Legislature(2013 - 2014)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/13/2013 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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Heard & Held
Heard & Held
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
          SB 47-STIPEND FOR STATEWIDE BOARDING SCHOOL                                                                       
8:40:58 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS announced the consideration  of SB 47. [SSSB 47 was                                                               
before the committee.]                                                                                                          
RYNNIEVA MOSS, Staff,  Senator John Coghill, introduced  SB 47 to                                                               
the  committee on  behalf of  the sponsor.  She thanked  Senators                                                               
Stevens,  Huggins,  and  Gardner  for past  support  of  boarding                                                               
schools. She  noted that work  on this  issue began back  in 2005                                                               
with  HB 16  and a  discussion on  boarding homes.  At that  time                                                               
there was a provision that  allowed for stipends for students who                                                               
were coming from communities that lacked 9 - 12 education.                                                                      
CHAIR STEVENS asked if she would be discussing version P.                                                                       
MS. MOSS said yes.                                                                                                              
CHAIR  STEVENS  requested  a  motion   to  adopt  version  P  for                                                               
discussion purposes.                                                                                                            
8:42:22 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  DUNLEAVY moved  to adopt  [work draft  CS for  SSSB 47],                                                               
labeled 28-LS0408\P, as the working document.                                                                                   
CHAIR  STEVENS announced  that without  objection  version P  was                                                               
before the committee.                                                                                                           
MS. MOSS  continued to  explain that in  2005, the  Department of                                                               
Education provided  a stipend of  $500 a month per  student. When                                                               
HB 16  was passed, regional  rates the department had  been using                                                               
were used.  She noted  there has  been a  steady increase  in the                                                               
program  since   then.  It  has  helped   rural  students  attend                                                               
residential boarding schools that  offer more classes, vocational                                                               
training, sports, band, and art.                                                                                                
MS. MOSS opined that boarding  schools have provided an excellent                                                               
curriculum for students who want to  go on to college and succeed                                                               
in  the work  force. She  maintained  that many  of the  students                                                               
would drop  out of school if  they did not have  boarding schools                                                               
to attend.                                                                                                                      
She  said  the  stipend  helps  the schools  cover  the  cost  of                                                               
residential boarding school facilities,  including meals and 24/7                                                               
She  reported  that  in  2011   the  program  was  expanded  with                                                               
increased  stipends. The  legislature  doubled the  rate at  that                                                               
time, but expenses still exceed income.                                                                                         
8:45:39 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  MOSS explained  that SB  47, version  P, a  requirement that                                                               
boarding schools  had to  have been in  operation before  June 1,                                                               
2005, is deleted.  That opens it up for more  boarding schools to                                                               
be created within the public school system.                                                                                     
CHAIR STEVENS asked if any schools have opened since 2005.                                                                      
MS. MOSS replied that the  provision allowed for the expansion of                                                               
three  additional  boarding schools.  A  section  of SB  47  adds                                                               
terminology  called "variable  length" which  allows for  magnate                                                               
CHAIR STEVENS asked for clarification.                                                                                          
MS. MOSS responded  that the total participation  in school would                                                               
have  to be  for at  least  180 days  in  order to  qualify as  a                                                               
boarding school. The bill allows  for magnate schools and schools                                                               
with vocational training.                                                                                                       
8:47:18 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. MOSS  explained that  Section 2  addresses the  regional base                                                               
rates for stipends  - it triples what the base  rate was in 2005.                                                               
Section  3  allows  public  school  districts  to  contract  with                                                               
private Alaska  Native organizations or  non-profit organizations                                                               
to provide room  and board services. Section 4  repeals the limit                                                               
of  three  additional  boarding schools  and  the  definition  of                                                               
district  operated  statewide  residential programs  because  the                                                               
terminology is included  in Section 1. Section 5  provides for an                                                               
immediate effective date.                                                                                                       
MS.  MOSS said  the sponsor  is asking  the committee  to make  a                                                               
policy call and believes that  the boarding schools will continue                                                               
to   offer  high   school  students   in  small   communities  an                                                               
opportunity to attend high school  and become better prepared for                                                               
college, vocational training, and  the workplace. By removing the                                                               
limit on the  number of boarding schools,  new opportunities will                                                               
arise for Alaskan high school students.                                                                                         
She related  that a  school in the  Kotzebue area  is considering                                                               
developing a magnet  school, working in cooperation  with Red Dog                                                               
Mine to train students for future jobs.                                                                                         
She  concluded  that  Senator   Coghill  believes  that  boarding                                                               
schools  are not  the only  road  to success  for education,  but                                                               
definitely one  very important avenue  of success.  She requested                                                               
the committee's support for SB 47.                                                                                              
8:49:29 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GARDNER   expressed  excitement  about  the   bill.  She                                                               
recalled efforts in previous years  to promote a magnet school in                                                               
Kotzebue. She  recalled that Representative Reggie  Joule did not                                                               
wish to  see the idea  come from  the legislature, but  rather to                                                               
"ferment" locally  and not be  imposed. She asked if  local input                                                               
was part of the process.                                                                                                        
MS.  MOSS replied  yes. Several  Native  organizations and  rural                                                               
school districts have requested  the legislation as the mechanism                                                               
to offer vocational training.                                                                                                   
SENATOR GARDNER  stated that  she went to  a boarding  school for                                                               
three years.                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GARDNER  asked  what  the   rational  was  for  limiting                                                               
boarding schools to only three schools.                                                                                         
MS. MOSS replied that she did  not know. She noted that there was                                                               
concern  about  displacing  rural   students  and  closing  rural                                                               
schools. She stressed  that SB 47 is operated  through the public                                                               
school system.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR  GARDNER asked  about the  provision to  triple the  base                                                               
rate. She wondered  if costs went up or if  expanded services are                                                               
being offered.                                                                                                                  
MS.  MOSS replied  that  the  hope was  that  parents and  school                                                               
districts  would absorb  some costs,  but that  has not  been the                                                               
case. Costs  have gone  up, especially fuel  costs. She  said she                                                               
would provide information about the  actual operating cost of the                                                               
four  boarding schools  currently in  operation: Bethel,  Nenana,                                                               
Galena, and Mount Edgecumbe.                                                                                                    
8:52:27 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS asked for an explanation of magnet schools.                                                                       
MS. MOSS explained  that magnet schools are  schools that provide                                                               
vocational training  and educational courses. They  have shorter,                                                               
varied terms  and include traditional education  curriculum along                                                               
with vocational coursework.                                                                                                     
SENATOR HUGGINS asked how boarding school housing is funded.                                                                    
MS. MOSS  replied that boarding schools  have housing facilities.                                                               
Mount Edgecumbe is state-owned and  contracts for room and board.                                                               
The other schools have their  own facilities and hire supervision                                                               
for the facilities.                                                                                                             
SENATOR HUGGINS  recalled that debt reimbursement  applies to the                                                               
schooling, but not the housing.                                                                                                 
MS. MOSS  agreed that  is an  issue. She said  she would  ask the                                                               
Department of Education  to address it. She noted  that the 70/30                                                               
reimbursement cannot be used for boarding facilities.                                                                           
8:54:38 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS mentioned the Red  Dog Mine's agreement to hire 100                                                               
percent from Native  corporations. He said that SB  47 would help                                                               
Red Dog Mine fulfill that promise.                                                                                              
MS. MOSS said she was excited about that.                                                                                       
8:55:30 AM                                                                                                                    
MIKE  HANLEY,  Commissioner,  Department  of  Education  &  Early                                                               
Development,  answered  questions  about   SB  47.  He  said  the                                                               
department recognizes the value of  the changes made in the bill.                                                               
He responded  to the question  asked regarding the  limitation of                                                               
boarding  schools  to  only  three.   He  recalled  that  it  was                                                               
previously not managed by the  department. The provision was seen                                                               
as a way to manage growth.                                                                                                      
COMMISSIONER  HANLEY  addressed  variable-term  boarding  schools                                                               
versus year-round  schools. He  opined that  regulations relating                                                               
to year-round  schools do not necessarily  prohibit variable-term                                                               
schools, as long as the schools  operate as a school for the full                                                               
school  year. He  noted  the State  Board  of Education  recently                                                               
adopted   a  regulation   that  allows   for  the   variable-term                                                               
component,  with funding  mechanisms  that allow  for a  boarding                                                               
stipend. The BSA would stay with the student's home district.                                                                   
COMMISSIONER  HANLEY   spoke  of  a  need   the  department  also                                                               
addressed -  to open up  periods of public application.  The open                                                               
application period will be available until the end of May 2013.                                                                 
8:57:32 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GARDNER asked  if open application means  new schools, as                                                               
opposed to open enrollment.                                                                                                     
COMMISSIONER HANLEY said yes.                                                                                                   
SENATOR HUGGINS inquired if boarding schools include all grades.                                                                
COMMISSIONER HANLEY  answered that statutorily  it is grades  9 -                                                               
SENATOR HUGGINS asked why earlier programs are not offered.                                                                     
COMMISSIONER HANLEY  responded that  it was  due to  the boarding                                                               
component. Schools  are hesitant  to board children  younger than                                                               
high school.                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS asked if there is any opposition to the bill.                                                                     
COMMISSIONER   HANLEY  replied   that  he   has  not   heard  any                                                               
opposition. He said a primary  component begins with the boarding                                                               
stipend increase.  If the  stipend sunsets  this year,  the three                                                               
programs currently  in place will  really struggle to  meet their                                                               
responsibilities.  He said  he has  only heard  positive comments                                                               
and  suggestions  regarding better  ways  to  meet the  needs  of                                                               
9:00:09 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GARDNER  asked  if after  the  open  application  period                                                               
closes, it will be reopened on a regular basis.                                                                                 
COMMISSIONER HANLEY responded that he  has never heard of an open                                                               
application being  held before. He  said the open  application is                                                               
based  on  perceived  need  and capacity  and  interest,  and  he                                                               
anticipated it would be offered again relatively soon.                                                                          
9:01:28 AM                                                                                                                    
GARY  BALDWIN, Superintendent,  Lower Kuskokwim  School District,                                                               
stated support  for SB 47. He  related that his district  has two                                                               
outstanding programs  that will  struggle without the  passage of                                                               
the bill. The first program  is the Kuskokwim Learning Academy, a                                                               
school of  60 students that  targets dropouts. The  other program                                                               
is  RAMSEP, which  requires  the flexibility  in  language for  a                                                               
variable-term  district  operated  school   and  the  ability  to                                                               
contract with a  non-profit for the boarding  home component. The                                                               
program is currently supplemented  with funding from the Rasmuson                                                               
Foundation, which is running out.                                                                                               
He  explained  that  RAMSEP  provides  Alaska  Native  Science  &                                                               
Engineering Program  (ANSEP) access  to village  students. Bethel                                                               
High  School has  been recently  identified as  an ANSEP  academy                                                               
school. In order  for village students to have  access ANSEP, the                                                               
district developed RAMSEP named  after Rasmuson funding. Students                                                               
come into  Bethel for a  semester at a  time to take  upper level                                                               
math, science,  and pre-engineering  classes, along  with regular                                                               
courses. The success rate is  very high and students are eligible                                                               
for college-level courses.                                                                                                      
9:05:19 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BALDWIN  described the district's robotics  program, which he                                                               
described as  a feeder  program to  engineering careers  and math                                                               
and science classes. The course  raises academic expectations and                                                               
outcomes. He  hoped to expand  the model to an  aviation program.                                                               
He stressed the need for SB 47 to pass.                                                                                         
CHAIR STEVENS asked if the  dropout rate would increase without a                                                               
boarding school.                                                                                                                
MR.  BALDWIN said  yes.  Both programs  have  been successful  at                                                               
preventing and recovering dropouts.                                                                                             
9:07:36 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS asked what ages of students are in the academy.                                                                   
MR. BALDWIN  replied that the  Kuskokwim Learning  Academy serves                                                               
students in  grades 9 -12  and recovering dropouts  include older                                                               
students up  to 20 years old.  The RAMSEP program is  for juniors                                                               
and seniors in high school.                                                                                                     
LISA RIEGER,  General Counsel, Cook Inlet  Tribal Council, stated                                                               
that the  Cook Inlet  Tribal Council (CITC)  supports SB  47. She                                                               
said  CITC   supports  the  increase   in  stipend,   the  school                                                               
district's  delivery of  district-wide  residential programs  and                                                               
the variable-term programs, and the local partnership provision.                                                                
9:10:46 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  RIEGER  explained  the  CITC  program  called  the  Dena'ina                                                               
Academy, a public/private partnership  model between CITC and the                                                               
Anchorage  School  District.  She  said that  CITC  provides  the                                                               
residential  program and  the district  provides the  curriculum.                                                               
She  said the  Dena'ina Academy  is designed  as a  culture-based                                                               
leadership program. She reiterated support for SB 47.                                                                           
9:12:52 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS asked about the Academy's location and makeup.                                                                    
MS. RIEGER explained that the Academy  is in a pilot stage and is                                                               
applying  to  the  Anchorage  School  District  during  the  open                                                               
application  period. There  are two  students who  will test  the                                                               
program;  one  student is  from  Dillingham  and  one is  from  a                                                               
homeless Anchorage  family. The  Academy will be  accepting rural                                                               
students, also. Currently, there  are house parents residing with                                                               
the students. Elders will be involved in the future.                                                                            
9:16:03 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS  summarized that  the  Academy  provides room  and                                                               
board  and  the  students  are  enrolled  in  public  schools  in                                                               
MS. RIEGER said that is correct.                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS asked if that would be maintained into the future.                                                                
MS. RIEGER said yes.                                                                                                            
CHAIR STEVENS  asked what  type of students  would be  invited to                                                               
MS.  RIEGER  answered that  the  Academy  would  be open  to  all                                                               
students.  Right now  the targeted  population is  males who  are                                                               
juniors or seniors in high school.                                                                                              
9:18:41 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS  noted it  was shocking  to hear  that half  of the                                                               
students who move to Anchorage do so without their parents.                                                                     
SENATOR  GARDNER noted  three categories  of students  that might                                                               
attend the Academy,  kids who are at SAVE and  Covenant House, or                                                               
who are aging out of foster care.                                                                                               
MS.  RIEGER  replied that  those  kids  have been  considered  as                                                               
9:21:41 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS thanked the presenter.                                                                                            
CHAIR STEVENS said his intention is to set the bill aside.                                                                      
MS. MOSS  addressed Senator  Huggins' question  on elementary-age                                                               
students.  She said  when  working  on SB  47,  some interest  in                                                               
providing boarding  school education for elementary  students was                                                               
expressed.  She noted  the  sponsor has  committed  to work  with                                                               
Representative Gattis on that issue.                                                                                            
9:23:06 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGGINS  opined that  it  is  so important  to  identify                                                               
students who need support early on.                                                                                             
He asked about a boarding school called Camp Challenge.                                                                         
MS. MOSS said she was not familiar with that school. She pointed                                                                
out that there are only three schools that currently receive                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS noted that Camp Challenge is a statewide                                                                        
program. He suggested that it would fit the definition of a                                                                     
boarding school.                                                                                                                
9:24:16 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS held SB 47 in committee.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
03122013_SSSB47_BillText_VersionC.PDF SEDC 3/13/2013 8:00:00 AM
SB 47
03122013_SSSB47_BillText_VersionP.pdf SEDC 3/13/2013 8:00:00 AM
SB 47
03122013_SSSB47_FiscalNote1.pdf SEDC 3/13/2013 8:00:00 AM
SB 47
03122013_SSSB47_Galena School Letter Dec 2012.pdf SEDC 3/13/2013 8:00:00 AM
SB 47
03122013_SSSB47_LongTermEffects_Report.pdf SEDC 3/13/2013 8:00:00 AM
SB 47
03122013_SSSB47_Sectional Analysis Version C.pdf SEDC 3/13/2013 8:00:00 AM
SB 47
03122013_SSSB47_Sectional Analysis Version P.pdf SEDC 3/13/2013 8:00:00 AM
SB 47
03122013_SSSB47_Sponsor Statement_Version C.pdf SEDC 3/13/2013 8:00:00 AM
SB 47
03122013_SSSB47_SponsorStatement_Version P.pdf SEDC 3/13/2013 8:00:00 AM
SB 47
03122013_SB57_BillText.PDF SEDC 3/13/2013 8:00:00 AM
SB 57
03122013_SB57_SponsorStatement.pdf SEDC 3/13/2013 8:00:00 AM
SB 57
03122103_SB57_Sectional.pdf SEDC 3/13/2013 8:00:00 AM
SB 57
03132013_SB57_ECS_Third Grade Literacy Policies.pdf SEDC 3/13/2013 8:00:00 AM
SB 57
03122013_SB57_SampleParentInvolvement_Pamphlet_Idaho.pdf SEDC 3/13/2013 8:00:00 AM
SB 57
03132013_SB57_SupportLetters.pdf SEDC 3/13/2013 8:00:00 AM
SB 57
03122013_SB57_Third Grade Reading Policies.pdf SEDC 3/13/2013 8:00:00 AM
SB 57