When Shari Wyne's son was identified as an intellectually gifted first-grader two years ago through a standardized test at Jefferson Elementary School, she expected him to receive more challenging schoolwork or special activities to stimulate his intellect.

When Shari Wyne's son was identified as an intellectually gifted first-grader two years ago through a standardized test at Jefferson Elementary School, she expected him to receive more challenging schoolwork or special activities to stimulate his intellect.

"I was told point-blank: 'We do not offer a talented and gifted program,'" Wyne said.

Under state law, "talented and gifted" students, generally defined as those scoring in the 97th percentile on a nationally standardized test of mental ability, reading and/or math, are entitled to special services to ensure their academic experience is challenging enough for them.

The absence of talented and gifted services in some cases in the Medford School District of 12,000 students has raised concerns on the Medford School Board that the district may not be fully complying with the law.

School Board member Jeff Thomas, who initially raised the issue during a board meeting three months ago, has said he has been struggling for five years to obtain services for his daughter, who is a talented and gifted student at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School.

Today, the School Board and district administrators will meet to discuss ways to address the problem. The meeting begins at 5:15 p.m. at the district office, 500 Monroe St.

"I absolutely want change," Thomas said. "There hasn't been a cohesive way of getting all students taught at the level they need to be taught at. The board has gotten e-mails saying this issue is important. It's a very hot topic right now."

State administrative rules say school districts must provide services for talented and gifted children, including guidance counseling and activities that accommodate students' abilities and "accelerated rates of learning." However, the state provides no funding for talented and gifted programs, district officials said.

"It's one of those unfunded mandates, but it's the right thing to do, so we find ways we can challenge our kids," said Todd Bloomquist, district human resources director and former curriculum director.

One of the ways the district has sought to meet all students' needs is by grouping them and providing more challenging activities for those who are more advanced. However, sometimes that doesn't go far enough to address the needs of talented and gifted students, Wyne said.

She said her son was placed in the most advanced group in his class.

Yet, he used to breeze through homework packets, finishing a whole week's assignments in less than a half-hour, she said.

His teacher was too overwhelmed with about 30 other students, many of whom were struggling with schoolwork, to create a special packet specifically for him each week, Wyne said.

Parents who feel a school is not meeting their child's special needs may file a complaint with the Oregon Department of Education.

But in the past five years, the education department has received only five complaints about talented and gifted programs or the lack thereof, said Crystal Greene, an education department spokeswoman. There currently are no complaints against the Medford district, she said.

The education department provides some technical assistance for talented and gifted programs to districts that request it, but there is no funding available for that purpose.

Wyne later transferred her son to Madrone Trail Public Charter School, not because of the lack of a talented and gifted program, but because she preferred the charter school's educational methods and smaller class sizes, she said.

"I understand teachers have too many kids in regular public schools," she said. "They're just swamped. I don't know what the solution is unless there's more staff, and schools don't have money for that."

Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or e-mail pachen@mailtribune.com.