Legislature(2017 - 2018)CAPITOL 106

02/21/2018 08:30 AM EDUCATION

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            HB 339-INCREASE BASE STUDENT ALLOCATION                                                                         
8:53:42 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DRUMMOND announced  that the final order  of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE BILL  NO. 339,  "An Act  relating to  the base  student                                                               
allocation; and providing for an effective date."                                                                               
8:54:07 AM                                                                                                                    
SIERRA LLOYD, Student, Juneau Douglas  High School (JDHS), Juneau                                                               
School District, stated  her support for HB 339,  relating to the                                                               
base  student  allocation (BSA).    She  stated that  the  school                                                               
boards  have been  begging for  funding  for important  programs,                                                               
such   as  Tlingit   Language  Learning,   gifted  programs   and                                                               
maintaining reasonable class  sizes.  Raising the  BSA could very                                                               
well save  these valuable resources  for students who  need them.                                                               
She stated  that she was  a sophomore representative in  the JDHS                                                               
student council.   She knows she  speaks for many of  the student                                                               
body  when she  says  that  education should  be  the number  one                                                               
priority in our state.                                                                                                          
MS. LLOYD  predicted that for  every dollar that  the legislature                                                               
thinks  it would  save by  denying  it to  future Alaskan  voters                                                               
would result  in the  state spending  double on  social services,                                                               
correctional  facility  workers  and  homeless  shelters  in  the                                                               
future.   Please do not  sacrifice our  futures in an  attempt to                                                               
dig the state  out of this monetary hole, she  said.  She offered                                                               
her belief  that members  know how  important a  strong education                                                               
system is for the welfare of  all Alaskans.  "Please do the right                                                               
thing," she  said.   She thanked members  for the  opportunity to                                                               
8:55:27 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH asked Ms. Lloyd  to submit her testimony in                                                               
written form.                                                                                                                   
8:56:09 AM                                                                                                                    
DAVID  PIAZZA, Superintendent,  Southwest Region  School District                                                               
(SWRS),  stated  that  the  district  would  like  to  thank  the                                                               
legislature for  its continued support of  the public educational                                                               
system and the opportunity to speak with you today.                                                                             
MR. PIAZZA stated that Alaska's  students represent the future of                                                               
our great state as our  greatest natural resource and require the                                                               
support necessary  to grow into  the leaders and work  force that                                                               
will  keep  Alaska  prosperous  for  years to  come.    The  SWRS                                                               
continues  to experience  substantial  cost  increases to  health                                                               
insurance, supplies,  and transportation of goods  to our schools                                                               
and foresees a  renewed upward swing in fuel oil  costs and other                                                               
utilities  this  spring.   This  past  year's  insurance  renewal                                                               
included  a  13 percent  increase,  which  continued a  trend  of                                                               
significant annual increases.  These  changes directly impact the                                                               
district  finances   and  reduce   funds  available   to  support                                                               
instructional programs for students.                                                                                            
8:57:29 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  PIAZZA stated  that the  district supports  measures by  the                                                               
legislature to  secure funding  early and  at adequate  levels to                                                               
help local  schools as  well as the  Department of  Education and                                                               
Early  Development (DEED),  to plan  effectively and  efficiently                                                               
and to meet student educational  needs.  The district supports HB                                                               
339.  He thanked members for their attention in this matter.                                                                    
8:58:16 AM                                                                                                                    
DEENA  BISHOP,  PhD;  Superintendent, Anchorage  School  District                                                               
(ASD)  related  her  understanding  that many  people  wished  to                                                               
testify  today.   She  said that  the ASD  provided  a letter  of                                                               
support;  however,  she would  like  to  add additional  comments                                                               
today.    She  thanked  members   for  presenting  this  proposed                                                               
increase  to  a government  program  when  most discussions  were                                                               
about shrinking government.                                                                                                     
DR.  BISHOP   said  that  Alaskans  might   not  understand  what                                                               
shrinking  government  means  for  K-12  education  and  for  our                                                               
universities.    She   remarked  that  she  has   been  a  fiscal                                                               
conservative  in  her home  and  in  her  profession.   She  buys                                                               
second-hand  clothing and  used cars.   She  indicated that  most                                                               
people understand that Alaska's future  depends on the success of                                                               
our youth,  yet the  state continued  to shrink  government while                                                               
the long-term effects  will result in losses to  our economy, our                                                               
health,  and losses  to our  state.   Smart  companies invest  in                                                               
their  future and  pay for  innovation and  development.   Sadly,                                                               
Alaska's  state government  has not  done this  for education  in                                                               
recent years.  Shrinking government  means our students have less                                                               
counselors in their schools, fewer  teachers in their classrooms,                                                               
and  little  investment  in  the   21st  century  learning  these                                                               
students need to  move Alaska into the future.   She concluded by                                                               
saying she  believes in servant  leadership and the  ASD provides                                                               
high-quality   instruction    for   its    students,   absolutely                                                               
transparent accountability for  student progress and achievement,                                                               
efficient use of  funds in all operations  and positive "customer                                                               
service" for  its students, staff,  parents, and community.   She                                                               
stated, "Please  know that this  fiscal conservative  believes in                                                               
investing in  Alaska's children."   She  asked members  to please                                                               
support HB  339 for  every student in  our state,  from preschool                                                               
through  post-secondary education.   This  [bill] represents  the                                                               
hope for our students and the hope for our future, she said.                                                                    
9:00:24 AM                                                                                                                    
DAVID NEES  stated he was  testifying on  behalf of himself.   He                                                               
said he serves  as a staff research associate for  the for Alaska                                                               
Policy  Forum.   He  suggested  that the  main  problem with  the                                                               
proposed $100 increase to the BSA  was that it would be dispersed                                                               
in an  inequitable manner through  the [foundation] formula.   He                                                               
explained,  after reviewing  the  allocation  of state  education                                                               
funding, that he  found the big five school  districts receive 68                                                               
percent of the state's education  funds, yet they have 51 percent                                                               
of the state's students.                                                                                                        
MR. NEES  said that the  small communities were not  receiving an                                                               
equal amount  of funding.   He said it  was very difficult  to do                                                               
this if  one were to  change the first part  of the formula.   He                                                               
acknowledged  that Alaska  spends a  lot for  education, yet  the                                                               
results were not  good.  He suggested using the  $100 increase to                                                               
the BSA  as a function  of a reward  system by saying  the school                                                               
districts that  perform would receive  more of the  proposed $100                                                               
increase  to the  BSA for  schools that  perform.   He reiterated                                                               
that  the   big  five  school   districts,  which   were  Juneau,                                                               
Anchorage,  Mat-Su  [Matanuska-Susitna],   Kenai,  and  Fairbanks                                                               
school districts would receive 68  percent or $68 of the proposed                                                               
$100 increase  to the BSA.   Although this would help  the larger                                                               
school districts, it  also would short change  the smaller school                                                               
districts.   He offered his  belief that  it was important  to be                                                               
careful that when the [legislature]  front loads something at the                                                               
beginning of the  equation that what comes out at  the end of the                                                               
equation was what  one hoped to get.  He  concluded by stating if                                                               
the [legislature] wants the funding  to go directly to the school                                                               
districts that  the funding needs  to happen outside  the formula                                                               
and not as an increase to the BSA.                                                                                              
9:02:18 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP  thanked him for  his testimony.   He related                                                               
his  understanding that  Mr. Nees's  point was  that the  way the                                                               
foundation  formula  was  structured  created  a  bias  that  was                                                               
heavily  weighted towards  the  big five  school  districts.   He                                                               
further understood that if $100 comes  in at the front end of the                                                               
foundation  formula, the  $68 for  each student  in the  big five                                                               
school  districts  would  mean   $32  remained  for  each  school                                                               
district in rural Alaska.   He asked for further clarification on                                                               
whether that was his position.                                                                                                  
CHAIR  DRUMMOND indicated  Mr. Nees  had already  signed off  the                                                               
9:03:24 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSTON offered  her  belief that  Mr. Nees  was                                                               
saying that 68  percent, not $68 and that  the student population                                                               
was under  60 percent  but the  funding for  the big  five school                                                               
districts was over 60 percent.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP said  that Mr. Nees also used  the $68 figure                                                               
as well.  He thought  Representative Johnston was correct, but he                                                               
also indicated  that only 51  percent of the students  resided in                                                               
the big  five school districts,  but these districts  received 68                                                               
percent of the funding.                                                                                                         
CHAIR  DRUMMOND  said  she  must  correct  those  figures.    She                                                               
reported that 130,000 students reside  in Alaska and the five big                                                               
school districts  have approximately 83 percent  of the students.                                                               
She said Mr. Nees's figures were inaccurate.                                                                                    
9:04:18 AM                                                                                                                    
TED  MARTIN stated  he  just read  the  sponsor statement,  which                                                               
stated  that  approximately $25  million  was  cut in  2015,  but                                                               
because of inflation it was more  like $90 million [in cuts].  He                                                               
argued that the inflation rate does  not run so high as to create                                                               
a shortage  of $90 million.   He wondered how many  of the school                                                               
district really cut  their teachers.  It seemed to  him that each                                                               
year  the legislature  brings up  a bill  at the  last minute  to                                                               
receive funding "to the cap."                                                                                                   
MR.  MARTIN  stated  that Alaska's  schools,  according  to  this                                                               
year's NCTQ  [National Council on  Teacher Quality]  report, that                                                               
our achievement  level was  a "D  or D-."   He  cautioned against                                                               
rewarding people  for failing.  He  said that this $100  does not                                                               
even equate to any reasonable inflation.                                                                                        
9:05:55 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  MARTIN encouraged  members to  "look  at the  numbers."   He                                                               
offered  his  belief  that  the   person  who  put  together  the                                                               
sponsor's statement was either not  telling the truth or does not                                                               
understand  third  grade  math.    He said  he  hated  to  be  so                                                               
critical, but  he is  63 years old  with a  25-year-old grandson.                                                               
His entire  family pays for these  schools and none of  them have                                                               
any children.   He  indicated he was  not complaining,  noting he                                                               
received  a good  education in  the 1970s,  attending a  two-room                                                               
schoolhouse.  He said he was  a successful businessman today.  He                                                               
stated that  he did not have  a swimming pool or  track. He urged                                                               
members to  "tighten our belt"  and to get results  from teachers                                                               
and provide  adequate testing to  demonstrate results.   He said,                                                               
"So,  no; the  $100 increase  in my  mind is  not warranted.   So                                                               
please, do not pass this bill.   Go back to the drawing board and                                                               
use what  you've got.   And  you create a  better system  for our                                                               
children.   A D- is  not a passing  grade in  my mind.   It never                                                               
was; never will  be."  He thanked members for  the opportunity to                                                               
testify.   He offered his belief  that his education was  just as                                                               
good as those schools that have  amenities such as a pool, track,                                                               
or football team.   He concluded by saying he  did not support HB                                                               
CHAIR DRUMMOND thanked him for his testimony.                                                                                   
9:07:48 AM                                                                                                                    
BRIAN  SINGLETON,  Principal,  Begich  Middle  School,  Anchorage                                                               
School District (ASD),  stated that this was his 18th  year as an                                                               
educator and his  13th year as a principal.   He asked to testify                                                               
about safety in  our schools.  He said building  safety at Begich                                                               
Middle School, with over 1,000  students in 6th-8th grade was his                                                               
biggest concern.   He expressed  concern that since  January, the                                                               
United States  has had 18 school  shootings, yet one of  the cuts                                                               
at his  school was  for school  security.   He said  that schools                                                               
were getting less instead of more funding for school safety.                                                                    
MR. SINGLETON offered  his belief that teachers were  asked to do                                                               
more although students  were performing well despite  some of the                                                               
misunderstandings over  results.  The  ASD graduation  rates have                                                               
improved.    The  district  does not  have  sufficient  funds  to                                                               
upgrade the  school security system.   He stated that  his school                                                               
needed a  "buzz in" system  to ensure that school  officials know                                                               
who  enters the  building.   He acknowledged  that sometimes  the                                                               
public only  considered subjects like reading  and math; however,                                                               
he thinks about school safety  before considering classroom work.                                                               
As funding  does not  keep up with  rising costs,  it compromises                                                               
school safety.   He said students at the  Anchorage schools speak                                                               
over  96 different  languages and  a University  of Alaska  study                                                               
indicated that the Begich Middle School  was number one or two in                                                               
the United States  in terms of diversity.   Keeping students safe                                                               
represented his highest priority, he said.                                                                                      
9:10:13 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON  asked how  old the Begich  Middle School                                                               
in Anchorage was now.                                                                                                           
MR. SINGLETON answered that it was 11 years old.                                                                                
9:10:57 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON  related her understanding that  when the                                                               
Begich  Middle School  was first  constructed it  did not  have a                                                               
security system installed.                                                                                                      
MR.  SINGLETON answered  that  the school  has  cameras, but  the                                                               
building does not  have any "buzz in" doors  or collection areas.                                                               
He stated that it was possible to upgrade the security system.                                                                  
9:11:19 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON was unsure but  recalled that some of the                                                               
bonding was to provide funds for security.                                                                                      
MR.  SINGLETON   responded  that   there  are   approximately  65                                                               
elementary schools in  Anchorage.  He stated that  his school had                                                               
significant needs  due to  the size and  the number  of buildings                                                               
that needed to be kept secure.   He acknowledged that funding for                                                               
door construction  was available,  but it was  only one  piece of                                                               
achieving secure buildings.                                                                                                     
9:12:06 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON  asked whether  Begich Middle  School was                                                               
on this year's bonding proposal.                                                                                                
MR. SINGLETON answered no; not to my knowledge.                                                                                 
9:12:45 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. JAMES  DOEPKEN stated that he  was the parent of  students in                                                               
elementary school, that he coaches  music at the high school, and                                                               
his  wife  was a  librarian  and  works  with students  who  need                                                               
additional  assistance.   He  said  he  has volunteered  in  many                                                               
schools in Anchorage, Girdwood, and  Seward.  He asked to testify                                                               
in support of  HB 339 because he has concerns  about how the lack                                                               
of funding  will affect  programs that "fill  the gaps"  for kids                                                               
that might  "slip through them."   He supported HB 339  to offset                                                               
inflation.   He offered that  he has  seen too many  students who                                                               
rely  on  the  school  as their  lifeline  and  without  adequate                                                               
funding, these kids might "fall through  the cracks."  He and his                                                               
wife have worked  with some of these children.   Although it said                                                               
it might sound  trite, he asked members to  remember the children                                                               
and do it for the kids.                                                                                                         
9:14:27 AM                                                                                                                    
REBECCA BERNARD  thanked members  for holding  the hearing.   She                                                               
stated that she was the mother  of two children who attend public                                                               
school in Anchorage  and a longtime supporter of  education.  She                                                               
testified in  support of  HB 339  and urged  members to  pass the                                                               
bill along for a  vote on the floor.  Ideally,  she would like to                                                               
see funding that kept up with  the rising costs schools must cope                                                               
with each year; funding that would keep up with inflation.                                                                      
MS. BERNARD  said that she would  like to see students  thrive in                                                               
schools  that were  securely funded;  ones that  did not  need to                                                               
make cuts to staff, programs, and  services each year.  She would                                                               
like to see schools with  their dedicated teachers and staff know                                                               
early  on  the   amount  of  their  school   funding  instead  of                                                               
scrambling at the  end of the school year to  match their budgets                                                               
to  reflect  legislative  appropriations.     She  said  she  was                                                               
encouraged that the committee was  considering this bill early on                                                               
in the legislative session.   She stated that our students needed                                                               
and deserved to have funding  stability in their schools, similar                                                               
to  how  businesses  operate.   She  offered  that  investing  in                                                               
schools was the key to our students'  and to the future of all of                                                               
us who  live in  Alaska because  these kids  will run  things and                                                               
take care  of us when  we can no  longer do  so.  She  said, "So,                                                               
let's invest  in kids.   Let's invest in  our own future.   Let's                                                               
invest in  our schools and  keep the funding up  with inflation."                                                               
She thanked members for their time.                                                                                             
9:16:57 AM                                                                                                                    
DAVID BOYLE,  Senior Policy Fellow,  Alaska Policy  Forum, stated                                                               
his  opposition to  HB 339  to  increase the  BSA as  it was  now                                                               
written.     He  stated   that  the  bill   does  not   have  any                                                               
accountability for  results in student  achievement.   He offered                                                               
his belief  that the goal  of everyone  in Alaska was  to improve                                                               
student  achievement   and  provide  them  with   best  education                                                               
possible.   He related  that the state  has had  terrible results                                                               
for  the  NAEP  [National  Assessment  of  Educational  Progress]                                                               
MR.  BOYLE referred  to slide  9  of the  PowerPoint in  members'                                                               
packets  [not specifically  identified].   He said  that it  only                                                               
considered the general operating  budget, but not transportation,                                                               
school bond debt  reimbursement, or other funding  steams such as                                                               
quality schools.  He asked members  to look at the entire budget.                                                               
The education  system has indicated  that teachers  would receive                                                               
"pink slip,"  which no one wants.   He said it  was not necessary                                                               
but  represents  a strategy  to  get  the attention  of  parents,                                                               
Alaskans, and legislators.                                                                                                      
MR.  BOYLE  provided data  from  the  CAFR [Comprehensive  Annual                                                               
Financial Report],  which he  said was not  anecdotal nor  did it                                                               
contain opinions  as with the previous  document, the PowerPoint.                                                               
He said there were no pinks given  in the ASD to 268 food service                                                               
workers,   354   custodians,   147   principals   and   assistant                                                               
principals,   95   IT   [Information   Technology]   staff,   200                                                               
maintenance staff,  and 141 transportation  employees.   He asked                                                               
members  for  the  reason.    He said  slide  9  showed  394  FTE                                                               
[fulltime  equivalent]  positions,   which  were  positions,  not                                                               
people.   He  said one  slide  showed that  classroom sizes  have                                                               
increased.  He  stated that was incorrect.  According  to the ASD                                                               
CAFR,  classroom  sizes  have not  increased,  with  the  average                                                               
student  to  teacher ratio  at  16-1.    He  said that  slide  10                                                               
indicate that fixed costs have  skyrocketed, which they have, but                                                               
these represent  variable costs since  they are  negotiable costs                                                               
with collective bargaining units.                                                                                               
9:19:49 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BOYLE  reported that Anchorage  taxpayers paid  about $21,000                                                               
per  NEA member  for health  care.   He said  one member  of this                                                               
committee  voted against  reducing  health care  costs when  that                                                               
member  opposed combining  all school  districts into  one health                                                               
care consortium.   He stated that  only the ASD opposed  this and                                                               
he  asked for  the  reason, then  answered  that the  legislature                                                               
would fund more  dollars.  He asked members to  look at the facts                                                               
in the CAFR and not at opinions or anecdotes.                                                                                   
CHAIR DRUMMOND advised the public  that anyone could submit their                                                               
testimony  in   writing.    She   was  unsure  of   the  specific                                                               
PowerPoint, Mr. Boyle had referenced.                                                                                           
9:20:55 AM                                                                                                                    
ANDY HOLLEMAN,  Member, Anchorage  School Board  (ASB), Anchorage                                                               
School District (ASD),  stated that over the past  ten years, the                                                               
district has  pared down staff  to the point that  programs, such                                                               
as  gifted programs,  counselors,  security, music,  and art  can                                                               
barely function.  These programs  help keep the schools connected                                                               
to  students.   In  the aftermath  of what  has  happened in  our                                                               
country,   people  understand   the  critical   nature  of   that                                                               
connection, he said.                                                                                                            
MR. HOLLEMAN  predicted that continuing  with "flat  funding" and                                                               
cutting  staff  would  result  in  dropping  the  connections  to                                                               
students.  The  most dangerous students with  critical needs were                                                               
the  ones  that schools  lose  the  connection  with first.    He                                                               
lamented that  time did not allow  him to discuss the  success in                                                               
the schools but that schools have a  lot more to do and they need                                                               
more  staff  to do  it.    He  indicated  that members  who  were                                                               
familiar  with  the  mechanics  of  issuing  "pink  slips"  could                                                               
explain  the process  to those  who  were not  familiar with  the                                                               
budget cycle.   He characterized  the idea of using  "pink slips"                                                               
as  a grandstanding  exercise was  preposterous and  untrue.   He                                                               
stated that using  the accounting number for the  FTEs to reflect                                                               
what was happening in the classroom was a misrepresentation.                                                                    
9:23:03 AM                                                                                                                    
MIKE BRONSON,  Member, National  Association for  the Advancement                                                               
of Colored  People (NAACP),  stated that  he was  affiliated with                                                               
the  NAACP  in Anchorage.    He  said  several of  his  daughters                                                               
graduated  from  West  High  School recently.    He  offered  the                                                               
NAACP's support for HB 339  and the base student allocation (BSA)                                                               
increase of $100.                                                                                                               
9:23:41 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BRONSON  agreed that the  public does expect  the legislature                                                               
to  hold the  schools accountable  for  results.   He echoed  Mr.                                                               
Holleman of the  importance of the teacher to student  ratio.  He                                                               
referred to  the science emphasis  at the Central  Middle School,                                                               
noting that many military kids  need more assistance and struggle                                                               
to learn  multiplication tables typically mastered  by the fourth                                                               
grade.  He  said that two years ago classes  were overflowing and                                                               
this  year the  ASB would  be voting  to reduce  teacher numbers,                                                               
which would increase class sizes.   One consequence would be that                                                               
students who  were already  behind may never  catch up  in middle                                                               
school or in high school.                                                                                                       
9:25:31 AM                                                                                                                    
JOSH KEATON,  Vice-President, Juneau  School Board  (JSB), Juneau                                                               
School District (JSD), stated he was  a parent of two children in                                                               
the  Juneau  School  District  (JSD).    He  serves  on  multiple                                                               
committees and volunteers  in the schools.  He  offered the JSB's                                                               
support, as well as his personal  support for HB 339, which would                                                               
increase  the  base  student  allocation (BSA).    He  has  heard                                                               
testimony today about  celebrating some of the  successes or lack                                                               
thereof in the schools.  He  said, "We're doing amazing work here                                                               
in Juneau;  however, we're doing  this at a  time we've -  in the                                                               
past five  years - have cut  over $10 million in  budget and have                                                               
lost  over  90 staff  members."    He characterized  the  current                                                               
situation  as  being  in  the  position  of  having  to  make  an                                                               
impossible choice.   The JSD  has a $3 million  budget shortfall,                                                               
which  meant the  JSB  must decide  if it  can  fund high  school                                                               
librarians or counselors, or whether  to raise kindergarten class                                                               
sizes to an  unmanageable 30 students.  He asked  members for any                                                               
support that  they can give  to help.  He  said that the  JSD was                                                               
doing amazing work.   He recalled earlier  testimony from members                                                               
of the community  but added that this $100 BSA  increase would go                                                               
a long  way to help with  inflation costs.  He  asked members for                                                               
additional support for our schools.                                                                                             
9:27:16 AM                                                                                                                    
WILLIAM HARRINGTON stated  that the big question  was results and                                                               
student achievement.   He  did not believe  that we  were getting                                                               
what  we  were paying  for.    He  advocated for  education  that                                                               
resulted in usable  job skills and not  just college preparation.                                                               
He suggested  the community face  the realities  of single-family                                                               
homes.    He  advocated  for   the  basic  ability  of  financial                                                               
responsibility.   He acknowledged that oil  revenues had provided                                                               
for education.  He agreed  with the previous testifier who stated                                                               
that he received a good  education without some of the amenities,                                                               
which were nice, but the  lack of academic and real-life learning                                                               
was  a glaring  fault of  the highly  paid administrators  over a                                                               
long period of time.  He  accused administrators of using kids as                                                               
pawns while they  did mediocre jobs but  received great benefits.                                                               
He and  his family  support education  but he  did not  think the                                                               
schools were achieving  results.  When oil was  $100 [per barrel]                                                               
the  school districts  should  have asked  for  more funding  but                                                               
right now we just need  to concentrate on education that provides                                                               
usable  job skills  and teaches  consequences they  will need  to                                                               
face when they finish school, whether they graduate or not.                                                                     
CHAIR DRUMMOND  asked testifiers to  comment on HB 339,  which is                                                               
for the $100 increase to the BSA.                                                                                               
9:29:13 AM                                                                                                                    
ROXANNE  BROWER,  President,  Board  of  Education,  North  Slope                                                               
Borough  School District  (NSBSD), spoke  in support  of HB  339.                                                               
She  stated  that  school  districts  face  increasing  costs  in                                                               
delivering education each  year.  In order  to maintain adequate,                                                               
quality  instruction and  programs  that align  with each  school                                                               
district's vision, adequate funding  was necessary.  She reported                                                               
that the graduation rate grew from 76.1 in 2016 to 78.2 in 2017.                                                                
MS.  BROWER  related  that  an investment  in  education  was  an                                                               
investment in  Alaska.  She  said that economic benefits  come to                                                               
the communities through employment  of school staff and programs.                                                               
More  importantly investing  in education  for Alaska's  children                                                               
was one  of the surest  ways to  sustain our economy.   Educating                                                               
children reduces the numbers of  adults in need of assistance and                                                               
social programs.                                                                                                                
9:30:53 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  BROWER said  that the  rural caucus  and the  NSBSD supports                                                               
funding behavioral  health services  in all of  Alaska's schools.                                                               
She  characterized behavioral  health needs  as one  of the  most                                                               
urgent needs for our students.                                                                                                  
MS.  BROWER reported  that the  NSBSD's  student graduation  rate                                                               
rose from  58.48 percent in 2016  to 78.38 percent in  2017.  The                                                               
NSBSD  has  been  creating  personalized  relevant  learning  and                                                               
expanding its career technology  education program and case-based                                                               
learning opportunities  for all  students.   Given the  chance to                                                               
sustain adequate  education funding, the NSBSD  would continue to                                                               
produce  results for  its students.   She  stated that  the NSBSD                                                               
needed sustainable and  adequate funds to recruit  and retain its                                                               
teachers who are  using the Inupiaq learning  framework for their                                                               
students and seeing results.                                                                                                    
MS.  BROWER stated  that the  $100 increase  to the  base student                                                               
allocation (BSA) would provide the  school district with a modest                                                               
increase to  keep up  with increased costs  and help  sustain its                                                               
educational workforce.   Alaska needs to provide more  for it its                                                               
children.    The  NSBSD  has  been  doing  its  part  to  educate                                                               
9:32:20 AM                                                                                                                    
STEWART  MCDONALD,  Superintendent,  North Slope  Borough  School                                                               
District  (NSBSD), stated  that the  school board  president just                                                               
spoke.   He reiterated the  NSBSD's student graduation  rate rose                                                               
from 58.48 percent in 2016 to 78.38  percent in 2017.  He said it                                                               
was important to see these  results and know the NSBSD celebrates                                                               
the outcome.   He said  that this happened because  of innovation                                                               
and  using  funding appropriately.    He  said without  the  $100                                                               
increase to  the base student  allocation (BSA) there would  be a                                                               
reduction  to the  educational force.   He  said that  you cannot                                                               
keep buying  the same things with  the same amount of  money year                                                               
after  year.   He stated  that  the NSBSD  would continue  facing                                                               
losing employees.  The mental  health counseling services provide                                                               
help to  students who  have challenging  circumstances or  are in                                                               
trouble.   He emphasized the  need to retain counselors  and have                                                               
those  connective services  for students.   He  urged members  to                                                               
please consider  the increase of $100  for the BSA so  the school                                                               
district  can maintain  the school  district's  momentum and  the                                                               
school  district's work  force.   He  thanked  members for  their                                                               
9:34:32 AM                                                                                                                    
JENNIFER  SCHMITZ,  Principal,   Scenic  Park  School,  Anchorage                                                               
School District (ASD) stated she  was a lifelong Alaskan and that                                                               
she was her  in her 7th year  at Scenic Park School  and her 12th                                                               
year  as a  principal.   She related  that 385  students were  at                                                               
Scenic Park School  when she started, currently  470 students are                                                               
enrolled,  and  she  expects approximately  20  more  next  year.                                                               
Although  she has  100 more  students  now, she  has seven  fewer                                                               
fulltime  staff  members, including  a  counselor,  a Cook  Inlet                                                               
Tribal  teacher, and  extended learning  staff.   She highlighted                                                               
the  importance of  having support  staff in  the building.   She                                                               
related that  some of her students  have one or more  parents who                                                               
are  incarcerated,  students  who are  considered  homeless,  and                                                               
dozens in foster  care.  She stated one of  her students has been                                                               
in three foster homes and she now  goes to the shelter to be with                                                               
her mom at  night.  The Office of Children's  Services visits her                                                               
school  weekly  to  interview  and check  on  students  who  have                                                               
suffered neglect and abuse.                                                                                                     
9:36:03 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. SCHMITZ lamented  that she does not have a  way to help these                                                               
students.  On  top of trying to help each  student reach academic                                                               
milestones, she and her teachers  are also tasked with supporting                                                               
students   whose   families   undergo   some   incredibly   tough                                                               
situations.  She said that they  were not trained for this nor do                                                               
they have  the resources  to do  so.   Many students  need mental                                                               
health support and with flat-funding  in education the school has                                                               
lost  significant  support  it  once had.    She  expressed  that                                                               
obtaining  additional  funds  to   the  BSA  would  help  provide                                                               
students  with the  necessary support.   More  and more  has been                                                               
required of classroom teachers and  because this was their chosen                                                               
path,  these teachers  do their  very  best to  be everything  to                                                               
their  students.   She said,  "It isn't  enough."   Teachers have                                                               
been  taking  on  more  and   more  with  curriculum,  individual                                                               
learning plans  for students, and  interventions to  meet student                                                               
needs  on top  of  the emotional  support they  must  give.   She                                                               
stated that this was her 27th year  at the ASD and she would like                                                               
to  say that  her  young  teachers would  stay  as  long but  she                                                               
believed that  too much was being  asked of them.   She concluded                                                               
by saying, "We need more supports in our schools.                                                                               
DOUGLAS GRAY,  Principal, Lake Otis Elementary  School, Anchorage                                                               
School District  (ASD), provided  his background, noting  that he                                                               
started his career  as a special education teacher  in Tokiak and                                                               
he  has  worked in  various  locations  and positions  throughout                                                               
Alaska.  He reported that the  BSA has not been increased in over                                                               
four years but  as the cost of living increases  so does the cost                                                               
of education.                                                                                                                   
9:37:28 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  GRAY  highlighted  that one  model  for  research  practices                                                               
schools  are looking  at was  the  Multiple Tiers  of Systems  of                                                               
Support  (MTSS), which  relies on  the  use of  support staff  to                                                               
support students  who are  not making  the growth  of achievement                                                               
the school would  like to see.  He explained  that the school has                                                               
lots  of  measures  that  the   school  uses  to  assess  student                                                               
progress.   He stated that  the school  now needs the  systems in                                                               
place to  provide support for  those students.  The  school tests                                                               
students' numerous times  throughout the year so  the data exists                                                               
but the school needs funds in order to do so.                                                                                   
9:38:17 AM                                                                                                                    
LISA PRINCE, Principal, Eagle  River Elementary School, Anchorage                                                               
School District (ASD),  stated that she has  previously served as                                                               
principal of elementary and middle  schools and was a high school                                                               
administrator.   She  said that  students who  are loved  at home                                                               
come  to learn  and students  who are  not come  to school  to be                                                               
loved.   She  related  that she  has found  the  need to  provide                                                               
social  support  for children  has  increased.   Children  cannot                                                               
learn when they are crying, when  they have not been fed, or when                                                               
they do  not have a  place to stay.   Children also  cannot learn                                                               
when  they  are  testing  positive for  meth  because  drugs  are                                                               
present in their homes.                                                                                                         
MS. PRINCE related  a scenario in which she had  to fix a leaking                                                               
urinal that was  vandalized at the same time  robbers were headed                                                               
towards Eagle River  from Anchorage.  Although some  of the video                                                               
surveillance  cameras  were broken  the  school  managed to  keep                                                               
students safe.  She then had  to conduct Alice training drills to                                                               
prepare for intruders.   She said one student was  afraid to come                                                               
into  the school  because of  concerns about  personal safety  at                                                               
school.    These  were  the  things  that  students  face.    She                                                               
acknowledged that her school has been  able to get results and be                                                               
creative with funding.  She  said she personally paid teachers to                                                               
tutor  kids after  school because  the  school did  not have  the                                                               
funding.   She  reported  that at  Bartlett  High School  passing                                                               
rates improved  and the  graduation rate approved.   As  a single                                                               
parent,  she  still budgets  $150  per  month from  her  personal                                                               
budget for  students' expenses, including paying  to fix cavities                                                               
and starting  clothing closets  at school.   This year  she asked                                                               
her supervisor  if it was  possible to  keep the United  Way food                                                               
bank at  their school.   She thanked members for  the opportunity                                                               
to support schools.                                                                                                             
9:40:42 AM                                                                                                                    
TIM PARKER, President, NEA Alaska;  Teacher, Lathrop High School,                                                               
Fairbanks  North Star  Borough  School District,  asked to  speak                                                               
about student  learning, which  he said  was really  the favorite                                                               
thing  of nearly  every  educator in  the state.    He said  that                                                               
educators care  about student  learning, that  it is  their focus                                                               
and what  they want to  see happen  in every classroom  for every                                                               
MR. PARKER, on behalf of  the 13,000 NEA members, offered support                                                               
for HB 339, relating to  base student allocation (BSA) increases.                                                               
He  advised  members that  many  educators  cannot testify  today                                                               
because  they are  working in  the 500  schools around  the state                                                               
making sure student  learning happens.  He  stated that inflation                                                               
is real and math teachers could help with the figures.                                                                          
MR.  PARKER,   referred  to  the   proposed  $100   base  student                                                               
allocation (BSA).   He offered  his belief  that the best  way to                                                               
view it is from student's perspective.   He said he has taught at                                                               
Lathrop High  School for 20  years.   The first point  of contact                                                               
was  when students  arrive; however,  due to  budget cuts  it has                                                               
been  difficult to  hire bus  drivers and  provide bus  services.                                                               
Since custodial staff has been  cut, he reported that the schools                                                               
are not  as clean  as they  once were.   Class  sizes are  up, in                                                               
fact, a couple of  years he was teaching a class  of 35, which is                                                               
not a reasonable class size, he said.                                                                                           
9:42:47 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. PARKER  asked members  to think about  it from  the student's                                                               
perspective about what is happening,  which is that he/she cannot                                                               
get  the personal  help that  they need.   He  said that  is what                                                               
increasing the BSA  represents.  When students  raise their hands                                                               
and ask  their teachers for  more information can they  ask their                                                               
questions and get more information when they need it.                                                                           
9:43:06 AM                                                                                                                    
AMY JO  MEINERS, Teacher, Riverbend  Elementary School;  Auke Bay                                                               
Elementary School, Juneau School  District (JSD), stated that she                                                               
was  recognized as  the 2016  Alaska Teacher  of the  Year.   She                                                               
stated that she was in her 29th  year of teaching in Juneau.  She                                                               
was raised in  Juneau and attended Juneau schools.   She has also                                                               
had  three  children who  have  gone  through the  Juneau  school                                                               
MS. MEINERS  said she came  today wearing a T-shirt  "Amy Strong"                                                               
in honor of  a former student, Amy Henderson,  who recently died.                                                               
Amy leaves behind  two students.  She compared  the services that                                                               
the school district  provided 28 years ago when Amy  was in first                                                               
grade compared  to what  the school  district provides  for Amy's                                                               
two children.   The school  district had a superintendent  and an                                                               
assistant  superintendent,  as  well  as  someone  in  charge  of                                                               
curriculum, and someone in charge  of professional learning.  The                                                               
schools  had fulltime  counselors,  physical education  teachers,                                                               
nurses, and librarians.                                                                                                         
MS. MEINERS  said that  today many of  those positions  are gone,                                                               
she said.   She has been "on the chopping  block" since 2008, but                                                               
the legislature will  not see her as a "pink  slip," however, her                                                               
K-2 services  have been  completely eliminated.   She  now serves                                                               
two  elementary schools.   In  the proposed  budget she  has been                                                               
scheduled to serve six elementary schools next year.                                                                            
MS. MEINERS recognized that relationships  matter and are pivotal                                                               
to student learning; however, she was  unsure how she could do so                                                               
effectively.  If the committee  considers the cuts and budget for                                                               
services, the committee would see a huge impact.                                                                                
9:45:06 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  MEINERS  said that  since  her  former student's  time,  the                                                               
standards have  increased.  Those  first set of students  are now                                                               
in 4th  grade and the school  district was just beginning  to see                                                               
the statewide  data results under  the new standards.   The state                                                               
has worked  on a teacher evaluation  system that has had  a great                                                               
impact on effective  learning, so some things have  improved.  In                                                               
addition, attendance  rates have  improved, and  Thunder Mountain                                                               
had a 100  percent graduation rate for Alaska  Natives last year.                                                               
She acknowledged  that improvements were happening;  however, the                                                               
cuts have  been drastic.   She reported that the  school district                                                               
has cut $11  million since 2011 and she  anticipate an additional                                                               
$3 million next year.                                                                                                           
9:45:45 AM                                                                                                                    
LISA SKILES  PARADY, PhD; Executive  Director, Alaska  Council of                                                               
School    Administrators     (ACSA);    Representative,    Alaska                                                               
Superintendents Association  (ASA)& Association of  Alaska School                                                               
Boards  (AASB),  stated   that  she  represents  superintendents,                                                               
elementary and  secondary principals, school  business officials,                                                               
and school administrators across Alaska.                                                                                        
9:45:58 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. PARADY offered  her belief that members have  received a copy                                                               
of their  position statements.   She read,  "The State  of Alaska                                                               
must  provide  timely,  reliable,  and  predictable  revenue  for                                                               
schools, funding  the true cost  of an adequate education  in all                                                               
districts."   She  emphasized that  HB 339  goes directly  to the                                                               
point of  funding the true  costs.  She suggested  that testimony                                                               
today has indicated that probably  has not been happening in many                                                               
cases throughout Alaska.                                                                                                        
9:46:35 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. PARADY  said this bill was  short and to the  point; increase                                                               
the base  student allocation (BSA)  by $100.   She said  that her                                                               
organizations support this.   The questions within  the bill were                                                               
complex since  it goes right  at the  heart of the  priorities of                                                               
the state, she said.  It  was counter intuitive since it proposes                                                               
to increase  funding for  education at a  time of  ongoing budget                                                               
shortfalls.   She  emphasized  her  organizations' position  that                                                               
this represents an investment for  the future of our students and                                                               
of  our  state.    It  really can  be  argued  that  funding  for                                                               
education is the primary constitutional duty, she said.                                                                         
9:47:08 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. PARADY  said the  central question  before the  committee was                                                               
whether the legislature has provided  the resources that students                                                               
in  our state  need.   She encouraged  members to  listen to  the                                                               
educators who are testifying today.   She said, "We are doing the                                                               
best we  can.  As you  know from basic economics,  "flat funding"                                                               
is in plain  truth a cut."  She asked  members to consider health                                                               
care and all the costs districts  face.  She said these cuts have                                                               
hollowed  out  our  capacity  to sustain  schools.    The  school                                                               
districts and  schools have been  resourceful and have  kept cuts                                                               
away from classrooms  to the greatest degree  possible.  However,                                                               
the  state  cannot  continue  to   run  schools  without  quality                                                               
educators,  teacher's  aides,   maintenance  staff,  secretaries,                                                               
administrators  and bus  drivers.   All  of  these positions  are                                                               
necessary  to support  teachers and  students.   Direct cuts,  or                                                               
funding below  inflation, has resulted in  increased class sizes,                                                               
reduced  course  offerings and  programs,  and  less support  for                                                               
students  all across  the  state.   She argued  that  we are  not                                                               
talking  about  trimming the  fat  but  about  the core  of  what                                                               
educators provide. She concluded  with her organizations' support                                                               
for   this  bill.     She   thanked  the   committee  for   their                                                               
consideration of HB 339.                                                                                                        
9:48:25 AM                                                                                                                    
SUNNA  SCNAME, Student,  Montessori  Borealis Elementary  School,                                                               
Juneau School  District (JSD), stated  she and her  brother Caleb                                                               
attend  Montessori Borealis  Elementary  School.   She said,  "We                                                               
would like the bill to pass,  because if it didn't pass, we would                                                               
have to lose  a teacher from our  school.  And it  would make the                                                               
classrooms more  cramped, and louder,  and harder to focus.   And                                                               
we wouldn't be able to have as many lessons.  Thank you."                                                                       
9:50:29 AM                                                                                                                    
EMILY FERRY  stated that  she was Caleb  and Sunna  Scname's mom.                                                               
She  said  she was  a  member  of  the Montessori  Borealis  Site                                                               
Council and she  also was involved with the  Great Alaska Schools                                                               
volunteers.    She  offered  her  support for  HB  339,  to  help                                                               
inflation-proof  education funding.    She expressed  frustration                                                               
hearing testifiers describe  how teachers must do  more with less                                                               
every  year.   The parents,  teachers, and  support staff  at the                                                               
Montessori Borealis Elementary School,  where her children attend                                                               
school, have  all "dug in"  to make that  school the best  it can                                                               
be, she said.  She indicated the school was slated  for a capital                                                               
projects renovation; however, those  projects were frozen several                                                               
years ago.   She characterized the school  building as "ancient."                                                               
The parents  worked with the  school district and raised  our own                                                               
funds replace the old carpet.   Parents, volunteers, and teachers                                                               
have  painted the  hallways "making  that  school shine"  because                                                               
they did  not get the renovation  funds.  She offered  her belief                                                               
that the  funding for  teachers was  down to  "bare bones."   She                                                               
thanked  the   committee  for  considering   how  to   help  fund                                                               
9:51:53 AM                                                                                                                    
KATHY  TRAN, Student;  Student Body  President, Thunder  Mountain                                                               
High School (TMHS),  Juneau School District, stated  that she was                                                               
representing  herself and  student government.   She  offered her                                                               
support  for  HB  339, increasing  the  base  student  allocation                                                               
(BSA).  She  reported that she submitted 21  letters of testimony                                                               
to the committee.                                                                                                               
MS.  TRAN  offered  to  share her  story  as  a  first-generation                                                               
Vietnamese American.  She stated  that growing up she learned two                                                               
languages simultaneously.   She  acknowledged that  she struggled                                                               
with reading  and writing.   She was lower  than the rest  of her                                                               
peers  and she  felt  like  learning to  read  and  write was  an                                                               
unattainable  goal.   Through  the  help  she received  from  the                                                               
school district  she learned to  read and write beyond  her grade                                                               
level.   She  highlighted  that her  little  brother who  attends                                                               
kindergarten,  speaks  mostly English.    In  preschool he  spoke                                                               
Vietnamese, so his parents were  advised to speak less Vietnamese                                                               
to him.   She offered her belief that her  little brother has not                                                               
been receiving  the support  that she did.   She  asked committee                                                               
members to  support HB  339.  She  characterized education  as in                                                               
investment  not  a cost.    She  said  it  was an  investment  in                                                               
Alaska's  children and  the future  of Alaska.   She  thanked the                                                               
committee for their time.                                                                                                       
9:54:16 AM                                                                                                                    
MICHELLE STRICKLER stated that she  was a parent of five children                                                               
who have  all attended schools in  the JSD.  She  stated that she                                                               
has been active in the Site  Council and has been for many years.                                                               
She   expressed  her   gratitude   to   committee  members,   the                                                               
legislature, and the  school board for their work  to address the                                                               
challenges.   She  offered her  support for  HB 339  for the  1.7                                                               
percent increase [to the base  student allocation (BSA)] that has                                                               
not happened  over several years.   As  a business owner  in this                                                               
community, she  was constantly reviewing  business costs  and she                                                               
has raised her rates more than 1.7 percent this year.                                                                           
MS.  STRICKLER said  she  also helps  run  her husband's  medical                                                               
practice.   She suggested that medical  practitioners have likely                                                               
raised their rates more than 1.7  percent this year, just to keep                                                               
up with the cost of doing business.                                                                                             
9:55:23 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  STRICKLER   viewed  education  as   a  business  and   as  a                                                               
recruitment  tool to  recruit members  to our  communities.   She                                                               
argued that  if we  care about our  economy in  Alaska, education                                                               
was a top  recruiting tools to bring staff and  physicians to our                                                               
community.   She would like  to be able  to tell them  that their                                                               
children would  receive an  excellent education.   She  said that                                                               
the base  student allocation (BSA)  increase of $100  would allow                                                               
teachers  to do  excellent work  and  keeps them  out of  ongoing                                                               
financial discussions.   She estimated  she personally  has spent                                                               
more than  30 hours poring  over financial statements,  trying to                                                               
find  ways to  scrape  $3 million  for  Juneau's school  district                                                               
budget.  She  said when she observes  teachers testifying instead                                                               
of being  in the classroom,  she realizes  that we have  a broken                                                               
system.   She argued that  we know  education needs to  be funded                                                               
and  should reflect  the actual  cost of  education.   She wanted                                                               
members to let our teachers and  staff return to the hard work of                                                               
making  positive  changes  in  our  schools.    She  thanked  the                                                               
committee for their time.                                                                                                       
9:56:48 AM                                                                                                                    
ELLA  LUBIN,  Student,  Sitka High  School  (SHS),  Sitka  School                                                               
District (SSD), stated  that she was currently a  junior at Sitka                                                               
High  School.    She  said   that  during  this  time  of  fiscal                                                               
uncertainty that  the legislature has sought  solutions; however,                                                               
she  said that  cutting education  funding is  not the  solution.                                                               
She said  that HB  339 would support  public education  in Alaska                                                               
and provide  the solution to  a successful future for  our state.                                                               
In  the years  to come,  young people  would be  making important                                                               
decisions for  our state.  She  stressed that it was  in Alaska's                                                               
best interest to  provide them with the education  and tools they                                                               
will need.                                                                                                                      
9:57:32 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. LUBIN stated  that flat funding would leave  the Sitka School                                                               
District  (SSD) with  a $2.3  million deficit,  which equates  to                                                               
about 10-12 lost  teaching positions.  She said  that this scared                                                               
her as  she could imagine  class sizes  growing and the  range of                                                               
courses being offered  being reduced.  As a  student, she offered                                                               
her belief that  all Alaskan students deserve  the opportunity to                                                               
grow and flourish.   They cannot do this  if materials, teachers,                                                               
and  facilities  are  not  available  to them,  she  said.    She                                                               
emphasized that  our state needs this  bill to pass to  make sure                                                               
that Alaska's most valuable resource,  its students, can continue                                                               
to  be  supported  and encouraged  to  challenge  themselves  and                                                               
learn.   She thanked  the committee for  listening and  for their                                                               
9:58:21 AM                                                                                                                    
ROGER SCHMIDT  stated he was the  father of two girls  who attend                                                               
the Sitka School  District (SSD).  He offered his  support for HB                                                               
339.   He  related that  he  grew up  in Sitka  and attended  the                                                               
schools.   As  Ella mentioned,  the Sitka  School District  (SSD)                                                               
advised it has  a $2.3 million deficit.  He  stated that over the                                                               
last few years  the school district has been forced  to make cuts                                                               
due to declining revenues and  rising costs.  The school district                                                               
has had to keep making cuts  and the teachers have less resources                                                               
to  teach with,  along with  larger  classes.   He reported  that                                                               
teaching positions and programs have  been eliminated.  Each year                                                               
the  students have  less opportunities  and  resources, he  said.                                                               
Obviously as  the schools continue  to decline, people  leave the                                                               
community and  move out of  Alaska.  He  asked to echo  what Ella                                                               
said,  that the  education of  children  in Alaska  was our  most                                                               
valuable  resource.   He  said  funding  education was  the  most                                                               
important investment that we can  make toward the state's future.                                                               
He urged members to support HB 339.                                                                                             
9:59:49 AM                                                                                                                    
JENNIFER SAMPSON  stated she is  the mother of three  children in                                                               
school in Fairbanks,  a member of the  Parent Teacher Association                                                               
(PTA), and  a concerned parent.   She offered her support  for HB                                                               
339.  She urged members to support the bill.                                                                                    
MS. SAMPSON  expressed concern that  the base  student allocation                                                               
(BSA) has  not kept up with  inflation, which was not  okay.  She                                                               
said  it cripples  schools.   She  emphasized  that schools  were                                                               
expected to  do more with  less and less.   She stressed  that we                                                               
must  support  schools  in their  endeavor  to  produce  educated                                                               
members of  society.   We must  make education  a priority.   She                                                               
stated  that  her daughter's  class  size  was expected  to  grow                                                               
beyond  the 29  current students.   She  questioned how  children                                                               
could get  any attention  under those  circumstances.   She knows                                                               
her  children's  peers and  teachers.    She has  observed  their                                                               
struggles, lack of supplies, and  not enough individual attention                                                               
from teachers.   She offered her belief that  school provides the                                                               
means for  children to succeed in  life.  We need  to ensure that                                                               
our children's education  is the best it can  possibly be because                                                               
they are the future:  your  future, my future.  She urged members                                                               
to please invest in our future and support HB 339.                                                                              
10:01:22 AM                                                                                                                   
JOSIAH SAMPSON,  Student, Tanana  Middle School,  Fairbanks North                                                               
Star  Borough School  District (FNSBSD)  stated  that he  attends                                                               
Tanana Middle School.   He said that the classes  are already big                                                               
so increasing  class sizes and  cutting teachers would  mean that                                                               
students will not be  able to get the help they  need.  He stated                                                               
that  if  the legislature  increased  funding  for schools,  more                                                               
teachers  will  be  able  to  help  students  and  improve  their                                                               
education.  He thanked the committee.                                                                                           
10:02:12 AM                                                                                                                   
DEENA MITCHELL,  Member, Great Alaska  Schools, stated she  was a                                                               
member of the  statewide, non-partisan advocacy group.   She said                                                               
there was  little she could  add to the eloquent  testimony given                                                               
MS.  MITCHELL characterized  it as  heartbreaking to  sit through                                                               
the ASD's Board meeting and  listen to the superintendent outline                                                               
options for  the $13  million in  cuts due  to flat  funding this                                                               
year.  She said students talked  about how damaging it was not to                                                               
have counselors to  talk to about problems.  She  heard about the                                                               
counselor positions that have been  lost and the workload for the                                                               
remaining ones,  some of  whom have  class loads  of 700  or more                                                               
students.   She spoke  about how  nurses must  take the  place of                                                               
some counselors in schools, such  that some schools need to share                                                               
nurses.  She offered her belief  that we are selling our children                                                               
short.  She said it was not  just her concern for every child but                                                               
for the  future of Alaska  because she  loves this state  and she                                                               
wants Alaska to  have vibrant teachers.  The only  way to do that                                                               
was to  provide support for  children, noting that much  of those                                                               
connections gets  made through counselors in  schools and through                                                               
the personal connections.                                                                                                       
10:03:27 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. MITCHELL  said teachers  who have large  class sizes  and are                                                               
beginning  to break  under the  load cannot  make those  personal                                                               
one-on-one  connections that  we know  have the  ability to  save                                                               
lives.  She  applauded members for introducing  this bill, noting                                                               
that while  it does not come  close to meeting the  needs that we                                                               
have,  it  was a  step  in  the  right  direction.   Every  child                                                               
deserves to have the same  opportunities as those who came before                                                               
them  or  after  them.     She  thanked  the  committee  for  the                                                               
opportunity to testify.                                                                                                         
10:04:07 AM                                                                                                                   
SANDY DAWS,  Purchasing Supervisor, Kodiak Island  Borough School                                                               
District  (KIBSD), stated  that in  the past  year the  KIBSD has                                                               
seen a large  reduction in its staff.   From FY 17  to now, KIBSD                                                               
has  had  to   cut  18  teaching  positions,   reduce  hours  for                                                               
classified staff,  cut staff  travel, classroom,  maintenance and                                                               
curriculum  supplies, and  reduced  professional development  for                                                               
the entire staff.                                                                                                               
MS. DAWS stated  that these cuts amounted to  $2.1 million budget                                                               
cut.   The FY 19  preliminary budget requested $1.5  million from                                                               
the  Kodiak  Island   Borough.    This  would   place  the  KIB's                                                               
contribution at  96 percent to  the cap.   She wondered  what was                                                               
going  to happen  next year.   She  acknowledged that  we need  a                                                               
long-term early  planning solution from  the state.   She offered                                                               
her belief that increasing the  base student allocation (BSA) was                                                               
a place  to start.   She cautioned that not  receiving additional                                                               
funding  from the  state or  borough would  result in  cutting an                                                               
additional nine  teachers and  seven classified  positions, which                                                               
would translate  into larger  class sizes  and fewer  options for                                                               
students.  In addition, the  school district would need to reduce                                                               
funding  for renewal  and replacement  of  facilities and  endure                                                               
deeper cuts  in the  curriculum replacement.   She said  that the                                                               
key to student success was  quality and high content with diverse                                                               
learning  interest.     Flat  funding  does  not   keep  up  with                                                               
inflation, teacher salary, or raises.                                                                                           
10:05:21 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. DAWS  said that  the KIBSD  has been  working hard  to reduce                                                               
these  costs.    She  related  that  80  percent  of  the  school                                                               
district's staff were on a  high-deductible health care plan.  By                                                               
June 30, 2020 the entire  district will be on the high-deductible                                                               
health care  plan.   The district has  been exploring  options to                                                               
stabilize  their technology  purchases by  leasing and  spreading                                                               
out costs over  a four-year period.  She asked  members to please                                                               
help them  find solutions.   She offered the KIBSD's  support for                                                               
HB 339.                                                                                                                         
10:06:24 AM                                                                                                                   
BRENDA TAYLOR,  Teacher, Juneau Community Charter  School, Juneau                                                               
School District  (JSD) stated her students  were currently taking                                                               
a  test and  she had  someone else  supervise them  so she  could                                                               
testify today.   She recalled a question the committee  had at an                                                               
earlier hearing on  online learning.  She explained  that her son                                                               
is a high  school junior and has taken four  online classes.  She                                                               
said  in one  course,  an  online world  history  course, he  was                                                               
taking  a  test  and  encountered  things  he  knew  were  wrong;                                                               
however, online  courses do not  provide a means for  students to                                                               
interact and point  out errors.  She wondered  how students could                                                               
make  ethical decisions  when faced  with having  to take  screen                                                               
shots  of  the  exam  to  prove the  errors  in  the  test,  when                                                               
photographing an exam could be  viewed as unethical.  She offered                                                               
her  belief  that  the  turnaround time  for  scoring  of  online                                                               
courses was  also rather long.   She  said her son  experienced a                                                               
lot of frustration with his online courses.                                                                                     
MS.  TAYLOR stated  her son  took an  online health  class.   She                                                               
asked  members to  consider Alaska's  issues related  to domestic                                                               
abuse,  suicide, and  alcoholism.   She  questioned how  students                                                               
would learn  how say  no in an  online class;  however, classroom                                                               
teachers  would  be  available   to  assist  students  who  faced                                                               
sensitive situations at home or in their lives.                                                                                 
CHAIR DRUMMOND  asked her to submit  written testimony describing                                                               
other scenarios.                                                                                                                
10:08:42 AM                                                                                                                   
DEMETRY SHANE  said his six  children attend school  in Anchorage                                                               
in various schools, four of  whom previously were in foster care.                                                               
He related  that two of  his children have  learning disabilities                                                               
and his  children's teachers do  their best to ensure  that their                                                               
needs are met.   He stated that his children  need more resources                                                               
at times.   He expressed concern that his son  was in a classroom                                                               
of 35  kids and that teacher  must use a microphone  in order for                                                               
the children  to hear her.   As  an immigrant he  sometimes hangs                                                               
out  with a  group  of  other immigrants  and  when teachers  are                                                               
asking parents for school supplies,  his immigrant friends wonder                                                               
what country they  live in.  They question why  teachers must beg                                                               
for  school supplies  when they  live in  the richest  country on                                                               
earth.  He commented that it  is absolutely shameful.  He said we                                                               
all should  be ashamed of  this; our teachers deserve  better and                                                               
our children deserve better.                                                                                                    
10:10:29 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR DRUMMOND announced that HB 339 would be held over.                                                                        

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 212 - Sponsor Statement 2.16.18.pdf HEDC 2/21/2018 8:30:00 AM
HB 212
HB 212 Attachment #1 Districts covered by the bill.pdf HEDC 2/21/2018 8:30:00 AM
HB 212
HB 212 Attachment #2 REAA & Sm School Fund.pdf HEDC 2/21/2018 8:30:00 AM
HB 212
HB 212 Attachment #3 School School Construction Grant Fund, Final List.pdf HEDC 2/21/2018 8:30:00 AM
HB 212
HB 212 Attachment #4 Major Maintenance List FY19 Final.pdf HEDC 2/21/2018 8:30:00 AM
HB 212
HB 212 Attachment #5 Kasayulie Order.pdf HEDC 2/21/2018 8:30:00 AM
HB 212
HB 212 Attachment #6 Annual Report School Capital Project Funding Under SB237.pdf HEDC 2/21/2018 8:30:00 AM
HB 212
SB 237
HB 212 Bill version D.PDF HEDC 2/21/2018 8:30:00 AM
HB 212
HB 212 Fiscal Note DEED Education Support and Admin Services.pdf HEDC 2/21/2018 8:30:00 AM
HB 212
HB 212 Support Document 2.17.18.pdf HEDC 2/21/2018 8:30:00 AM
HB 212
AASB Support of HB 339.pdf HEDC 2/21/2018 8:30:00 AM
HB 339