Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/17/1994 01:30 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
  HOUSE BILL NO. 106                                                           
                                                                               
       "An Act  establishing the  Alaska education  technology                 
       program; and providing for an effective date."                          
                                                                               
  Representative Brown noted that CSHB  106 (JUD) would create                 
  the Alaska Education  Technology Program.  She  observe that                 
  similar  legislation  was  passed by  the  House  during the                 
  previous legislature.   She stressed  the need of  education                 
  technology.                                                                  
                                                                               
  KAREN  CRANE,  DIRECTOR,  LIBRARIES,  ARCHIVES AND  MUSEUMS,                 
  DEPARTMENT OF  EDUCATION spoke in support of CSHB 106 (JUD).                 
  She noted that most Alaskans  cannot access information that                 
  is   currently   available.      She   asserted   that   the                 
  telecommunications  network   must  be   available  to   all                 
  Alaskans,  the  hardware  must be  available  to  access the                 
  network and that training be available.  She maintained that                 
  schools  and  libraries   will  be  able  to   open  up  the                 
  "information highway" to students and citizens, and  provide                 
  training.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Larson   questioned  if  training   for  education                 
  technology  could  be  provided  as   part  of  a  teacher's                 
  recertification.  Ms. Crane could not answer.                                
                                                                               
  Ms. Crane  anticipated that  the legislation  would help  to                 
  bridge  discrepancies  which  exist  between  the  resources                 
  available in urban and rural areas.   She described the SLED                 
  program  being  offered through  the  University  of Alaska,                 
  Fairbanks.                                                                   
                                                                               
  In response  to a  question by  Representative Parnell,  Ms.                 
                                                                               
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  Crane discussed the Department's fiscal  note.  She observed                 
  that  the  greatest  cost  to the  Department  will  be  for                 
  training.   She  explained that  the Department  will add  a                 
  position to  an existing position to provide  training.  The                 
  two training positions will receive  clerical support by the                 
  requested  clerical  position.   Contractual  money will  be                 
  spent on a statewide plan for automation.  Contractual money                 
  in  subsequent years  would  be spent  on training  in rural                 
  areas.   She explained that training may be done by video or                 
  on-line.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Ms. Crane explained  that only 13 or  14 of the 100  library                 
  positions are professional  librarians.  She noted  that the                 
  Department would attempt to absorb administration costs with                 
  current staff.                                                               
                                                                               
  Representative Brown expounded that CSHB 106 (JUD) envisions                 
  the creation  of the  Education Technology  Fund that  would                 
  provide matching money for school districts and libraries to                 
  implement locally prepared plans.   She observed that HB 107                 
  would propose a general obligation bond issue.  She observed                 
  that the fiscal  note from the  Department of Revenue  would                 
  not  be  applicable  if  the  fund  is  not  created.    She                 
  maintained that CSHB 106 (JUD)  would allow the coordination                 
  of resources and a planned  approach for sharing information                 
  that exists.   She stressed  the advantages of  passing CSHB
  106 (JUD) separate from HB 107.                                              
                                                                               
  JIM  SCHAEFFER,  COORDINATOR,  DISTANCE  DELIVER  CONSORTIUM                 
  testified via the  teleconference network  from Bethel.   He                 
  noted  that  the  Consortium  is  composed  of  four  school                 
  districts,   the    Yukon-Kuskokwim   Health    Corporation,                 
  University of Alaska,  Kuskokwim and  KYUP Public Radio  and                 
  Television.                                                                  
                                                                               
  Mr.  Schaeffer  stressed   that  through  their  cooperative                 
  agreement agencies  are able  to deliver  training to  rural                 
  areas.    He noted  that  teachers  can receive  in  service                 
  training  without  leaving the  villages.   He  stressed the                 
  importance of electronic mail.   He maintained that planning                 
  will allow economies of scale not otherwise possible.                        
                                                                               
  DONNA PETERSON, PRINCIPLE,  NORTH STAR ELEMENTARY  testified                 
  via the teleconference network from Nikiski.  She noted that                 
  a technological focus was implemented when the school opened                 
  seven years ago.   There is a four to one  computer ratio in                 
  the  school.    She  asserted that  the  advantages  to  the                 
  students  are  "legendary".    She  maintained  that  second                 
  graders have mastered division through the use of computers.                 
  She  maintained that  two  weeks  of  math  classes  can  be                 
  accomplished in a  half hour lab.   She observed that  class                 
  size has been reduced by utilizing para-professionals to man                 
                                                                               
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  labs.    She emphasized  the  improvement of  writing skills                 
  through the use of education technology.                                     
                                                                               
  HELEN  BARRETT,   ALASKA  ANCHORAGE   SCHOOL  OF   EDUCATION                 
  testified  via the  teleconference  network from  Anchorage.                 
  She testified in  support of CSHB  106 (JUD).  She  asserted                 
  that the changes in applications  of technology to education                 
  have been dramatic over the past ten years.  She  noted that                 
  the finding of  a 1993 Department of Education  study stated                 
  that, "the greatest  need of Alaska schools was for training                 
  teachers and administrators to use the existing technology."                 
  She  discussed  the  University of  Alaska  programs.   (Ms.                 
  Barrett's  written  comments  are  on  file with  the  House                 
  Finance Committee).                                                          
                                                                               
  SKIP  VIA, ELEMENTARY TEACHER,  FAIRBANKS testified  via the                 
  teleconference  network from  Fairbanks.   He expressed  the                 
  desire  to apply for  funds for educational  technology.  He                 
  emphasized  that schools  should  reflect  the emergence  of                 
  world communication and education technology.                                
                                                                               
  ZACHARY VIA, FOURTH GRADE  STUDENT, FAIRBANKS testified  via                 
  the teleconference network  from Fairbanks.  He  stated that                 
  he  would "die  without technology."   He  asserted that  he                 
  survives on technology.                                                      
                                                                               
  JESSIE NOAH, FOURTH  GRADE STUDENT, FAIRBANKS  testified via                 
  the teleconference network from Fairbanks in support of CSHB
  106 (JUD).                                                                   
                                                                               
  Mr. Skip  Via emphasized  that computers  allow students  to                 
  progress at their own rate and to learn independently.                       
                                                                               
  SALLY RUE, JUNEAU  testified in support  of CSHB 106  (JUD).                 
  She  noted that  Juneau  passed a  $1.9 million  dollar bond                 
  proposition by 66 percent of the vote in 1993.  She asserted                 
  that education  technology  helps children  learn and  gives                 
  teachers an effective tool to help meet the diverse needs of                 
  children within the classroom.  She added that children have                 
  different learning  styles.   She maintained  that computers                 
  can  provide motivation,  challenges  at different  learning                 
  levels,  meet  the  needs  of  at risk  students,  integrate                 
  students with disabilities into the classrooms, and increase                 
  reading and writing skills in a non-judgmental way.                          
                                                                               
  Ms. Rue noted  that at the  middle school level,  technology                 
  provides access  to resources and communications  that bring                 
  real world issues into the classroom.   She observed that at                 
  all  levels technology  can bring a  vast array  of resource                 
  materials.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Ms. Rue stressed that CSHB 106 (JUD) takes into account that                 
                                                                               
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  school districts have differing  capacity for local  bonding                 
  and requires local participation.                                            
                                                                               
  Ms. Rue added  that the legislation  is tied to  educational                 
  goals.                                                                       
                                                                               
  (Tape Change, HFC 94-37, Side 1)                                             
                                                                               
  Ms. Rue  added that  CSHB 106  (JUD) provides  comprehensive                 
  planning of technology and teacher training.                                 
                                                                               
  Representative Brown reiterated her intent  to move CSHB 106                 
  (JUD) in the absence of legislation to capitalize the fund.                  
                                                                               
  Representative Brown noted that the effective date should be                 
  1994.  She MOVED  to delete "1993" and insert "1994" on page                 
  9, line 15.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                    
                                                                               
  In   response   to   a   question   by   Co-Chair   MacLean,                 
  Representative Brown referred to the  findings of the Alaska                 
  Instructional   Technology  Survey,   April   1993  by   the                 
  Department of Education (copy  on file).  She noted  that 80                 
  percent of  the  superintendents that  responded  said  that                 
  implementation of educational technology is a medium high or                 
  high  priority.    She stressed  that  the  legislation will                 
  address the growing disparity between schools.                               
                                                                               
  Ms. Crane clarified that the  Commissioner of the Department                 
  of Education supports CSHB 106 (JUD).                                        
                                                                               
  Representative   Parnell   expressed    support   for    the                 
  legislation.  He  observed the disparity between  schools in                 
  his  district.    Representative  Brown  noted  that  it  is                 
  difficult  to  retrofit  buildings.    She  discussed  other                 
  reasons for the  disparities that exist between  schools and                 
  school districts in regards to educational technology.                       
                                                                               
  Representative Brown  observed that  a matching  requirement                 
  was included in the legislation to assure local commitment.                  
                                                                               
  Representative Navarre  noted  the  lack  of  a  coordinated                 
  effort.   He observed that  some equipment is  included with                 
  new school construction.  He stressed  that old schools have                 
  difficulty finding  room  in their  budgets  for  additional                 
  items.  He noted that class size  can be reduced through the                 
  use of educational technology.                                               
                                                                               
  Representative Martin  referred to  the fiscal  note by  the                 
  Department of  Education.  Ms. Crane noted  that funding for                 
  the Education Technology Committee's travel  and per diem is                 
  included  in  the  Department  of  Education's fiscal  note.                 
  Representative  Brown  reiterated  that  the  Department  of                 
                                                                               
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  Revenue's  fiscal  note  will  not   be  needed  unless  the                 
  appropriation to capitalize the fund is approved.                            
                                                                               
  Representative Brown  MOVED to report CSHB 106  (FIN) out of                 
  Committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  with  the                 
  accompanying fiscal notes.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was                 
  so ordered.                                                                  
                                                                               
  CSHB 106 (FIN) was reported out of Committee with individual                 
  recommendations and with  three fiscal impact notes,  two by                 
  the Department  of Education, and  one by the  Department of                 
  Revenue.                                                                     

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