Legislature(1993 - 1994)

04/06/1993 07:35 PM 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  7:35  p.m.   He                 
  informed   the  witnesses   waiting  to   testify  via   the                 
  legislative teleconference network  on SB 62  that committee                 
  members would have to  return to the Senate floor  where the                 
  operating budget was being debated,  but that staff would be                 
  recording the meeting and taking  notes on the participants'                 
  testimony.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Number 055                                                                   
                                                                               
  JERRY BURNETT, staff to Senator Randy Phillips, took over as                 
  moderator for the meeting.                                                   
                                                                               
  GEORGE   HOLCOMB,  President   of   the  Anchorage   Council                 
  Education, one of the nine  bargaining groups that represent                 
  employees  working  for   the  Anchorage  School   District,                 
  testified  from Anchorage.   He  stated his support  for the                 
  draft  committee  substitute,  saying  they  appreciate  the                 
  removal of the  unequitable and  unfair Alaska School  Price                 
  Index proposal that was contained in  the original bill.  He                 
  said the Anchorage School District  provides an education to                 
  38 percent of the students in the  state and they do it with                 
  only  30  percent  of  the  foundation  funding.    He  also                 
  expressed the district's appreciation for the removal of the                 
  change  in  the  weighing  factor  for gifted  and  talented                 
  students.   Under  the original   bill, over  $750,000 would                 
  have been reduced  from their gifted and  talented program.                  
  Mr. Holcomb  encouraged the  committee to  provide equitable                 
  funding for  the students of  Anchorage and  to support  the                 
  revised version of the bill.                                                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Number 100                                                                   
                                                                               
  JOE  BECKFORD, Superintendent  of  the Unalaska  City School                 
  District,   testifying from  Unalaska, said  that Unalaska's                 
  assessed evaluation has  grown by leaps and  bounds over the                 
  last few years, but that hasn't been without a price.  While                 
  the  assessed  evaluation  of  Unalaska  is very  high,  the                 
  infrastructure to  support that  has not been  put in  place                 
  yet.  He requested  that as the legislature looks  at things                 
  such  as assessed  evaluation  and funding  provisions  that                 
  address  that  assessed  evaluation,  to  also look  at  the                 
  infrastructure and the  demands that  are being put  against                 
  that  assessed  evaluation.    He  also suggested  that  the                 
  legislature should look at the decentralization of districts                 
  such as Anchorage and not the  consolidation of small school                 
  districts.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Number 150                                                                   
                                                                               
  BRUCE  STANTON,  Vice President  of the  Ketchikan Education                 
  Association, testifying from  Ketchikan, voiced support  for                 
  the Alaska School Price Index, saying  it may be flawed, but                 
  that  it  is  an  improvement over  the  current  area  cost                 
  differential.  Ketchikan has been at  the cap for six years,                 
  and they cannot  spend any more  money locally.  Their  area                 
  cost differential is rated  the same as Anchorage.   He said                 
  he  agreed  with the  point that  in  some cases  the Alaska                 
  School Price Index does award those districts which have not                 
  have been using their resources  wisely, but he believes  it                 
  is an improvement.   Mr.  Stanton also spoke  to moving  the                 
  cap,  saying  it's  time to  move  in  some  other direction                 
  instead of just asking the state for                                         
  more dollars every year.                                                     
                                                                               
  Number 240                                                                   
                                                                               
  SHERILY BRASPEMINCKY,  an employee  of the  Anchorage School                 
  District  and  Vice President  of  the Anchorage  Council of                 
  Education, stated her support for  the revised Alaska School                 
  Price Index  formula in  a way  that is  more equitable  for                 
  Anchorage.  Under  the changes,  Anchorage would receive  an                 
  increase of $5.9  million as  opposed to  the original  bill                 
  where they would have received $392,230.  She  also supports                 
  the deletion from the committee substitute of the changes to                 
  the  funding formula for the  gifted and talented program as                 
  proposed in the original version of SB 62.                                   
                                                                               
  Number 255                                                                   
                                                                               
  SHARON NORTON, President,  Ketchikan Education  Association,                 
  testifying from Ketchikan,  said Ketchikan  has been at  the                 
  cap  for local funding for six years, and they have no where                 
  to go.   She said they need  more education dollars  just to                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  keep even.   She stated her support  for the original SB  62                 
  because  it  would go  a long  way  for providing  equity in                 
  public school funding in the state.                                          
                                                                               
  Number 272                                                                   
                                                                               
  KATHI GILLESPIE, representing the Alaska  PTA and testifying                 
  from Anchorage,  expressed appreciation  for full and  early                 
  funding of the  foundation formula this year.   She outlined                 
  several  funding  issues  that were  adopted  as  part their                 
  legislative program at the Alaska  PTA 1992 convention, such                 
  as public education  as the  primary responsibility of  both                 
  the  state  and local  government  units; the  state funding                 
  formula  for  education  should  be   reformed  to  minimize                 
  disparities created  by local contribution and federal funds                 
  among poor and  wealthy districts; the state  should provide                 
  funding for  districts adequate  to enable  them to  provide                 
  both  basic   educational  programs  and   special  programs                 
  mandated by the state; their support  for the concept of the                 
  Alaska School Price Index; and consolidation of small school                 
  districts and setting a minimum size for a school district.                  
                                                                               
  Number 334                                                                   
                                                                               
  KAREN BITZER,  representing the Anchorage  Council of  PTAs,                 
  testifying from Anchorage, said Anchorage  has long felt the                 
  effects of  inequitable treatment  by  the legislature  with                 
  regard  to  education  funding.   She  stated  the Council's                 
  support  for CSSB  62(CRA).   They support  the formula  for                 
  special needs  and gifted  students.   The Anchorage  School                 
  District receives a high percentage of students with special                 
  needs  from  various  parts of  the  state.    She said  the                 
  Anchorage Council of PTAs urges their representatives in the                 
  legislature to work aggressively to bring home more fair and                 
  equitable educational funding.                                               
                                                                               
  Number 365                                                                   
                                                                               
  JOHN HOLST,  Superintendent, Craig City  Schools, testifying                 
  in Juneau, said consistently,  small school districts across                 
  the state have very  low administrative costs.  They  do not                 
  have large bureaucracies, they have administrators who teach                 
  and  do all  kinds of  other duties,  so they are  much more                 
  efficient than a lot of other larger districts.  He does not                 
  support  the  committee  substitute,  saying  it  is  flawed                 
  legislation, and is  an attempt to  move a major portion  of                 
  funding from rural  Alaska into the metropolitan  areas.  He                 
  believes that when the Alaska School Price Index is in final                 
  form,  it  will  take care  of  the  single  site and  other                 
  equities in  the current funding formula.  He requested that                 
  the original Alaska  School Price Index be  placed back into                 
  the bill.                                                                    
                                                                               
  There being no other witnesses wishing  to testify on SB 62,                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  the public hearing was closed and adjourned at 8:00 p.m.                     

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