Legislature(1995 - 1996)

1995-06-27 House Journal

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1995-06-27                     House Journal                      Page 2298
HB 217                                                                       
The following letter dated June 16, 1995, was received:                        
"Dear Speaker Phillips:                                                        
Under the authority of art. II, sec. 15 of the Alaska Constitution, I have     
vetoed the following bill:                                                     
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 217(L&C) am(efd fld)                                    
"An Act relating to teacher tenure, teacher layoff and rehire rights,         
public access to information on public school collective                       
bargaining, and to the right of tenured teachers to judicial review            
of decisions of nonretention or dismissal; and relating to retirement          
for certain employees of school districts, regional resource centers,          
the state boarding school, and regional educational attendance                 
CS for House Bill 217 (L&C) am (efd fld) contains some important               
issues, but in its present form creates divisiveness.  Taken as a whole,       
HB 217 does not adequately address the real problems that face our             

1995-06-27                     House Journal                      Page 2299
HB 217                                                                       
education system; rather it diverts attention away from those real             
problems.  As Alaskans, we can do better than what is reflected in this        
At one point in the legislative session we had a chance to reach a             
compromise on the four issues contained in HB 217.  But this                   
opportunity was muscled away.  With my veto, I am restoring the                
opportunity to seek a compromise that Alaskans can live with.                  
While two years of teaching may in some cases not be enough time to            
properly evaluate some new teachers before granting tenure, four years,        
as proposed in HB 217, is probably unnecessarily long.  The section            
on teacher layoff raises  questions about the definition of a financial        
emergency and at what point a school district can justifiably layoff           
teachers.  Simplifying the grievance process for dismissed teachers has        
merit, but the proposal in HB 217 likely will not realize the fiscal           
benefits that the bill envisions.  We need to slow down and take               
another look at these issues.                                                  
My Administration has strongly supported a public employee                     
retirement incentive program (RIP) as a way to help school districts           
and local and state governments get their budgets under control.  My           
veto will delay a RIP program for school districts for another year.           
But with my veto, I pledge to work aggressively with the Legislature           
next session for a RIP program that will be useful for all levels of           
government, including school districts.                                        
Additionally, I will ask a committee of Alaskans to find a more                
positive way to address the other elements contained in HB 217:                
teacher tenure, teacher layoff, and judicial review.  The committee will       
consist of representatives of all concerned parties and regions of the         
I will also ask this group to develop a proposal for a new initiative not      
contained in HB 217 that I feel addresses an important ingredient              
largely missing from our school system.  This new initiative will be           
aimed at the professional development of the teachers and                      
administrators employed in our public schools to arm them with the             
state-of-the-art skills and knowledge in educational leadership and            
instructional practices.  By placing our children in the care of a better      
trained educational work force, we can expect to see positive gains in         

1995-06-27                     House Journal                      Page 2300
HB 217                                                                       
the student achievement.  I have asked my commissioner of education            
to facilitate this effort and to develop a proposal for introduction to the    
1996 legislative session.                                                      
It is my belief that this approach will result in a plan that will enjoy       
the broad support of the people of Alaska.  Together we can design             
and support changes in education that will be good for students,               
teachers, districts, and all of Alaska.                                        
									Tony Knowles