Monday, March 16, 2015

GPS Gifted Education Update

It is important to collect the facts before one leaps into speculation.  To that end, there will be a GPS School Board work study this Tuesday, March 17th, where the ALP department will be sharing their recommended budget for 2015-16 to the school board.  The work study begins at 6:30 pm.  You can view the work study agenda here on BoardDocs.   You are invited to attend the work study in person at the district office – 6:30pm at 140 South Gilbert Road, Gilbert AZ 85296.  Or you can view the work study via the district’s Livestream Link from their website. 

At a work study:
1.       There is no open comment time for members of the public to address the board.  However, the public can attend and observe the presentation.
2.       The GPS school board cannot vote to take any action.  A work study is for district Q&A only, which the public can observe.

The next school board meeting is Tuesday, March 31st, at 7pm.  At school board meetings:
1.       Members of the public can request to speak to the school board for a maximum of 3 minutes during the open comment portion of the agenda.
2.       The school board will vote on actions to take.  Specifically at the March 31stmeeting, they will vote regarding department budget recommendations.

We need to remember that though gifted education is mandated in AZ, the state COMPLETELY DEFUNDED gifted education in 2009, leaving districts to fund gifted education from their general fund.   An override was placed on the ballot here in Gilbert in 2012 and again in 2013.  An override allows a community to directly invest in local education since the state budget has dealt increasing cuts to public education, including not funding to the inflation factor even though it was mandated by law.  However, in both 2012 and 2013 the override failed at the ballot and so those local funds have not been renewed and are therefore phasing out to zero.  Gilbert Public Schools will be facing a $8-10million cut to its budget for 2015-16.  For more information about the GPS budget, you are invited to view this GPS budget presentation which was given to the GPS Parent-Superintendent Committee in February 2015. 

We hope you are aware that GPS is in its second year of having a Gifted Education Parent Council (GEPC) similar to the GPS Special Education Parent Council (SEPC).  After viewing the March 17th work study you are invited to contact your school rep on the GEPC to see when/how additional information will be distributed.  You can find out who your GEPC rep is from your principal.  It is important to collect the facts before we leap into speculation. 
The philosophy of gifted education is worth remembering – To identify and support student strengths while also providing support for student deficits. This is not just good gifted education, but good education for all. When gifted education is supported, this philosophy can permeate throughout the community and every student can feel the benefit of such a philosophy.  

-Stephanie Newitt

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