Advocacy Update – 2.9.23 – Budget Bill Unveiled

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: 

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

  1. There is no language or funding that would support the recommendations in the rural gifted incentive study.
  2. There are no adjustments to the gifted formula that would reflect best practice (e.g., in gifted student to gifted intervention specialist ratios).
  3. 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.