Ohio lawmakers are prepared to cut gifted education by a whopping 89 percent within the state's new education budget. We know today's economy means we all have to cut back, but why are gifted students targeted to take the biggest hit? Why are they singled out as not deserving an adequate education?

To the editor:

Ohio lawmakers are prepared to cut gifted education by a whopping 89 percent within the state's new education budget. We know today's economy means we all have to cut back, but why are gifted students targeted to take the biggest hit? Why are they singled out as not deserving an adequate education?

We are fortunate in the Westerville City School District. Superintendent J. Daniel Good is committed to gifted education and hopes to maintain our present service levels. For that, I am thankful. I must, however, be realistic. With monies being cut so dramatically, and our district facing a deficit, for how long will we be able to maintain this service? Now is the time to let our legislators in the Statehouse know how important gifted service is. After all, public education is education for all children. Cutting funding for one specific group more deeply than any other group is simply unfair and unacceptable.

If you agree with me, please take the time today to let your representatives and the Senate Finance Committee know via e-mail and phone.

Here is what we need our lawmakers to change in the current budget language, at a minimum:

Keep the "maintenance of effort" provision. Without a "maintenance of effort," many Ohio districts plan to cut or eliminate gifted services. The governor said that gifted funding was in basic aid, so this is not an unfunded mandate.

Restore the 89-percent funding cut.

Make districts accountable for the performance of gifted students.

I honestly fear a future that grows from the wasteland of neglected potential. It's time for us to take some action to ensure that all students -- including our gifted students -- have the opportunity to learn in school. One day we will realize our shortsightedness and pay the cost of not investing in these children.

Michelle Ohm

Westerville