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Update to Senate Funding Cuts

June 1, 2009

This Saturday gifted advocates organized and, after waiting for four hours, were able to give their testimony to the Senate Finance Committee in response to devastating cuts made by the Senate to gifted education. According to Ann Sheldon of OAGC: “Senator Gary Cates addressed the issue and said that the Senate knew there were problems with gifted funding and they (are) working to fix it. However, the problem is trying to find the money to do so.”

As to the call/email list OAGC has put together you will note that it focuses on the Republican Senators:
*Bill Harris (R) 614-466-8086 SD19@senate.state.oh.us
*John Carey (R) 614-466-8156 SD17@mailr.sen.state.oh.us
*Mark D. Wagoner (R) –614-466-8060 SD02@mailr.sen.state.oh.us
*Gary Cates (R) — 614-466-8072 SD04@mailr.sen.state.oh.us
*Keith Faber (R) — 614-466-7584 SD12@mailr.sen.state.oh.us
*Tom Niehaus (R) — 614-466-8082 SD14@mailr.sen.state.oh.us
*Tom Patton (R) — 614-466-8056 SD24@mailr.sen.state.oh.us
*Bill Seitz (R) — 614-466-8068 SD08@mailr.sen.state.oh.us
*Jimmy Stewart (R) — 614-466-8076 SD20@mailr.sen.state.oh.us
*Chris Widener (R) — 614-466-3780 SD10@mailr.sen.state.oh.us

Again, according to Sheldon: “The Democrats (thanks to Senator Dale Miller – D) have already indicated that they will write an amendment to help us, but they are not in control in the Senate.”

Please call your own senator (find them here) and as many of the above listed Senators as you can.  Be prepared to leave a voice mail or to speak with an aide, and be polite but persistent.  Let them know that:

  1. The Senate needs to fund gifted education at least to the 2009 level. 
  2. Gifted education is already underfunded, cutting it $5.5 million when the other areas in education are left harmless will be devastating. 
  3. The elimination of the gifted ID funds creates an unfunded mandate for districts.  The end result is that gifted students will be much less likely to be identified and consequently much less likely to have their education needs met in our schools.

 

It’s an all too familiar scenario. The state mandates services for identified students (a good and necessary thing) but then provides no funding to identify them.  This particularly impacts schools in rural or urban areas and schools where the prevailing culture does not accept the need for gifted education services.  Unfortunately those schools are more common than you may think.

For a fuller explanation of where things stand please visit the OAGC Advocacy page here. And please make your calls today! Public opinion is critical to this process.

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