You may have noticed that WATG’s Government Action Committee has been emailing you a lot recently asking you to contact your legislators requesting support for gifted education in this biennial budget.If you followed the recent budget hearings, you may even have heard several board members testifying. This year, we had seven individuals testify in person and at the virtual listening session, asking for support for gifted education! So why the big push? Why are we hitting this SO HARD this year? Well, we are very pleased to FINALLY announce that we have partnered with the legislative offices of Sen. Bernier and Rep. Petryk in drafting a budget motion for this budget. It has been an absolute pleasure and joy to have worked behind the scenes on this monumental task for the last several months! So what is a budget motion? In a nutshell it is a formal ask brought forth by a member of the Assembly and a member of the Senate requesting budgeted funds for a clearly defined area.
Here is the overview of our budget motion:
So what does it all mean? Our current level of state funding for gifted education would go from $237,200 and year to $1,000,000! That is a HUGE increase! And here is the best part; it is just the first step! This is an excerpt from the four page budget motion:
The overall goal for the state should be to fund universal early screening that includes all five areas of giftedness that actively addresses equity, and that uses local norms; and to provide ongoing talent identification and development. It would also include access to and preparation for advanced and accelerated coursework materials for K-12 schools and professional development opportunities for teachers. There are programs available to license gifted education teachers and gifted program coordinators, but there is no requirement that educators of the gifted obtain these licenses.
However, a jump to this future state would require a substantial amount of resources requiring state aid of about $14 per pupil ($12 million) to bring Wisconsin in line with best practices in surrounding states.
While this is an achievable goal going forward, this motion looks to bring Wisconsin incrementally closer to this reality. The first step includes additional funding for the existing grant program to get schools to identify and serve more gifted and talented students.
Do you want to help make this vision a reality? Here is your call to action: CALL (don’t just email) your state legislators and ask them to “support or co-sign the budget motion brought forth by Sen. Bernier and Rep. Petryk”. If they have ANY questions, or would like any information, simply direct them to reach out to either Sen. Bernier or Rep. Petryk. LET’S FLOOD THESE OFFICES WITH PHONE CALLS!!! We are specifically hoping to target the offices of the legislators on the joint finance committee. Those members are:
Representative Born (Co-Chair)
Senator Marklein (Co-Chair)
Representative J. Rodriguez
Simply click on their names for their contact information.
We hope that this budget motion will make it through the Joint Finance Committee and to the Governor's desk. We thank you in advance for your support as we push to make this a reality for all GT kids in the state of Wisconsin!
Hillarie Roth, Government Action Committee Chair
News from the Government Action Committee