Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/25/1993 03:00 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
  HB 85:  PUBLIC SCHOOL FOUNDATION PROGRAM                                     
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE noted that there had been much communication and                  
  concern from the public concerning the bill.  He said he                     
  would like to address those questions.                                       
                                                                               
  Number 455                                                                   
                                                                               
  DUANE GUILEY, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF EDUCATION FINANCE AND                    
  SUPPORT SERVICES, DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION (DOE), testified                   
  in Juneau in support of HB 85.  He briefly described the                     
  five major portions of the bill:                                             
                                                                               
       1) Creation of an Alaska School Price Index, which                      
  would use information from FY89 and FY92 to update and                       
  replace the Area Cost Differential established in 1985.                      
                                                                               
       2) Changes in the vocational and gifted education                       
  programs to provide a flat rate of funding per student.  The                 
  talented and gifted (TAG) educational programming would be                   
  based on 4.5 percent of the school population, multiplied by                 
  a weighting factor.                                                          
                                                                               
       3) Inclusion of a hold-harmless clause so that for                      
  three years no district would receive less money under the                   
  proposed new formula than it did under the existing formula.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
       4) Amendments in the school enrollment projection                       
  process to allow the count to come after the current year                    
  count to improve districts' projecting and budgeting                         
  processes.                                                                   
                                                                               
       5) Inclusion of a forward-funding mechanism to allow                    
  districts to use current or previous year student enrollment                 
  data for funding, whichever would bring it more money, thus                  
  allowing districts to phase out expenses as they lost                        
  students.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Number 499                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY asked when the DOE would produce its final plan                   
  for the Alaska School Price Index (ASPI).                                    
                                                                               
  MR. GUILEY said the department was currently building up                     
  that index, had sent out and was receiving back completed                    
  data confirmation worksheets from districts, and was trying                  
  to resolve discrepancies to produce another list.  He said                   
  the department had a draft of the index, but not a final                     
  index.                                                                       
                                                                               
  Number 505                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY asked why medical (insurance) premiums were one                   
  of the factors considered in the ASPI.                                       
                                                                               
  Number 506                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. GUILEY said the index was an attempt to measure the                      
  differing costs of providing education at schools across the                 
  state, and insurance premiums were among the varying                         
  factors.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Number 509                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY interrupted, saying that medical insurance                        
  premiums were the same across the state.                                     
                                                                               
  Number 512                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. GUILEY disagreed, saying that school employees were not                  
  covered by a uniform health plan; each school district                       
  provided its own medical plan and costs differed                             
  significantly.  He said the index did not assess TRS                         
  (Teachers Retirement System), which is assessed uniformly                    
  across all 54 school districts.                                              
                                                                               
  Number 525                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BRICE asked how money from the mental health trust fund                 
  was used under the current foundation formula and how it                     
  would be used under the ASPI.                                                
                                                                               
  Number 529                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. GUILEY said that the use of revenue in funding the                       
  foundation formula was not anticipated to change under ASPI.                 
  Any use of mental health trust fund money in funding the                     
  foundation formula would not change under the ASPI, he said.                 
                                                                               
  Number 534                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BRICE asked whether it was true that the mental health                  
  trust fund paid for TAG programs because the TAG programs                    
  could not be broken out of other special needs programs.                     
                                                                               
  Number 538                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. GUILEY responded, "Not exactly.  The gifted and talented                 
  program does generate separate educational units now.  They                  
  are lumped together with special education and they're                       
  reported to the state, but they do have a separate weight                    
  factor and do generate revenue separately.  The mental                       
  health trust fund severely under-funds the special education                 
  program in total, and we more than utilize the mental health                 
  trust fund within the handicapped student component, and do                  
  not have to assess any to the gifted and talented                            
  component."                                                                  
                                                                               
  Number 543                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BRICE said he believed that all children deserved                       
  educations, whether or not they are beneficiaries of the                     
  mental health trust fund; and using the fund for educational                 
  proposes undermines the ideas upon which the trust was                       
  established.  He encouraged removing the mental health fund                  
  from educational funding entirely and to use general funds                   
  instead.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Number 550                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. B. DAVIS asked Mr. Guiley to go through the rest of the                 
  bill's features and outline the changes.                                     
                                                                               
  MR. GUILEY said the DOE had provided a sectional analysis at                 
  earlier meetings.  He described the ASPI, which would                        
  replace the Area Cost Differential for state educational                     
  funding.  He said the DOE had an amendment that would allow                  
  the state to use the secondary school funding formula,                       
  instead of the elementary school formula, to fund the                        
  secondary school elements of the centralized correspondence                  
  school.  He said the bill updates the sections that apply to                 
  the Mt. Edgecumbe school in relation to the ASPI.  He said                   
  the bill updates the TAG program by establishing separate                    
  units for calculating both the TAG program and the                           
  vocational education programs in section 5 and section 6.                    
                                                                               
  Number 565                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. B. DAVIS asked for a more detailed explanation of                       
  sections 5 and section 6.  She asked how much money the                      
  talented and gifted programs, once separated from vocational                 
  education, would receive under the ASPI.  She also asked                     
  what the funding cap would be for TAG programs.                              
                                                                               
  Number 567                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. GUILEY said that the current practice saw special                        
  education units include TAG as a type of special education                   
  unit.  The proposal was to remove TAG from special education                 
  units, and create new separate educational units for them.                   
  As TAG students were included in the current law, they                       
  generated 0.025 units per student identified as gifted.                      
  Districts are required to write service plans and                            
  Individualized Education Plans (IEP) for each TAG child, he                  
  said.  The students are figured into the minimum level of                    
  funding by each funding community and for the minimum                        
  funding levels for special education by each district.  The                  
  proposal would create separate educational units, based upon                 
  a revenue weight factor defined by regulation.  So far, the                  
  DOE had approved a weight factor of 0.012 units, multiplied                  
  by 4.5 percent of the student population, without requiring                  
  an IEP or plan of service.  The hope was to eliminate the                    
  administrative burden of the program and to provide a flat                   
  rate of funding, 4.5 percent of the student population.                      
                                                                               
  Number 588                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. B. DAVIS said that, if each gifted student earned a                     
  school district 0.025 educational units, then it would take                  
  40 students to generate one instructional unit, or $61,000.                  
  She said that under the new formula it would take 80                         
  students to generate one instructional unit.  She commented                  
  that this was a drastic change, resulting in immediate                       
  funding cuts.                                                                
                                                                               
  MR. GUILEY stated, "The section above that generated the                     
  vocational education instruction units again, a revenue                      
  weight factor as defined by the board.  The board has                        
  currently approved .006 units for vocational education                       
  weight factor.  The fiscal note, if you will, on that                        
  separate section was slightly in excess of $4 million.  The                  
  fiscal savings on section 6 was approximately $4 million,                    
  so the two tend to wash themselves out with no fiscal impact                 
  on the state."                                                               
                                                                               
  Number 595                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. B. DAVIS said, "So you're saying $4 million would have                  
  been saved from gifted and then added into this, the voc-ed.                 
  What is the cap on the voc-ed, I mean, on the special ed?                    
  At this time, every school district identified their                         
  children, they're turning that in, then you take that.                       
  Under the new plan that wouldn't be true."                                   
                                                                               
  MR. GUILEY stated, "Under the new plan there would be no                     
  requirement to identify the children and turn them in.                       
  There would be simply a revenue weight factor that would                     
  assign a weight to 4.5 percent of the current average daily                  
  membership."                                                                 
                                                                               
  Number 600                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. B. DAVIS asked if it were not true that some districts                  
  had identified up to 12 percent or 14 percent of their                       
  students as gifted.                                                          
                                                                               
  MR. GUILEY said yes, and one district had identified 18                      
  percent of its student population as gifted, while other                     
  districts claimed no gifted students.  Since 1981, the state                 
  has never identified more than 4.3 percent of the entire                     
  student population as gifted.  He said the national standard                 
  ranges between 4.5 percent and 5 percent, most years                         
  averaging 4.6 percent.                                                       
                                                                               
  TAPE 93-46, SIDE B                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE said he understood that some school districts                     
  identified their entire bands as gifted in an attempt to get                 
  more state funding.  He suggested that the state might want                  
  to examine the definition of gifted student.  He noted that                  
  the suggested separation of TAG from the special education                   
  program had generated large amounts of constituent action                    
  from an active lobby.  He asked Mr. Guiley if he believed                    
  gifted students would not be as well served under HB 85.                     
                                                                               
  Number 020                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. GUILEY said the state Board of Education intended that                   
  TAG students would continue to be served, and that more                      
  money targeted at them would go directly to the classroom                    
  programs addressing their needs.  He said comparisons                        
  between expenditures compared to revenue generation by the                   
  program showed that 39 of 54 districts short-fund their TAG                  
  programs, some school districts short-fund by more than 30                   
  percent, and some short-fund by from 50 percent to 60                        
  percent.  He said the DOE hoped there would be no changes in                 
  the delivery model for gifted students, and that the                         
  standards being developed would raise the standards for all                  
  students, such that some students now identified as gifted                   
  would be arriving at the normal outcomes and standards the                   
  DOE was developing.                                                          
                                                                               
  Number 054                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE said that the element of hopefulness Mr. Guiley                   
  had expressed, and not certainty, would be a concern.                        
                                                                               
  REP. B. DAVIS asked if there was not a national trend to                     
  include TAG programs under special education programs.                       
                                                                               
  Number 060                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. GUILEY said he could not say.  He did say, however, that                 
  the Governor's Council on the Handicapped and Gifted said 38                 
  states do not fund TAG as part of special education                          
  programs, that there is no federal mandate to fund TAG                       
  programs, and that more than half the states do not do so.                   
  He said Alaska's $760 annual per-student funding for TAG                     
  showed state concern for the programs.  He said some school                  
  districts charge the entire cost of TAG programs to TAG                      
  funds, whereas the Board of Education believed it was                        
  providing enough money to fund just the incremental                          
  additional cost of such programs.                                            
                                                                               
  Number 084                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. B. DAVIS asked if the new foundation funding formula                    
  would not address the issue of equitable funding for single-                 
  site school districts.                                                       
                                                                               
  MR. GUILEY said the ASPI included a table for additional                     
  resources for certificated and classified school staffers as                 
  a district got smaller.  He said that does address and                       
  resolve the single-site school district issue.                               
                                                                               
  Number 101                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. B. DAVIS recalled that a representative of the Alaska                   
  School Board Association had testified at a previous meeting                 
  that he had provided some suggested changes to HB 85 to Mr.                  
  Guiley.  She asked if the state Board of Education had                       
  adopted those changes.                                                       
                                                                               
  MR. GUILEY answered that the school board did adopt those                    
  changes, but he had not brought them to the HESS Committee                   
  for its review.                                                              
                                                                               
  Number 110                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. OLBERG asked if the state would lose any federal                        
  revenue if it ceased to fund TAG programs.                                   
                                                                               
  MR. GUILEY answered no.                                                      
                                                                               
  Number 115                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. NICHOLIA asked if the changes that the state Board of                   
  Education had adopted would be included into HB 85 by                        
  amendment in the House Finance Committee.  She asked why the                 
  changes had not been provided to the HESS Committee.                         
                                                                               
  Number 120                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. GUILEY said he thought HB 85 was scheduled for another                   
  hearing in the HESS Committee the following week next, and                   
  he hoped to have final numbers, with all changes to the                      
  bill, ready for the committee at that time.                                  
                                                                               
  Number 127                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE said he wanted to hear the bill again the                         
  following Thursday, April 1, 1993.  He invited public                        
  testimony via teleconference.                                                
                                                                               
  Number 130                                                                   
                                                                               
  RICHARD M. SWARNER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BUSINESS MANAGEMENT,                 
  KENAI PENINSULA BOROUGH SCHOOL DISTRICT, testified via                       
  teleconference from Kenai in support of HB 85.  He referred                  
  to a letter he had sent to the committee stating his                         
  position on the bill.  He noted that his district's 9,700                    
  students represented 8 percent of Alaska's student                           
  population.  He said something was wrong with the funding                    
  system when such a major district had reached its funding                    
  cap and had the lowest administrative cost in the state, but                 
  still faced severe financial problems, including high pupil-                 
  teacher ratios, low salaries and no raises, no equipment                     
  money and an inability to buy books.  He said HB 85 would go                 
  a long way toward fixing state school financing.                             
                                                                               
  Number 164                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. G. DAVIS cited the DOE's efforts to finalize the ASPI,                  
  and asked whether the Kenai Peninsula Borough School                         
  District had submitted its final numbers in response to DOE                  
  queries for the ASPI.                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 170                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. SWARNER answered that the district had, and he believed                  
  the district's funding rate would not change under the new                   
  funding formula.                                                             
                                                                               
  Number 175                                                                   
                                                                               
  MARY RUBADEAU, ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT FOR INSTRUCTION,                     
  KENAI PENINSULA BOROUGH SCHOOL DISTRICT, testified via                       
  teleconference from Kenai in support of HB 85.  She said the                 
  district had good community support, but in the last five                    
  years, when the district had been at the funding cap, she                    
  had seen erosion in the instructional programs, even though                  
  the district had been thrifty with raises, hiring, benefits,                 
  and equipment purchases.  She said the cost differential for                 
  Kenai needed to be addressed.  Regarding the elements of                     
  HB 85 dealing with the TAG program, she said the district                    
  puts more money into its TAG programs than does the state.                   
  She said she wanted HB 85 to maintain a steady formula                       
  funding mechanism for TAG funding.  She said 5 percent of                    
  the district's students were gifted, and the current funding                 
  level was proper.                                                            
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE asked a clarifying question whether Ms. Rubadeau                  
  supported HB 85's provisions for TAG programs.                               
                                                                               
  Number 212                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. RUBADEAU stated, "We support the bill in its entirety.                   
  I was just speaking in terms of that one section that we do                  
  put in the current amount of money that we generate from                     
  state in terms of gifted programs and probably would                         
  continue even if this bill went through as written.  Thank                   
  you."                                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 218                                                                   
                                                                               
  MARILYN DIMMICK, KENAI PENINSULA BOROUGH SCHOOL DISTRICT,                    
  testified briefly via teleconference from Kenai in support                   
  of HB 85.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Number 277                                                                   
                                                                               
  BRUCE STANTON, A TEACHER and VICE PRESIDENT, KETCHIKAN                       
  EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, testified via teleconference from                     
  Ketchikan, representing himself, in support of HB 85.  He                    
  referred to a letter he had written to the committee, which                  
  is on file in the committee room.  In summary, he said that                  
  Ketchikan, like Kenai, had long been at its funding cap and                  
  it could only seek funding solutions from the state.  He                     
  suggested raising the local contribution cap from the                        
  current 4 mill rate to six mills, which could save the state                 
  $40 million and fund $64,000 instructional units at no cost                  
  to the state.  He noted that Alaska is third in the nation                   
  in percentage of education funds coming from the federal                     
  government, but the state ranks 46th in percentage of local                  
  contribution to education funding.  He said it might be the                  
  time in Alaska to turn to local governments for more                         
  education funding.                                                           
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE observed that Mr. Stanton might find resistance                   
  to his ideas in Ketchikan, but not in Juneau.  He asked if                   
  Mr. Stanton was speaking for the Ketchikan Education                         
  Association (KEA), and if so, whether the KEA supported                      
  breaking the TAG program away from special education.                        
                                                                               
  Number 290                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. STANTON said KEA did not object to splitting the two                     
  programs.  He said there was a very small TAG program in                     
  Ketchikan, with possibly one class each in the elementary                    
  and high school levels and none in the middle school.                        
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY said he admired Mr. Stanton's bravery in                          
  advocating a local tax increase for education.  He asked why                 
  people would want to raise their taxes to increase school                    
  funding when other areas of the state did not pay taxes for                  
  their schools.                                                               
                                                                               
  Number 305                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. STANTON said that was part of the complication of the                    
  issue.  He said there was a need to consider what REAAs                      
  (Rural Education Attendance Areas) actually could do                         
  contribute to state educational funding and how much they                    
  might be asked to contribute.  He repeated that the                          
  Ketchikan school district, facing a state funding cap, faced                 
  the need to continue cutting expenses or imposing more local                 
  taxes.                                                                       
                                                                               
  REP. NICHOLIA asked who Mr. Stanton represented.                             
                                                                               
  MR. STANTON answered that he represented the KEA.                            
                                                                               
  Number 320                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. NICHOLIA asked if the KEA had given him a letter                        
  identifying him as the association's representative.                         
                                                                               
  MR. STANTON answered no, and said the KEA had not taken a                    
  vote to support HB 85.  He said the KEA was interested in                    
  $474,000 that would go to the district.                                      
                                                                               
  REP. NICHOLIA observed that, in the absence of any                           
  authorizing vote, Mr. Stanton did not really officially                      
  represent the KEA.                                                           
                                                                               
  MR. STANTON said, "You could say it that way, yes."                          
                                                                               
  Number 334                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. NICHOLIA noted Mr. Staton's comment that REAAs should                   
  contribute to their educational funding and asked how, in                    
  the absence of any funding base or property of value, they                   
  could be expected to do so.                                                  
                                                                               
  MR. STANTON said that was a good question.  He said he had                   
  not said they should have to contribute the same way other                   
  districts did.                                                               
                                                                               
  Number 345                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. NICHOLIA said anyone who asserted that the REAAs should                 
  contribute to educational funding should also offer                          
  suggestions as to how they could do that.                                    
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY applauded Mr. Stanton's heroism in taking an                    
  unpopular position, but said he probably had more leeway to                  
  do so as he was representing himself and not the KEA.                        
                                                                               
  Number 363                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. B. DAVIS noted that the state general fund received                     
  money from the federal government on behalf of REAAs and                     
  single-site school districts.  She said the committee would                  
  be surprised at the amount of money that came in from the                    
  federal government, which she said showed the REAAs and                      
  single-site school districts did not have a free ride.                       
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE asked Mr. Stanton to ask the KEA to formulate a                   
  position on school consolidation and the single-site issue                   
  for later submission.                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 380                                                                   
                                                                               
  MORRIS VERVERS, SUPERINTENDENT, KLAWOCK CITY SCHOOL                          
  DISTRICT, testified in Juneau in support of HB 85.  He said                  
  the new formula had gone through a year and a half of                        
  intense work, including input from many people, which was a                  
  highly credible process.  He added that the bill would end                   
  the practice of holding school children hostage in political                 
  budget battles each legislative session.                                     
                                                                               
  Number 395                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. G. DAVIS asked if the state should establish a regular                  
  time frame in which to review and adjust school funding                      
  numbers every few years.                                                     
                                                                               
  MR. VERVERS observed that equity in school funding was a                     
  goal aimed for but not usually attained.  He repeated that                   
  the 18 months of work on the new funding formula lent it                     
  credibility.                                                                 
                                                                               
  Number 404                                                                   
                                                                               
  STEVE GIBSON, A PARENT, testified via teleconference from                    
  Homer in support of the ASPI in HB 85.  He asked for a more                  
  precise definition of what constituted a TAG student.  He                    
  said some TAG students are liable to become bored in school                  
  and to drop out, wasting their abilities.  He said that the                  
  TAG programs also enrich students not enrolled in the                        
  programs.  He encouraged the legislature not to diminish the                 
  TAG program.                                                                 
                                                                               
  Number 422                                                                   
                                                                               
  DEB GERMANO, A PARENT, testified via teleconference from                     
  Homer in support of HB 85.  She expressed concern that the                   
  TAG program might be damaged by efforts to address problems                  
  in other programs.  She said money spent on TAG programs was                 
  well spent.                                                                  
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE invited those testifying to submit written                        
  testimony as well.                                                           
                                                                               
  Number 449                                                                   
                                                                               
  JACK CADIGAN, a TEACHER and MEMBER of the CENTRALIZED                        
  CORRESPONDENCE SCHOOL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION (CCSEA),                         
  testified in Juneau on behalf of the CCSEA in support of                     
  HB 85.  He said the 23-member association was concerned with                 
  section 2, which changes the funding formula for the                         
  Centralized Correspondence School (CCS) from that applied to                 
  elementary schools to 65 percent of that applied to regular                  
  schools.  He said it was in one sense a question of equity                   
  for the CCS, a fully accredited school which about 1,200                     
  students in both urban and rural areas, and both elementary                  
  and secondary students.  He said the school had been                         
  adequately funded for years when the state paid all costs                    
  for it, and when summer school was added, other funding                      
  sources were found to pay.  He said the FY94 budget left the                 
  CCS short by between $100,000 to $300,000.                                   
                                                                               
  Number 477                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY asked what percentage of the 1,200 students                     
  attended summer school.                                                      
                                                                               
  MR. CADIGAN said the CCS actually made money from the summer                 
  school, as all of the services necessary for summer school                   
  were already available from the regular school year,                         
  including some staff, the warehouses, books and equipment.                   
  Therefore, being funded under the elementary school formula                  
  would not have much negative impact, as funding was                          
  sufficient, he said.  But when summer school was taken away,                 
  as it was last year, the issue of what formula CCS is funded                 
  under became critical, he said.  He noted CCS was originally                 
  just for elementary grades, but 12 or 14 years ago expanded                  
  to a full K-12 school.                                                       
                                                                               
  Number 490                                                                   
                                                                               
  GREG MIDDAG, MEMBER, KETCHIKAN EDUCATION ASSOCIATION'S                       
  EXECUTIVE BOARD, testified in Juneau in support of HB 85.                    
  He said some in his district were concerned about TAG                        
  students, though there was not much of a TAG program in                      
  Ketchikan.  He said Ketchikan had been at its funding cap                    
  for the past five or six years and there were no other                       
  sources of funding for education.  He expressed the hope                     
  that Ketchikan could maintain some of its programs.  He said                 
  the district has cut school nurses, daytime janitors and                     
  special needs aides, and the district has had to raise money                 
  from the community for special needs students.  He voiced                    
  support for the district administration and its efforts to                   
  maintain funding, but said the district needed someplace                     
  else to go for funding.  He encouraged passage of HB 85 and                  
  asked the committee to help local governments find some more                 
  money.                                                                       
                                                                               
  Number 521                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE asked if White Cliff School were still operating                  
  in Ketchikan and commented that his wife had attended the                    
  school in the past.                                                          
                                                                               
  MR. MIDDAG said that the school would probably have to keep                  
  operating for the next 20 years, if it stood.                                
                                                                               
  Number 521                                                                   
                                                                               
  KATHI MCCORD, VICE PRESIDENT, COMMUNICATIONS, ANCHORAGE                      
  EDUCATION ASSOCIATION and MEMBER of the BOARD OF NEA-ALASKA,                 
  testified in Juneau on HB 85.  She expressed concerns that                   
  HB 85, by separating the TAG programs from special                           
  education, would remove accountability from the TAG                          
  programs.  She said she had been told that schools could                     
  spend money allocated for TAG programs on other unrelated                    
  programs.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Number 533                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY stated she needed to have someone from the                      
  school district present to answer such questions.  She said                  
  that issue had been addressed the previous day and such                      
  diversion of funds was not possible under HB 85.                             
                                                                               
  Number 538                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE corrected Chair Toohey, saying that the committee                 
  had dealt the previous day with HB 235, which required IEPs,                 
  but not the three-year evaluation.                                           
                                                                               
  Number 545                                                                   
                                                                               
  DENNIS WETHERELL, PRESIDENT, MAT-SU TALENTED AND GIFTED                      
  ASSOCIATION, testified via teleconference from Anchorage in                  
  opposition to HB 85.  He addressed what he perceived to be                   
  the committee's misunderstandings that TAG education had                     
  been coupled with special education in the first place                       
  because TAG students were at risk of dropping out of school                  
  and of life.  He listed problems TAG students had in                         
  succeeding in school and in life.  He said HB 85 cut funding                 
  in four ways.  He stated the bill would result in the Mat-Su                 
  district receiving $4 million less than it would have under                  
  the existing foundation formula in effect.  He said HB 85                    
  did not mandate funding for TAG education, while special and                 
  voc-ed programs had guaranteed or minimum funding levels.                    
  He stated that independent analysis by the district showed                   
  that HB 85 would cut TAG funding for the district by 40                      
  percent.  He commented that districts were not bound to                      
  spend TAG money on TAG programs.                                             
                                                                               
  Number 573                                                                   
                                                                               
  LARRY WIGET, LEGISLATIVE LIAISON, ANCHORAGE SCHOOL DISTRICT                  
  (ASD), testified via teleconference from Anchorage in                        
  opposition to HB 85.  He repeated the district's position                    
  that HB 85 would cost the district money.  According to Mr.                  
  Wiget, Anchorage has 37.73 percent of the state's school                     
  population, and while it receives 30.27 percent of the state                 
  educational funding under the existing system, it would                      
  receive 29.69 percent under the proposed formula.  He                        
  favored leaving TAG under special education funding and                      
  opposed changing the funding weight factor for TAG.                          
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE asked a clarifying question whether the ASD                       
  opposed separating TAG and special education program                         
  funding.                                                                     
                                                                               
  MR. WIGET answered yes.                                                      
                                                                               
  TAPE 93-47, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
                                                                               
  KENT DURAND, ASSOCIATION OF ALASKA SCHOOL BOARDS (AASB),                     
  testified in Juneau in support of HB 85.  He said the ASPI                   
  would level the playing field for almost all state school                    
  districts, and with a few minor adjustments to the ASPI, it                  
  will provide equity in funding.  He said rural districts had                 
  higher non-personnel costs, often due to extremes in weather                 
  and geography.  He said some school districts were also                      
  concerned about how inflation would affect school funding.                   
  He said the AASB asked for a statutory inflation-proofing                    
  mechanism to be added to the ASPI, and language directing                    
  the DOE to submit an annual recommended unit value                           
  adjustment.  The association hoped the ASPI would address                    
  single-sites and recommended the state consider district                     
  size and enrollment in making funding adjustments for school                 
  funding.  He also encouraged de-politicizing funding of                      
  single-site school districts.                                                
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE encouraged the AASB to consider the capital                       
  budget, showing that some school districts had 22 schools                    
  with fewer than 12 students.  He encouraged the association                  
  to prepare to provide testimony to the committee on that                     
  topic.                                                                       
                                                                               
  (Rep. Brice left at 4:39 p.m.)                                               
                                                                               
  Number 062                                                                   
                                                                               
  DIANA GREELY, PARENT OF A CHILD IN KETCHIKAN SCHOOLS,                        
  testified via teleconference from Ketchikan in opposition to                 
  HB 85.  She spoke against changes in the TAG program funding                 
  plan and in favor of maintaining the program in Ketchikan,                   
  where 62 elementary schools had been identified as TAG.  She                 
  said that, as a parent of a sixth grader, she would work to                  
  help establish a TAG program in Ketchikan's middle school.                   
                                                                               
  Number 080                                                                   
                                                                               
  CATHERINE PLASENCIA, PARENT OF A CHILD IN KETCHIKAN SCHOOLS,                 
  testified via teleconference from Ketchikan in opposition to                 
  HB 85.  She spoke against changing funding for TAG programs                  
  in the absence of other legislative mandates concerning TAG                  
  funding.  She wanted TAG funding left under mandated special                 
  education funding.                                                           
                                                                               
  Number 090                                                                   
                                                                               
  MARYSIA OCHEJ, BUSINESS MANAGER, SOUTHEAST ISLANDS SCHOOL                    
  DISTRICT, testified via teleconference from in Ketchikan                     
  support of HB 85.  She agreed with the price differential,                   
  saying she had worked around the state and had experienced                   
  the inequities of the existing price differential system.                    
  As a parent, however, she said it was important not to                       
  reduce services to TAG children.  She said the DOE needed to                 
  address funding of TAG programs as part of its mission to                    
  address all students' learning needs.                                        
                                                                               
  Number 125                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. G. DAVIS asked what was the differential with which Ms.                 
  Ochej had expressed satisfaction.                                            
                                                                               
  MS. OCHEJ replied, "One point two-two (1.22).  It's                          
  currently one point 0-four(1.04)."                                           
                                                                               
  Number 133                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY asked her where she got her figures.                              
                                                                               
  MS. OCHEJ said the foundation formula currently assigned the                 
  Ketchikan district a price differential factor of 1.04 and                   
  the proposed new formula would increase that factor to 1.22.                 
                                                                               
  Number 140                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY said he had been trying for a month, without                      
  success, to get a copy of the ASPI, but he had heard from                    
  Ms. Ochej and others that they already had the information.                  
                                                                               
  Number 146                                                                   
                                                                               
  BETT JAKUBEK, PARENT OF TAG CHILDREN, testified via                          
  teleconference from Ketchikan in opposition to HB 85.  She                   
  said she wanted her children to be able to enjoy the                         
  benefits of a TAG program when they advanced to middle                       
  school.  She said some teachers see TAG programs as a frill,                 
  and potential targets for budget cuts.  She wanted her                       
  children to get the kind of education they needed and the                    
  latitude allowed for TAG funding under HB 85 did not ensure                  
  that TAG programs would be properly funded.  Ms. Jakubek                     
  acknowledged the need to eliminate paperwork and encouraged                  
  the committee to find new ways to protect the current system                 
  and not remove TAG from special education.                                   
                                                                               
  Number 189                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE invited her and others to fax in written                          
  testimony.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Number 210                                                                   
                                                                               
  MALCOLM FLEMING, PRINCIPAL, SEWARD JUNIOR-HIGH SCHOOL,                       
  testified via teleconference from Seward in support of                       
  HB 85.  He said the Seward school budget was inadequate and                  
  student-teacher ratios were too high.  He said the Kenai                     
  school district needed special adjustments and HB 85                         
  appeared to help by replacing the Area Cost Differential                     
  with the ASPI.  He said Kenai's education costs were higher                  
  than those of Anchorage; the district was at its funding                     
  cap; and school fund-raising was paying as much as the                       
  school district for some supplies and activities.                            
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE asked Mr. Fleming his opinion about breaking TAG                  
  students out of special education funding.                                   
                                                                               
  MR. FLEMING said he had no problem with the break-out as the                 
  4.5 percent level matched his school's needs.                                
                                                                               
  Number 240                                                                   
  MIKE SMITH, A PARENT, testified via teleconference from                      
  Seward in support of HB 85.  He said he agreed with the                      
  testimony from Mr. Swarner and Mr. Fleming that Kenai's                      
  educational costs were higher than those of Anchorage's                      
  district.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Number 250                                                                   
                                                                               
  SUSAN WALLIN, A PARENT, testified via teleconference from                    
  Trapper Creek in support of HB 85.  Her written testimony is                 
  on file in the committee room.  In summary, her testimony                    
  praised the ASPI and encouraged even closer consideration of                 
  small rural districts in the Mat-Su Borough.  She opposed                    
  removing TAG funding from special education, and also                        
  expressed concern about the bill's adjustment of the                         
  enrollment estimate date, saying it might slow budgeting.                    
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE provided the committee's fax number, 465-6790, so                 
  that others in Trapper Creek and elsewhere could submit                      
  written testimony.  He announced that the committee would                    
  hear HB 85 again the following Thursday, April 1, 1993.                      
                                                                               
  REP. B. DAVIS asked permission to pass out amendments to                     
  HB 85 for the committee members' examination before the                      
  members next considered the bill.                                            
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE assented, then ADJOURNED the meeting at 4:55 p.m.                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects