Legislature(2011 - 2012)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

02/15/2012 08:00 AM EDUCATION


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08:04:00 AM Start
08:04:27 AM SB194
08:56:29 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= SB 169 FUNDING FOR DISTANCE DELIVERY EDUCATION TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled But Not Heard
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= SB 194 PROCEDURES FOR LOW-PERFORMING SCHOOLS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
          SB 194-PROCEDURES FOR LOW-PERFORMING SCHOOLS                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:04:27 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR THOMAS announced the continued  consideration of SB 194.                                                               
He noted that many states  have struggled with the low-performing                                                               
schools and some states had  initiated active plans to help their                                                               
schools.  He said  the intent  of this  bill was  a collaborative                                                               
effort to  work with the  community, district and  the Department                                                               
of  Education and  Early  Development (DEED)  to  make sure  low-                                                               
performing schools  get back on  track. He said the  state cannot                                                               
afford to  stand idly  by and  allow low-performing  districts to                                                               
struggle.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:05:52 AM                                                                                                                    
MURRAY  RICHMOND,  staff  to Senator  Joe  Thomas,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature,  and  co-aide  to   the  Senate  Education  Standing                                                               
Committee,  said  changes  were  made since  the  last  committee                                                               
meeting. He noted that Senator  French requested clarification in                                                               
terminology  by  adding  the  phrase   "degrees  of"  to  provide                                                               
measurement  means   to  audit  activities  pertaining   to  high                                                               
standards,  collaboration,   family  involvement   and  community                                                               
involvement.  He said  the changes  included a  focus on  schools                                                               
rather than  districts and allowing  collaborative changes  to be                                                               
optional rather than mandatory.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:08:28 AM                                                                                                                    
He  emphasized  that governance  councils  would  function on  an                                                               
advisory capacity and the name  had been changed from "governance                                                               
council"  to "revitalization  advisory council"  (RAC). He  noted                                                               
that the number  of school board members serving on  RAC would be                                                               
increased from  one to three members.  He said a change  was also                                                               
made  to   allow  a   school  board   to  partially   accept  RAC                                                               
recommendations.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:11:33 AM                                                                                                                    
He said the bill takes  a proactive stance towards low-performing                                                               
schools, defines support roles and  offers continual help for the                                                               
bottom 3  percent. He said  DEED would be provided  with specific                                                               
responsibilities and audit parameters. He  said RAC would provide                                                               
teachers,  principals  and  parents  with  input  to  help  their                                                               
schools. He  said schools  would have  every opportunity  to make                                                               
changes before an intervention becomes necessary.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:13:55 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  MEYER asked  how effective  advisory  councils were  in                                                               
working with school boards in other states.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  RICHMOND answered  that Connecticut  and  Georgia had  shown                                                               
success  with  advisory  councils.   He  noted  that  in  Alaska,                                                               
Kodiak's advisory council had worked  very well in their schools.                                                               
He  said advisory  councils were  successful  when school  boards                                                               
accepted its defined role and listened to its recommendations.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:16:03 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR MEYER  noted that  school board  members could  face not                                                               
being reelected  if they do  not listen to an  advisory council's                                                               
recommendations.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. RICHMOND answered correct.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:16:59 AM                                                                                                                    
BARB  ANGAIAK, President,  National Education  Association-Alaska                                                               
(NEA-Alaska), Juneau,  said the  bill called  for councils  to be                                                               
set  up  to provide  input  and  advice from  parents,  teachers,                                                               
administrators and school board  members. She said elected school                                                               
board authority and  responsibility would not be  taken away. She                                                               
recommended that DEED include  National Board Certification (NBC)                                                               
for teachers.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:20:43 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  THOMAS commented  that school  boards were  made up  of                                                               
community members and the bill would broaden representation.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  asked what NEA-Alaska's position  was on offering                                                               
a  $5000  incentive  to attract  highly  qualified  teachers  and                                                               
principals.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  ANGAIAK   answered  that  NEA-Alaska  was   in  support  and                                                               
encouraged NBC for teachers.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:22:28 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH asked  if NBC was required  for "highly qualified"                                                               
consideration and $5000 grant eligibility.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. ANGAIAK answered  that she did not know. She  noted that NEA-                                                               
Alaska was  convinced that the  rigorous standards  for achieving                                                               
NBC would provide for the highest quality of teacher.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  STEVENS  asked if  NEA-Alaska  had  a problem  with  RAC                                                               
participating  in  the  school  board's  responsibility  to  hire                                                               
principals.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:24:15 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. ANGAIAK  answered that a  struggling school may need  to look                                                               
at a  different method for making  sure the very best  person was                                                               
hired.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  STEVENS  asked  for clarification  regarding  RAC  being                                                               
involved in principal hiring.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  RICHMOND  responded  that   the  Fairbanks  School  District                                                               
involved  their community  in the  principal hiring  process, but                                                               
the  school  board  was ultimately  responsible  for  hiring.  He                                                               
addressed Senator  French's question regarding the  definition of                                                               
a "highly  qualified" teacher and  said the bill allowed  DEED to                                                               
make that designation.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR THOMAS  commented that the  intent was not to  usurp the                                                               
school board's authority to hire  principals or dictate that only                                                               
NBC teachers were considered "highly qualified."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH asked if the bill  would only pay a $5000 grant to                                                               
attract new teachers  or be used for teachers  already inside the                                                               
district.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:26:38 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. RICHMOND  answered that  the grant would  be used  to attract                                                               
new teachers. He  said there could be a problem  for teachers who                                                               
were already serving and changes would be addressed with DEED.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  asked who  had the authority  to award  the $5000                                                               
grant.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. RICHMOND answered that DEED  would work with the school board                                                               
and  superintendent  to  address how  teacher  attraction  grants                                                               
would be awarded.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:28:51 AM                                                                                                                    
CARL  ROSE,  Executive  Director, Association  of  Alaska  School                                                               
Boards (AASB), Juneau, said school  board members were people who                                                               
contributed to  communities and  provided a  tremendous voluntary                                                               
service. He said  school board members dispersed  over $1 billion                                                               
per  year and  were  the  only people  authorized  to spend  that                                                               
money.  He said  the  bill addressed  low  performing schools  by                                                               
providing added assistance and direction.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:31:20 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  ROSE  said  changing  the  governance  council  to  RAC  was                                                               
appreciated.   He   advised    limiting   school   board   member                                                               
participation  to avoid  a quorum  within RAC.  He said  the bill                                                               
authorized community collaboration and  may satisfy another piece                                                               
of legislation in the Alaska  House of Representatives that takes                                                               
issue with the school intervention process.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:34:38 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR MEYER asked how effective RAC  would be in a rural area.                                                               
He commented  that rural school  districts had a limited  pool of                                                               
people to select from.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROSE answered that school  districts in the Rural Educational                                                               
Attendance Area were  required by law to have  advisory boards in                                                               
place. He said the bill would  change how RAC members were chosen                                                               
in addition  to expanding advisory responsibilities.  He said the                                                               
greatest logistical  challenge came from dealing  with vast areas                                                               
with no  road access. He  said adding  a provision to  allow less                                                               
RAC members was important to rural communities.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:38:58 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR THOMAS  commented that  the intent was  not to  add more                                                               
bureaucracy,  but  to  create  something  that  was  helpful  and                                                               
brought people together.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  STEVENS  said  he  appreciated the  change  to  RAC.  He                                                               
addressed the requirement  for DEED to decide changes  to be made                                                               
if a school board and RAC would  not be in agreement. He asked if                                                               
AASB  had concerns  if DEED  was given  the authority  to dictate                                                               
changes.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:41:35 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. ROSE answered that a  disagreement should be dictated through                                                               
the  school board  election or  recall process.  He noted  that a                                                               
school board's  extensive duties permitted  the body to  be sued.                                                               
He said  RAC functioned in  an advisory capacity and  language in                                                               
the bill involving DEED was not necessary.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:43:16 AM                                                                                                                    
BYRON   CHARLES,  representing   himself,  Ketchikan,   said  new                                                               
technology would  play an important  role for  increasing student                                                               
interest in school.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DAVIS said she would like to receive input from DEED.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:46:25 AM                                                                                                                    
LES  MORSE,  Deputy  Commissioner, Department  of  Education  and                                                               
Early  Development, Juneau,  said  the  department felt  strongly                                                               
that communities should  be engaged in their schools.  He said he                                                               
did not see  anything in the bill that was  not workable. He said                                                               
the fiscal note was constructed to allow for adjustments.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:48:09 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. MORSE  addressed Senator French's question  regarding the new                                                               
teacher grant. He said DEED  envisioned a process where RAC would                                                               
write  for  a  grant  to   do  something  innovative  to  attract                                                               
teachers. He  said grant  incentives could  be in  the form  of a                                                               
bonus,  loan or  professional development  support. He  said DEED                                                               
had been  working on  operational logistics  and would  work with                                                               
the committee to make all of the pieces work.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR THOMAS asked if there was  anything in the bill that was                                                               
bothersome to DEED.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MORSE answered  that using  the term  "highly qualified"  to                                                               
describe teaching candidates was a  legal term and suggested that                                                               
another term be used.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:50:15 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR DAVIS asked if DEED supported SB 194.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MORSE  answered that  the  bill  was  in  draft form  and  a                                                               
statement in support would be premature.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  STEVENS commented  that  electing school  boards was  an                                                               
important  part  of a  democracy  and  the election  process  was                                                               
ingrained  in our  society.  He  said he  was  concerned that  an                                                               
unelected  department could  trump the  elected school  board. He                                                               
said he  liked the RAC  concept to assist  low-performing schools                                                               
and   advised   being   very  careful   of   trampling   on   the                                                               
responsibilities of elected officials.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:53:51 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR THOMAS  said he agreed  that legally they  were treading                                                               
on an area that was not purview to change.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:54:35 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR THOMAS said SB 194 would be held in committee.                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB0194A.PDF SEDC 2/15/2012 8:00:00 AM
SB 194
AS 14.03.123.pdf SEDC 2/15/2012 8:00:00 AM
SB194-EED-TLS-2-10-2012.pdf SEDC 2/15/2012 8:00:00 AM
SB 194
SB 194 Sponsor Statement.pdf SEDC 2/15/2012 8:00:00 AM
SB 194
Gainsville Article 2.14.12.pdf SEDC 2/15/2012 8:00:00 AM
The Role of School Based Councils 2.14.12.pdf SEDC 2/15/2012 8:00:00 AM
Hartford Public Schools Report.pdf SEDC 2/15/2012 8:00:00 AM
Local School Councils.pdf SEDC 2/15/2012 8:00:00 AM
Hartford Public Schools - Councils.pdf SEDC 2/15/2012 8:00:00 AM
Connecticut Dept. of Ed.pdf SEDC 2/15/2012 8:00:00 AM
Berkeley Unified School Dist Bylaws.pdf SEDC 2/15/2012 8:00:00 AM
SB 194 Changes 2.14.12.pdf SEDC 2/15/2012 8:00:00 AM
SB 194