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Released November 18, 2004


HATTIESBURG - The results of gifted education programming in Mississippi goes far beyond good academic policy; it's just good business.

That's the indication of the results of an economic impact study conducted at The University of Southern Mississippi on the state's gifted education programs. The study, the result of a partnership between Dr. Frances Karnes, director of the university's Karnes Center for Gifted Studies, and Mark Goodman, director of the Southern Miss Center for Community and Economic Development, examined data associated with gifted education programs during the 2003-2004 school year.

"The study determined that there is a significant impact on both the local and state economy," Karnes said.

In terms of direct economic impact, 729 teachers taught in the public school programs in the 2003-2004 school year. Salaries for teachers and prorated salaries for special education directors supervising the programs resulted in 744 total full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs and an additional 645 jobs in place throughout the economy of Mississippi.

Income from all employment associated with the teaching of the gifted in public schools in Mississippi was greater than $46 million annually. Taxes collected by the state associated with the teaching of gifted children and youth in specialized programs were greater than $2 million annually and taxes collected by local jurisdictions annually were greater than $1 million.

The study was a second-phase report of economic impact, with the first phase measuring the direct impact of the Karnes Center on the region. The first study determined that revenues generated through the incomes of individuals employed in programs at the center were $552,207, with total retail sales coming to more than $1 million and the total tax revenues generated were $131,051, including $40,000 locally.

"This study is important because it clarifies the value of gifted education in economic terms," said Dr. Henry Johnson, state superintendent of education. "This demonstrates that, in addition to the substantial benefits that gifted education provides to the community in the context of civic and social elements, it is an excellent investment in our economy and, more importantly, in our children and their future."


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December 8, 2004 4:21 PM