From Ann Sheldon of the Ohio Association of Gifted Children, an absolutely relentless champion for Ohio and Ohio’s students. I’ve printed out the list of Senate Finance Committee people and contact information. Please do the same and look at your schedules for time to provide testimony in writing and/or person:
Advocacy Update – 5.2.11 And Now We Wait (and Prepare for Senate Finance) — Thank you to everyone who testified, emailed and phoned House Finance Committee members over the past week. You may stop calling now! Amendments to the budget have been submitted. House leadership will likely meet to decide what is in and what is out. Tomorrow they will meet at 4:00 PM to accept an omnibus amendment, which is a very long amendment filled with a variety of smaller amendments that have been accepted by House leadership. There may be a few additional amendments offered by Republicans, and then the Democrats will begin to offer their amendments, all of which will likely be “put upon the table.” This is a procedure which avoids a negative vote on the amendment, but essentially sets the amendment aside without consideration. While I know there are a few amendments that have been submitted to help us, I do not know if they will be accepted or not. I will let you all know when I know.
After the substitute bill is amended and voted out of House Finance tomorrow, it will go to the House floor for a vote on Thursday. May 5. There will very likely be a lively floor debate. You may want to tune in at http://www.ohiochannel.org/ . Click on the House of Representatives icon. The action begins at approximately 1:30 pm. In the meantime, the Senate Finance will begin hearings on the budget bill tomorrow. Plan for education issues to be heard the second or third week of May. We will need to start contact senators as soon as we know what the bill passed in the House holds for gifted students. And we will need gifted witnesses. When I have the exact dates of testimony, I will let you know.
For now, familiarize yourself with the members of the Senate Finance by going to this document.
While I know gifted advocates are suffering from advocacy fatigue, it is important to keep up our efforts through the Senate and the subsequent conference committee which will negotiate the differences in the budget between the House and the Senate. This year, in particular, it is important to keep up the effort as with each passing month, the revenue picture looks sunnier for Ohio. There may be more state funds to allocate in June than there are now. Again, thank you to everyone who answered the advocacy call. It is making a difference. Even if we don’t see it right now, our efforts are definitely making a difference.