Legislature(2011 - 2012)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

01/27/2012 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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08:03:24 AM Start
08:04:44 AM SB171
09:10:38 AM Adjourn
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                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                        January 27, 2012                                                                                        
                           8:03 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Kevin Meyer, Co-Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Joe Thomas, Co-Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Hollis French                                                                                                           
Senator Gary Stevens                                                                                                            
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Bettye Davis, Vice Chair                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 171                                                                                                             
"An Act increasing the base student allocation used for public                                                                  
school funding; and providing for an effective date."                                                                           
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB 171                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: INCREASE BASE STUDENT ALLOCATION                                                                                   
SPONSOR(s): EDUCATION                                                                                                           
01/20/12       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/20/12       (S)       EDC, FIN                                                                                               
01/27/12       (S)       EDC AT 8:00 AM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
DAVID HERBERT, President                                                                                                        
Alaska Council of School Administrators                                                                                         
St. Mary's, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 171.                                                                                          
SIERRA LLOYD, Student                                                                                                           
Harborview Elementary School                                                                                                    
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 171.                                                                                          
LILLIAN WORL, representing herself                                                                                              
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 171.                                                                                          
MAUREEN HALL, School Nurse                                                                                                      
Juneau School District                                                                                                          
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 171.                                                                                          
DR. JOY NEYHART, Pediatrician                                                                                                   
Rainforest Pediatric Care                                                                                                       
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 171.                                                                                          
STEWART MCDONALD, Superintendent                                                                                                
Kodiak Island Borough School District                                                                                           
Kodiak, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 171.                                                                                          
PETER HOEPFNER, President                                                                                                       
Cordova School District Board of Education                                                                                      
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 171.                                                                                          
ANNE KILKENNY, representing herself                                                                                             
Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 171.                                                                                          
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:03:24 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  KEVIN  MEYER  called   the  Senate  Education  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 8:03  a.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order were Senators French, Stevens,  Co-Chair Meyer and Co-Chair                                                               
            SB 171-INCREASE BASE STUDENT ALLOCATION                                                                         
8:04:44 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR MEYER announced the consideration of SB 171.                                                                           
8:06:18 AM                                                                                                                    
MURRAY RICHMOND, staff to Senator  Thomas, co-aide for the Senate                                                               
Education  Committee,  SB  171   sponsor,  said  the  bill  gives                                                               
districts  the  ability  to craft  responsible  and  conservative                                                               
budgets with a  three year plan of modest  increases so districts                                                               
know how  to plan. He  said the  bill changes the  effective date                                                               
for the base  student allocation (BSA) and raises  the amounts to                                                               
$5805 on July  1, 2012, $5935 on  July 1, 2013 and  $6070 on July                                                               
1, 2014.  He noted that annual  BSA increases amount to  $125 for                                                               
the first year,  $130 for the second year and  $135 for the third                                                               
8:08:09 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  RICHMOND said  the Alaska  Council of  School Administrators                                                               
(ACSA) FY13 Funding Review reported  that districts would require                                                               
a $320  BSA increase to  keep pace with expected  cost increases,                                                               
excluding  energy  costs.  He said  many  districts  were  facing                                                               
budget cuts and  layoffs even with a BSA  increase. Academic Year                                                               
2012-13  (AY13)  projections  include   Fairbanks  with  a  $14.6                                                               
million  shortfall,   Anchorage  with   a  $6.2   million  budget                                                               
reduction,  Juneau with  a $3.6  to $5.9  million budget  cut and                                                               
Kodiak with a $1.2 million to $1.3 million reduction.                                                                           
He noted that  Haines was one of 12 districts  which met Adequate                                                               
Yearly  Progress  (AYP) standards  in  2011  with an  88  percent                                                               
graduation rate  and 50 percent  of its graduates  qualifying for                                                               
the  Alaska Performance  Scholarship  (APS). He  said the  Haines                                                               
School District  voiced concerns  that budget  cuts could  have a                                                               
negative impact on positive gains made in academic performance.                                                                 
8:10:46 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  RICHMOND   reviewed  a  report  from   the  Economic  Policy                                                               
Institute  (EPI)  titled "Where  Has  The  Money Been  Going"  to                                                               
address  spending  levels  and program  compositional  change  in                                                               
elementary and  secondary education  from 1967  to 2005.  He said                                                               
the  report concluded  that  conventional views  of  the rise  of                                                               
education   spending  were   exaggerated  because   inflation  in                                                               
educational  services  was  more  rapid  than  inflation  in  the                                                               
economy  overall  due to  a  high  percentage  of labor  cost  in                                                               
education versus other  industries. He said the  real increase in                                                               
school  spending has  been on  special education  rather than  on                                                               
regular  academic programs.  He said  federally mandated  special                                                               
education spending  increased from  3.7 percent  in 1967  to 21.0                                                               
percent  in 2005  and regular  education spending  decreased from                                                               
79.6 percent in 1967 to 55.0 percent in 2005.                                                                                   
SENATOR  STEVENS asked  if federal  funding on  special education                                                               
has increased.                                                                                                                  
8:12:32 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  RICHMOND answered  that federal  funding was  decreasing for                                                               
special education.                                                                                                              
8:13:06 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. RICHMOND addressed an assumption  that Alaska spends more per                                                               
student than  any other state in  the U.S. He said  a report from                                                               
the  National Education  Association (NEA)  shows the  state does                                                               
not lead the U.S. in  per student spending and spending continues                                                               
to decrease,  down from tenth in  AY04 to twenty second  in AY10.                                                               
He noted  that Alaska  was at one  time as high  as third  in the                                                               
U.S. for per student spending.                                                                                                  
He reviewed  2011 academic  achievement assessment  of elementary                                                               
and secondary  students in Alaska  from The Nation's  Report Card                                                               
via the  National Assessment of  Educational Progress  (NAEP). He                                                               
said for  average test  results in  reading, the  state's fourth-                                                               
grade    students    ranked    lower    than    those    in    46                                                               
states/jurisdictions and eighth-grade  students ranked lower than                                                               
33  states/jurisdictions. He  said  in  mathematics, the  state's                                                               
fourth-grade   students   ranked   lower   than   those   in   33                                                               
states/jurisdictions and eighth-grade  students ranked lower than                                                               
those  in  22  states/jurisdictions. He  noted  that  achievement                                                               
level  percentages  and  average   score  results  have  steadily                                                               
increased for eighth-grade students.                                                                                            
8:17:38 AM                                                                                                                    
He  said  Alaska's  dropout  rate   has  steadily  declined  from                                                               
slightly above 6 percent in 2000 to below 5 percent in 2010.                                                                    
8:18:25 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH  asked to  verify NAEP  test results  that fourth-                                                               
grade reading  scores declined  while fourth-grade  math, eighth-                                                               
grade reading and eighth-grade math improved.                                                                                   
MR. RICHMOND answered correct.                                                                                                  
SENATOR  FRENCH commented  that  the dropout  rate reduction  was                                                               
positive  and noted  that he  was under  the impression  that the                                                               
dropout rate was 40 percent. He  asked how the lower dropout rate                                                               
was measured.                                                                                                                   
MR. RICHMOND answered  that the dropout rate  submitted was based                                                               
on an  annual percentage and  Senator French may be  referring to                                                               
the  cumulative  dropout  rate.  He  noted  that  the  cumulative                                                               
dropout rate has declined from 40 percent to 32 percent.                                                                        
8:20:18 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR MEYER  commented on the Crime  Summit recently presented                                                               
by Senator  French and education's  indirect effect on  crime. He                                                               
said the  recent Pre-Kindergarten Task  Force and the  Moore case                                                               
settlement  both emphasized  the  importance  of early  childhood                                                               
8:21:16 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  THOMAS commented  that reports  presented were  helpful                                                               
and  showed  positive  progress.   He  noted  the  importance  of                                                               
documentation to support how educational  data was derived, e.g.,                                                               
how and  when the dropout  rate was  calculated for an  annual or                                                               
graduation class percentage.                                                                                                    
8:23:21 AM                                                                                                                    
DAVID    HERBERT,   President,    Alaska   Council    of   School                                                               
Administrators  (ACSA), said  a  recent ACSA  report  on the  BSA                                                               
showed a $320 increase was  required for school districts to meet                                                               
projected  cost  increases  and  noted   that  the  BSA  has  not                                                               
increased  during the  past two  fiscal years.  He said  ACSA has                                                               
determined that the primary focus  was on increasing the FY13 BSA                                                               
by $320 to  avoid staff reductions, program  cuts and detrimental                                                               
effects on students.                                                                                                            
8:26:45 AM                                                                                                                    
He noted the improvement made  in the state's graduation rate and                                                               
work readiness in  its graduates. He said  the multi-year forward                                                               
funding  would greatly  assist  districts  for planning  upcoming                                                               
budgets.  He said  costs continue  to  increase, federal  funding                                                               
continues to  decrease, student enrollment  has declined  in some                                                               
districts  and the  elimination  of $20  million appropriated  in                                                               
FY12 for higher energy costs.                                                                                                   
8:30:35 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  HEBERT said  he was  the superintendent  for the  St. Mary's                                                               
school district;  99 percent Native Alaskan  population, made AYP                                                               
nearly  every  year, 90  percent  graduation  rate and  a  recent                                                               
graduate was attending Stanford University on a scholarship.                                                                    
8:31:55 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  MEYER  commented that  the  Senate  has made  education                                                               
funding  a  top  priority  and  the intent  is  to  have  funding                                                               
approved  in time  to  assist districts  with  their FY13  budget                                                               
planning. He  noted that  a $320 BSA  increase was  doubtful, but                                                               
annual increases ranging  from $125 to $135 over  three years was                                                               
a start.                                                                                                                        
8:32:55 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR   STEVENS  stated   that   he   appreciated  the   ACSA's                                                               
documentation  to support  a $320  increase in  BSA funding,  but                                                               
noted  that it  was up  to the  committee to  submit a  realistic                                                               
increase  that  had a  chance  to  pass. He  commended  committee                                                               
members  who  came  forward  with a  plan  to  address  education                                                               
funding shortfalls and  noted that the focus should be  on how SB                                                               
171 would help rather than not being enough.                                                                                    
8:34:47 AM                                                                                                                    
SIERRA   LLOYD,  fourth-grade   student,  Harborview   Elementary                                                               
School, Juneau,  said an  increase in the  BSA would  benefit her                                                               
school by providing more computers and teachers.                                                                                
8:36:52 AM                                                                                                                    
ERIN HEYWOOD,  representing herself,  Juneau, said her  sons were                                                               
special  need   students  with  hemophilia.  She   said  proposed                                                               
cutbacks would eliminate school nurses who tend to her children.                                                                
8:41:53 AM                                                                                                                    
LILLIAN  WORL, representing  herself, Juneau,  said the  district                                                               
continues to augment school budgets with donations and fund-                                                                    
raising  activities.   She  said   proposed  budget   cuts  would                                                               
eliminate 66  staff members, reduce  school nurses by  60 percent                                                               
and restrict needed technology upgrades.                                                                                        
8:46:32 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR MEYER commented  that he has always  been impressed with                                                               
parental involvement  in Juneau  and understands the  high travel                                                               
expenses faced  by the  district due  to attending  activities in                                                               
8:47:10 AM                                                                                                                    
MAUREEN HALL, School Nurse, Juneau  School District, said schools                                                               
face  additional   challenges  due  to  technology's   impact  on                                                               
behavior and  rising obesity rates. She  said underfunding school                                                               
budgets does not  respond to the increased challenge  it takes to                                                               
educate children in today's culture.                                                                                            
8:53:34 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR   THOMAS  commented   that  "digital   distraction"  for                                                               
children would  only get  worse as the  necessity for  schools to                                                               
intervene increases.                                                                                                            
MS.  HALL  said  a  balanced curriculum  approach  with  physical                                                               
activity is important for children.                                                                                             
8:55:01 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. JOY  NEYHART, Pediatrician, Juneau,  said school  nurses play                                                               
an   important  supportive   role  when   caring  for   children,                                                               
especially with special needs patients.  She said saving money by                                                               
replacing school nurses  with health aides would  put students at                                                               
8:57:09 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS  asked what the  difference was between  a school                                                               
nurse and a health aide.                                                                                                        
DR. NEYHART answered that she did not know.                                                                                     
SENATOR  STEVENS asked  if a  health  aide would  be a  certified                                                               
DR.  NEYHART answered  no. She  said a  health aide  could be  an                                                               
individual with no postsecondary education.                                                                                     
8:57:46 AM                                                                                                                    
STEWART   MCDONALD,   Superintendent,  Kodiak,   said   education                                                               
spending  has not  kept up  with costs  and the  result has  been                                                               
continued staff  and program  cuts. He  said dropout  rates would                                                               
increase if  core curriculum was not  balanced with developmental                                                               
activities. He said  the district was trying to find  new ways to                                                               
educate children with fewer resources.                                                                                          
9:02:45 AM                                                                                                                    
PETER  HOEPFNER, Cordova  School Board  Member, Cordova,  said an                                                               
increase in the BSA would  help with continually rising expenses.                                                               
He noted that the district  has aggressively worked on conserving                                                               
energy  costs  by cutting  nearly  $500,000  over the  past  five                                                               
years. He said  forward-funding would help the  district plan for                                                               
its future. He said continued  flat-funding would lead to teacher                                                               
layoffs and create student performance concerns.                                                                                
9:04:29 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS  commented that the  Cordova School  District has                                                               
the 2012 Teacher  of the Year and the 2012  Superintendent of the                                                               
Year, a tribute to their success.                                                                                               
9:05:11 AM                                                                                                                    
ANNE KILKENNY, representing  herself, Matanuska-Susitna, said the                                                               
bill should be  amended to two years with a  BSA increase in FY13                                                               
by $340 and  FY14 by $170. She said federal  funding has impacted                                                               
the district's  budget, down from 10  to 12 percent to  less than                                                               
one percent.                                                                                                                    
9:09:59 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR MEYER  announced he would  hold SB 171 in  committee for                                                               
future consideration.                                                                                                           
9:10:38 AM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Co-Chair Meyer adjourned the Senate Education Committee at 9:10                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Bill Packet 1-27-12.pdf SEDC 1/27/2012 8:00:00 AM
SB 171 Bill Packet
SB171-EED-ACYA-1-20-12.pdf SEDC 1/27/2012 8:00:00 AM
SB 171
SB171-EED-ESS-1-20-12.pdf SEDC 1/27/2012 8:00:00 AM
SB 171