I am writing to urge you to support continued funding for the Governorís Program for Gifted Children. The Governorís Program for Gifted Children is a seven week summer enrichment program that has been held on the campus of McNeese State University for the past 50 years. It has been supported by the State of Louisiana since 1964 and was legally established by Act 595 of the 1999 Session of the Louisiana Legislature.
Although the Governorís Program is held at McNeese, it is a statewide program and has served over 2500 gifted children from every parish of the State of Louisiana during its history. It is one of the premier summer programs for the gifted in the country and has been recognized as a pioneer in the field. Many other states have modeled their Governorís Schools in some way on the Louisiana Governorís Program for Gifted Children.
As of right now, the Governorís Program for Gifted Children is funded through a line item in McNeese State Universityís budget. It has received $150,000 each year from the Legislature since 1999 with no increase in appropriation even though its costs have increased considerably. The projected 20-30% cut in McNeeseís budget will be applied directly to the Governorís Program budget as well and will be extremely detrimental to the impact that the Governorís Program for Gifted Children has on the gifted students from across the State of Louisiana that attend this program.
I understand the State is experiencing difficult financial circumstances and that many deserving programs and institutions will suffer some reduction in their budgets. I would like to make the point that the Governorís Program has always represented the best of a public-private partnership in that the Program is funded not only by its state appropriation but also by tuition and fees paid by the parents of the students that attend the Program each year. In addition, many sources of private giving, including very generous amounts from the Programís alumni, enable its neediest students to attend no matter what their financial situations are.
The Governorís Program for Gifted Children has an incredible positive influence on some of the best and brightest of Louisianaís children. I urge you to restore the Programís funding to its previous amount of $150,000. The Governorís Program for Gifted Childrenís entire appropriation is miniscule compared to the impact it has on its participants and I hope that you will fight to make sure that the Legislature does not cut this program to save such a small amount of money. Thank you very much for your support of this wonderful program. If you need more information about the Governorís Program for Gifted Children I would direct you to its website: www.gpgc.org or its office that may be reached at 337-475-5446.
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