Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/21/2001 11:22 AM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                                                                                                                                
HB 71-EDUC. OF DISABLED OR GIFTED CHILDREN                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  announced that the  next order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO. 71, "An Act  relating to the education of children                                                               
with  disabilities  and  of  gifted  children;  relating  to  the                                                               
Governor's Council on Disabilities  and Special Education; making                                                               
conforming  amendments; and  providing  for  an effective  date."                                                               
[Before the committee was CSHB 71(EDU).]                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1373                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON stated that his  recollection is that there have been                                                               
special-education  provisions  for  kids with  disabilities  and,                                                               
concurrently,  for gifted  and talented  (GT) children  that have                                                               
been  intermingled in  the  code.   He  stated  that the  federal                                                               
government  does  not recognize  GT  as  a  part of  the  special                                                               
provisions made for  kids with disabilities, and  has objected to                                                               
their being  mixed in  [Alaska's] code  or in  the funding.   The                                                               
federal government has directed  [the Department of Education and                                                               
Early  Development]  to disentangle  them  so  that the  [federal                                                               
government] is  clear that the  money provided for  children with                                                               
disabilities  is  not commingled  with  the  gifted and  talented                                                               
program.  He asked if he was right [in saying this].                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
BRUCE JOHNSON,  Deputy Commissioner  of Education, Office  of the                                                               
Commissioner,  Department  of  Education  and  Early  Development                                                               
(EED),  stated  that he  was  correct.    He clarified  that  the                                                               
federal government  was never concerned about  the commingling of                                                               
the  statutes or  regulation, but  was very  concerned with  [the                                                               
EED]  using money  earmarked for  children with  disabilities for                                                               
children with the exceptionality  of giftedness.  Therefore, [the                                                               
EED] stopped  doing that.  He  stated that last year  there was a                                                               
discussion about  whether the  federal government  would withhold                                                               
money if this is not corrected.   [The EED] did get a signal from                                                               
[the federal  government] that  no money  would be  withheld, and                                                               
there is no reading that  the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities                                                               
Education Act) 97  dollars that come to [Alaska]  are in jeopardy                                                               
for next  year.   He stated  that in March,  the State  Board [of                                                               
Education] adopted  regulations that are in  compliance with IDEA                                                               
97,  and  [the EED]  is  trying  to show  substantial  compliance                                                               
wherever possible.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON  added that the bill  has been improved this  year on                                                               
both sides  of the equation:   the part  of the bill  that serves                                                               
children  with  disabilities as  well  as  the part  that  serves                                                               
children with the  exceptionality of giftedness.   He stated that                                                               
[the   EED]  did   this  through   a   deliberate  process   with                                                               
constituents, starting  with those  who are most  concerned about                                                               
children  with  disabilities.     There  was  a  two-day  meeting                                                               
facilitated by an outside expert,  and there were agreements over                                                               
the  disagreements that  had arisen  during testimony  last year.                                                               
On the GT side, [constituents]  feel very strongly that they want                                                               
to be included under the umbrella of "exceptional children."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 1585                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOHNSON   explained  that  when  [the   EED]  developed  its                                                               
legislation,  it  was  split  into two  sections:    one  dealing                                                               
specifically with children with  disabilities, the other with the                                                               
exceptionality of  giftedness.  He  stated that in the  bill last                                                               
year there was children-with-disability  language that was pretty                                                               
much as  it is today.   On the GT  side, since the state  has not                                                               
been  receiving  any  money  to   monitor  or  provide  technical                                                               
services  for GT  students,  [the EED]  elected  to require  that                                                               
districts serve  children with that  exceptionality, but  for all                                                               
procedures and  rules around  that to  be determined  district by                                                               
district.  He stated that  this was not well received; therefore,                                                               
[the EED] has now taken a  different approach, which has a modest                                                               
fiscal  note,  to  provide  a   half-time  person  for  technical                                                               
oversight.   The districts  would then be  monitored on  how well                                                               
they were doing with GT students.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON stated that [the  EED] did not include transportation                                                               
as a  related service for  this population because [the  EED] has                                                               
heard  a lot  about the  escalating cost  of transportation,  and                                                               
thought  the legislature  should  take proactive  measures if  it                                                               
wants to  provide transportation for  this population.   He added                                                               
that there  previously was  not a  clause on  mediation; however,                                                               
there is with [this bill].                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON  asked if,  by  and  large, the  gifted-and-talented                                                               
parent  advocacy  groups are  now  comfortable  that this  is  in                                                               
separate sections of the bill and no longer commingled.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOHNSON  responded  that  he  wouldn't  say  that  they  are                                                               
comfortable,  but  they  have  recognized  that  there  are  some                                                               
advantages to doing  this.  They ultimately feel  that, given the                                                               
way [the  bill] was crafted,  it was  a reasonable approach.   He                                                               
clarified  that  [GT]  is  still  under  the  broad  umbrella  of                                                               
exceptional  children, but  was  a separate  section within  that                                                               
statute.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON  asked  what  the  vote was  in  the  House  Special                                                               
Committee on Education (HEDU).                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOULE asked  if Mr.  Johnson, prior  to answering                                                               
Chair Dyson's question,  could speak to the  amendments that were                                                               
made in HEDU.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 1805                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON  responded that the  three amendments on the  GT side                                                               
involved  the  least restrictive  environment.    He stated  that                                                               
[HEDU] voted  to delete "least restrictive  environment" from the                                                               
bill, as was recommended by [the EED].                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE stated that since  there was an objection to                                                               
the amendment there was a vote, which carried the amendment 4-2.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  stated that  [in HEDU] there  were two  "do passes,"                                                               
one "do not pass," one  "amend," and one "no recommendation" [for                                                               
CSHB 71(EDU)].                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 1938                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL   stated  that  one  of   the  things  he                                                               
struggles with  in this  bill is that  the language,  except with                                                               
what  was amended,  pretty much  mirrors the  IDEA language.   He                                                               
asked if one  could construe that there is a  civil right that is                                                               
being protected.   He  also stated that  with IDEA,  inclusion is                                                               
being forced,  whereas with  the GT,  exclusion is  being forced.                                                               
He remarked that he finds  this contradictory and would like some                                                               
discussion on it.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
GREG   MALONEY,  Director,   Special  Education,   Department  of                                                               
Education and Early  Development, responded that in  terms of how                                                               
GT and IDEA 97 interact, there  is no federal requirement for the                                                               
gifted.   Therefore, it was  decided that both  gifted [students]                                                               
and  kids with  disabilities would  be served  under "exceptional                                                               
children" on the  state level.  The current statute,  he said, is                                                               
for the  education of  exceptional children.   He stated  that in                                                               
making  that  decision to  clarify  which  special education  and                                                               
gifted requirements  are state  mandates, the  federal government                                                               
is most  concerned with how  [the EED] clearly outlines  what are                                                               
federal requirements  when servicing kids with  disabilities, and                                                               
that federal funds are not used to support gifted education.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. MALONEY  stated that because "exceptional  children" was used                                                               
for  both  gifted  and   special  education,  "least  restrictive                                                               
environment"  was  put in.    Under  IDEA 97,  least  restrictive                                                               
environment  means that  kids with  disabilities are  included in                                                               
their regular classroom  with their same-age peers  to the degree                                                               
appropriate in order  to provide an appropriate  education.  That                                                               
language was  also put in  for the gifted.   He said there  was a                                                               
concern that if that language were  in there for the gifted, then                                                               
that would  be taken to  mean that  there could not  be "pullout"                                                               
programs  or separate  programs for  GT.   He remarked  that [the                                                               
EED]  understood that  as  meaning it  would be  up  to each  IEP                                                               
(Individual  Education Plan)  team  to  make that  determination.                                                               
However, there  was strong feedback  from the GT  community about                                                               
the least restrictive environment.   Since it is a state mandate,                                                               
there was  nothing that was  federally required to  be maintained                                                               
for  "least restrictive  environment" for  gifted education.   He                                                               
noted  that  this could  never  be  done for  the  children-with-                                                               
disabilities  piece.   The  idea  is not  inclusion  but [for  GT                                                               
students to be] involved in  the regular classroom to the maximum                                                               
degree appropriate.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL remarked  that this is why  he thinks this                                                               
legislature  should take  this up  as  two separate  issues.   He                                                               
stated that he is going to  suggest that the question be divided,                                                               
since one is a federal mandate and the other is a state option.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 2077                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MALONEY   clarified  that  the   language  chosen   for  the                                                               
regulations  also  clarifies  the gifted  requirements  from  the                                                               
federally  mandated  special-education  requirements.   He  added                                                               
that this  is also  how it  is represented  in the  current bill.                                                               
There are  two components:   the special-education  component and                                                               
GT.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON asked  if  this was  why  the change  from                                                               
"exceptional  children"  to  "children  with  disabilities"  took                                                               
place.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. MALONEY answered yes.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  asked  where  in the  bill  the  division                                                               
occurs.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. MALONEY  stated that it occurs  on page 13, line  19 [in CSHB
71(EDU)].                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 2158                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA stated:                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     I  personally  think  that  although   this  is  not  a                                                                    
     federally  mandated  section  of  how  we're  providing                                                                    
     services to  our children, at  the very same  time I've                                                                    
     known lots  of Mensa folks -  people with extraordinary                                                                    
     mental ability  - and know  that most of  them [didn't]                                                                    
     attain  what  they  could have  attained.  ...  It  was                                                                    
     because of the  way that we didn't  provide services in                                                                    
     schools. ... I would hope  [that] if we're going attain                                                                    
     what  we  can  in  this   state,  that  we  strive  for                                                                    
     excellence all  the way through  so that we  can really                                                                    
     do what we  need to do in this state  - and that's rise                                                                    
     above  and  really compete  out  there.  ... We're  not                                                                    
     going to  be able to do  [that] unless we serve  all of                                                                    
     our children.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MALONEY  responded  that  there  is  a  30-year  history  in                                                               
[Alaska]  of providing  gifted educational  services.   He stated                                                               
that there is also a very  strong feeling in the gifted community                                                               
about the  importance of those services.   He said he  thinks the                                                               
difficulty for [the EED] has been  that it has had the obligation                                                               
to  oversee  those programs  but  has  not had  specific  funding                                                               
enabling it to do that.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOULE stated  that regardless  of what  direction                                                               
[the committee]  is going, he thinks  it needs to be  stated that                                                               
there  is  another bill  moving  through  the legislature  -  the                                                               
charter  schools bill  -  whereby potentially  there  could be  a                                                               
school within  a school or  a charter school strictly  for gifted                                                               
and  talented students.   He  added that  he also  fears if  [the                                                               
committee]  does not  move  this  along, the  GT  part could  get                                                               
buried.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 2267                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL asked, if  these issues were separated and                                                               
gifted  and  talented were  taken  out,  whether districts  could                                                               
arrange for a GT [program].                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.   MALONEY  responded   that,  in   theory,  districts   could                                                               
voluntarily choose  to provide gifted  services.   However, there                                                               
would be  two concerns  if this  were left  to the  discretion of                                                               
districts:  whether the districts would  choose to do so, and the                                                               
consistency of services.   He stated that there has  been a clear                                                               
message throughout  the history of providing  gifted service that                                                               
some oversight  from the  state is  appropriate, because  then it                                                               
allows for  those services  to be  provided and  for there  to be                                                               
some consistency,  external to the  district, in  providing those                                                               
services.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  remarked that  the answer, then,  is yes,                                                               
[the  districts] could.   He  remarked that  this language  is so                                                               
close to  what is installed on  a federal level for  civil rights                                                               
that  he is  concerned it  would create  a problem  in the  civil                                                               
rights  area.    He  asked  Mr. Maloney  if  he  anticipates  any                                                               
discussion on that.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. MALONEY  replied that in  the 30-year history there  has been                                                               
more  confusion in  terms  of how  gifted  services are  applied,                                                               
because  there has  been  some  overlap of  services.   When  the                                                               
language was  together under  "exceptional children,"  there were                                                               
times  when it  was not  clear to  districts and/or  parents what                                                               
applied  to gifted  and what  applied to  special education  - it                                                               
took  a  fine  reading  of  the regulations  to  get  that.    He                                                               
explained that  in separating this,  he thinks it  clarifies what                                                               
the special-education  and the gifted  regulations are  that need                                                               
to  be  followed.    He  said  that  there  are  some  procedural                                                               
safeguards  that   apply  to  both;   however,  there   are  more                                                               
protections under  the federal  law in  relation to  due process.                                                               
He  added that  there has  been very  little litigation  based on                                                               
civil rights issues.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 01-48, SIDE B                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  responded  that without  regard  to  the                                                               
litigation  issue,  he  thinks that  starting  with  due  process                                                               
hearings  and setting  up  frameworks of  that  type allows  [the                                                               
issue of civil rights] to be in that discussion.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 2360                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  asked  whether  there already  is  a  due                                                               
process in place for all children.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MALONEY  answered  that  there  is  a  local  administrative                                                               
complaint procedure through the school boards.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON asked  if gifted  children, then,  already                                                               
have  [a  due  process  procedure]  in place,  as  do  all  other                                                               
students.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MALONEY responded  that they  already have  the due  process                                                               
procedures.   He  clarified  that this  is not  a  new piece  for                                                               
gifted students.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  asked what  is being  added or  taken away                                                               
that is not already available.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. MALONEY  responded that  in terms of  GT, the  major proposed                                                               
change  was to  remove  transportation  reimbursement for  gifted                                                               
kids.   However,  that was  returned  to the  bill in  HEDU.   He                                                               
explained that this  bill clarifies that some of  the things that                                                               
are federally  mandated do not apply  to gifted kids.   He stated                                                               
that at times  this has been misinterpreted to mean  that what is                                                               
appropriate for  kids with disabilities  is appropriate  for kids                                                               
who are gifted.   The strategy was to try to  separate the two in                                                               
order to  clear up the  confusion and  to make sure  that federal                                                               
funds were not being used inappropriately for gifted kids.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 2279                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  stated that  her  concern  is that  every                                                               
child should have the same opportunity  in learning.  She said it                                                               
is   federally   mandated   to   separate   the   children   with                                                               
disabilities;  however,  she  feels  that  the  [other  children]                                                               
should have  the same rights.   She added that she  has a problem                                                               
with giving some children more rights than others.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MALONEY  responded that  he  thinks  members of  the  gifted                                                               
community  would say  that  there  are also  kids  who have  high                                                               
abilities and  have needs that  are different from those  of kids                                                               
within  the  range  of  what may  be  considered  traditional  or                                                               
normal.   These are  the kids who  meet certain  gifted criteria,                                                               
who may have high cognitive  scores, and who may have exceptional                                                               
talents  in  some  areas  that  the  regular  curriculum  is  not                                                               
addressing.   The concern that  comes up,  he stated, is  that if                                                               
this doesn't happen,  then -much like what  happens with children                                                               
with disabilities  - children won't  be challenged, and  they may                                                               
experience a  high dropout rate.   They will get  frustrated, and                                                               
they may not do well in school, and.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  asked  if  [students  are  already  being                                                               
challenged].                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. MALONEY  replied that in  speaking for the  gifted community,                                                               
he  thinks that  -  just  as for  kids  with  disabilities -  the                                                               
regular  curriculum may  not  meet their  needs.   Therefore,  it                                                               
would require specific  special services for the kids  who are at                                                               
a higher level in terms of cognitive ability.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  stated  that  she agrees  with  what  Mr.                                                               
Maloney is  saying, but there  already are classes that  do that.                                                               
She  said she  is  concerned  with putting  more  demands on  the                                                               
schools.   She asked what  other states  are doing in  these same                                                               
situations.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MALONEY responded  that  he doesn't  have  specific data  on                                                               
programs and  how they relate in  each state; however, this  is a                                                               
topic that most states have to deal  with.  He said Alaska is not                                                               
alone in struggling with how  to provide appropriate services for                                                               
the entire range  of kids.  He added that  most districts do have                                                               
accelerated programs; however, in  terms of the constant feedback                                                               
from   the   gifted  program,   these   are   kids  who   require                                                               
categorically   different  services   in  order   to  demonstrate                                                               
appropriate achievement.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 2131                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON stated that regardless  of what [the committee does],                                                               
each district  still gets  20 percent more  for the  GT, learning                                                               
disabled,  and  vocational  programs.   Therefore,  there  is  no                                                               
change in funding.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. MALONEY stated  that Chair Dyson was correct.   He noted that                                                               
bilingual  education is  the one  other program  under the  block                                                               
grant.   He added  that special education  has the  most specific                                                               
requirements;  therefore,  that  funding has  the  most  specific                                                               
uses.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 2089                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA  asked if she  was correct is  stating that                                                               
each district  gets a share  for special education, but  that the                                                               
districts  themselves determine  how  the money  is  spent.   She                                                               
stated that  friends of  hers who  are teaching  in the  Bush are                                                               
extremely concerned  because even though their  district received                                                               
the money,  it was  being spent  in other  ways.   She reiterated                                                               
that people  she has  known who  have exceptional  abilities have                                                               
not achieved what they could have achieved.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MALONEY  responded  that  when the  state  provides  the  20                                                               
percent  block  grant, which  is  based  on total  enrollment  of                                                               
students, there are no specific  amounts or percentages that have                                                               
to be spent  on GT.  He clarified that  nothing addresses funding                                                               
[in the bill].                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE stated  that under the block  grant it's not                                                               
only rural schools that may have  a problem with how the money is                                                               
spent.   He asked if  it is fair  to say  that in the  more urban                                                               
areas the money  heavily goes to one or two  of the [block grant]                                                               
categories,  such as  special education,  bilingual education  in                                                               
the rural schools, or vocational education.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1896                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MALONEY  replied  that  the   message  he  has  gotten  from                                                               
superintendents and  special education directors is  that that is                                                               
the case.   He said one reason is that  special education has the                                                               
most  legalistic  and  specified requirements.    The  challenge,                                                               
then, is if a  student has an IEP for a disability,  it has to be                                                               
implemented.  If it is  not [implemented], parent, have the right                                                               
to challenge  that.  He noted  that there is a  similar right for                                                               
the gifted, but in practice there  has not been the same level of                                                               
scrutiny  provided  through  parents  or  others  on  the  gifted                                                               
program as  there has  been federally and  statewide in  terms of                                                               
the special  education requirements.  Kids  who have disabilities                                                               
have expensive-educational  programs; therefore, more  funds tend                                                               
to go toward those students.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  stated that Representative Coghill  has an amendment                                                               
in the form of a committee  substitute that would take gifted and                                                               
talented out  of [the  current bill].   He said  it is  his sense                                                               
that the rest of the debate should  just be on that.  He asked if                                                               
it is fair  to say that [the EED] has  changed the regulations to                                                               
separate GT,  and is now  asking [the legislature] to  change the                                                               
statutes to fit the regulations.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MALONEY answered  yes.   He clarified  that even  though the                                                               
discussion focuses on GT, there  are some specific pieces related                                                               
to special education that are also in this bill.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON  remarked  that  he didn't  mean  to  downgrade  the                                                               
importance  of what  [the  EED]  has done.    He  asked, if  [the                                                               
committee] does not  pass this bill, whether [the  EED] will have                                                               
regulations that are out of conformity with the law.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. MALONEY responded that the  regulations that were adopted are                                                               
in conformity with the current law.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON stated  that  [the committee]  wouldn't  have to  do                                                               
anything, then.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. MALONEY  clarified that if  [the committee] did  nothing, the                                                               
federal funding  for this  year would  not be  in jeopardy.   The                                                               
regulations  address the  changes that  [the EED]  is wanting  to                                                               
make;  however, they  do not  take away  the need  to change  the                                                               
statute.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON   asked  whether  the  federal   government  is  not                                                               
satisfied with its being changed  in regulation, and is requiring                                                               
that it be changed in law.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MALONEY  answered  yes, that  [the  federal  government]  is                                                               
requiring  [the EED]  to move  toward that.   He  added that  the                                                               
federal government has  not been completely clear  in its message                                                               
to [the EED].                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  asked Mr. Maloney [what  year the money would  be in                                                               
jeopardy].                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. MALONEY  replied that it  is the  money that would  arrive on                                                               
July 1, 2001.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON asked, "If we did  nothing now and did this 12 months                                                               
from now, we could still save your bacon?"                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. MALONEY stated that that is his understanding.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 1720                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  made  a  motion to  adopt  the  proposed                                                               
committee substitute  (CS) for HB 71,  version 22-GH1010\F, Ford,                                                               
4/20/01, as a work draft.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL explained  that the  gifted and  talented                                                               
section is taken out of [the proposed CS].                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  stated that the  way the original  bill is                                                               
written, it provides unfunded mandates  at the local level to the                                                               
schools.   She said she  thinks this  needs to be  discussed more                                                               
and that she agrees with Representative Coghill.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  stated that this  certainly is a mandate  and limits                                                               
local  decisions;  however, it  can  be  argued  that it  is  not                                                               
unfunded  because  there  is  20 percent  more  money  for  every                                                               
district  to cover  the  four categories.   He  added  that if  a                                                               
district does not have children  considered to be GT or bilingual                                                               
students, [the  district] would have  the same pot of  money that                                                               
could  be  put  toward  kids   with  disabilities  or  vocational                                                               
programs.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MALONEY  stated  that  he  agrees  with  Chair  Dyson.    He                                                               
clarified that the  unfunded part is more at the  state level for                                                               
the oversight of gifted programs.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 1565                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE asked, if this  were to be separate, whether                                                               
the issue of transportation would remain unfunded.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. MALONEY stated  that transportation is not part  of the block                                                               
grant; therefore,  if the  gifted and  talented section  is taken                                                               
out, the transportation reimbursement would also be removed.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA  asked if  passing the  proposed CS  or the                                                               
original bill would eliminate the  ability to have transportation                                                               
for the gifted.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. MALONEY responded that the version  of the bill that came out                                                               
of   the  House   Special  Committee   on   Education  put   back                                                               
transportation for  GT.  If  gifted and  talented is not  part of                                                               
the districts' mandate, then there  would be no reimbursement for                                                               
gifted kids because there wouldn't be a gifted program.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA stated  that  she  understands that  [with                                                               
this  bill there  is] the  lack of  a federal  mandate, that  the                                                               
transportation  issue  is  needed,  and  that  the  oversight  is                                                               
needed.   She  asked  how  many positions  there  are that  cover                                                               
special education.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MALONEY  stated  that  currently  there  are  three  program                                                               
managers, in  addition to himself,  who provide  direct oversight                                                               
for  special education  in the  state.   He  clarified that  this                                                               
would [offer] an additional half-time position.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA remarked  that her  concern is  that every                                                               
child  has special  needs  and  every child  needs  to be  taught                                                               
differently.  She  stated that a half-time  position doesn't seem                                                               
like very much.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 1372                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  asked, if a  gifted and talented  child is                                                               
in a school  with other kids and  the parents want him  or her to                                                               
go to  a different school,  which is charter school,  whether his                                                               
or her  transportation would be  paid for  under this bill.   She                                                               
also asked, if there were  another child whose parents wanted him                                                               
or her  to go  to a different  school, but he  or she  wasn't GT,                                                               
whether that child's transportation wouldn't be paid for.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. MALONEY responded that, for  example, in Anchorage there is a                                                               
gifted program  whereby kids  from other sites  are brought  to a                                                               
central location.   He added that it is  not necessarily parents'                                                               
choice.  There  would be an identification  process through which                                                               
kids would be determined eligible,  and then transportation would                                                               
be  set  up  as  part  of the  kids'  educational  program.    He                                                               
clarified that if a child is not  in a gifted program, his or her                                                               
transportation would not paid for.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA  asked  if  this would  also  apply  to  a                                                               
special education child  who did not have an IEP,  but who wanted                                                               
to go to a different school.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MALONEY   answered  that  she  was   correct:  that  child's                                                               
reimbursement would not be provided for through the department.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 1160                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
A roll  call vote was  taken.  Representatives  Coghill, Stevens,                                                               
Kohring, Wilson, and Dyson voted  for adopting the proposed CS as                                                               
a work  draft.   Representatives Cissna  and Joule  voted against                                                               
it.   Therefore, proposed CSHB 71  was before the committee  by a                                                               
vote of 5-2.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  asked  if everything  for  children  with                                                               
disabilities is  the same, in the  proposed CS, as it  was in the                                                               
original bill.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL responded that it is primarily the same.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON remarked that a  profound change has been adopted; he                                                               
said he feels he owes it to Mr.  Maloney to allow him to speak to                                                               
it.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MALONEY  responded  that  his  experience  with  the  gifted                                                               
community  is   that  this  is   a  group  of  people   who  feel                                                               
passionately about  the requirement that children  have for these                                                               
services,  and that  they will  have  a strong  reaction to  this                                                               
[change].   Their concern will  be, he  said, that the  state has                                                               
not shown  the level of support  that they believe is  needed for                                                               
their students.   He added  that this is  a group of  parents who                                                               
are well  organized, and who  will make clear their  concern with                                                               
this particular legislative move.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 1064                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON stated his position:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     We're talking  about what  is a  public responsibility.                                                                    
     Certainly,  for me,  when  considering  this debate,  I                                                                    
     have to go back to  our foundational documents and say,                                                                    
     "You  know what  constitutional  authority and  federal                                                                    
     and state  [authority] we have for  taking the public's                                                                    
     dollars to spend  them on groups of  populations."  And                                                                    
     certainly, in  my view, there  is a hierarchy  of those                                                                    
     things.  Kids with disabilities  have a far greater, in                                                                    
     my  view, claim  upon  the taxpayer's  dollars to  help                                                                    
     them deal with the disabilities.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS  stated that  he appreciates  the proposed                                                               
CS, but there is an implied  plan to move ahead with dealing with                                                               
GT [students] in  the future.  He asked if  this is Chair Dyson's                                                               
intention.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  pledged to this  committee that anything  that comes                                                               
forward will  receive a fair  hearing.   He added that  he agrees                                                               
with Representative  Cissna that  exceptional kids should  not be                                                               
left  out  of  the  public  education process,  and  need  to  be                                                               
provided with all the  education opportunities specially tailored                                                               
to their particular needs that are possible.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 0891                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA   stated  that  it  is   a  constitutional                                                               
requirement for students  to be provided with  the education that                                                               
they need.  She said she  thinks it is a defensible argument that                                                               
it becomes a handicap when gifted students [are not addressed].                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE  remarked that  he does  not have  a problem                                                               
supporting the bill as amended;  however, he is very disappointed                                                               
that it  has been separated  out.   He stated that,  like special                                                               
education, gifted  and talented crosses all  socioeconomic lines.                                                               
He stated that  these aren't certain classes  of kids; therefore,                                                               
the parents  of gifted and  talented of  kids and the  parents of                                                               
special-education kids are probably equal taxpayers.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON stated:                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     This  is  not  an  easy  decision, but  ...  if  we  as                                                                    
     legislators  were fully  funding schools  the way  they                                                                    
     should be  funded, there would  be extra money to  do a                                                                    
     lot  of  extra  things.  ...   That's  one  of  my  big                                                                    
     concerns;  it's  another  mandate   that  we  would  be                                                                    
     putting on.   And I'm  not saying that it's  not needed                                                                    
     and it's  not important -  it is; it's  very important.                                                                    
     And those kids that are  gifted and talented have every                                                                    
     right to  learn up to  their ability, if the  sky's the                                                                    
     limit.    But,  unfortunately, we're  not  funding  the                                                                    
     schools adequately at this time.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL remarked  that  this move  is  in no  way                                                               
meant   to  disparage   children   in  special-needs   education.                                                               
However, [in  response to] the issue  that [Representative Joule]                                                               
raised that it doesn't have  socioeconomic boundaries, he said it                                                               
still  stratifies  an educational  community,  and  he is  always                                                               
cautious  about doing  that.   He  added that  this is  fashioned                                                               
after the  IDEA, which is a  civil rights issue, and  he does not                                                               
think it  is wise to mirror  that language.  Finally,  he said he                                                               
thinks IEPs are good for all students.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
[A  roll call  vote for  moving the  bill was  taken; however,  a                                                               
motion to move the bill had never been stated.]                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 0454                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL moved to report  CS for HB 71, version 22-                                                               
GH1010\F,  Ford,   4/20/01  out  of  committee   with  individual                                                               
recommendations and the accompanying fiscal note(s).                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA objected.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
A roll  call vote was  taken.  Representatives  Coghill, Stevens,                                                               
Kohring, Joule,  Wilson, and Dyson  voted in favor of  moving the                                                               
bill.  Representative  Cissna voted against it.   Therefore, CSHB
71(HES)  moved  from  the  House  Health,  Education  and  Social                                                               
Services Standing Committee by a vote of 6-1.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects