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North Texas

Gifted & Talented Classes Safe Under House Funding Bill, Despite Losing Allotment

You’ve heard it time and again — this is the year lawmakers in Austin want to revise how the state funds school districts.

Districts across the area are hopeful more cash will start funneling in, but one of the plans to right the ship talks about cutting money from gifted and talented students. But school leaders say not to panic.

At Liberty High School in the Frisco Independent School District, gifted and talented students are studying literature and culture from communities around the world.

They’re not just researching. They're making sure the information they look up comes from sources they can trust and put to good use. It all takes place at a fast pace.

"We’re able to tailor our lessons to their needs, we’re able to move at a quicker pace or we’re able to dive deeper than you’re able to in a traditional classroom," said teacher Sarah Wiseman.

Some of Wiseman's students can acquire skills twice as fast as peers of the same age. It’s why having classes like this are just so important.

"They’re absorbing so much," Wiseman said.

Why would lawmakers want to touch the money given to classrooms just like these?

Here’s what’s happening. Instead of the state giving a check to the schools for gifted students only, they’re writing a much bigger check to the district for all students.

The money for gifted and talented, or GT, is still there. The district gets one big check instead of several smaller ones for different programs.

"Everything’s fine, we’re going to continue to have GT programs and we’re going to continue to fund them at a significant level," said Frisco ISD Superintendent Dr. Mike Waldrip.

Waldrip received calls from parents and even teachers who are worried the new proposal to streamline education funding was taking away money from gifted classrooms.

He assured them all appears safe for GT.

"They’re trying to simplify the funding formula, make things more efficient," Waldrip said.

Of course the bill could change again, educators are staying plugged in to the proposals but say they’re confident these classes that gifted students and parents count on aren’t changing or going anywhere.

Several North Texas Superintendents echoed these sentiments about the GT funding allotment.

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