Friday, February 16, 2018

2018 Legislative Action: Gifted Education Funding

The 2018 session of the Arizona Legislature is in full swing!  We want to keep you informed of AAGT's efforts to advocate for the restoration of funding for gifted education.  Currently gifted education is an unfunded state mandate.  The state has not funded gifted education since 2009.

This year House Bill (HB) 2112, sponsored by Rep. Heather Carter, has passed the House Education Committee and the House Appropriations Committee. (Click here to view the video of amazing testimony given at the House Appropriations Committee.)  It continues to move forward in the process!

Mirror bill, Senate Bill (SB) 1161, sponsored by Sen. Kate Brophy McGee, has passed the Senate Education Committee.  This year there is a new chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and he has agreed to put SB 1161 on Tuesday's agenda, February 20th.  Last year the former chair did not permit our bill to be placed on an agenda, so this year we are already making progress!

Gilbert's Gifted Education Parent Council (GEPC) is working with AAGT to spread the word on these legislative efforts and how you can help.  The GEPC is asking that all stakeholders (parents, grandparents, educators, etc.) send an email to members of the Senate Appropriations Committee.  Many thanks to the GEPC for preparing the sample email below.  Please try to email these Senators by Monday evening.

Sample email to Chairman Kavanagh and Vice Chair Petersen ...

Subject line:  SB1161 - Support for Gifted Education Funding

My name is  (your name here) and I am a (parent, educator, gifted student, administrator). I understand you will be hearing SB1161 on February 20th. This bill addresses Gifted Education funding. I am writing in support of SB1161, that helps restore funding for gifted education, assessments, and support needed to meet gifted students’ needs.

Arizona has a mandate stating that all public school districts must both identify gifted learners and provide appropriate educational programs and services for these students, yet there is no funding allocated specifically to gifted programming. Gifted allocations were defunded in 2010 due to fiscal budget cuts. Parents like me hope that there can be some effort made to help restore funding to gifted programming.

Gifted education is important to me (because...)

Thank you for your time,
(your name and contact info) Vice-Chairman