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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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We have an exciting day of advocacy scheduled for Thursday, February 2nd.

Our program begins at 10am in the Columbia Room.

Our morning events will include Gayle Pauley, Assistant Superintendent for Special Programs and Federal Accountability, and Jody Hess, Highly Capable Program Supervisor from OSPI, to talk about the amazing collaborations going on right now to bring groundbreaking professional development opportunities to educators across the state. Their work will have immediate impacts on the way highly capable learners are identified.

We’ll also hear from Camille Jones, Washington State’s 2017 Teacher of the Year, about the highly capable students she teaches in the Quincy School District, students who have historically been underrepresented in gifted programs.

Rounding off our featured speakers is René Islas, Executive Director of the National Association of Gifted Children. NAGC has recently launched a Giftedness Knows No Boundaries campaign that is a perfect match with our work in Washington State.

We expect many attendees will have capitol tours or meetings scheduled with legislators. We will leave ample time between our morning and afternoon events for you to explore and advocate.

At 1:30pm, action will move to the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee where there will be a work session on highly capable. We expect our portion of the hearing to begin at about 2pm. Pauley, Jones, and Islas will have 30 minutes to inform and answer questions from the members of the Committee to help them better understand the needs of highly capable learners.

Reminder: parking is limited on the campus so consider parking in one of the satellite lots and using DASH.  Parking on both the campus and satellites can be expensive so come prepared. If you use DASH, there is a convenient stop right outside the door nearest the Columbia Room.

Can’t join us in Olympia on February 2nd?

The Washington State Constitution states: “It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders.” It also requires that the system be uniform across the state and funded through regular and dependable sources. in 2007 The McCleary lawsuit was brought forward against the state for its failure to fulfill its paramount duty, and the State Supreme Court ruled in 2012 in favor of the plaintiffs, finding that the state was not meeting its educational obligation to the more than 1 million public school children in Washington.

A central issue in the court’s McCleary decision is the unconstitutional reliance on local levies, which are neither regular nor dependable, to fund basic education. As advocates for the highly capable students of Washington, we are working for full funding of the Highly Capable Program. The Legislature must pass a plan by the end of this session to comply with the State Supreme Court’s order.

Senate Republicans have offered one plan, SB 5607. House Democrats have just released their plan, HB 1843. Our initial readings of each plan finds that each falls short of ample funding for highly capable services. Each relies on an old, insufficient, and somewhat arbitrary formula for establishing eligibility for highly capable funding. We recommend the state follow the recommendations of the 2010 Highly Capable Program Technical Work Group and fund highly capable services for 5% of a district’s enrolled population, an amount close to historical levels of students served in Washington, and one that aligns with the recommendations of the National Association for Gifted Children.

If you can’t join us in Olympia for Gifted Education Day, contact your legislators by letter, phone — the hot line is 1.800.562.6000 — or email on or about February 2nd and urge them to fund highly capable services at 5% of enrollment.

Share your personal experience as a parent or your child’s experience. Your personal story on the impact of funding inequities is a powerful way to highlight the need for a solution.

To find and contact your Legislators, use the District Finder on the Legislature’s website.

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We have a full program scheduled for Friday, January 29.

Program begins at 9am or as close to it as we can manage. Please help us by being on time.

Deb Merle, Governor Inslee’s chief education advisor; Jody Hess from the Highly Capable Program (HCP) office at the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI); and Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn are scheduled as speakers and will be open to questions from the floor.

Supt. Dorn will be the recipient of a Certificate of Appreciation for being the only state official who has proposed substantial increases in HCP funding and accepts the findings of the Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group. He has a very tight schedule on Friday so please try to be on time. He is scheduled to speak at 9:15.

Reminder: parking is limited on the campus so consider parking in one of the satellite lots and using DASH.  Parking on both the campus and satellites can be expensive so come prepared. If you use DASH, there is a convenient stop right outside the door nearest the Columbia Room.

Can’t join us in Olympia on January 29th?

The Washington State Constitution states: “It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders.” It also requires that the system be uniform across the state and funded through regular and dependable sources. in 2007 The McCleary lawsuit was brought forward against the state for its failure to fulfill its paramount duty, and the State Supreme Court ruled in 2012 in favor of the plaintiffs, finding that the state was not meeting its educational obligation to the more than 1 million public school children in Washington.

A central issue in the court’s McCleary decision is the unconstitutional reliance on local levies, which are neither regular nor dependable, to fund basic education. Compensation is one of the most significant areas where local dollars are backfilling inadequate state funding. According to OSPI data, between the 1987-88 and 2012-13 school years, state allocations went from covering 99% of salaries to only 77%.

As advocates for the highly capable students of Washington, we are working for full funding of the Highly Capable Program. Currently the state’s funding covers only 15% of the actual costs of the program. Districts vary widely in their ability to raise local levy funds. Districts thus vary in their ability to provide the required HC Programs. The system is not uniform and funding is not regular and dependable.

If you can’t join us in Olympia for Gifted Education Day, contact your legislators by letter, phone — the hot line is 1.800.562.6000 — or email on or about January 29th and urge them to provide ample, equitable and stable funding.

Share your personal experience as a parent or your child’s experience. Your personal story on the impact of funding inequities is a powerful way to highlight the need for a solution.

To find and contact your Legislators, use the District Finder on the Legislature’s website.

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We want to move forward, so it’s ‘win or go home’ time for Highly Capable.

Yes, we know this at least the third time in about a week that we are asking you to step up and take action. But that is the way things go in advocacy — long periods of no action followed by periods of intense activity. When (not if, since you will flood the committee with messages) we get through this committee, there will be other committees and then a debate on the floor so we will be asking a lot of you in a short period of time. If we want to move forward in the legislative process, we need everyone involved now.

SB 5922, the Highly Capable Program funding bill, is scheduled for a public hearing before the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Committee on Thursday, February 19 at 8 am.

The Coalition, Northwest Gifted Child Association (NWGCA) and Washington Association of Educators of the Talented and Gifted (WAETAG) as well as others will be testifying before the committee.

We want to flood committee members with messages in favor of this much needed bill in order to influence them to pass it in executive session, which may occur as early as Thursday afternoon.

Bill_Hope

Our last message asked you to contact committee members. If you haven’t done it before, do it now! If you already have, do it again. Do it today!

Contact the Senators listed below (all of them) and tell them “It is time for the entire Legislature to have a serious conversation about Highly Capable Program funding. Please pass SB 5922 out of committee so the conversation can continue.” If you are resident in the district of a member, tell them that too. Contact them through their e-mails, their office numbers of by calling the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000.

Legislators tend to ignore identical messages, so please paraphrase our suggestion in order to get your message heard.

Tell your friends to take action. Time is short so prompt action is vital.

Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee

Senator Phone E-Mail
Litzow, Steve (R) (360) 786-7641 Steve.Litzow@leg.wa.gov
Chair
Dammeier, Bruce (R) (360) 786-7648 Bruce.Dammeier@leg.wa.gov
Vice Chair
McAuliffe, Rosemary (D) (360) 786-7600 Rosemary.McAuliffe@leg.wa.gov
Ranking Member
Billig, Andy (D) (360) 786-7604 Andy.Billig@leg.wa.gov
Fain, Joe (R) (360) 786-7692 Joe.Fain@leg.wa.gov
Hill, Andy (R) (360) 786-7672 Andy.Hill@leg.wa.gov
Mullet, Mark (D) (360) 786-7608 Mark.Mullet@leg.wa.gov
Rivers, Ann (R) (360) 786-7634 Ann.Rivers@leg.wa.gov
Rolfes, Christine (D) (360) 786-7644 Christine.Rolfes@leg.wa.gov

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We expect SB 5922 to receive a hearing before the end of this week. Members of the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee will then vote to decide if the bill will advance for further consideration. Have you made sure that they know how you want them to vote?

 

 

Help us in our journey to make this bill a law.

Below we’ve listed the members of the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee. We need you to contact them and urge them to vote the bill out of committee.  Your message can be brief, but it is vital that the members of the committee hear from you. If one of the Senators represents you, your involvement in the process is even more important.

Time for you to act is running out. Someone’s voice will be heard. Will it be yours?

“It is time for the entire Legislature to have a serious conversation about Highly Capable Program funding. Please pass this bill out of committee so the conversation can continue.”

Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee

Senator Phone E-Mail
Litzow, Steve (R) (360) 786-7641 Steve.Litzow@leg.wa.gov
Chair
Dammeier, Bruce (R) (360) 786-7648 Bruce.Dammeier@leg.wa.gov
Vice Chair
McAuliffe, Rosemary (D) (360) 786-7600 Rosemary.McAuliffe@leg.wa.gov
Ranking Member
Billig, Andy (D) (360) 786-7604 Andy.Billig@leg.wa.gov
Fain, Joe (R) (360) 786-7692 Joe.Fain@leg.wa.gov
Hill, Andy (R) (360) 786-7672 Andy.Hill@leg.wa.gov
Mullet, Mark (D) (360) 786-7608 Mark.Mullet@leg.wa.gov
Rivers, Ann (R) (360) 786-7634 Ann.Rivers@leg.wa.gov
Rolfes, Christine (D) (360) 786-7644 Christine.Rolfes@leg.wa.gov

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Thank you for your advocacy. We expect SB 5922 to receive a hearing on Wednesday or Thursday and we’ll be there with some key speakers to provide testimony to the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee.

Our Bill is in Committee

Our work, and your work, is not over yet. The next hurdle we face is passing the bill out of committee. Below we’ve listed the members of the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee. We need your help to encourage them to vote the bill out of committee.  Your message can be brief, but it is vital that the members of the committee hear from you. Time is short, so prompt action is vital.

“It is time for the entire Legislature to have a serious conversation about Highly Capable Program funding. Please pass this bill out of committee so the conversation can continue.”

Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee

Senator Phone E-Mail
Litzow, Steve (R) (360) 786-7641 Steve.Litzow@leg.wa.gov
Chair
Dammeier, Bruce (R) (360) 786-7648 Bruce.Dammeier@leg.wa.gov
Vice Chair
McAuliffe, Rosemary (D) (360) 786-7600 Rosemary.McAuliffe@leg.wa.gov
Ranking Member
Billig, Andy (D) (360) 786-7604 Andy.Billig@leg.wa.gov
Fain, Joe (R) (360) 786-7692 Joe.Fain@leg.wa.gov
Hill, Andy (R) (360) 786-7672 Andy.Hill@leg.wa.gov
Mullet, Mark (D) (360) 786-7608 Mark.Mullet@leg.wa.gov
Rivers, Ann (R) (360) 786-7634 Ann.Rivers@leg.wa.gov
Rolfes, Christine (D) (360) 786-7644 Christine.Rolfes@leg.wa.gov

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