Legislature(2019 - 2020)BUTROVICH 205

03/21/2019 09:00 AM EDUCATION

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Moved CSSB 30(EDC) Out of Committee
-Invited Testimony Followed by Public Testimony-
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*+ SB 6 PRE-ELEMENTARY PROGRAMS/FUNDING TELECONFERENCED
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+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
             SB   6-PRE-ELEMENTARY PROGRAMS/FUNDING                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:54:41 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS announced  the consideration of SB 6.  He noted his                                                               
intent hold  the bill  in committee  after discussion  and public                                                               
testimony.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:55:03 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH  said this identical  bill was in  the legislature                                                               
before. He paraphrased his sponsor statement:                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Early education is imperative for  our state. When examining                                                               
     Alaska's long-term economy, it  is essential to consider how                                                               
     we  can  both increase  Alaskan's  productivity  as well  as                                                               
     reduce  potential  drains   resulting  from  the  unrealized                                                               
     potential of  our citizens. Early education  is an important                                                               
     part of that equation.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     The  markers for  success develop  early in  life and  brain                                                               
     science  underscores that  how we  use our  brains at  those                                                               
     crucial early years  before we enter Kindergarten    as well                                                               
     as how  prepared we are when  we enter our K    12 education                                                               
     have a dramatic impact on how  well we will do in school and                                                               
     life. I                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEGICH  said he has spent  30 years working in  the field                                                               
of  juvenile justice  and delinquency  prevention.  He knows  how                                                               
much  the  science of  how  the  brain  works and  functions  has                                                               
developed.  The early  years are  crucial  in brain  development.                                                               
They know from  the state's own data and from  national data that                                                               
when evidence-based  preschool is provided, that  early education                                                               
improves not  just the  ability to  function at  the kindergarten                                                               
level  but lifetime  outcomes. Studies  from the  Perry Preschool                                                               
project  and others  shows that  every dollar  invested in  pre-K                                                               
could save  as much  as $7 in  long-term reduction  in government                                                               
expenses  because kids  don't need  remedial education  and don't                                                               
become  involved  in  the  criminal   justice  system  or  public                                                               
assistance system.  High quality early education  programs are an                                                               
investment in the future. Universal  early education available to                                                               
students   before  they   enter   kindergarten  improves   school                                                               
readiness, reading levels, and long-term economic performance.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BEGICH said  the committee  has data  from the  last ten                                                               
years of  Alaska's evidence-based prekindergarten  programs. That                                                               
data  which  the  committee received  last  year  shows  dramatic                                                               
successes.  The  Mat-Su  data shows  a  difference  for  children                                                               
participating in  the special education  Title I program  and the                                                               
district   average.   These   are  special   education   students                                                               
overperforming in  letter/sound fluency  and nearly equal  to the                                                               
district average  in letter naming  fluency. The  Lower Kuskokwim                                                               
shows a difference  in third grade for  students who participated                                                               
in  the  district's  prekindergarten.   The  same  goes  for  the                                                               
Anchorage  and  Nome  school districts.  Those  who  did  attend,                                                               
especially in Nome, perform well above those who did not attend.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BEGICH  said  SB  6  provides  opportunities  for  every                                                               
district to access  prekindergarten. It is not  mandatory, but it                                                               
is a  universal prekindergarten, meaning  at some point  it would                                                               
be  available  to every  district  in  the state.  Parents  would                                                               
always   control   their   ability    to   enroll   students   in                                                               
prekindergarten. The  bill does  a cohort  approach to  limit the                                                               
impact  over  years and  to  ensure  the districts  are  provided                                                               
necessary  support from  the Department  of  Education and  Early                                                               
Development to develop a  high-quality prekindergarten program. A                                                               
lot of  bills in the past  said just to do  prekindergarten. That                                                               
is  not  sufficient.  The  prekindergarten  programs  around  the                                                               
country that  have not shown  success received either  no support                                                               
from  their departments  of education  or did  not have  specific                                                               
parameters  designed  around evidence.  Prekindergarten  programs                                                               
must demonstrate  a working  program, and he  has faith  that the                                                               
department  can do  that. The  department  has demonstrated  this                                                               
over the  last decade, and it  can do that through  this bill for                                                               
the rest of the state. This  is a small investment. The state has                                                               
invested intelligently  in oil and  gas royalties. The  state has                                                               
invested to build a permanent fund.  The state should do the same                                                               
kind of  investments for  its children.  Early education  has the                                                               
potential to create a generation  of Alaskans who are prepared to                                                               
take  advantage of  the  opportunities of  the  21st century.  He                                                               
hoped  to  see  this  bill   move  on  to  other  committees  and                                                               
eventually to the floor of the Senate.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:02:48 AM                                                                                                                   
JACOB  GERRISH,  Staff,  Senator  Scott  Kawasaki,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature,  Juneau, Alaska,  presented  the SB  6 sectional  on                                                               
behalf of the sponsors:                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Section 1. Establishes that  elementary schools also include                                                               
     an  early  education  program,  whether  operated  within  a                                                               
     public school or by an outside organization.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Section 2.  Establishes that  a four or  five year  old, who                                                               
     has  not  attended kindergarten,  is  eligible  to attend  a                                                               
     public school early education program.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Section  3. Creates  a stair-step,  3-year grant  program to                                                               
     provide training and assist a  school district in developing                                                               
     an  early  education  program.   In  year  one,  the  lowest                                                               
     performing 20% of school districts  (as established in 2018)                                                               
     will be eligible  for a grant to  establish a district-wide,                                                               
     high quality early education program.  In year two, the next                                                               
     lowest performing  20% of school districts  will be eligible                                                               
     for  the  three-year grant  program  to  establish an  early                                                               
     education  program.  At  the end  of  the  three-year  grant                                                               
     cycle,  the Department  of Education  and Early  Development                                                               
     (the Department) will be responsible  for determining if the                                                               
     district's  early  education  program  complies  with  state                                                               
     standards. The  next year,  the grants  be available  to the                                                               
     next  lowest  20%  of  school  districts  until  all  school                                                               
     districts are offered the opportunity to participate.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Section  4. Directs  the Department  to supervise  all early                                                               
     education  programs   and  approve  those   early  education                                                               
     programs created by the early education grant program.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Section 5.  Defines an "early  education program" as  a pre-                                                               
     kindergarten  school  for  students  3-5 years  old  if  its                                                               
     primary  function is  educational. The  3 year  old students                                                               
     are not included in the  program this bill proposes, but are                                                               
     included  to  ensure they  are  not  excluded from  existing                                                               
     State and Federal programs.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BEGICH said  that was  a point  of confusion  last year.                                                               
That is  included so that the  definition does not cause  them to                                                               
exclude Head Start and other  early education programs that might                                                               
be receiving other types of federal funding.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. GERRISH continued the sectional:                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Section 6. Directs the board  to adopt regulations regarding                                                               
     funding as  well as statewide  and local goals for  an early                                                               
     education  program.  Regulations  shall  ensure  that  early                                                               
     education  programs  have  the  flexibility  to  be  locally                                                               
     designed and  culturally appropriate,  so long as  they meet                                                               
     early education  standards. An  early education  program may                                                               
     be either full day (6 hour) or half day (at least 2 hours).                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Section 7. For funding  purposes, an early education student                                                               
     shall  be counted  in the  school  district's average  daily                                                               
     membership as  a half day  student once the  early education                                                               
     program has been approved by the department.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Section  8.  Adds  early   education  to  consideration  for                                                               
     determining the number of elementary schools in a district.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Section  9.  Ensures  that   early  education  students  who                                                               
     currently  receive  State  or   Federal  funding  for  early                                                               
     education  are  not included  in  the  ADM for  purposes  of                                                               
     funding.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Section  10. Directs  early education  program  staff to  be                                                               
     included in those organizations  required to report evidence                                                               
     of child abuse.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Section 11. Repeals the early  education grant program in 10                                                               
     years once all school districts  have had the opportunity to                                                               
     participate.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS asked whether for  the half-day student it would be                                                               
exactly half of the average daily membership (ADM).                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BEGICH  answered  yes, that's  correct.  The  department                                                               
tried to come up with a fair and equitable number.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:07:45 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR BIRCH  said that Anchorage  has had  declining enrollment                                                               
in  the  K-8 population.  He  asked  if  this  would add  to  the                                                               
enrollment  in  the  Anchorage   School  District  and  how  many                                                               
students  and teachers  would be  involved.  He wanted  to get  a                                                               
sense of the magnitude.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEGICH  replied that Anchorage  is in a  unique situation                                                               
because  it operates  prekindergarten  today. What  is likely  is                                                               
that the school  district would apply to DEED to  be certified as                                                               
an  existing evidence-based  prekindergarten program.  They could                                                               
then potentially roll  their pre-K population into  their ADM. It                                                               
would offset their  declines to some degree. The  pre-K ADM would                                                               
be half a student. Statewide there  are about 10,000 in the four-                                                               
year-old  cohort,  so   his  guess  would  be   about  4,000  for                                                               
Anchorage.  They  are  already  served   in  a  great  degree  by                                                               
prekindergarten in Anchorage, so he  would think it would not add                                                               
a lot  of teachers. It would  offset some decline in  the ADM and                                                               
consequently the  decline in  funding in  Anchorage for  the base                                                               
student allocations.  The fiscal  note is substantial  over time,                                                               
but there is a statewide  population decline. Maybe they wouldn't                                                               
see  that  fiscal impact.  It  might  be  the  ideal time  to  do                                                               
universal, voluntary prekindergarten. One  advantage of this bill                                                               
is  that  it  could  immediately   support  districts  that  have                                                               
evidence-based prekindergarten, but it  would also take resources                                                               
to  those  districts  that,  frankly,  are  some  of  the  lowest                                                               
performing in the United States. They would be the first cohort.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEGICH said he was  just informed that 847 four-year-olds                                                               
in Anchorage and 391 in Mat-Su are in pre-K now.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:11:03 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  COSTELLO asked  how this  would look  in the  foundation                                                               
formula reporting.  In the larger  schools, students  are counted                                                               
as less than  one person with the multiplier for  the formula and                                                               
in  certain communities,  one  child  is counted  as  up to  four                                                               
students.  When   they  are  looking   at  the  impact   of  this                                                               
legislation,   how   would   the  department   accommodate   that                                                               
foundation formula  chart.   The fiscal note  has taken  the full                                                               
state  aid entitlement  of $1.1  billion  and divided  it by  the                                                               
average daily membership  and halved that number.  That number is                                                               
$9,260 and  that would be halved  and applied for every  child in                                                               
the pre-K system. Once they  became a kindergartener in a remote,                                                               
rural community, they  would bump up to four  individuals. In her                                                               
district,  for  Sand  Lake  Elementary,  the  largest  elementary                                                               
school in the  state, now they would not even  be counted as one.                                                               
She asked  if he has had  a discussion with the  department about                                                               
how this investment in schools would look like.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEGICH  replied that last  year he had  discussions about                                                               
some of those  details. He would defer to the  department on some                                                               
of the more  specific details. Nothing changes in  terms of child                                                               
entering school  under the  current law. It  just adds  the half-                                                               
time ADM  position. No nuance  is reflected in the  fiscal notes.                                                               
This is  based on the  Oklahoma model  where about 70  percent of                                                               
kids take  advantage of the  prekindergarten program.  Florida is                                                               
the state with  the highest percentage at  77 percent. Washington                                                               
D.C. has a slightly higher  number. The department calculated the                                                               
fiscal  notes based  on 88.45  percent  being part  of the  pre-K                                                               
program. He hopes  that is true, but he suspects  the number will                                                               
be   closer   to  70   percent.   The   fiscal  note   might   be                                                               
overrepresenting the cost, but he  is comfortable with the fiscal                                                               
note  and glad  they are  setting the  target high.  It is  based                                                               
strictly on  a $4,630 average  per student cost, half  the $9,260                                                               
average  student cost.  The department  can  answer the  question                                                               
about an overcount or undercount more fully.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS moved on to invited testimony.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:15:39 AM                                                                                                                   
ANJI  GALLANOS,  Director,  P-3 Office,  Colorado  Department  of                                                               
Education,  Denver, Colorado,  said she  previously directed  the                                                               
early  learning program  for the  Alaska Department  of Education                                                               
and  Early Development.  DEED's approach  when funding  district-                                                               
based pre-K programs  was to support and build  capacity in order                                                               
to   ensure  coherent   implementation  of   preschool  supports.                                                               
Districts  that   received  the  $2  million   state  grants  for                                                               
preschool  engaged  in  activities  that  coordinated  resources,                                                               
supported   quality  locally-designed   options,  and   developed                                                               
leadership  understanding of  learning  in the  early years.  All                                                               
this led to high-quality  district-led preschool initiatives. The                                                               
Alaska preschool  program was informed by  implementation science                                                               
and  research  indicating  the   most  high-quality  drivers  for                                                               
preschool outcomes.  By supporting  districts, DEED  could ensure                                                               
that  sustainable preschool  programs were  being implemented  to                                                               
serve children in high-quality programs.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. GALLANOS  said that SB 6  is perhaps the best  way to sustain                                                               
preschool impact.  Preschool is not  an inoculation and  one year                                                               
of preschool  cannot be expected  to achieve great  outcomes, but                                                               
when   partnered  within   a  district   that  supports   quality                                                               
implementation,  the effects  are  great.  The Alaskan  preschool                                                               
program saw these impacts directly  reported by school districts.                                                               
While DEED could not report  outcomes at a child-level, districts                                                               
who  participated  could identify  and  track  outcomes by  using                                                               
district  assessments.  District-based  preschool works  and  has                                                               
been  proven by  districts implementing  it  to work  well. SB  6                                                               
creates a structure that supports  districts with the guidance to                                                               
implement  a  coherent preschool  system  that  plays a  part  in                                                               
overall  school achievement.  In addition  to meeting  the access                                                               
needs  to  quality  preschool   for  four-year-old  children,  it                                                               
requires local  control over district preschool  programs because                                                               
Alaska district leaders  and community members know  the needs of                                                               
their communities. She is pleased to see the call for standards-                                                                
based alignment  and accountability  measures within the  bill to                                                               
demonstrate impact.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. GALLANOS said  that children most at risk  need effective and                                                               
timely  intervention  supports.  For example,  Colorado  provides                                                               
public  preschool  for  at-risk  children  who  meet  eligibility                                                               
criteria. One of the metrics  is eligibility for free-and-reduced                                                               
lunch.  That  rate in  Colorado  is  24  percent of  the  student                                                               
population.  In  Alaska it  is  50  percent. Colorado  legislated                                                               
preschool slots  30 years ago  for at-risk children  by providing                                                               
funding to  school districts who  then chose how to  serve three-                                                               
and four-year-old children. Colorado  preschool slots can be used                                                               
in  school district  classrooms, childcare  classrooms, and  Head                                                               
Start  classrooms. Colorado  has seen  the tie  between preschool                                                               
and third grade outcomes. Colorado's  more recent report has data                                                               
that demonstrates  that children  enrolled in  Colorado preschool                                                               
programs show  strong outcomes in  later grades.  Colorado's data                                                               
shows  that kindergarteners  who participated  in preschool  were                                                               
less   likely  to   be   identified   with  significant   reading                                                               
deficiencies than  their peers who did  not participate. Children                                                               
funded through  the Colorado preschool  program were  less likely                                                               
to be  retained during K-3  than their  peers and more  likely to                                                               
finish high  school. Every dollar  saves seven dollars.  This has                                                               
been shown  to be true  through meta-analysis. The  number ranges                                                               
from  four to  nine dollars.  Children who  attend preschool  are                                                               
referred  to special  education  less, are  less  likely to  need                                                               
intervention,  and less  likely to  be retained  in third  grade.                                                               
Colorado has seen  these outcomes. She supports  the structure in                                                               
SB  6 because  it  supports quality  implementation and  guidance                                                               
needed in a  district to support coherent  preschool systems that                                                               
have goals and outcomes for student achievement.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BIRCH asked  whether  the dollars  follow  the child  to                                                               
whatever  program the  child is  enrolled in.  He asked  how they                                                               
make the payment for preschool.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  GALLANOS  replied  that  the  Colorado  legislature  put  in                                                               
statute  a slot-based  system  in which  slots  are allocated  to                                                               
24,000 children.  Slots, at the  discretion of districts,  can be                                                               
used  in  district-identified  preschool programs  such  as  Head                                                               
Start, childcare, or district programs.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BIRCH asked  if they can be expended  in private programs                                                               
outside of the school districts.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. GALLANOS answered  that in Colorado those slots  are given to                                                               
the school  districts, so school districts  choose which programs                                                               
within the district boundaries qualify.  A childcare program, for                                                               
example,  could apply  for  three slots  and  the district  would                                                               
determine if the program met the criteria.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COSTELLO  said the  committee  has  a chart  that  shows                                                               
different  results  among  programs and  district  averages.  She                                                               
asked if Ms. Gallanos has  that information for Colorado that she                                                               
could share.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. GALLANOS replied  that they don't have outcome  data for Head                                                               
Start  or childcare  or district-funded  programs, but  they have                                                               
outcomes based on the 24,000 slots.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COSTELLO  clarified that  the state approves  programs to                                                               
get  slots,  but  they  don't  have  statistics  for  Head  Start                                                               
comparing  the percentage  of students  proficient on  a literary                                                               
assessment.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  GALLANOS  answered that  Colorado  Head  Start is  federally                                                               
funded. Colorado provides  no state funding to Head  Start and so                                                               
doesn't  have the  ability to  track  student-level data  because                                                               
there  is no  unique student  identifier to  follow a  Head Start                                                               
student entering  kindergarten. They  cannot measure  outcomes at                                                               
third grade.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BEGICH  said  that  Head Start  does  report  to  Alaska                                                               
because it  receives some  state funding. One  of element  of the                                                               
bill that  is different from Colorado  is that page four  or five                                                               
of the bill has  standards that emphasize locally-based programs.                                                               
The department  worked with school  districts within a  series of                                                               
standards. That is unique about  this bill for Alaska compared to                                                               
other states.  Alaska has such  different cultural and  rural vs.                                                               
urban aspects  that the bill  allows more flexibility  than other                                                               
states.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:27:53 AM                                                                                                                   
APRIL  BLEVINS,  Early  Childhood  Coordinator,  Lower  Kuskokwim                                                               
School District, Bethel, Alaska,  said the Lower Kuskokwim School                                                               
District (LKSD) supports state funding  policies that will ensure                                                               
that  Alaska  provides  access to  high-quality  early  childhood                                                               
education programs for all children  to increase school readiness                                                               
and  to   promote  academic  and  lifelong   success.  Sufficient                                                               
resources  must be  made available  to provide  for high-quality,                                                               
early childhood education, free of  charge and accessible to all.                                                               
Programs cannot  become stable without the  certainty of funding.                                                               
Children in  the LKSD early  learning programs  have demonstrated                                                               
growth  between   fall  and   spring  assessments   in  cognitive                                                               
development, language and literacy  skills, mathematics, and fine                                                               
and gross  motor skills. Their  data has shown  significant long-                                                               
term   benefits.  Students   who   attended  their   state-funded                                                               
preschool  outperformed their  peers  who did  not  on third  and                                                               
fifth grade  assessments. Quality  preschool programs  also close                                                               
academic gaps.  The average  LKSD four-year-old  enters preschool                                                               
with   a  receptive   language   of  a   two-and-a-half-year-old,                                                               
according to  their data.  When they  exit the  preschool program                                                               
and enter  kindergarten, most have  gained 1.5 years  of language                                                               
to help close that gap.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. BLEVINS said  their programs provide other  benefits that are                                                               
not publicly  acknowledged. Most  of their programs  employ local                                                               
residents. If they  had no preschool, that would  create a domino                                                               
effect. If children cannot attend  preschool, then parents cannot                                                               
maintain  a job.  Therefore,  they must  rely  heavily on  public                                                               
assistance.  This  results  in   children  going  without  proper                                                               
nutrition, which  school provides twice daily.  All these factors                                                               
affect a community economically, socially, and academically.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BLEVINS  said that  early  intervention  in their  preschool                                                               
programs  heave lead  to fewer  special  education referrals  and                                                               
services for entering kindergarteners.  Many types of delays such                                                               
as  developmental  and  language   are  lessened  with  preschool                                                               
interventions.   Their   preschools   provide   a   safe,   happy                                                               
environment  in  which  children  thrive. Young  people  who  are                                                               
experiencing  trauma  receive  support services.  Their  programs                                                               
also  provide  medical  screenings.  They  provide  supports  for                                                               
families  and inform  parents about  various  types of  services.                                                               
Monthly   parent   events   offer  parent   education,   literacy                                                               
materials, and  social interaction with other  families. Families                                                               
value their  early childhood education programs  as advocates for                                                               
children and  their families. Early  childhood programs  have the                                                               
potential for prevention and cost  effectiveness. In the past two                                                               
decades many  studies have demonstrated  the positive  effects of                                                               
participation in early intervention  for school readiness, health                                                               
status,  academic achievement,  grade retention,  and special  ed                                                               
services.   Evidence   supports    delinquency   prevention   and                                                               
attainment  of  higher  education,  yet every  year  their  early                                                               
childhood programs are  on the list of budget  cuts. Research has                                                               
shown  that money  is  best spent  investing  in early  childhood                                                               
programs. For every  dollar spent they get $7.16,  a great return                                                               
on  a  great investment.  It  is  time to  do  what  is best  for                                                               
Alaska's children  and invest in  early childhood  programs. They                                                               
need  a stable,  reliable early  childhood education  system that                                                               
families can  depend upon. Invest in  Alaska's future. Consistent                                                               
action results  in consistent  results. All  Alaskans, especially                                                               
rural communities, need and deserve pre-K funding.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR   BIRCH   asked   what  the   percentage   of   preschool                                                               
participation in her communities is  and what is the youngest age                                                               
served.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BLEVINS  replied  that participation  and  attendance  range                                                               
between 80 percent and 91 percent.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BIRCH  asked  if  they  have  three-year-olds  in  their                                                               
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BLEVINS  answered  that  four-year-olds  have  priority  for                                                               
enrollment.  If space  allows,  then  they take  three-year-olds.                                                               
Some of  their village  sites serve  three-year-old, but  not the                                                               
same length of day as for the four-year-olds.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BEGICH  said  he  wanted to  emphasize  that  this  bill                                                               
focuses on  four-year-olds. The  only reason  three-year-olds are                                                               
in  the description  is  there are  existing  programs like  Head                                                               
Start that include them and they  did not want to define them out                                                               
of early education. In SB 6, only four-year-olds and five-year-                                                                 
olds are eligible.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:34:32 AM                                                                                                                   
ELWIN BLACKWELL, School Finance  Manager, Department of Education                                                               
and  Early  Development (DEED),  Juneau,  Alaska,  said he  would                                                               
review  the two  fiscal notes  affected  by the  addition of  the                                                               
four-year-olds  to foundation  funding. The  fiscal note  dealing                                                               
with the  fund capitalization is  where the money needed  to make                                                               
the foundation  program whole  is recorded.  In this  fiscal note                                                               
they  have taken  the total  amount  of projected  state aid  and                                                               
divided  it by  the  total number  of  ADM to  come  up with  the                                                               
average cost per  ADM. Since the bill funds the  students at one-                                                               
half of  that average, they  are using  that $4,630 number  as an                                                               
estimate of  what the cost would  be. Every district will  have a                                                               
slightly different  cost. This is  an average  to come up  with a                                                               
fiscal note. In  the end, some districts would get  more from the                                                               
foundation formula.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. BLACKWELL said  that there would be five  cohorts of students                                                               
going  through the  program. The  first  cohort would  transition                                                               
into the  foundation formula  in the year  2023. The  fiscal note                                                               
assumes  that all  programs  that were  developed  for the  first                                                               
cohort  would be  approved  at the  end of  the  three years  and                                                               
transition in. That is assumption  is carried through for each of                                                               
the five cohorts that come through.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BLACKWELL said  $3.4  million  shows up  for  FY 2023.  That                                                               
number doubles  to $6,806,100 in FY  24. Then that $3  million is                                                               
added to  [FY] 25 and  so on out to  2027 when the  assumption is                                                               
that all these  programs, all five years of the  cohort, would be                                                               
fully  transitioned into  the foundation  formula. That  is where                                                               
they come up with the fund capitalization fiscal note.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BEGICH  said   that  they  have  88.5   percent  as  the                                                               
percentage for students served. They  are assuming that the pre-K                                                               
programs would serve about 89 percent.  He asked how they came up                                                               
with that number.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
10:38:39 AM                                                                                                                   
DEB RIDDLE, Division Operations  Manager, Department of Education                                                               
and Early  Development (DEED), Juneau, Alaska,  replied that they                                                               
looked at the number of  students participating in preschool now.                                                               
Every  year the  cohort of  students is  about 10,000  per grade.                                                               
They   tried  to   determine  what   additional  students   would                                                               
participate  in preschool.  The  first year  they anticipate  735                                                               
students. That would double the next  year. That is how they came                                                               
up with 88 percent.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEGICH said that the  colored chart shows that the annual                                                               
cost,  once  all students  are  included  in  the ADM,  would  be                                                               
$17,015,250;  that would  be  the increase  to  the base  student                                                               
allocation. That is well below  the number they might be spending                                                               
on implementing Medicaid work requirements,  for example. That is                                                               
a fairly  modest annual number  being added  to the $1.2  or $1.3                                                               
billion  base student  allocation. He  asked if  he were  reading                                                               
that correctly.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BLACKWELL said  that is  the  correct reading.  By FY  2027,                                                               
after  all  the  programs  had transitioned  in,  the  foundation                                                               
program would see an increase of $17 million.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEGICH said the opportunity  to prepare all their kids is                                                               
one or two percent of the base student allocation number.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COSTELLO asked  Mr. Blackwell what the  multiplier is for                                                               
a  special education  student who  is  counted as  one under  the                                                               
foundation formula.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BLACKWELL clarified  that she  was referring  to the  school                                                               
size adjustment.  With the foundation formula,  they identify the                                                               
full-time  equivalency  students  to generate  an  average  daily                                                               
membership  (ADM)  based on  a  20-day  count.  If a  student  is                                                               
enrolled for the  full 20 days, the student is  considered as one                                                               
ADM. Then an  adjustment is made based on the  size of the school                                                               
within that community.  For very small schools,  it can translate                                                               
to  about a  3.96, almost  four, ADM  increase for  a very  small                                                               
school of  between 10 and  19.9 ADM.  Each one of  those students                                                               
gets  weighted.  A school  of  about  ten  students would  get  a                                                               
weighting of about  four ADM. The bigger the  school, the smaller                                                               
the weighting.  For a school of  about 1,000, one student  is one                                                               
ADM   for  the   school  size   adjustment.  Those   school  size                                                               
adjustments  are added  together  and then  they  go through  the                                                               
foundation formula and are multiplied  by other multipliers, such                                                               
as  the district  cost factor.  Then  there is  a multiplier  for                                                               
special education and  then there is a multiplier  for career and                                                               
technical education.  Each intensive-needs student  is multiplied                                                               
by 13. That is added to  the product of previous calculations. At                                                               
the end they  look at correspondence schools.  Those students are                                                               
multiplied by .9 and added to  the total. At that point they take                                                               
the adjusted ADM  and multiply it by the  base student allocation                                                               
and come up with the basic need number at that point.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COSTELLO  said the point she  wanted to make is  that the                                                               
more the public  knows about how they arrive  at their foundation                                                               
formula and  funding for schools,  the better. The  assertion was                                                               
made  that the  more  students go  through  preschool, the  fewer                                                               
special education  students there are going  through schools. The                                                               
fiscal note process  does not allow for  long-term savings. These                                                               
types of discussions are left  to them, which is unfortunate. She                                                               
thought the special education multiplier  was 20 percent. Perhaps                                                               
they could look  at the contemplated investment of  this bill vs.                                                               
the savings with special education spending.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. BLACKWELL replied that the multiplier is 20 percent.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:45:30 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  STEVENS  said that  the  foundation  formula is  extremely                                                               
complex and  has so many elements.  He asked Mr. Blackwell  if he                                                               
is  reasonably  comfortable  with   the  foundation  formula  and                                                               
whether  it was  fair across  the state.  People keep  asking the                                                               
legislature to  open it  up again.  He would  be reluctant  to do                                                               
that because it took four years to do it in the past.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BLACKWELL   replied  that  the  foundation   formula  as  it                                                               
currently  stands  provides  funding  to school  districts  in  a                                                               
systematic way.  He did not know  that he had an  opinion one way                                                               
or another.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS  asked if  the department  cannot answer  that, who                                                               
can. He suggested that perhaps Senator Begich could.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BEGICH  said that  he  would  say that  the  legislature                                                               
answered  that question  quite emphatically  with the  Augenblick                                                               
study  [Review of  Alaska's School  Funding Program  prepared for                                                               
the  Alaska   State  Legislature   by  Augenblick,   Palaich  and                                                               
Associates].  That   was  requested  by  Budget   and  Audit  and                                                               
released,  he  thought,  in  2016. That  study  looked  at  every                                                               
component  of  the  foundation formula  and  the  multipliers  in                                                               
detail. He  learned how the  foundation formula worked  through a                                                               
multihour  presentation  before  Budget and  Audit.  They  walked                                                               
through  every element  and  concluded  that it  was  one of  the                                                               
fairest  and most  equitable foundation  formulas in  the country                                                               
with  two exceptions.  One  was something  about  a school  count                                                               
issue  that they  fixed last  year. He  can only  argue from  the                                                               
point of view of the experts that they hired.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS replied that that was his opinion also.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BIRCH  asked if Anchorage  students are weighted  at less                                                               
than one. He heard from  the Anchorage School District that there                                                               
is a disincentive to consolidate  schools with school funding. If                                                               
they have two undercapacity grade  schools, for example, there is                                                               
a disincentive to consolidating and closing one.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BLACKWELL  replied that  for  school  size, there  would  be                                                               
instances  in Anchorage,  particularly  for the  very large  high                                                               
schools, where a  student may be weighted as less  than one after                                                               
going through the school size  adjustment. There might perhaps be                                                               
3,000  students in  a  school.  Once they  ran  them through  the                                                               
school size adjustment,  3,000 kids might count as  2,600 ADM. He                                                               
emphasized that those were just numbers  off the top of his head,                                                               
but  that is  the  way the  formula and  school  size works.  The                                                               
school size  adjustment table assumes  that smaller  schools cost                                                               
more money. The  idea is that as a school  gets larger it becomes                                                               
more efficient  and fewer  resources are  needed to  operate that                                                               
school  and  the  weighting  of  students  for  funding  purposes                                                               
decreases.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BIRCH said  that  he had  heard  that anecdotally.  That                                                               
raises  some questions  about Anchorage  having more  square feet                                                               
than they need for the current  number of students. He was trying                                                               
to understand the built-in metrics  of that as a significant cost                                                               
component of education.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEVENS added  that  all around  the  state districts  are                                                               
looking  at consolidation  of schools.  It  would be  a shame  if                                                               
there were a disincentive for consolidation.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BLACKWELL  noted that  the  legislature  did pass  a  school                                                               
consolidation  bill last  year to  remove  the disincentive.  The                                                               
bill provided a five-year step  down. Districts that consolidated                                                               
schools would  see no decrease  in the  first few years  and then                                                               
they would  step down in years  three through five to  absorb the                                                               
decrease  in  funding  from running  fewer  schools  through  the                                                               
school size adjustment.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:52:02 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR COSTELLO said she remembered  that bill. They were trying                                                               
to  address the  embedded economics  of scale  in the  foundation                                                               
formula  which provides  a disincentive  for schools  to combine.                                                               
The  bill  they passed  has  the  foundation formula  follow  the                                                               
student. If a  student starts at a smaller school  and is counted                                                               
as one or  up to four, and moves to  another school, that because                                                               
of its  size, would truncate  [the ADM number for]  that student,                                                               
the bill  says that for  five years the foundation  formula would                                                               
follow the  student. Prince of  Wales Island is the  poster child                                                               
for this  issue. They  have three districts  on one  island. They                                                               
were hoping  to get rid  of that disincentive that  Senator Birch                                                               
was talking  about. She would  argue a different point  about the                                                               
foundation formula. The  fact that the legislature  had to remove                                                               
that disincentive tells  her that that portion  of the foundation                                                               
formula is  worth looking  at. Larger  schools are  offering more                                                               
career  and  technical  education   that  smaller  schools  can't                                                               
necessarily provide.  She would like  to be on record  as someone                                                               
who is open  to discussion of the  foundation formula, regardless                                                               
of how difficult  and challenging that would be. For  the sake of                                                               
the public, it  is important that they are all  on board with how                                                               
schools are funded.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEVENS  said  that clearly,  the  foundation  formula  is                                                               
something they can  spend time on trying to  understand. He asked                                                               
Mr. Blackwell to continue reviewing the fiscal notes.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. BLACKWELL said the second  fiscal note before them deals with                                                               
the foundation  program. This  is informational  and there  is no                                                               
cost associated  with it. There is  a small note in  the analysis                                                               
section  explaining  why  there  is   no  fiscal  impact  on  the                                                               
foundation program  because of the  way it is funded  through the                                                               
public education  fund, which  is the first  fiscal note  he went                                                               
through.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEGICH asked about the other fiscal notes.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS.  RIDDLE said  that  one  fiscal note  is  for early  learning                                                               
coordination  that proposes  three positions  and the  associated                                                               
costs, so  $350,000. The second one  was about how the  number of                                                               
students was calculated, which they already discussed.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BEGICH said  that  if today  they  rolled all  potential                                                               
students into  the foundation  formula, it  would be  a perpetual                                                               
amount  of about  $17 million  each year.  He likes  the way  the                                                               
fiscal note  shows that the  first five years are  spent building                                                               
capacity, so they  don't create bad pre-K. That is  the one thing                                                               
they must  not do if  all of this is  going to mean  anything. He                                                               
wanted  to emphasize  the  importance of  the  grants program  to                                                               
prepare  districts  to  do  the right  thing.  It  addresses  the                                                               
turnover  issues,  high-quality  teachers   and  those  kinds  of                                                               
things.  He  appreciates the  way  the  department has  put  this                                                               
together. They  are talking  about less than  2 percent  of their                                                               
current   student  base   allocation   to   have  a   potentially                                                               
significant impact on  their kids, when they  graduate many years                                                               
from now.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:57:34 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR STEVENS  noted that  public testimony would  be taken  in a                                                               
subsequent hearing. [He held SB 6 in committee.]                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
01_SB06_PreKfunding_BillText_VersionM.PDF SEDC 3/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 6
02_SB06_PreKfunding_Sponsor Statement.pdf SEDC 3/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 6
03_SB06_PreKfunding_Sectional_VersionM.pdf SEDC 3/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 6
04_SB06_PreKfunding_FiscalNote01_DEED_Foundation.pdf SEDC 3/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 6
05_SB06_PreKfunding_FiscalNote02_DEED_EarlyLearning.pdf SEDC 3/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 6
06_SB06_PreKfunding_FiscalNote03_DEED_PreK_Grants.pdf SEDC 3/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 6
07_SB06_PreKfunding_FiscalNote04_Capitalization.pdf SEDC 3/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 6
08_SB06_PreKfunding_Research_DEED_ELP Report_FY18.pdf SEDC 3/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 6
SB030_MiddleColleges_BillText_VersionK.pdf SEDC 3/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 30
SB030_MiddleColleges_BillText_VersionK_markup.pdf SEDC 3/21/2019 9:00:00 AM
SB 30