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SB 6: "An Act relating to early education programs provided by school districts; relating to funding for early education programs; and relating to the duties of the state Board of Education and Early Development."

00                              SENATE BILL NO. 6                                                                          
01 "An Act relating to early education programs provided by school districts; relating to                                  
02 funding for early education programs; and relating to the duties of the state Board of                                  
03 Education and Early Development."                                                                                       
04 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                                
05    * Section 1. AS 14.03.060(e) is amended to read:                                                                   
06 (e)  In addition to the grades enumerated in (a) of this section, an elementary                                         
07 school consists of an early education [A PRE-ELEMENTARY] program approved                                       
08 [SUPERVISED] by the department under AS 14.07.020(a)(8), or operated by a head                                  
09 start agency [THE DEPARTMENT] as a head start program under 42 U.S.C. 9831 -                                    
10 9852c [AS 14.38.010, OR LOCATED IN A PUBLIC SCHOOL FOR FEDERAL                                                      
11 FUNDING PURPOSES. EXCEPT FOR A CHILD WITH A DISABILITY WHO IS                                                           
12 RECEIVING SPECIAL EDUCATION OR RELATED SERVICES UNDER                                                                   
13 AS 14.30.180 - 14.30.350, PRE-ELEMENTARY STUDENTS MAY NOT BE                                                            
14 COUNTED IN A SCHOOL'S AVERAGE DAILY MEMBERSHIP UNDER                                                                    
01       AS 14.17].                                                                                                        
02    * Sec. 2. AS 14.03.080 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:                                              
03 (g)  A child who is at least four, but not more than five, years of age on or                                           
04 before September 1 following the beginning of the school year and who has not                                           
05 attended a public school kindergarten may enter a public school early education                                         
06       program.                                                                                                          
07    * Sec. 3. AS 14.03 is amended by adding a new section to read:                                                     
08            Sec. 14.03.135.  Early education programs; grants.  (a) The department shall                               
09       provide training and assist districts in the development of early education programs,                             
10 and shall approve early education programs that meet the standards adopted by the                                       
11 board under AS 14.07.165(a)(5). If the department determines that the district's early                                  
12 education program complies with the standards, the department shall approve the early                                   
13 education program. If the department determines that the district's early education                                     
14 program does not comply with the standards, the department shall provide assistance                                     
15       to the district to improve the early education program to meet the standards.                                     
16 (b)  The department may award a grant to an eligible district to provide                                                
17 funding for a three-year period for the development of a district-wide early education                                  
18 program. At the end of the three-year grant period, the department shall assess the                                     
19 district's early education program and determine whether the program complies with                                      
20       the standards adopted under AS 14.07.165(a)(5).                                                                   
21 (c)  Before awarding a three-year grant under (b) of this section, in the fiscal                                        
22 year beginning July 1, 2019, the department shall rank the performance of all districts                                 
23 in the state in accordance with the accountability system and performance designations                                  
24 required under AS 14.03.123. The department shall identify five groups of districts by                                  
25 performance ranking, with 20 percent of the districts in each group. The following                                      
26       groups of districts are eligible for a three-year grant in the identified fiscal years:                           
27 (1)  for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2019, the lowest performing 20                                               
28       percent of districts;                                                                                             
29 (2)  for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020, the second lowest                                                      
30       performing 20 percent of districts;                                                                               
31 (3)  for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2021, the third lowest                                                       
01       performing 20 percent of districts;                                                                               
02                 (4)  for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2022, the second highest                                     
03       performing 20 percent of districts;                                                                               
04                 (5)  for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2023, the highest performing                                 
05       20 percent of districts.                                                                                          
06            (d)  In each fiscal year, the department may award a three-year grant to a                                   
07       district that applies in a format prescribed by the department and that is in a group of                          
08       districts that                                                                                                    
09                 (1)  is eligible for a grant during that fiscal year under (c) of this                                  
10       section; or                                                                                                       
11 (2)  was eligible for a grant in a previous fiscal year under (c) of this                                               
12       section, but did not receive a grant under this section in a previous fiscal year.                                
13 (e)  If the department does not approve a district's early education program at                                         
14 the end of the three-year grant period, the department may provide a one-year                                           
15 remediation grant to allow the district one additional fiscal year to meet the early                                    
16 education program standards established by the board. If the district is unable to meet                                 
17 the early education program standards at the end of the fiscal year, the department                                     
18 may, in the discretion of the commissioner, provide an additional remediation grant to                                  
19       allow the district not more than one additional fiscal year to meet the standards.                                
20 (f)  A student in an early education program may not be counted in the district                                         
21 ADM under AS 14.17.500 or 14.17.905 until after the department determines that the                                      
22 early education program complies with the standards adopted by the board under                                          
23 AS 14.07.165(a)(5) and approves the program. The department may not approve an                                          
24 early education program developed with a grant awarded under (b) of this section until                                  
25 the end of the three-year grant period under (b) of this section or the additional                                      
26 remediation period under (e) of this section. The department may approve a district's                                   
27 early education program that does not receive a grant under this section at any time if                                 
28 the early education program complies with the standards adopted by the board under                                      
29       AS 14.07.165(a)(5).                                                                                               
30 (g)  A grant under this section is subject to appropriation, but may not supplant                                       
31       other early education funding available to districts.                                                             
01            (h)  In this section,                                                                                        
02                 (1)  "ADM" has the meaning given in AS 14.17.990;                                                       
03                 (2)  "district" has the meaning given in AS 14.17.990;                                                  
04                 (3)  "early education program" means a program for children who are                                     
05       four and five years of age and who have not attended a public school kindergarten if                              
06       the program's primary function is educational.                                                                    
07    * Sec. 4. AS 14.07.020(a) is amended to read:                                                                      
08            (a)  The department shall                                                                                    
09                 (1)  exercise general supervision over the public schools of the state                                  
10       except the University of Alaska;                                                                                  
11 (2)  study the conditions and needs of the public schools of the state,                                                 
12 adopt or recommend plans, administer and evaluate grants to improve school                                              
13 performance awarded under AS 14.03.125, and adopt regulations for the improvement                                       
14 of the public schools; the department may consult with the University of Alaska to                                      
15 develop secondary education requirements to improve student achievement in college                                      
16       preparatory courses;                                                                                              
17 (3)  provide advisory and consultative services to all public school                                                    
18       governing bodies and personnel;                                                                                   
19 (4)  prescribe by regulation a minimum course of study for the public                                                   
20 schools; the regulations must provide that, if a course in American Sign Language is                                    
21       given, the course shall be given credit as a course in a foreign language;                                        
22 (5)  establish, in coordination with the Department of Health and Social                                                
23 Services, a program for the continuing education of children who are held in detention                                  
24       facilities in the state during the period of detention;                                                           
25 (6)  accredit those public schools that meet accreditation standards                                                    
26 prescribed by regulation by the department; these regulations shall be adopted by the                                   
27 department and presented to the legislature during the first 10 days of any regular                                     
28 session, and become effective 45 days after presentation or at the end of the session,                                  
29 whichever is earlier, unless disapproved by a resolution concurred in by a majority of                                  
30       the members of each house;                                                                                        
31 (7)  prescribe by regulation, after consultation with the state fire                                                    
01 marshal and the state sanitarian, standards that will ensure healthful and safe                                         
02 conditions in the public and private schools of the state, including a requirement of                                   
03 physical examinations and immunizations in pre-elementary schools; the standards for                                    
04       private schools may not be more stringent than those for public schools;                                          
05 (8)  exercise general supervision over early education programs                                                     
06 [PRE-ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS] that receive direct state or federal funding,                                              
07 including an early education program provided by a school district for students                                     
08 four and five years of age, and approve early education programs that meet the                                      
09       standards adopted by the board under AS 14.07.165(a)(5);                                                      
10 (9)  exercise general supervision over elementary and secondary                                                         
11 correspondence study programs offered by municipal school districts or regional                                         
12 educational attendance areas; the department may also offer and make available to any                                   
13       Alaskan through a centralized office a correspondence study program;                                              
14 (10)  accredit private schools that request accreditation and that meet                                                 
15 accreditation standards prescribed by regulation by the department; nothing in this                                     
16 paragraph authorizes the department to require religious or other private schools to be                                 
17       licensed;                                                                                                         
18 (11)  review plans for construction of new public elementary and                                                        
19 secondary schools and for additions to and major rehabilitation of existing public                                      
20 elementary and secondary schools and, in accordance with regulations adopted by the                                     
21 department, determine and approve the extent of eligibility for state aid of a school                                   
22 construction or major maintenance project; for the purposes of this paragraph, "plans"                                  
23 include educational specifications, schematic designs, projected energy consumption                                     
24       and costs, and final contract documents;                                                                          
25 (12)  provide educational opportunities in the areas of vocational                                                      
26 education and training, and basic education to individuals over 16 years of age who                                     
27 are no longer attending school; the department may consult with businesses and labor                                    
28 unions to develop a program to prepare students for apprenticeships or internships that                                 
29       will lead to employment opportunities;                                                                            
30                 (13)  administer the grants awarded under AS 14.11;                                                     
31 (14)  establish, in coordination with the Department of Public Safety, a                                                
01       school bus driver training course;                                                                                
02                 (15)  require the reporting of information relating to school disciplinary                              
03       and safety programs under AS 14.33.120 and of incidents of disruptive or violent                                  
04       behavior;                                                                                                         
05                 (16)  establish by regulation criteria, based on low student performance,                               
06       under which the department may intervene in a school district to improve instructional                            
07       practices, as described in AS 14.07.030(a)(14) or (15); the regulations must include                              
08                      (A)  a notice provision that alerts the district to the deficiencies                               
09            and the instructional practice changes proposed by the department;                                           
10 (B)  an end date for departmental intervention, as described in                                                         
11 AS 14.07.030(a)(14)(A) and (B) and (15), after the district demonstrates three                                          
12 consecutive years of improvement consisting of not less than two percent                                                
13 increases in student proficiency on standards-based assessments in language                                             
14            arts and mathematics, as provided in AS 14.03.123(f)(1)(A); and                                              
15 (C)  a process for districts to petition the department for                                                             
16            continuing or discontinuing the department's intervention;                                                   
17 (17)  notify the legislative committees having jurisdiction over                                                        
18 education before intervening in a school district under AS 14.07.030(a)(14) or                                          
19       redirecting public school funding under AS 14.07.030(a)(15).                                                      
20    * Sec. 5. AS 14.07.020(c) is amended to read:                                                                      
21 (c)  In this section, "early education program" ["PRE-ELEMENTARY                                                    
22 SCHOOL"] means a school for children ages three through five years if the school's                                      
23       primary function is educational.                                                                                  
24    * Sec. 6. AS 14.07.165(a) is amended to read:                                                                      
25            (a)  The board shall adopt                                                                                   
26 (1)  statewide goals and require each governing body to adopt written                                                   
27       goals that are consistent with local needs;                                                                       
28 (2)  regulations regarding the application for and award of grants under                                                
29       AS 14.03.125;                                                                                                     
30                 (3)  regulations implementing provisions of AS 14.11.014(b);                                            
31 (4)  regulations requiring approval by the board before a charter school,                                               
01       state boarding school, or a public school may provide domiciliary services;                                       
02                 (5)  regulations establishing standards for an early education                                      
03       program provided by a school district for children who are four and five years of                             
04       age; the regulations must include                                                                             
05                      (A)  standards for a                                                                           
06                           (i)  half-day program consisting of not less than two                                     
07                 and one-half hours;                                                                                 
08                           (ii)  full-day program consisting of six hours; and                                       
09                           (iii)  locally designed, evidence-based program that is                                   
10 less than half a day that meets early education program standards;                                                  
11 (B)  a requirement that the lead teacher of a program hold a                                                        
12 valid teacher certificate issued under AS 14.20 and have satisfactorily                                             
13 completed a minimum of six credit hours in early childhood education or                                             
14 completes the minimum credit hours within one year of the date the                                                  
15            teacher's employment with the early education program begins;                                            
16 (C)  developmentally appropriate objectives for children                                                            
17 four and five years of age rather than academic standards appropriate for                                           
18 older children; the objectives must allow school districts to adapt the                                             
19 content of an early education program to be culturally appropriate to                                               
20            local communities; and                                                                                   
21 (D)  accommodations for the needs of all early education                                                            
22 children and their families regardless of socioeconomic circumstances                                               
23            [REPEALED].                                                                                                  
24    * Sec. 7. AS 14.17.500 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:                                              
25 (d)  Except as provided in AS 14.17.905(d), a student in an early education                                             
26 program approved by the department under AS 14.07.020(a)(8) is counted as one-half                                      
27       of a full-time equivalent student.                                                                                
28    * Sec. 8. AS 14.17.905(a) is amended to read:                                                                      
29 (a)  For purposes of this chapter, the determination of the number of schools in                                        
30       a district is subject to the following:                                                                           
31 (1)  a community with an ADM of at least 10, but not more than 100,                                                     
01       shall be counted as one school;                                                                                   
02                 (2)  a community with an ADM of at least 101, but not more than 425,                                    
03       shall be counted as                                                                                               
04 (A)  one elementary school, which includes those students in                                                            
05 grades kindergarten through six, and, except as provided in (d) of this                                             
06 section, in an early education program provided by a school district and                                            
07            approved by the department under AS 14.07.020(a)(8); and                                                 
08                      (B)  one secondary school, which includes students in grades                                       
09            seven through 12;                                                                                            
10 (3)  in a community with an ADM of greater than 425, each facility that                                                 
11 is administered as a separate school shall be counted as one school, except that each                                   
12 alternative school with an ADM of less than 175 shall be counted as a part of the                                       
13       school in the district with the highest ADM.                                                                      
14    * Sec. 9. AS 14.17.905 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:                                              
15 (d)  A school district may not include in the average daily membership of a                                             
16 school students who are four and five years of age if the students are enrolled in an                                   
17 early education program that receives state or federal funding other than funding under                                 
18       this chapter.                                                                                                     
19    * Sec. 10. AS 47.17.290(12) is amended to read:                                                                    
20 (12)  "organization" means a group or entity that provides care and                                                     
21 supervision for compensation to a child not related to the caregiver, and includes a                                    
22 child care facility, pre-elementary school, early education program, head start                                     
23 center, child foster home, residential child care facility, recreation program, children's                              
24       camp, and children's club;                                                                                        
25    * Sec. 11. AS 14.03.135 is repealed July 1, 2029.