Update 7:03 p.m.: It appears that the amendment to eliminate funding for highly capable programs and full-day K (except for high poverty schools) has FAILED. It is unclear to me whether the highly capable funding is going to still be suspended for this year but we'll probably know this week.
There was a sigh of relief last week over the state funding for highly capable programs (called Advanced Learning in SPS). However, the funding is again being threatened. A so-called "striker amendment" introduced by Rep. Alexander has appeared in Appropriations bill 1086.
What is particularly onerous about this amendment is not that it cuts some funding; it would eliminate all state funding for highly capable programs.
Allocations for school district programs for highly capable students shall be distributed at a maximum rate of $401.08 per funded student for the 2009-10 school year and $401.08 per funded student for the portion of the 2010-11 school year from September 1, 2010, to
January 31, 2011, exclusive of salary and benefit adjustments pursuant to section 504 of this act. Effective March 1, 2011, the highly capable students program shall be eliminated. The number of funded students shall be a maximum of 2.314 percent of each district's full- time equivalent basic education enrollment.
Reading further down (I received an alert only about the highly capable funding), it says:
Effective March 1, 2011, funding for full-day kindergarten grants is eliminated.
It goes on to state that the state would only fund about 20% of kindergartens in full-day K with priority given to the schools with the highest poverty levels. As well, it would continue with school districts being required to provide the full-day program to children of parents who request it in each eligible school. I read that to mean that if parents want full-day K, districts have to find a way to provide it (including making parents pay for the extra half-day not funded by the state).
What about districts where they can't charge parents but don't meet the highest poverty levels? This seems to be going backwards from where we want to be.
Here's how to contact your legislator - please do it TODAY as this may come to the floor quickly.