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An early house bill propose to cut gifted from special education - KOAM TV 7

An early house bill propose to cut gifted from special education funding in Kansas

Updated:
 The draft of a bill heading for the Kansas House calls for cutting gifted education out of the special education category.

     It's an idea that's been tossed around before but could stick with Kansas facing  financial issues.

Beth Gilbert works with gifted students every hour at Pittsburg high school.

helping some with ACT prep, others with independent studies and guiding more to the right college level programs.

Students say gifted classes have nurtured their natural abilities and don't want to see their funding cut.

Senior Joseph Mathew says, "In a  traditional  classroom setting you're taught a, b, or c. But when you   go to the gifted room  they know that you have the capacity to do something above the traditional setting.  They'll teach you d, e, and f too and they'll  keep going.  They teach you new ways of learning information and exploring information.  They really  do broaden your horizons in many ways."

 State Representative Chuck Smith is a teacher himself and supports gifted education. "When you have a gifted kid, I tell them, hey,  become a doctor,” says Smith.  “You're  pushing  kids in the right direction when you have a gifted program. So, I'm very pro gifted program."

But he says the state's in a financial crisis.

Smith says, “Nobody can afford to lose anything. My household can't afford  to lose anything but there are gonna be cuts. I don't know where, but there are gonna be cuts." 

 There are seventy gifted students  at the high school and gifted students represent ten to twenty  percent of the general school  population  in Pittsburg. And teachers say the services are important for all age groups. "

Beth Gilbert says, "If you don't provide that (gifted education)  for them they either lose interest in education, or they can become a behavior  problem. A lot of times that's how students are identified, if they act out in class and it's because  they're bored. They already  know this information. They need to know more."

 Dillon Williams agrees saying, "I was one of those kids who was  bored in school and just didn't even try cause it was too easy. And I  just like just spaced off in class and didn't do anything.  Now I have stuff to do that's interesting and I want to do and not just boring, mindless work."

Now Gilbert is helping Dillon plan to go to MasschusetMassachusetts of Technology or MIT  to be a chemical engineer.

Pittsburg has one hundred ninety-six  gifted students.

 Pittsburg USD 250 pays about $3.8 million dollars  for all special education  services which include gifted teachers now. That's paid  to a thirteen district interlocal.  Two and a half million dollars of that is state funds.

     If house bill 2801 were to be passed, a small part of those monies for gifted programs, specifically salaries for teachers, would be cut.

To contact the Kansas Gifted, Talented and Creative Association which  is lobbying against the bill and has more information click here.


Draft KS House Bill 2801

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