Legislature(2001 - 2002)

03/26/2002 03:03 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 464-SCHOOL DISTRICT CORRESPONDENCE STUDY                                                                                   
CHAIR DYSON  announced the  first order  of business,  HOUSE BILL                                                               
NO.  464,   "An  Act  relating   to  statewide   school  district                                                               
correspondence  study  programs."    [Before  the  committee  was                                                               
Version O, as amended on March  14.]  He sought confirmation from                                                               
Representative  Jeannette James  that her  intention was  for the                                                               
committee to adopt Version P [as a work draft].                                                                                 
Number 0260                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE   JEANNETTE  JAMES,   Alaska  State   Legislature,                                                               
sponsor  of HB  464,  offered her  intention  that the  committee                                                               
adopt the amendments  made by the Senate [to  the companion bill,                                                               
SB 346; those changes are embodied  in Version P].  She expressed                                                               
her  preference that  the  committee hold  the  bill pending  the                                                               
forthcoming  [Department  of   Education  and  Early  Development                                                               
(EED)] regulations.                                                                                                             
Number 0325                                                                                                                     
WHITNEY  HIGHLAND, Staff  to Senator  Loren  Leman, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, came  forward at  the invitation  of Chair  Dyson to                                                               
present  the  changes in  Version  P  [on  behalf of  the  Senate                                                               
Health,  Education   and  Social  Services   Standing  Committee,                                                               
sponsor  of SB  346, the  companion bill;  Senator Leman  is vice                                                               
chair of that committee].                                                                                                       
MS. HIGHLAND  brought attention to  title changes.   First, "home                                                               
schooling" has been omitted.   Home school programs are currently                                                               
classified  by  [EED]  as   correspondence  study  programs,  she                                                               
explained;  to  avoid  confusion,  "the  sponsor"  chose  to  use                                                               
language parallel to  the department's - "home  schooling" is not                                                               
recognized in statute.  The  new title also includes "centralized                                                               
correspondence  study";  that  allows the  inclusion  of  Alyeska                                                               
Central School, which is not run  by school district, but by EED.                                                               
Statewide school  district correspondence study programs  are run                                                               
by school districts, she noted.                                                                                                 
MS. HIGHLAND  turned attention  to page 1,  lines 4-5,  and noted                                                               
the omission of "school district".   This allows for inclusion of                                                               
the Alyeska Central  School (ACS).  She pointed out  that page 1,                                                               
lines  7-8,   includes  all   entities  that   conduct  statewide                                                               
correspondence study programs:   ACS, charter schools, and school                                                               
Number 0480                                                                                                                     
MS. HIGHLAND  pointed out that  page 2, line 2,  replaces "school                                                               
district" with "governing body".   This change was recommended by                                                               
Legislative Legal  and Research Services to  align with statutory                                                               
language, since "governing  body" is defined in  statute as being                                                               
the  school board  of a  borough school  district, a  city school                                                               
district,  or  a  regional   education  attendance  area  [school                                                               
district].   On page  2, lines  3-8, ["establish  procedures"] is                                                               
added  to better  align with  the statutory  authority of  school                                                               
boards found in AS 14.14.090.                                                                                                   
MS. HIGHLAND explained that Version  P also specifies that school                                                               
districts have the ability to  establish these procedures only in                                                               
regard to  curriculum materials purchased by  school districts or                                                               
governing boards,  and not those purchased  [with private funds].                                                               
Version P also  provides that a procedure be in  place for school                                                               
boards  to approve  or disapprove  home-designed courses  and [to                                                               
establish procedures]  for the evaluation  of student work.   She                                                               
concluded  that these  changes ultimately  give the  authority to                                                               
establish  procedures   to  local  school  boards,   not  to  the                                                               
department.   She added  that on  page 2,  line 9,  "district" is                                                               
defined.  In  statute, "district" means a city  or borough school                                                               
district or regional educational attendance area.                                                                               
Number 0610                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS moved  to adopt  Version P,  22-LS1494\P,                                                               
Ford,  3/18/02, as  a  work  draft.   There  being no  objection,                                                               
Version P was before the committee.                                                                                             
CHAIR  DYSON announced  the intention  of  addressing the  fiscal                                                               
note  and holding  the  bill  pending the  actions  [of EED]  and                                                               
review  of the  EED  regulations.   He  stated  that [Version  P]                                                               
brings  the bill  into  conformity with  the  Senate version  [SB                                                               
346].  [He asked if someone from  EED was present to speak to the                                                               
changes, but was informed that no one was.]                                                                                     
Number 0710                                                                                                                     
CHAIR DYSON  related his  belief that because  the bill  has been                                                               
significantly altered, the committee  is justified in zeroing out                                                               
the fiscal note.  He offered  assurance that plenty of time would                                                               
be granted for the department to  draft a new fiscal note, should                                                               
the committee revisit HB 464.                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL moved  to zero out the fiscal  note for HB                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  JOULE objected  for purposes  of discussion.   He                                                               
asked about the  difference between the zero fiscal  note and the                                                               
fiscal note prepared by EED.                                                                                                    
CHAIR DYSON offered his understanding  that when the [EED] fiscal                                                               
note was  prepared, the  bill made it  the responsibility  of the                                                               
department to conduct  all the review required  therein; this was                                                               
before the bill  was modified to give  review responsibilities to                                                               
the  [program's governing  body].   He suggested  that is  a fair                                                               
justification  for  modifying  the  fiscal note,  but  asked  Ms.                                                               
Highland  whether his  statement  was correct;  he then  observed                                                               
that  Ms. Highland  had gestured  her concurrence.   Chair  Dyson                                                               
asked Representative Joule if he maintained his objection.                                                                      
Number 0820                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  JOULE  replied  no,  but  requested  to  see  the                                                               
[earlier EED] fiscal note.                                                                                                      
CHAIR DYSON  suggested that Representative  Joule wait to  see [a                                                               
forthcoming fiscal note from EED  for Version P], and whether the                                                               
committee chose to take action on the bill.                                                                                     
CHAIR DYSON announced  that there being no  objection, the fiscal                                                               
note was  zeroed out.   He  also announced that  HB 464  would be                                                               
held pending review  of the EED regulations,  which EED personnel                                                               
had indicated would be available online April 8.                                                                                
Number 0896                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE   JOULE  suggested   that   since   the  cost   of                                                               
[oversight] is  being shifted to  the school districts,  he would                                                               
like to hear from Carl Rose  [of the Association of Alaska School                                                               
Boards (AASB)] when the committee revisits HB 464.                                                                              
CHAIR  DYSON  conveyed  uncertainty  that AASB  was  the  correct                                                               
entity  to respond  to  this, but  suggested  that the  committee                                                               
would hear from the districts.  He continued:                                                                                   
     To the  department I  want to  say that,  in colloquial                                                                    
     terms,  what I  understand  this bill  was  about:   it                                                                    
     reflects  the legislature's  significant concern  about                                                                    
     what  was happening,  apparently, with  the regulations                                                                    
     in the first  draft.  And Representative James  - in my                                                                    
     words, not hers - has loaded  a cannon and ... fired it                                                                    
     across  the bow  of  the department,  saying, "Go  slow                                                                    
     here;  we  are  very   concerned  about  what  ...  the                                                                    
     legislature,  by   and  large,   considers  to   be  an                                                                    
     overregulation   of  correspondence   schools."     The                                                                    
     department has responded to those concerns.                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON  mentioned  review   that  happened  in  the  [Joint                                                               
Committee on  Administrative Regulation  Review], in  the current                                                               
committee, and before  the Senate.  He  offered his understanding                                                               
that essentially  all the  parties who would  be affected  by the                                                               
regulations are now comfortable  with the department's commitment                                                               
to revise the  regulations.  He added, "The  proverbial cannon is                                                               
still loaded and aimed."                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES added, "We have the safety on."                                                                            
Number 0995                                                                                                                     
CHAIR DYSON suggested that this  matter shows the care with which                                                               
all regulations  and [legislation] ought  to be considered.   [HB                                                               
464 was held over.]                                                                                                             

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