A draft of the budget bill was released today. There has still been no number assigned to it. Once it is officially introduced, OAGC will provide a link.
We are still poring through the 4,000 plus pages. However, at first glance, there are definitely some sunny spots for gifted advocates:
- Gifted ESC Funding – Increased from $3.8 million to $5.4 million in each year of the upcoming biennium. This is the first increase we have seen in gifted ESC funding in a decade when gifted ESC funding was cut from $8.1 million to $3,8 million.
- Governor’s Merit Scholarship – $5,000 scholarship for students in the top 5% in their high school class to attend a state college or university. The line item is funded at $18 million in FY24 and $34.2 million in FY25.
- Gifted Formula – The formula remains largely the same with an increase in professional development funding to $21 per the greater of the number of gifted students or 10% enrolled ADM for FY2024 and $28 for FY2025. Language in years beyond 2026 is still unnecessarily alarming (i.e., amounts will be allocated in a manner determined by the General Assembly, if the General Assembly authorizes such a payment).
What is missing for gifted:
- There is no language or funding that would support the recommendations in the rural gifted incentive study.
- There are no adjustments to the gifted formula that would reflect best practice (e.g., in gifted student to gifted intervention specialist ratios).
- There is no mandate for gifted services. (Well, we didn’t expect that, did we?)
All things considered this is a good start for gifted advocates. Stayed tuned as we learn more, and as the bill moves it’s way through the General Assembly.