Until Missouri lawmakers in 2005 wrote the current formula used to distribute state aid to public schools, districts received extra money for their gifted students' programs - the students who, usually, perform at the top of their classes.
But the new law rolled that extra money into the basic distribution formula.
"School districts no longer are required to complete the grant process that they used to go through, to get funds for gifted programs," said the Gifted Association of Missouri's Sue Winter, Columbia. "Since the implementation of the new (school-aid) formula, many gifted programs in the state have suffered cuts, many of which have not been documented since there is no reporting process."
Based only on anecdotal information "because that's all we've got," Winter told the state Senate's Education Committee last week that "some programs have been totally eliminated" while others "have been reduced - in Columbia, we've cut a year off the program, and students don't begin gifted services until first grade. Fulton is reducing their program to half-time."