Legislature(2019 - 2020)CAPITOL 106

03/28/2019 09:00 AM EDUCATION

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Audio Topic
09:00:22 AM Start
09:02:10 AM Presentation: Alaska Board of Education & Early Development Annual Report
10:02:23 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Please Note Location Change --
- Joint with House Education Committee -
Alaska Board of Education & Early Development
Annual Report
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
  PRESENTATION: Alaska Board of Education & Early Development                                                               
                         Annual Report                                                                                      
[Contains discussion of HB 24]                                                                                                  
CHAIR STEVENS announced that the only order of business would be                                                              
an Annual Report presentation by Alaska Board of Education &                                                                    
Early Development.                                                                                                              
9:02:10 AM                                                                                                                    
JAMES FIELDS, Chair, State Board of Education & Early                                                                           
Development, Department of Education & Early Development (EED)                                                                  
explained that he would be summarizing a PowerPoint                                                                             
presentation, titled "State Board of Education and Early                                                                        
Development Report to the Alaska State Legislature."  Mr. Fields                                                                
began his presentation by introducing the members of the State                                                                  
Board of Education and Early Development then reading the                                                                       
board's mission statement:  "An excellent education for every                                                                   
student every day."  His next point to the committee was to                                                                     
share the board's five strategic priorities:  "Amplify student                                                                  
learning"; "Inspire tribal and community ownership of                                                                           
educational excellence"; "Modernize the education system";                                                                      
"Ensure excellent educators"; and "Promote safety and well-                                                                     
being."  Mr. Fields shared a list of measurable goals: "Support                                                                 
all students to read at grade level by the end of third grade";                                                                 
"Increase career, technical, and culturally relevant education                                                                  
to meet student and workforce needs"; "Close the achievement gap                                                                
by ensuring equitable educational rigor and resources";                                                                         
"Prepare, attract, and retain effective education                                                                               
professionals"; and "Improve the safety and well-being of                                                                       
students through school partnerships with families, communities,                                                                
and tribes  He discussed some highlights from page 4 of his                                                                     
presentation focusing on the need for world language expertise                                                                  
in the classroom.                                                                                                               
9:05:29 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. FIELDS moved to page 8  of the presentation and highlighted a                                                               
portion  of the  page titled,  "School Safety  Program.    In his                                                               
explanation  he stated,   The only  expectation parents  have for                                                               
public  education that  is  greater than  that  it provide  every                                                               
student with  an excellent education  every day, is that  it keep                                                               
their children safe at school each and every day.                                                                               
9:06:15 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. FIELDS  read the final paragraph  at the bottom of  page 9 of                                                               
the  presentation, which  read as  follows [original  punctuation                                                               
     Alaska's   Education    Challenge   established   three                                                                    
     priority  strategies  to   advance  its  commitment  to                                                                    
     "Cultivate  Safety  and   Well-Being".    They  include                                                                    
     increasing   the   implementation   of   trauma-engaged                                                                    
     practices  in   schools,  increasing   positive  school                                                                    
     climate, and  increasing direct access  to school-based                                                                    
     nursing  and  counseling  services  for  all  students.                                                                    
     DEED  [Department of  Education and  Early Development]                                                                    
     has partnered  with the Council  of Chief  State School                                                                    
     Officers  and  the  Education  Northwest  Comprehensive                                                                    
     Center  to  create formal  goals  and  action steps  to                                                                    
     implement  these priority  strategies  between now  and                                                                    
9:06:55 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. FIELDS  directed attention to  page 11,  titled "Implementing                                                               
the Every Student  Succeeds Act (ESSA).   He shared  that the Act                                                               
was approved by  the U.S. Education Secretary,  Betsy DeVos, then                                                               
highlighted  several parts  of the  Act for  the committee.   Mr.                                                               
Fields summed up  his presentation by sharing a table  on page 15                                                               
showing 4-year graduation rates  increasing from approximately 68                                                               
percent in 2011 to approximately 78 percent in 2018.                                                                            
9:09:26 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS asked  how the  goals  and projects  of the  State                                                               
Board of  Education &  Early Development  could be  achieved with                                                               
the governor's budget cuts to DEED.                                                                                             
MR.  FIELDS replied  that he  saw an  opportunity to  continue to                                                               
move  Alaska's  education  challenges   forward,  but  without  a                                                               
formalized budget he could only commit to doing his best.                                                                       
9:11:07 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BIRCH inquired whether Mr.  Fields was aware of testimony                                                               
from a prior meeting that indicated  between 50 and 75 percent of                                                               
funding  for education  goes  towards the  classroom.   He  asked                                                               
whether Mr. Fields had looked into the difference.                                                                              
MR. FIELDS replied  that he had not looked  specifically at those                                                               
9:12:34 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH  commented that  the board  is independent  and is                                                               
charged with writing  its own budget.  He then  asked whether the                                                               
board  intended to  write its  own  budget next  year instead  of                                                               
having the budget presented to it by the governor.                                                                              
MR. FIELDS  replied that  he was recently  presented with  a memo                                                               
from  Luann Weyhrauch,  Assistant Attorney  General, that  stated                                                               
the  board's  vote was  simply  symbolic  whether it  approves  a                                                               
budget or not.   He said it  was the Office of  the Governor that                                                               
crafts the  actual budget.  Mr.  Fields continued that it  was up                                                               
to the  board whether to  vote on the budget,  but if a  vote was                                                               
symbolic, the board had no real way to affect the budget.                                                                       
SENATOR  BEGICH explained  that he  had requested  a copy  of the                                                               
memo but had  not been given one.   He then asked,  "If it   just                                                               
symbolic, why do we have a board of education?                                                                                  
9:16:16 AM                                                                                                                    
KEITH  HAMILTON,   Ph.D.,  First  Vice  Chair,   State  Board  of                                                               
Education &  Early Development, Department  of Education  & Early                                                               
Development, replied  to Senator  Begich by explaining  the board                                                               
has been asked to "check off"  the DEED budget during his time on                                                               
the board.   Dr. Hamilton  read a line  from the memo  from Luann                                                               
WeyRauch  that read,   Such a  vote  would solely  be a  symbolic                                                               
statement  in light  of the  governor's responsibility  under the                                                               
Alaska constitution."  He went on  to say he wished the board had                                                               
more  input  into  the  process,   but  it  was  not  given  that                                                               
9:18:09 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH discussed a time when  he was in a position to ask                                                               
a governor  to allow  his committee  to exercise  the committee's                                                               
responsibility or to  ask the committee to leave.   He asked that                                                               
the  State  Board  of Education  &  Early  Development,  exercise                                                               
direction, provide  the legislature guidance, and  continue to do                                                               
so even in the face of resistance.                                                                                              
DR. HAMILTON  replied that the  State Board of Education  & Early                                                               
Development  was  one  of  the  DEED  commissioner's  supervisory                                                               
groups.   He explained  that once the  commissioner has  a budget                                                               
the board would  encourage him to work and  succeed with whatever                                                               
funding was allocated.                                                                                                          
9:21:33 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS  explained that  the committee  looks to  the State                                                               
Board of  Education & Early  Development for leadership  and that                                                               
hearing the  actions of the  board called symbolic  was shocking.                                                               
He offered his understanding that  there were concerns around the                                                               
table about how  the board was being treated.   He stated,  Im  a                                                               
littler disappoint in where we are  as a state, at this point, if                                                               
that is the case.                                                                                                               
9:22:32 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES commented that she  would like to see more dollars                                                               
channeled toward classrooms and implored  the board to trim money                                                               
from expenses outside of the classroom.                                                                                         
9:25:34 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  FIELDS  agreed  that classroom  funding  was  important  and                                                               
discussed  using  positive  peer  pressure  to  influence  school                                                               
districts to keep funding in the classroom.                                                                                     
9:27:27 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  explained that  the funding for  education was                                                               
secure for  the next fiscal  year unless the  legislature decided                                                               
to make a change.  She  continued by explaining that she had read                                                               
a  great  deal about  the  transparency  of  the State  Board  of                                                               
Education  & Early  Development but  was not  impressed with  how                                                               
little  information  had  been   forthcoming  from  recent  board                                                               
minutes.   Representative  Drummond commented  that if  the State                                                               
Board  of  Education &  Early  Development's  involvement in  the                                                               
budget process  is strictly  symbolic then  DEED needs  to become                                                               
more involved in  the budget process.  She hoped  the board would                                                               
look at the impact of fewer  adults in schools and the effects on                                                               
safety  of  the  students.    She continued  by  saying  she  was                                                               
concerned  about  the ability  of  school  districts to  prepare,                                                               
attract,  and maintain  effective education  professionals.   She                                                               
concluded her comments by stating  she hoped the board would take                                                               
a much larger role in the development of a budget next year.                                                                    
9:32:39 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS read  from a letter dated March 27,  to Dr. Michael                                                               
Johnson,  from Luann  WeyRauch,  Assistant  Attorney General,  as                                                               
     Under  the  Act,  and   the  Alaska  Constitution,  the                                                                    
     creation  of a  budget  proposal for  submittal to  the                                                                    
     legislature is  the responsibility of the  governor not                                                                    
     the department  or the  state board.   At the  time the                                                                    
     governor  has prepared  and submitted  a budget  to the                                                                    
     legislature, the  budget proposal is under  the control                                                                    
     of the governor, not the  state board.  The state board                                                                    
     certainly has  the authority in its  discretion to take                                                                    
     a  vote   approving  or  disapproving   the  governor's                                                                    
     budget.    Such  a  vote would  be  solely  a  symbolic                                                                    
     statement  in light  of  the governor's  responsibility                                                                    
     under the Alaska constitution and the Act.                                                                                 
CHAIR STEVENS stated, We look for you for leadership, and                                                                       
leadership is never easy.                                                                                                       
9:34:15 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR STORY commented  that the legislature and  the board are                                                               
the advocates  for the children.   She continued by  saying "what                                                               
we do  and what we  legislate, impacts  every child's day."   She                                                               
asked what the  findings were on a  safety gap-analysis conducted                                                               
by DEED during the past year.                                                                                                   
9:38:44 AM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL JOHNSON, Ph,D, Commissioner,  Department of Education and                                                               
Early  Development,   offered  his   appreciation  to   both  the                                                               
committee  and the  board for  the opportunity  to listen  to the                                                               
interaction  between the  two  bodies.   He  went  on to  address                                                               
Representative Story's  question regarding the gap  analysis DEED                                                               
conducted.  He explained that  the analysis was anecdotal and had                                                               
been  done a  few  years  ago and  a  new  analysis was  recently                                                               
completed for comparison.                                                                                                       
9:40:16 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH asked  the  board to  look at  the  high cost  of                                                               
energy in  rural school districts  and to propose what  it thinks                                                               
the vision for education should be.                                                                                             
9:41:53 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   TUCK   said    that   historically   the   state                                                               
schoolboard's  proposal  put  forward  for the  budget  had  been                                                               
respected.   He  explained that  the memorandum  (memo)   stating                                                               
that the boards   budgetary power is symbolic caused  him to look                                                               
up the  budgetary and fiscal  authority of the  state schoolboard                                                               
and   DEED   commissioner.     Representative   Tuck   sai,   the                                                               
commissioner  has  the  responsibility   and  authority  for  the                                                               
preparation  and execution  of the  budget and  the other  fiscal                                                               
affairs of the  department subject to the approval  of the board.                                                               
He suggested  he would be  doing more research and  respected the                                                               
roles of the commissioner and the board.                                                                                        
9:44:31 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND commented  that the line in the  memo that read                                                               
"the  responsibility and  authority of  the commissioner  for the                                                               
preparation and  execution of a  budget and for the  other fiscal                                                               
affairs    of the department";  she continued by  explaining that                                                               
it is  not for the  foundation formula, base  student allocation,                                                               
or  any other  funding.   Representative Drummond  explained that                                                               
fiscal  impacts   are  always  referred   to  as  being   to  the                                                               
department,  not to  the classrooms  in the  over 500  schools in                                                               
Alaska.   She went on to  say the department has  taken many cuts                                                               
in the last few years and  could not continue to provide the top-                                                               
level  service they  had been  providing to  school districts  if                                                               
they were to endure additional cuts.                                                                                            
9:46:28 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BIRCH suggested that the  board look at health care costs                                                               
during its  upcoming retreat  to address  extraordinary increases                                                               
in costs.                                                                                                                       
9:47:40 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COSTELLO  questioned why  the board  needed a  statute to                                                               
weigh in on  whether it support or do not  support the governors                                                                
proposed education budget.                                                                                                      
9:48:15 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  FIELDS explained  that he  could only  give his  opinion. He                                                               
followed  up by  saying he  believed  the founders  of the  state                                                               
intended  for the  board to  be non-political.   He  continued by                                                               
sharing his concern that with  the legislature having one opinion                                                               
regarding the budget  and the governor having  another, the board                                                               
could become  a political pawn  if it decided  to take a  vote on                                                               
the governor's proposed budget.                                                                                                 
9:50:27 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS   replied  that  it   was  problematic,   and  the                                                               
legislature looked to  the board for leadership.   He stated that                                                               
Mr.  Fields  had not  been  forthcoming  about  the budget.    He                                                               
continued by  saying that  long ago  he decided  to do  the right                                                               
thing, and  if he got  thrown out of  office for doing  the right                                                               
thing, so be it.  He  finished his comments by saying he believed                                                               
the board needed to do the right thing.                                                                                         
9:51:05 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COSTELLO  observed that  the State  Board of  Education &                                                               
Early Development  is comprised of  the only Alaskans  that don't                                                               
have an opinion regarding the budget proposed by the governor.                                                                  
9:51:30 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  related that the  she had heard  from hundreds                                                               
of Alaskans  around the  state and estimated  that 95  percent of                                                               
them were opposed  to the governor's budget,  particularly in the                                                               
area of education.                                                                                                              
9:52:54 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK said (indisc.    technical difficulties).  He                                                               
stated, were   all in this together  and we do need  to hear from                                                               
each other, and  we do need to have the  expected leadership rise                                                               
9:53:08 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  STORY  asked  Mr.  Fields about  the  need  to  support                                                               
language immersion programs and his thought on HB 24.                                                                           
9:54:08 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  FIELDS answered  that the  presentation  explained that  the                                                               
board  would like  language immersion  programs and  HB 24  would                                                               
only widen the options for schools.                                                                                             
9:54:55 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BIRCH asked Mr. Fields if  he would like to introduce the                                                               
board members.                                                                                                                  
MR. FIELDS introduced  board members who had been  sitting in the                                                               
9:56:35 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR STORY  encouraged the State  Board of Education  & Early                                                               
Development  to  meet  with  the  Association  of  Alaska  School                                                               
9:57:57 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES commented that she respected Mr. Fields opinion                                                                  
that the board remain non-political.                                                                                            
9:59:08 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR STORY expressed the sentiment that student achievement                                                                 
and communication is important and encouraged the board to                                                                      
consider a communications plan during its retreat.                                                                              
10:00:45 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. FIELDS expressed appreciation for the committee and their                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SEDC_Presentation_2019 State Board of Education Annual Report_28March2019.pdf SEDC 3/28/2019 9:00:00 AM
Alaksa State Board of Education & Early Development - Annual Report - March 28, 2019