in Congress. To find what you can do regarding funding for Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act, please go to


We need you to take action by March 16th.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011, was a significant day for Highly Capable Programs in the state of Washington. Governor Gregoire signed SB 5919 that implements the new definition of basic education, effective September 1, 2011.

This bill places Highly Capable Programs within the definition of basic education, which gives it the constitutional protections that accompany basic ed (the “paramount duty” of the state). It mandates all districts must provide appropriate programs and services to identified highly capable students. Currently, these programs are voluntary for the districts and in the most recent report only 206 of the 295 districts in the state provided programs using state funding. It does not constitute a right to such services for any individual student but only for these students as a class.

5919 also calls for supplemental enhanced funding for Highly Capable Programs (to be authorized in the budget, scheduled for the Governor’s signature June 15).

The Coalition will continue to advocate for Highly Capable Programs on the state level since there are many details to be worked out and funding continues as an issue. Legislation to implement the recommendations of the Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group failed to pass in the recent legislative session. Work continues on that aspect.

Local parent organizations will now assume more responsibility for seeing that services are provided by the district.

The legal status of services to highly capable students is outlined here. Page 5 is the budget not yet signed by the Governor.

Thank you to everyone who worked so hard over the past several years to bring about this important change.

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A number of bills are in public hearings this week and we are keeping track of them. We have advocates down in Olympia to testify.

SB 5475, which would delay implementation of inclusion of HCP into basic education for two more years. There was a public hearing on Monday in the Senate K-12 committee and everyone who testified on this bill, including seven HCP advocates, thought it was seriously flawed. The chairman indicated it will be revised. We testified against it and wrote offering to work with the committee on the necessary changes. We’re waiting for a response…

HB 1443, which states it is incorporating the recommendations of the QEC. We will testify at the public hearing on Friday. The section on HCP definition and identification are not in agreement with either the QEC Report to the Legislature or the HCPTWG Recommendations. We are working with the committee to amend this bill but may not be successful.

Supplemental Budget, ESHB 1086. The House passed its version of the supplemental budget last week. Senate W&M public hearing 3:30 on Wednesday on its version of the budget which has just been released.

 Funding in House version  Section 508   $9,171,000
 Funding in Senate version  Section 507   $9,162,000

Now we need to survive executive session, floor vote, and conference committee since the two versions are different. We will let you know when action is needed.

If you want details of the budget, it is not on the bill page yet but can be found at http://leap.leg.wa.gov/leap/default.asp  Click on Legislative Proposals New. On the next page top line, click on Operating Senate. Next page, click on Amendment.


Biennial budget

If implementation is delayed to 2013, the biennial should contain at least $18 million in categorical funding under the present system for a maintenance level. We understand there may have to be cuts to funding.

The Governor’s proposals (SB 5475 and SB 5094/HB 1087) call for delayed implementation and $0 (zero dollars) in funding.

If implementation occurs in 2011, the biennial needs to contain

 Section 708 supplemental funds using either the
 current formula of 2.314%, or the proposed formula of 5%.

[When implemented, the basic ed portion of HCP is covered under the basic ed allocation with no specific $ amount for HCP stated.]

Attached is a Gifted Education Day reminder and information on how you can participate even if you can’t get down to Olympia on February 11.

We look forward to seeing you in Olympia on February 11. We still have a lot of persuading to do!

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