Legislature(1993 - 1994)

04/06/1993 09:00 AM CRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
  The Senate Community & Regional Affairs Committee was called                 
  to order by Chairman Randy Phillips at 9:00 a.m.                             
                                                                               
  SENATOR  RANDY  PHILLIPS  brought CSSB  62(CRA)  before  the                 
  committee, which was  adopted as a  working document by  the                 
  committee  at  its  previous  meeting.    He  announced  the                 
  committee  would  be  taking testimony  from  teleconference                 
  sites around the  state and that additional  testimony would                 
  be taken at a 7:30 p.m. meeting as well.                                     
                                                                               
  Number 022                                                                   
                                                                               
  DUANE  GUILEY,  Director,   School  Finance,  Department  of                 
  Education,  in  response to  a  request that  the department                 
  supply  additional   information  on  all   revenue  sources                 
  available  to  school  districts, directed  attention  to  a                 
  schedule of the general fund revenue sources.  He added that                 
  the department is  still working on the  remaining schedules                 
  of federal  fund  revenue  sources  that  are  supplementary                 
  programs in nature.                                                          
                                                                               
  Mr. Giley also directed attention  to a schedule showing the                 
  wealth available per student at the local level.                             
                                                                               
  Number 095                                                                   
                                                                               
                                                                               
  SENATOR   RANDY  PHILLIPS  opened   the  meeting  to  public                 
  testimony over the teleconference network.                                   
                                                                               
  STEVE GIBSON,  testifying from Homer, said the change in the                 
  Alaska School Price Idex is fair.   However, he is concerned                 
  with the adjustment for gifted and talented students, saying                 
  he is worried that it is the beginning of the phasing out of                 
  this  funding.  He  suggested capping the  funding level for                 
  the  program  at 4.5  to 5  percent of the  enrollment.   He                 
  noted that in his  school district they spend more  money on                 
  gifted and talented than they are allocated  from the state.                 
  SENATOR  PHILLIPS  clarified that  the  Alaska School  Price                 
  Index provision and  the gifted and talented  provision were                 
  not included in the committee substitute.                                    
                                                                               
  Number 162                                                                   
                                                                               
  LARRY WIGET,  testifying from Anchorage, said  rewriting the                 
  school foundation formula is a  task that must be undertaken                 
  by the legislators if all students  in the state, both urban                 
  and rural, are  to be  provided with equal  access with  the                 
  limited  financial resources available.   He said currently,                 
  the foundation formula  is not equitable to  the students in                 
  Anchorage, and the Anchorage School Board  adopted as one of                 
  its priorities this legislative session the rewriting of the                 
  school foundation  formula in  a way that  is equitable  for                 
  Anchorage.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Number 195                                                                   
                                                                               
  DENNIS  WETHERELL,  President  of  the  Mat-Su  Talented and                 
  Gifted Association,  testifying from Anchorage,  thanked the                 
  committee for the  changes made in  the gifted and  talented                 
  education,  saying  the  original  bill  would have  been  a                 
  disaster  for these programs.  He requested that a paragraph                 
  (c) be added  to AS 14.17.045  which would require that  any                 
  funds  allocated  for   gifted  also  be  used   for  gifted                 
  education.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Number 220                                                                   
                                                                               
  FRANK  GARRITY,  Coordinator  with the  North  Slope Borough                 
  School District,  read into the  record a letter  from Patsy                 
  Aamodt,  Superintendent of  the North  Slope Borough  School                 
  District, to Senator Adams.   The letter states that  if the                 
  committee substitute  passes, it  would decrease  the annual                 
  foundation   revenue  to  the  North  Slope  Borough  School                 
  District by over $2 million.   Since the North Slope Borough                 
  already provides  over 60 percent  of the funding  for their                 
  current budget,  and since  their recent  FY 94  request has                 
  been cut  by $1.4  million, the  committee substitute  would                 
  cause a substantial reduction in their educational  programs                 
  and the  loss of  many educational  opportunities for  their                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  children.   The  letter urges  that the  current  35 percent                 
  required  local  support  as  specified  in  the  foundation                 
  formula be retained rather than allowing it  to be increased                 
  to 50 percent as proposed in the committee substitute.                       
                                                                               
  Number 260                                                                   
                                                                               
  DEBORAH GERMANO, testifying from Homer, said as a parent she                 
  is  concerned  about  the cost  differential  of  the Alaska                 
  School Price Index.  She said they are up against the cap in                 
  their  district,  they  continue to  add  children  in their                 
  classrooms and their programs continue to deteriorate.                       
                                                                               
  Number 275                                                                   
                                                                               
  RICHARD SWARNER, Executive  Director of Business  Management                 
  for the Kenai Peninsula  Borough School District, testifying                 
  from Soldotna, said  their district spends all of  the money                 
  that they garner under that portion  of the program, as well                 
  as subsidizing the  gifted and  talented program with  local                 
  money.   He  also stated  their  concern with  changing  the                 
  Alaska  School  Price Index.    He noted  that  their school                 
  district has  been at the  cap under the  foundation program                 
  for four years,  and they  are projected to  be there  again                 
  next year.  He also pointed  out that their teacher salaries                 
  are the lowest of any of the large school districts and that                 
  their pupil/teacher ratios are extremely high.                               
                                                                               
  Number 320                                                                   
                                                                               
  CLAUDIA WALTON, testifying from Anchorage, addressed Section                 
  2, which relates  to centralized correspondence study.   She                 
  said there are nearly 800 students  in Alaska who are on the                 
  centralized  correspondence  program  in  the public  school                 
  program.   She supports the  program because  it offers  the                 
  parents  and the  students an  option  to the  normal school                 
  program.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Number 375                                                                   
                                                                               
  MARTY  LASTER,  Assistant   Superintendent,  Mat-Su   School                 
  District, testified from Palmer.  He said there are elements                 
  of the committee substitute that the district likes and they                 
  have  concerns about other areas.   Like the Kenai Peninsula                 
  School  District, the  Mat-Su provides  greater funding  for                 
  gifted and  talented  than  they receive.    They  are  also                 
  approaching  well  over  30   students  in  their  secondary                 
  classrooms, as well  as high  pupil/teacher ratios in  their                 
  elementary classrooms.   The Mat-Su School District  is very                 
  supportive of  Section 3 which would provide some relief for                 
  large classrooms.  Further, the school district supports the                 
  Alaska School Price Index.                                                   
                                                                               
  There  being no further  witnesses wishing to  testify on SB
  62,  SENATOR  RANDY  PHILLIPS  stated  the  committee  would                 
  adjourn until 7:30  p.m. at which time  more testimony would                 
  be taken over the teleconference  network.  The meeting  was                 
  adjourned at 9:35 a.m.                                                       

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