Legislature(1995 - 1996)
1995-06-27 House JournalFull Journal pdf
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 areas." 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 bill. 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 state. 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. Sincerely, /s/ Tony Knowles Governor"