Legislature(2005 - 2006)HOUSE FINANCE 519

04/05/2005 01:30 PM FINANCE


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 122 LIFE INSURANCE FOR NATIONAL GUARD TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HB 149 SALE OF METHAMPHETAMINE AND PRECURSORS TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 149(FIN) Out of Committee
+= HB 156 COMMISSION ON AGING TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
+ HB 201 PERM. FUND DIVIDEND APPS OF MILITARY TELECONFERENCED
<Pending Referral><Bill Hearing Postponed
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
= HB 16 SCHOOL FUNDS RELATED TO BOARDING SCHOOLS
Moved Out of Committee
= HB 119 AK REGIONAL ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
Moved CSHB 119(FIN) Out of Committee
HOUSE BILL NO. 16                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act  relating  to  funding   for  school  districts                                                                   
     operating  secondary  school  boarding programs  and  to                                                                   
     funding  for   school  districts  from   which  boarding                                                                   
     students come; and providing for an effective date."                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
EDDY JEANS, DIRECTOR, EDUCATION  SUPPORT SERVICES, DEPARTMENT                                                                   
OF EDUCATION AND EARLY DEVELOPMENT,  spoke of Resolution 0125                                                                   
from the state  Board of Education  in support of HB  16.  He                                                                   
reported on  the number of  small boarding schools  and their                                                                   
enrollment.  He related an example  from Nenana regarding the                                                                   
hold-harmless provision,  which is a stopgap  while the pilot                                                                   
program is in place.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze asked how many  schools are involved.  Mr.                                                                   
Jeans responded that there are three.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hawker  questioned the need for  a requirement                                                                   
that  all students  go to  a boarding  school.   He  wondered                                                                   
about the overriding  policy that fewer than  10 students are                                                                   
not viable.   Mr. Jeans  responded that  he does not  want to                                                                   
see communities left out.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:10:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Chenault  asked how  long before it  is no  longer a                                                                   
pilot program.   Mr. Jeans reported  that the program  is not                                                                   
in  effect  right  now.   The  three  schools  are  currently                                                                   
generating resources to support  themselves.  The bill allows                                                                   
DOE  time  to  gather information  about  how  to  deal  with                                                                   
boarding schools.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Kelly voiced a  concern about going  below 10                                                                   
students.   He said he supports  the boarding  school concept                                                                   
and the test period, but not beyond  that.  He suggested that                                                                   
boarding schools  need to have high caliber  discipline plans                                                                   
like in Galena.   He referred to page 2, line  4, and said he                                                                   
wants  to have  parents involved.   He  stated opposition  to                                                                   
line 2.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Jeans  related  that the  per-pupil  stipend  mirrors  a                                                                   
current   program  already   in   place  regarding   airfare.                                                                   
Stipends  on the spreadsheet  that support  the fiscal  notes                                                                   
are the same  as currently in place.   They do not  add up to                                                                   
100  percent.   Representative Kelly  suggested that  parents                                                                   
pay all of the stipend.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:17:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHN COGHILL, sponsor  of HB 16,  agreed that                                                                   
the government  should not  hold the costs.   Under  the bill                                                                   
the stipend  would cover about 1/3  of the costs.   He agreed                                                                   
that the  benefit to Alaska is  great.  He  requested support                                                                   
for the bill.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Joule  spoke of  a personal  experience  with                                                                   
boarding schools and his family.   He said he is very pleased                                                                   
to see  this bill, but  noted that it  is not a  broad enough                                                                   
look.  He  suggested that the  state step up to the  plate to                                                                   
help.   He spoke of  regional learning  centers and  how they                                                                   
contribute to communities.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:24:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze  related a  personal story about  a family                                                                   
growing up poor.   He asked if students could  work off their                                                                   
stipends.   Mr.  Jeans  replied that  DOE  does not  regulate                                                                   
tuition amounts.  Nenana has scholarships to help families.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Coghill added  that families  could work  for                                                                   
the tuition in Nenana.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker  pointed  out  that  taking  the  $1.2                                                                   
million fiscal note  and dividing it by 231  students arrives                                                                   
at a per student cost of $5,311.   He noted that the language                                                                   
that says the stipend should be  determined by the department                                                                   
on a regional basis is troublesome.   He suggested that it be                                                                   
more specific.   Mr. Jeans  responded that the  boarding home                                                                   
program has  been in  regulation since  1985, and costs  have                                                                   
remained at  about $185,000 for  five years.  He  opined that                                                                   
the  department  has  not  abused the  stipend.    Mr.  Jeans                                                                   
explained that  there is statutory authority  to operate this                                                                   
program.  Representative  Hawker read from the  statute about                                                                   
who is  eligible to claim costs  incurred from the  per pupil                                                                   
stipend.   He interpreted  it  to allow anyone  to run  their                                                                   
program as they want.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:31:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Coghill replied that  was not the  intention,                                                                   
nor the practice  of the department.  He said  he was open to                                                                   
suggestions.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Foster  commended the Rasmuson  Foundation for                                                                   
the  grant.   Mr. Jeans  replied  that he  did  not know  the                                                                   
dollar amount  of the  grant, but  it accompanied a  business                                                                   
plan.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Weyhrauch  asked  what  the  State  Board  of                                                                   
Education is doing to develop  policies for boarding schools.                                                                   
Mr.  Jeans said  the board  has not  developed policies,  but                                                                   
does support this  pilot program.  All three  of these school                                                                   
districts started  the programs on  their own, and  the board                                                                   
passed a resolution  and found them worthy of  a second look.                                                                   
He explained the evaluation system.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:35:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker asked  if  there is  a defined  public                                                                   
program.  Mr.  Jeans replied only the three  boarding schools                                                                   
that are  currently operating  are eligible: Galena,  Nenana,                                                                   
and Bethel.   Representative  Hawker  observed that  there is                                                                   
nothing that shows what will be  had because of this program.                                                                   
He inquired about the pilot project.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative Coghill replied  that the purpose of the pilot                                                                   
project  is to evaluate  whether to  participate in  boarding                                                                   
school  programs  at  this level.    Student  access,  career                                                                   
moves, and  No Child  Left Behind Standards  will be  used to                                                                   
evaluate success.  Representative  Hawker spoke against open-                                                                   
ended  commitments.    He  asked  for  accountability  and  a                                                                   
definition of a  work product.  He concluded  that funding is                                                                   
important, but it needs missions and measures.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:40:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Coghill explained there  are ways  to measure                                                                   
progress.  He noted  that this is part of the  question, "Can                                                                   
we do it better?"                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stoltze pointed  out  that that  charter  schools                                                                   
need to  display credibility,  also.   Missions and  measures                                                                   
are already in place.  Representative  Coghill explained that                                                                   
he did not mean to disparage charter schools.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:45:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair   Meyer  concluded   that   there   would  be   some                                                                   
measurements of success, such as benchmark exams.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Weyhrauch WITHDREW Amendment 1.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative Weyhrauch MOVED to ADOPT Amendment 2:                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 17                                                                                                            
     Delete "2010"                                                                                                              
     Insert "2006"                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer OBJECTED for the purpose of discussion.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Weyhrauch explained  that  Amendment 2  would                                                                   
provide an earlier sunset date for the legislation.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Coghill stated  that he would  like to  see a                                                                   
five-year period  before a review.   He estimated  that there                                                                   
would be discussions during the entire five years.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Joule  point out  that  budget  subcommittees                                                                   
raise the  issue of how  programs are  doing every year.   He                                                                   
felt that the current process  would allow sufficient review.                                                                   
He spoke against the amendment.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:49:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer questioned if the  department would be able to                                                                   
provide a report  in 2010 regarding school performance.   Mr.                                                                   
Jeans stated  that it  would be their  intent to  provide the                                                                   
State  Board  of Education  a  report  detailing  performance                                                                   
statistics on a yearly basis.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative Weyhrauch WITHDREW Amendment 2.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer WITHDREW his OBJECTION.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hawker maintained  an objection to the idea in                                                                   
the amendment.   He  reiterated that the  there are  no clear                                                                   
expectations outlined  in regards to  the pilot program.   He                                                                   
expressed concern with the lack of accountability.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hawker said he  would not object to moving the                                                                   
bill out today.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:52:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Meyer  reiterated that  there  would  be means  and                                                                   
standards to measure the return of the programs.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Holm   noted    that   there   are   several                                                                   
intangibles.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer agreed.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:53:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kelly agreed with  Representative Hawker about                                                                   
accountability.     He   stressed   that   schools  need   to                                                                   
demonstrate what they are replacing  and that the schools are                                                                   
performing.   He  maintained  that   there  should   be  high                                                                   
performance measures  in terms  of graduation rates  and GPA.                                                                   
He stressed there should be better returns than "average".                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer agreed that there  is concern that the state's                                                                   
money be well spent.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:55:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Coghill    agreed   with   the    need   for                                                                   
accountability.  Communities have  reached into their pockets                                                                   
to  go  the  extra miles.  Students  and  parents  have  made                                                                   
sacrifices.   He urged  the Committee to  step up  to support                                                                   
boarding   schools.   Boarding    schools   have   the   same                                                                   
requirements as  other schools.   He questioned  why boarding                                                                   
schools should have to outperform other schools.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Kelly  clarified   that  there  should  be  a                                                                   
measurement of improvement from  the local school the student                                                                   
left behind.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:58:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker  clarified   that  he  is  not  asking                                                                   
boarding schools to outperform  other schools.  He reiterated                                                                   
the need have performance measures.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative Foster MOVED to  report HB 16 out of Committee                                                                   
with  individual recommendations  and  with the  accompanying                                                                   
fiscal note.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
HB  16  was  REPORTED  out of  Committee  with  a  "do  pass"                                                                   
recommendation  and  with a  fiscal  impact  note #1  by  the                                                                   
Department of Education and Early Development.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:01:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                

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