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Parents of gifted and talented children are already raising the alarm about one of the proposed cuts listed by the BRACE team, an internal group that scrubbed the San Diego Unified budget for savings.

BRACE raised the idea of eliminating the central offices that administer programs for gifted kids. Phil Stover, who headed the effort, said that individual schools would still get funding for gifted and talented programs, but the department itself would disappear, absorbed by other departments or offices. Shutting it down would save the school district $1.2 million and cut the equivalent of 11 jobs.

Katie Anderson, a parent who chairs a school district committee on gifted education, said that would be impossible to do. She wrote in an e-mail:

The [Gifted and Talented] Dept. has been so decimated over the last several years that it is down to being almost entirely composed of psychologists who do the identification testing (to tell whether children are gifted). There are 2 resource teachers, one of whom administers one of the AP grants and 3 clerical people. The resource teachers are experts in GATE education strategies and scramble to provide the sites the support they so desperately need.

Another parent forwarded me a mass e-mail to parents begging them to show up in force to the budget workshop tomorrow night. It reads:

Because the department has become so small, it has been reduced to the identification of students and rudimentary support to the sites, but if we stop identifying new students we are essentially phasing the program out; as well as leaving sites without guidance of how to administer the program. The program will cease to be.

EMILY ALPERT

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