Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/14/1994 03:00 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
  HB 361 - APPROPRIATION:  EDUCATION FUNDING FOR FY 95                         
  Number 554                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY asked Chair Bunde to clarify his earlier                          
  statements on the funding information on HB 361 and the                      
  committee substitute (CS).                                                   
                                                                               
  Number 577                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE stated that between the two versions there was a                 
  general fund difference of $17 million.                                      
                                                                               
  Number 583                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. OLBERG indicated that there were large differences in                   
  other funding categories within the two versions.                            
                                                                               
  Number 589                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE stated that John Bitney from Rep. Larson's                       
  office could speak to those issues.  He said, as he                          
  understood it, the general fund difference between the two                   
  versions would be $17 million.                                               
                                                                               
  Number 600                                                                   
                                                                               
  JOHN BITNEY, Legislative Aid, testified on behalf of Rep.                    
  Ron Larson.  He stated that the CS would fund education for                  
  FY 95 from budget reserve.  He said the budget reserve                       
  amounts would replace all general funds that fund education                  
  programs, resulting with the only general fund amounts being                 
  generated by Mental Health Trust Fund.  He said that what                    
  makes for the confusion is that components from Governor                     
  Hickel's budget have been lifted and placed into both                        
  versions of the proposal.  He further stated that the                        
  original bill had just the foundation program in it, at the                  
  Governor's level.  Within the CS, full funding for the                       
  foundation program, for pupil transportation, for school                     
  construction debt service, and for single site school                        
  districts had been included.                                                 
                                                                               
  Number 638                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE asked if that totaled approximately $17 million.                 
                                                                               
  Number 637                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. BITNEY said that a $17 million increase was represented                  
  in the funding for the foundation program and pupil                          
  transportation above that proposed in HB 361.                                
                                                                               
  Number 643                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE clarified and said that HB 361 does not include                  
  some of the funding that the CS includes, and that the total                 
  difference between the two versions, in unrestricted general                 
  funds (GF), is $17 million.                                                  
                                                                               
  Number 653                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. BITNEY said he did not have the exact figures available,                 
  but as an approximation, Chair Bunde was correct.                            
                                                                               
  Number 667                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. OLBERG said that the difference in basic foundation                     
  formula plus single site schools accounted for the $17                       
  million.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Number 690                                                                   
                                                                               
  DOROTHY GARRETT, Teacher, Inlet View School, testified in                    
  support of CSHB 361 via teleconference from Anchorage.  She                  
  felt that the funds in the CS were more sufficient to the                    
  needs of teachers and students.  She cited the dire need for                 
  supplies and teaching materials in the Anchorage school                      
  district.  She said, due to lack of funds, supplemental                      
  texts cannot be purchased for a large number of students who                 
  need a different level of learning.  She related to the                      
  committee that she personally, over the last four years, has                 
  spent at least $500 on reading books for those very                          
  students.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Number 760                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE asked where the $500 came from.                                  
                                                                               
  Number 760                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. GARRET replied that the funds came from her paycheck.                    
                                                                               
  Number 764                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. TOOHEY asked if the workbooks that Ms. Garret referred                  
  to were the type that children filled in.                                    
                                                                               
  Number 764                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. GARRET said they were paperback texts that the library                   
  did not have.  She also added that she had purchased books                   
  for other units that are taught at Inlet View School.  She                   
  explained that she also runs incentive programs where she                    
  awards books that she has purchased to students.                             
                                                                               
  MS. GARRET stated that children learn best by using tangible                 
  aids and she has used objects, games, and other                              
  manipulatives for over four years and needs to have those                    
  replaced.  She said that they were hers, and that meant that                 
  she would have to purchase them again.  She said there were                  
  many other teachers who also subsidized the materials needed                 
  in their classrooms.  She asserted that individual schools                   
  should not have more or less successful students based on                    
  teachers' personal financial circumstances.                                  
                                                                               
  MS. GARRET asked the committee to make education and its                     
  funding their number one priority.                                           
                                                                               
  Number 823                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. TOOHEY stressed how difficult decision making is when                   
  the budget needs to be reduced.  She listed the welfare                      
  programs, Aid to Dependent Families with Children (AFDC),                    
  and public assistance as other needy programs that must be                   
  addressed when reducing the budget.  She said the decisions                  
  are extremely difficult.                                                     
                                                                               
  Number 843                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY asked what school district Ms. Garret was from.                   
                                                                               
  Number 843                                                                   
  MS. GARRET answered that she was from the Anchorage school                   
  district.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Number 846                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE indicated that Anchorage is one of the                           
  "wealthier" school districts and situations must be more                     
  difficult in the poorer districts.                                           
                                                                               
  Number 863                                                                   
                                                                               
  JOHN HOLST, Superintendent, Sitka School District, testified                 
  via teleconference from Sitka in support of CSHB 361.  He                    
  stated that since the pulp mill closed in Sitka, the town                    
  was facing a difficult financial future.  He said that HB
  361 would cause a decrease in funding for the Sitka school                   
  district of approximately $206,000.  He estimated the                        
  enrollment decline for the upcoming school year to be 130                    
  students and said the staff would be down-sized accordingly                  
  and that would cause an additional loss of approximately                     
  $525,000.  He said the figures totaled a reduction of over                   
  $730,000.  He mentioned that Sitka was projecting a drop in                  
  collections of sales and property tax, and due to the                        
  impending financial crisis, the community was expecting not                  
  to support the school district, leading to the loss of                       
  another $350,000.  He said that now the total was                            
  approximately $1.5 million of lost funding for the Sitka                     
  school district.                                                             
                                                                               
  MR. HOLST said the school district was hoping that the                       
  foundation formula would go beyond the $61,000 unit.  He                     
  felt the economic viability of Sitka's education system                      
  would be dismantled if the aforementioned cuts are                           
  implemented.                                                                 
                                                                               
  Number 932                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE, referring to criticisms that public schools are                 
  top heavy in administration, asked, if Sitka was to absorb                   
  the funding cuts, how would they be reflected                                
  administratively and in staffing?                                            
                                                                               
  Number 939                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. HOLST replied by saying that Sitka has made substantial                  
  administrative and staffing cuts over the last seven years.                  
  He felt that Sitka currently has as lean an administrative                   
  group as anywhere in the state and is still making                           
  adjustments.  Mr. Holst said they have experienced savings                   
  by bidding out jobs, such as custodial care and food                         
  service.  He also stated that because Sitka is at the 1.0                    
  area cost differential, the district has undergone another                   
  "crunching factor" that other districts throughout the state                 
  have not had to deal with.                                                   
                                                                               
  Number 972                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE commended Mr. Holst for the efforts Sitka has                    
  made.  He then asked what the administrative cost per                        
  student in the Sitka school district was.                                    
                                                                               
  Number 980                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. HOLST said he did not have that figure handy.                            
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE urged Mr. Holst to have the figure available for                 
  future meetings.                                                             
                                                                               
  Number 990                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. HOLST said he felt it would be lower than any other                      
  district in the state because Sitka has large buildings with                 
  single principals, as does Anchorage.                                        
                                                                               
  Number 998                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE said the numbers will probably reflect well on                   
  Sitka.  He also stated that "in order to achieve the                         
  $61,000, you're probably very aware that it will require                     
  bipartisan support."  He also urged Mr. Holst to look for                    
  support throughout the legislature and not only to the HESS                  
  Committee.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Number 015                                                                   
                                                                               
  JOHN DALGREN, Associate Superintendent, Kenai Peninsula                      
  School District, testified via teleconference from Soldotna                  
  in support of CSHB 361.  He stated that he supported fully                   
  funding the foundation unit at the $61,000 level.  He                        
  explained that since 1987 the CPI for the Kenai Peninsula                    
  school district has increased 1.5%, while the CPI in                         
  Anchorage increased over 24%.  In response to the financial                  
  crunch, he stated that the district had become leaner.  He                   
  said funding is at $11 million and there are 10,000.  He                     
  felt that if there was a reduction in the foundation unit,                   
  the district would not only lose money from the state, but                   
  also from the local borough.  He expressed concern that                      
  transportation would not be fully funded, citing that they                   
  already bid out to a bus company and the proration would                     
  amount to less than the cost of the existing operation.  He                  
  said there were no incentives for districts to contain                       
  costs, and when efforts are made to save, they are still                     
  penalized.  Mr. Dalgren felt that education has been in the                  
  forefront for budget reductions for too long, and there were                 
  no other directions to follow within the education system                    
  that could undergo further reductions.  Mr. Dalgren stated                   
  that to balance the budget, the district might have to lay                   
  off 112 teachers, and that was not the type of education                     
  system he felt should be provided.                                           
                                                                               
  Number 140                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE said that reducing the funding of education was                  
  not a priority of his, but the priority of the general                       
  public is to reduce state spending, including education.  He                 
  urged Mr. Dalgren to lobby his constituents to support and                   
  increase the funding level of education.                                     
                                                                               
  Number 166                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. G. DAVIS asked if Mr. Dalgren had the increase                          
  enrollment numbers from last year to this year.                              
                                                                               
  Number 170                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. DALGREN said that the district was projecting a                          
  conservative increase of 2%, going from 9846 to 10,073                       
  students.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Number 188                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE thanked Mr. Dalgren for his testimony and                        
  introduced Wanda Cooksey.                                                    
                                                                               
  TAPE 94-18, SIDE B                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
                                                                               
  WANDA COOKSEY, Representative, Single Site School District                   
  Consortium, testified in Juneau in support of CSHB 361.  She                 
  stated that the single site school districts represent 21 of                 
  54 districts and that the Single Site Consortium supports                    
  the CS.  She then offered her testimony time to the people                   
  on teleconference from the single site school districts.                     
                                                                               
  Number 036                                                                   
                                                                               
  LARRY WIGET, Legislative Liaison, Anchorage School District,                 
  testified via teleconference from Anchorage in support of                    
  CSHB 361.  He stated that he supported full funding for                      
  education at the $61,000 level.  He said HB 361 would                        
  eliminate an additional $5.5 million in funding.  He then                    
  stated that the Anchorage school district was willing to let                 
  the legislature determine how to fund education at the                       
  $61,000 unit level.                                                          
                                                                               
  Number 077                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE asked Mr. Wiget what efforts have been made to                   
  downscale administrative costs and what the administrative                   
  cost per student was in the Anchorage school district.                       
                                                                               
  Number 090                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. WIGET stated that he did not have those figures, but                     
  $1.5 million has been cut from administration and they were                  
  projecting more cuts this year.  He indicated that class                     
  size was being increased by one student and that he would                    
  send Chair Bunde a list of other measures being taken to                     
  reduce spending.                                                             
                                                                               
  Number 117                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE stressed that there be broad based support for                   
  funding education and urged the Anchorage school district to                 
  fund its full share with local support.                                      
                                                                               
  Number 152                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. WIGET referred to an imaginary pot of money that the                     
  school district was thought to have, and stated that it just                 
  isn't the case.                                                              
                                                                               
  Number 161                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE said it was not his intention to imply that, but                 
  his inference was that the public was telling him that                       
  people need to be laid off.  He further stated that                          
  everybody wants the cuts in someone else's backyard, but                     
  hoped that the cuts would be made in the appropriate places.                 
                                                                               
  Number 195                                                                   
                                                                               
  CARL ROSE, Executive Director, Alaska School Boards,                         
  testified in Juneau in support of CSHB 361.  He said that                    
  funding has been held constant since 1986 and that it has                    
  had an impact on the school districts.  He explained that                    
  last spring at the $61,000 funding level, Anchorage was $20                  
  million in debt with a $300 million budget.  He said that                    
  Juneau has a $2.5 million deficit.  Mr. Rose further stated                  
  that funding has not kept pace with the cuts in staffing and                 
  administration that most school districts have made.  He                     
  urged the committee to consider the $61,000 level as the                     
  more realistic figure to move forward with.  He said single                  
  site school districts rely heavily on that appropriation.                    
  He said all cities and borough school districts go to their                  
  local sources for funding, but the local resources are being                 
  impacted also.  He strongly urged the committee to realize                   
  the severe circumstances that will result from inadequate                    
  levels of funding.  He reiterated that $61,000 is a more                     
  realistic figure, but an increased amount could be                           
  justified, all things considered.                                            
                                                                               
  Number 284                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE restated the need for bipartisan support for                     
  CSHB 361.  It was his feeling that the impact of not fully                   
  funding would affect different parts of the state with                       
  greater magnitude.  He indicated districts where enrollment                  
  had increased would suffer disproportionately if not fully                   
  funded and so would single site districts.                                   
                                                                               
  Number 325                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. ROSE commented that within a week an impact study would                  
  be completed that would demonstrate how Governor Hickel's                    
  proposed funding would affect school districts.  Also, he                    
  said the administrative cost per student figures would be                    
  available then, too.                                                         
                                                                               
  Number 334                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE hoped that the study would help to restore                       
  confidence in school districts.                                              
                                                                               
  Number 345                                                                   
                                                                               
  CAM CARLSON, Concerned Citizen, testified in support of                      
  CSHB 361 via teleconference from Fairbanks.  She asked if                    
  the legislation was going to fund education without                          
  considering the rest of the budget.                                          
                                                                               
  Number 361                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE responded that the legislation package considers                 
  the entire scope of the budget.                                              
                                                                               
  Number 384                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. CARLSON said it was her hope that education would not                    
  get top priority before the rest of the budget was                           
  considered.  She said Alaska spends more on education than                   
  perhaps any other state, and she felt the results weren't                    
  "red hot."  She said Fairbanks ranks on the average in the                   
  50th and 60th percentile in national testing.  She said when                 
  the pipeline was under construction, buses were being used                   
  for three different runs.  She explained that even now, with                 
  the pipeline completed, the district is still funded for the                 
  same pupil transportation.  Ms. Carlson said, "we seem to                    
  have plenty of money for education.  The board here, and I                   
  think statewide, has plenty of money to negotiate wages in                   
  teachers' unions.  They pay sabbatical leave for union                       
  presidents, they pay for leave days for the union...  If the                 
  legislature wants to do something worthwhile, I think they                   
  can pass legislation that would mandate that it's illegal to                 
  spend taxpayer's money to support the union, in any way,                     
  shape, or form."  She felt that education should have to                     
  justify their funding with higher test scores.  She felt                     
  that throwing money at education was not the answer.                         
                                                                               
  Number 453                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE said that education was having to meet the                       
  challenge of the budget like every other department.  He                     
  also said that lower test scores could be the result of a                    
  lower quality of raw materials coming into the school                        
  districts.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Number 468                                                                   
                                                                               
  RUTH EWIG, Concerned Citizen, testified in opposition to                     
  CSHB 361 via teleconference from Fairbanks.  She was opposed                 
  to funding from the constitutional budget reserve at the                     
  expense of other areas of need in the state.  She said the                   
  bill was vague and that administration is top heavy.  She                    
  felt the funds should be monitored to ensure that the                        
  students are the ones who benefit.  She stated that the tax                  
  paying public should have a line item financing process so                   
  to better scrutinize how funds are spent.  She questioned if                 
  the funds being spent were from the permanent fund.  Ms.                     
  Ewig felt that spending more money on education was not the                  
  answer.                                                                      
                                                                               
  Number 520                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE assured Ms. Ewig that the funding was not tied                   
  to the permanent fund in any way.                                            
                                                                               
  Number 543                                                                   
                                                                               
  SUE HALL, President, Alaska PTA, testified on CSHB 361 via                   
  teleconference from Fairbanks.  She urged the legislature to                 
  look to the future and the precedence being set in regards                   
  to education.  She stated that education has been affected                   
  by the natural rate of inflation, and the value of the                       
  instructional unit has dropped 24% since 1986.  She said                     
  that even if the instructional unit is fully funded as                       
  indicated in CSHB 361, reductions would still have to be                     
  made.  She explained that over the years student enrollment                  
  has continued to increase regardless of depressed oil                        
  revenues.  She stated that Alaska ranks 46th in the                          
  percentage of budget spent on education.  In a chart from                    
  the Bureau of Statistics it shows that Alaska is 50th                        
  because there are three other states that are funded                         
  strictly by local funds.  She said, proportionately, other                   
  states spend much higher percentages of their budget on                      
  education.  Ms. Hall stated that teachers' salaries cannot                   
  be significantly reduced through negotiation and the                         
  reductions have been made at the expense of the students.                    
  She urged the committee to make students and education their                 
  number one priority.                                                         
                                                                               
  Number 648                                                                   
                                                                               
  NANCY MENDENHALL, Concerned Citizen, testified via                           
  teleconference from Fairbanks in opposition to CSHB 361.                     
  She stated that undeniably oil revenues are dropping and as                  
  a result education needs to make cuts like every other area                  
  of the budget.  She felt it was unrealistic for other                        
  departments to sacrifice their funding to alleviate the                      
  problems in education.  She said that money could improve                    
  education to a point, but beyond that point, bureaucracy                     
  increases and education suffers.                                             
                                                                               
  Number 670                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE asked if Ms. Mendenhall was opposed to CSHB 361.                 
                                                                               
  Number 673                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. MENDENHALL answered yes.  She said there needed to be                    
  further reduction in the foundation formula this year.                       
                                                                               
  Number 685                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE asked Ms. Mendenhall what specific cuts she                      
  would recommend.                                                             
                                                                               
  Number 706                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. MENDENHALL said she felt that funds should be allocated                  
  to the school district, and the school board should decide                   
  how the money is spent.                                                      
                                                                               
  Number 727                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY asked if Ms. Mendenhall was opposed to HB 361,                    
  also.                                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 733                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. MENDENHALL said she was not sure if HB 361 would                         
  appropriate more or less funds to education, but she was in                  
  favor of reducing the education budget.                                      
                                                                               
  Number 760                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. TOOHEY stated that she appreciated how realistic Ms.                    
  Mendenhall was and commented that she wished Ms. Mendenhall                  
  could sit in on meetings with the committee.                                 
                                                                               
  Number 768                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. MENDENHALL commented that only lobbyists can afford to                   
  travel to Juneau.                                                            
                                                                               
  Number 784                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE said that it only cost .29 cents to send                         
  communication to him.                                                        
                                                                               
  MS. MENDENHALL said that it would be better to see the                       
  legislators face to face, the way lobbyists do.                              
                                                                               
  Number 799                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY questioned if HB 361 would represent a decrease                   
  in the foundation formula amount, which actually would be an                 
  increase above the 1994 budget.                                              
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE responded that it was a decrease per student.                    
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY asked if the total appropriation was an increase.                 
                                                                               
  Number 811                                                                   
                                                                               
  DUANE GUILEY, Director, Division of Education Finance and                    
  Support Services, answered questions on HB 361 and CSHB 361.                 
  He stated that the overall appropriation had increased in                    
  the area of debt service and food nutrition services.  He                    
  explained that the foundation program was exactly the same                   
  as authorized in 1994 and that the pupil transportation                      
  program was a reduction of over $1.5 million.  He further                    
  stated that the programs that have grown with federal                        
  funding and the increase in debt service that has grown has                  
  required an increase in the overall appropriation; but the                   
  K-12 program for the basic need was 1994 authorized.                         
                                                                               
  Number 839                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. G. DAVIS stated "that it also has the elimination of                    
  single site school... $3 million is my understanding."                       
                                                                               
  Number 843                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. GUILEY said it was his understanding that single site                    
  appropriation has been funded as a named recipient branch                    
  outside of the foundation program.  The last two years of                    
  funding was awarded to the Department of Education (DOE)                     
  through the agency budget.  He said that funding was not                     
  included in HB 361.                                                          
                                                                               
  Number 858                                                                   
                                                                               
  CLAUDIA DOUGLAS, President, National Education                               
  Association/Alaska (NEA/AK), testified in Juneau in support                  
  of CSHB 361.  She said she understood there was a decrease                   
  in revenues and a funding crisis within the state, and that                  
  NEA/AK would advocate new sources of revenue in the form of                  
  a state tax.  She commented that in 1983 Alaska rated second                 
  in the nation in terms of pupil/teacher ratio, and ten years                 
  later it has fallen to 34th.  She said she was gathering                     
  statistics on how much money teachers spend personally on                    
  their classroom.  She felt that funding at full level was an                 
  investment in students who will return the investment in the                 
  future.  She further stated that salaries have not increased                 
  comparatively to the early 1980s, and many contracts were                    
  being negotiated with minimum or no salary increases.                        
                                                                               
  Number 931                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE reiterated that support for increased funding                    
  for education was not universal within the public or the                     
  legislature.  He reminded the witness that passage of the                    
  legislation required bipartisan support.                                     
                                                                               
  Number 938                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. DOUGLAS stated that CSHB 361 was not an increase in                      
  spending.  She contended that schools in Alaska could not                    
  survive if the funding level was not increased in regards to                 
  the pupil.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Number 946                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE said "there are those who are advocating, what                   
  you would consider, very Draconian cuts... maybe throwing                    
  out the baby with the bath water."                                           
                                                                               
  Number 952                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY supposed that the state may have to double its                    
  revenues to maintain funding at the present level and into                   
  the future.                                                                  
                                                                               
  Number 974                                                                   
                                                                               
  MIKE WILEY, Member, Kenai Peninsula School District,                         
  testified via teleconference from Seward in support of CSHB
  361.  He said if $1.5 billion was added to the budget, the                   
  state would face a similar catastrophe and domino effect                     
  that occurred the last time there was a depression in oil                    
  revenues.  He felt that using the budget reserve fund for                    
  education funding was a wise approach and urged expediency.                  
  He further stated that the $61,000 unit was not an increase,                 
  and if inflation was factored in, it was actually a decrease                 
  in funding.  He also stated that by cutting food service                     
  completely in the school district to balance the budget, it                  
  would actually cost Kenai money because of unemployment                      
  costs.  It was his hope that politics would be taken out of                  
  education and that there be no infighting with the                           
  legislature.                                                                 
                                                                               
  TAPE 94-19, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE contended that education was a very political                    
  issue in Juneau.                                                             
                                                                               
  Number 047                                                                   
                                                                               
  DEBORAH SMITH, Executive Director, Alaska Mental Health                      
  Board, testified in Juneau in opposition to HB 361 and CSHB
  361.  She stated for the record that "we do not feel it is                   
  appropriate for funding for special education services to                    
  come out of the trust, when it is the right of every child                   
  in Alaska, regardless of the trust beneficiary status."  She                 
  indicated that the schools for the handicapped component                     
  within the DOE budget has an increase in funding for FY 95                   
  of $426,900.  She said it was a cost shifting from the                       
  general fund to the trust totalling $126,000 and a $300,000                  
  increase.  She said, based on the information given to her                   
  from DOE, it is based on the formula allocation for the                      
  Special Education Services Agency (SESA).  She further                       
  stated that the allocation for SESA is 2% of the special                     
  education foundation funding or $85 per special education                    
  student, or whichever is greater.  She stated that "they are                 
  increasing their amount coming out of the trust, which we...                 
  are in opposition to."                                                       
                                                                               
  Number 123                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY asked if Ms. Smith would like to see the                          
  legislature take $8 million out of the funds for education.                  
                                                                               
  Number 135                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. SMITH responded that currently the funds were being                      
  taken out of the mental health trust and they should be                      
  taken out of the general fund.                                               
                                                                               
  Number 139                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY said the funds aren't in the general fund and                     
  asked again if it was the position of the Mental Health                      
  Board to take the funds out of education.                                    
                                                                               
  MS. SMITH asserted that it was the position of the Mental                    
  Health Board that the funds should not come out of the                       
  mental health trust.                                                         
                                                                               
  Number  163                                                                  
                                                                               
  CHARLES McKEE, Concerned Citizen, testified via                              
  teleconference from Anchorage in opposition to HB 361 and                    
  CSHB 361.  He stated that he had the right to promote the                    
  original treasury seal to fund education.  He felt there                     
  should be support for his standing.                                          
                                                                               
  Number 291                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE said he felt the problems Mr. McKee was                          
  addressing were beyond the scope of the committee and                        
  thanked him for his testimony.                                               
                                                                               
  Number 317                                                                   
                                                                               
  CAROL HEYMAN, President, Anchorage Chamber of Commerce,                      
  asked questions pertaining to HB 361 and CSHB 361 via                        
  teleconference from Anchorage.  She said the Chamber of                      
  Commerce had sent two resolutions to the legislature, and                    
  one asked the legislature to reduce the budget to the level                  
  of the FY 93 budget.  The other resolution asked for                         
  spending control for state government.  She asked if HB 361                  
  would cut spending completely for school transportation.                     
                                                                               
  Number 359                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE replied that pupil transportation would become                   
  local responsibility.                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 360                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. HEYMAN asked if HB 361 would consolidate single site                     
  school districts.                                                            
                                                                               
  Number 372                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE answered no, and explained that HB 361 would                     
  impose a substantial budget cut to single site schools.                      
                                                                               
  Number 392                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. HEYMAN stated that the Chamber of Commerce was in the                    
  process of preparing a list of recommended budget cuts.  She                 
  said the recommendations indicate that the solutions should                  
  be found "in our own backyards."  She said she would like to                 
  testify at another time with a better knowledge of the                       
  proposed CS.                                                                 
                                                                               
  Number 439                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE said Ms. Heyman would be welcome at anytime.                     
                                                                               
  Number 463                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. NICHOLIA said it was her hope that when the cuts are                    
  being made that "you would not look in the backyard of my                    
  district."  She said she was alarmed by that statement.                      
                                                                               
  MS. HEYMAN said that Anchorage was the largest district in                   
  the state, but hoped they would be treated fairly.                           
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE stated that HB 361 would have a larger per                       
  capita cut to educational funding in Anchorage than it would                 
  in Rep. Nicholia's district.                                                 
                                                                               
  Seeing no further business before the committee, CHAIR BUNDE                 
  ADJOURNED the meeting at 4:50 p.m.                                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects