Legislature(1995 - 1996)

05/06/1995 01:00 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
       HOUSE BILL NO. 217                                                      
       "An Act relating to employment of teachers."                            
  Senator  Sharp MOVED to adopt  the Cramer version work draft                 
  dated 5/5/95,  9-LS0821D.   No objections  being heard,  the                 
  draft was ADOPTED.                                                           
  Tom  Wright, Legislative  Aide  to  Representative Ivan  was                 
  invited to give  testimony to HB 217.  He  stated that there                 
  were two changes in the  Senate CS as compared to the  House                 
  version.    The first  change  occurs  on page  4,  line 29,                 
  Section  8.  He stated  that  he  understood  that this  was                 
  included in SB 132.  The  second change occurs page 3,  line                 
  14, Section 5.  He read  the language, "where the basic need                 
  of a school district is  determined under AS 14.17.021  (b),                 
  and adjusted under AS 14.17.225 (b), decreases by 1% or more                 
  from the previous year."                                                     
  Co-chair  Halford  responded  that  this  was a  substantial                 
  restriction.  He asked if it was not in the House bill.  Mr.                 
  Wright noted  that at one time it was  in the House bill and                 
  it  read  3%,  which was  changed  in  the  House Labor  and                 
  Commerce  Committee, to  financial emergency as  verified by                 
  the commissioner.                                                            
  Mr. Wright  was asked  to give  a complete  overview of  the                 
  bill.  He stated  that Section 1 addresses the  tenure issue                 
  and it is a  statute conformity with Section 2  changing two                 
  year to four years. Section 2 is the actual change of tenure                 
  from two  to four  years.  One  of the  changes made  on the                 
  House floor,  is  that  a teacher  has  to  be  continuously                 
  employed for a  period of four  years, not four full  school                 
  years, but from the date they start, the clock begins  as to                 
  their acquisition of  tenure. In  this section it  discusses                 
  that districts shall provide a non-tenured teacher a written                 
  evaluation, and if necessary develop  a plan for improvement                 
  and cooperation with  the teacher, established  mentors, and                 
  appropriate administrators.  Section 3  refers to the layoff                 
  provision  that is in  Section 5.   Section 4 speaks  to the                 
  reasons for not retaining a tenured  teacher.  He said, that                 
  deleted was the  removal of unnecessary reduction  of staff,                 
  occasioned by a decrease in school  attendance.  It was felt                 
  that it was not fair to nonretain a  teacher just because of                 
  a  decrease in  school attendance.   Section 5  contains the                 
  layoff provision.   He specifically mentioned that  a school                 
  district may place a  tenured teacher on layoff  status, but                 
  only  after  the  district  has  nonretained all  nontenured                 
  teachers.  This can  happen only  if  the district  needs to                 
  reduce  the  number of  teachers  because of  a  decrease in                 
  school enrollment,  or because  the basic  need of  a school                 
  district  (determined  under  AS 14.17.021(b)  and  adjusted                 
  under AS 14.17.225(b)) decreases by one percent or more from                 
  the previous year.   A nontenure teacher is not  entitled to                 
  layoff rights  under this  section.   Another new  provision                 
  adds, that if a teacher is on layoff status and is offered a                 
  contract with another  school district,  it will not  effect                 
  the layoff  status  for  the  three  year  period  for  that                 
  teacher, if not rehired by that  school district.  Section 6                 
  and 7 deal with judicial review.  After the hearing in Labor                 
  and Commerce, and discussions with NEA and  the school board                 
  association, this  was compromise language  that was  agreed                 
  upon, that if a tenure teacher is nonretained, they have the                 
  option of  either going  directly to  superior court  or the                 
  school board for a hearing.  They  then have the right to go                 
  to superior court if  the decision is not favorable  to that                 
  person.  This establishes  a one-time record, not a  de novo                 
  trial.  Section 9 was added  and is similar to the  language                 
  as that in SB 132.   The initial proposals exchanged by both                 
  parties will be opened to the public.  Section 11 through 18                 
  is the  retirement incentive  program,  referring to  school                 
  districts  and  employees.     Section  19  says   that  the                 
  amendments made by  Sections 1 and  2 of this section,  only                 
  apply  to  teachers first  hired  after the  effective date.                 
  Section 20 says that Sections 11 and 12 are repealed July 1,                 
  Co-chair Halford asked Senator Green  to bring the committee                 
  up  to date  on the  bill.   She  responded  that there  was                 
  agreement with Representative  Ivan's office.  She  spoke to                 
  the  layoff provision,  stating  that the  basic  need of  a                 
  school  district  determined   under  AS  14.17.021(b),  and                 
  adjusted under AS 14.17.225(b), decreases  by one percent or                 
  more  from the previous year. Senator  Duncan inquired as to                 
  the basic  difference between  the House  and Senate  bills?                 
  Co-chair Halford responded that the  major difference in the                 
  House bill, is that layoff provisions were at the discretion                 
  of  the  commissioner;  in  the   Senate,  they  follow  the                 
  provision of "after a one  percent reduction". Senator Green                 
  defined    "basic need".    "The  basic need  of  the school                 
  district  is   determined  by  multiplying  the   area  cost                 
  differential by  the number  of instructional  units in  the                 
  district and multiplying that by the unit value."                            
  Claudia Douglas, President, NEA-AK   has great concerns with                 
  this  bill.   She began  with Section  1 and  the  four year                 
  provision, which  the organization is  in disagreement with.                 
  Section 2, the acquisition of  tenure from 2 to 4 years.  It                 
  states that the nontenure  teacher will be provided with  an                 
  evaluation, if necessary.   The  organization has  questions                 
  about  the  establishment of  the  mentor program.    Is the                 
  school  district  going  to  work  in  conjunction  with  an                 
  association,  or with  the teachers  in  the school,  or the                 
  district? Vernon Marshall  interjected that another  problem                 
  involves the language that says, "the district shall provide                 
  a  nontenure teacher a  written evaluation". In  a four year                 
  probationary experience, the teacher would  receive a single                 
  evaluation.   It  is  important  that  administrators  begin                 
  working   immediately  with  new   teachers  and   that  the                 
  evaluation  experience be  applied  beginning  in the  first                 
  year, and again  in the  second year, leaving  the last  two                 
  years at the will of the district.  Senator Rieger testified                 
  that he  does have  an amendment  that speaks  to this  very                 
  point.  Co-chair Halford stated that he was in agreement.                    
  Ms. Douglas proceeded into Section 3.   She stated that this                 
  section is unacceptable.   Mr.  Marshall indicated that  the                 
  organization is in opposition to anyone loosing their tenure                 
  in a layoff situation.                                                       
  The concept  is not supported.  He  stated that in Section 4                 
  there is a loss  relative to the causes for  loss of tenure.                 
  Under the cause provisions, the  district has opportunity to                 
  nonretain a tenured teacher because  of a decrease in school                 
  attendance.  It is recognized as a diminishment of rights to                 
  a tenured  teacher.  Mr. Marshall reiterated  that Section 4                 
  will repeal  the cause for nonretention of a tenured teacher                 
  due to  a decrease  in school  attendance.   This particular                 
  section is being traded for the layoff provision.  He stated                 
  that it is a diminishment of  rights. In the layoff section,                 
  under subsection (a), the bill nonretains nontenure teachers                 
  and  lays off tenured teachers.   NEA-AK recommends adding a                 
  provision that would allow the district to place a nontenure                 
  and tenured teacher  in layoff  status, using language  that                 
  would  provide a  tenured teacher an  opportunity to  have a                 
  hearing.   The problem with  percentages is that  you cannot                 
  prescribe a percentage that fits all school districts.  This                 
  is  the  reason that  financial  emergency is  important. It                 
  would  allow  the commissioner  of  education to  verify the                 
  necessity for layoff,  and give the employee  an opportunity                 
  to an informal  forum to have  their case heard.  Discussion                 
  was had with Senator Rieger regarding the language change.                   
  Mr.  Marshall  advanced  through  the  bill, and  said  that                 
  Section  6  and 7  could  be  used in  conjunction  with the                 
  changes  that  have been  suggested  relative to  Section 5.                 
  Section 8 addresses a  career ladder plan.  NEA-AK  does not                 
  support this section  at this time.  It is a costly plan and                 
  ineffective.    Ms.  Douglas suggested  instead,  an Alaskan                 
  certification board,  which  would align  with the  national                 
  standards  board.    She suggested  considering  this  as an                 
  incentive.  Ms.  Douglas asked  how  the career  ladder plan                 
  work?  There are  many questions and  she insisted  it needs                 
  study.  Senator Rieger  reiterated his argument that a  good                 
  teacher should be  paid appropriately and well  in an effort                 
  to retain  them.   Ms. Douglas said  she agreed, but  who is                 
  going  to  make  the  decisions.    She stated  that  it  is                 
  divisive, does not promote people working together, and that                 
  there  are  other  ways  to  reward  good  performance.  She                 
  suggested moving  towards a Certifications  Standards Board,                 
  recognizing  the  work that  is  being done,  either through                 
  portfolios, video tapes, etc.                                                
  Senator Phillips asked if she  supported his amendment.  Ms.                 
  Douglas responded  that there were many  questions regarding                 
  the process, who pays for it, who decides who those teachers                 
  are going to be.                                                             
  Senator Zharoff spoke regarding merit pay and the evaluation                 
  process.  There were lots of questions in the 60's or  70's,                 
  who is going to do  the evaluating, how are people  going to                 
  be evaluated, who was  going to get how much of an increase,                 
  there was not  a clear delineation as to who  would make the                 
  final determination.  It seemed to cause many more problems.                 
  He supported rewarding  excellence, but  he stated that  the                 
  problems it causes are difficult to escape.                                  
  Mr. Marshall moved on to Section  10, the RIP portion of the                 
  bill.  He stated  that NEA-Ak supports RIP that  is included                 
  in HB 270 or SB 137. He made it quite clear that NEA-AK does                 
  not support RIP as part of a tenure reduction package.                       
  Senator   Phillips  asked  NEA   to  identify  their  strong                 
  objections to  the bill.  Mr. Marshall  responded that  they                 
  were opposed to the  four year term. In comparing  the state                 
  employee, many  can acquire  "just cause"  standard, from  6                 
  months  to 1 year.   That provides the  burden of proof with                 
  the employer.  In this case,  there are teachers who prepare                 
  for a  minimum of four years  to enter a classroom,  and now                 
  there is an expectation that they go  four more, for a total                 
  of eight years.   The other area  of concern is layoff.   It                 
  would prohibit a school district from using the 1% variable.                 
  Would this law  supercede the  contract that was  previously                 
  executed  between  the  teacher  and  the  school  district.                 
  Instructionally, people ought  to be in  the system for  the                 
  duration of  the contract.   These two sections  cause great                 
  concern  along  with  the  RIP  provision.   He  noted  that                 
  Representative Masek  summed it up well by  saying, "that it                 
  is difficult  to create amendments that will make this bill,                 
  which is tough  to deal with,  better. Most of the  sections                 
  work hand in hand."                                                          
  Carl Rose, Executive  Director of the Association  of Alaska                 
  School Boards, testified  that the  issues to be  addressed,                 
  are  contained  in:  acquisition;  layoff  for  purposes  of                 
  financial emergency; and  nonretention.  He stated that this                 
  is a compromised  bill that has  come through the  committee                 
  process.   He supports  subject-area endorsements,  ensuring                 
  quality classrooms.  Mr. Rose  contacted the Commissioner of                 
  Education.   She has  stated, that  in a  period  of over  2                 
  years, they  could  promulgate  regulations  and  reorganize                 
  certification to be able to award  endorsements.  It was his                 
  intention to have the bill recognize program need as subject                 
  area endorsement  with a 2  year effective date  clause that                 
  would allow the department to  promulgate regulations.  That                 
  is no longer in this legislation.  Mr. Rose stated that they                 
  do not regulate the revenue, but if they had to do more with                 
  less,  they wanted to  recognize qualifications and quality,                 
  before seniority. This would ensure that  a math teacher was                 
  endorsed in math, etc.                                                       
  Mr. Rose  asked for a 5 year tenure, opposed to 4 years.  He                 
  stated that  the administrators are  being asked to  do more                 
  with less.  The challenges today include  unfunded mandates,                 
  violence  in  the  schools,  discipline  problems,  drug and                 
  alcohol,  countless  mandates  as well  as  evaluation.   He                 
  stated that  there are  good administrators,  and there  are                 
  some that are not doing the job.  He expressed concern, that                 
  because the  administration does not  have the time,  that a                 
  teacher should be nonretained.  He  stated that it is unfair                 
  to the  new teacher  entering the field.   He said  that the                 
  premature  decision could  be a  career change  for a  young                 
  professional.  The  School Board  Association agreed to  the                 
  four year compromise.  A compromise made by the school board                 
  with the agreement of  the sponsor was the four  full years,                 
  with tenure beginning at the start of the fifth year.                        
  Mr. Rose  moved to the area  of evaluation.  He  stated that                 
  evaluation  is a local  decision.  If it  is not being done,                 
  school  board  members  should  be  held accountable.    The                 
  Association subscribes to it.  If the evaluation needs to be                 
  improved, through current  regulation, there  is an  ability                 
  for  enforcement.  There  is  the   ability  to  design  the                 
  evaluation at the local level.  If  they are not getting the                 
  evaluations, Mr. Rose suggested it could be due to: multiply                 
  sights,   small   rural   districts,   or   the   lack    of                 
  administration.   He asked  for special  funding to  address                 
  that need.   He  asked that local  officials be  recognized,                 
  because  they  are the  ones  who  can be  sued,  they stand                 
  accountable to the public.                                                   
  Mr. Rose  expressed confusion in  the area of tenure rights.                 
  In years past, there have been  attempts made to change this                 
  section to include a fifth section to nonretain teachers for                 
  a financial shortfall.  The Association  has come to realize                 
  that the action is  unfair.  When a teacher  is nonretained,                 
  they loose tenure status, seniority  and accrued sick leave.                 
  There is a stigma attached to nonretention.  Nonretention is                 
  appropriate   for  performance,   if   the  performance   is                 
  incompetency, immorality, or substantial  noncompliance with                 
  law, they should be  nonretained.  He stressed that  this is                 
  not the standard  that should be  applied to people who  are                 
  being effected  by a  financial emergency.   In  a financial                 
  emergency,  if layoff  legislation  is  created  to  protect                 
  people as temporary, it protects tenure,  seniority, accrued                 
  sick leave and provides them with rehire rights.  Currently,                 
  the school  board has  the ability  to nonretain  nontenured                 
  teachers.  We have to nonretain all of them before we invoke                 
  layoff. Much has been mentioned for the 1% for "Basic Need".                 
  He stated  that 3%  was  the figure.   Representative  Brian                 
  Porter was very concerned  that 3% equated to $7  million in                 
  his district, in which it is too high.  Personally, Mr. Rose                 
  did not feel there should be a percentage. There are elected                 
  officials that  do their  business in  public, they  present                 
  their budgets to the Dept of Education as well as their city                 
  councils and boroughs.   That is  the public that should  be                 
  doing the   examining.   If a  school district  were to  lay                 
  people off while there is sufficient money in the budget, it                 
  would  create a  real problem. That  is the  public process.                 
  People at  the local level  take this responsibility.   They                 
  can  and will be  sued.  He  stated that there  is an entire                 
  layer of government at that level.                                           
  Mr. Rose commented on  the "Basic Need" section.   He stated                 
  that basic need  is the product  of all instructional  units                 
  times the district's  area cost differential times  the unit                 
  value  as  established  by  AS  14.17.056.   Alaska  Statute                 
  14.17.021(a)  indicates that  to arrive at  state foundation                 
  aid, the required local contribution  under AS 14.17.025(a),                 
  and 90%  of the eligible federal impact aid for that year is                 
  subtracted from basic need.   At the suggestion of  the Dept                 
  of Education, the school districts utilize basic need.                       
  Mr. Rose  said that  the problem  with nonretention, is  the                 
  expense.  The  Association  is  not  in  favor  of  removing                 
  protection from  employees.   Due process  rights should  be                 
  observed.   The teacher has a choice to have a local hearing                 
  and appeal to superior  court for review of that  record, or                 
  go directly to superior court.  The Association considers it                 
  fair,  the  teachers  have a  choice  and  their rights  are                 
  protected.  He  expressed agreement  with Senator Rieger  in                 
  his idea on career  paths.  On  page 5 of  line 2, a  school                 
  district  may   establish  teaching   positions  that   have                 
  instructional  and  mentoring   responsibilities  to   other                 
  teachers and allow a reduction in instructional workload for                 
  those  positions.  He stated that the issue of work does not                 
  work  in Tennessee  or anyplace  else does not  concern him.                 
  Alaska is unique,  there are some  things that can be  done.                 
  The state is diverse and if there  is a cost associated with                 
  it, does that cost outweigh  expenditures that are currently                 
  being made?    The  school  districts  will  find  money  by                 
  categorizing  what the people want  most. There are a number                 
  of unfunded  mandates, a number  of which the  districts may                 
  not be in compliance with.  He stated that they just  do the                 
  best they can with  what they have.  Senator  Zharoff wanted                 
  to know specifically  where the money  would come from.   He                 
  could only see it  coming out of the administration  of each                 
  school district. Mr. Rose stated that in the last 5-6 years,                 
  that administration has been reduced across the state.                       
  Mr. Rose  stated that the Association supports RIP.   It was                 
  not the  Association's intention to  place it in  this bill.                 
  The  initial version of  this bill dealt  with three things:                 
  acquisition, layoff for  financial emergency,  and de  novo.                 
  He  said  the   Association  supports   the  bill  and   the                 
  amendments.   Through  the committee  process, changes  were                 
  made, many of  which the  Association was  not in  agreement                 
  with.  The  end product left  everyone in confusion.   There                 
  was  agreement that the process of negotiating caused a lack                 
  of confidence in the legislation.                                            
  Mr. Rose  said that  when a teacher  is laid  off, and  they                 
  accept  a job  elsewhere, then if  offered the  original job                 
  back, they  cannot accept  it under  this  bill. They  loose                 
  their  layoff  status.    The  House  adopted  an  amendment                 
  changing that situation. Representative  Finkelstein brought                 
  forth another amendment on the written evaluation, which the                 
  Association  supports.  Another  amendment  the  Association                 
  supports is the four full years.                                             
  Mr. Rose stressed that the Association has  gone through the                 
  committee process and  has found  some agreements with  NEA.                 
  Senator Phillips asked what the position is of the PTA?  Mr.                 
  Rose responded  moving tenure from  two years to  five years                 
  and open negotiations.                                                       
  Senator Salo  responded to  Mr. Rose's  position on  subject                 
  area   endorsement.     She  expressed   concern  that   the                 
  Association  would  not support  a  law which  would require                 
  initial new hires  to be placed  in their area of  training.                 
  Mr. Rose stated  that he did not believe there  was a formal                 
  position on  the subject.  Subject area endorsements are not                 
  in place now,  so it  is a local  decision.   He spoke of  a                 
  waiver system, a need  for generalists.  He  suggested using                 
  percentages  of time  spent  in the  classroom, or  a waiver                 
  system.  Senator  Salo suggested that this legislation  is a                 
  shift in power.  She asked how much money was being saved by                 
  this  bill.   Mr.  Rose responded  that  it is  difficult to                 
  determine  how much  is being saved,  but if  we have  to go                 
  through layout  status, use  the  RIP portion  of the  bill,                 
  whatever can be  done to make  dollars available to run  the                 
  programs that is what is going  to be done.  The Association                 
  is not interested in repealing tenure.                                       
  Sheila Peterson, Special Assistant to  the Commission of the                 
  Dept of Education   refreshed the  committee on her  earlier                 
  discussion of  the State Board  of Education and  their main                 
  concern, which was full funding education.   They wanted the                 
  efforts of the  legislature to  go in that  direction.   The                 
  testimony between the  educators and the  educational groups                 
  has gotten more  direct in  opposition or in  support of  HB                 
  217.  The legislation has created a divisive feeling between                 
  people that are directly  involved in education.  This  is a                 
  concern with  the Commissioner.   It  is her  goal to  bring                 
  educators together, to work together, promoting education to                 
  ensure that Alaska  does have  the best education  possible.                 
  This bill is bringing  a wedge between people that  are very                 
  active in education.  She wants  to work with the excellence                 
  that  currently  exists  in  the  school  districts  and  to                 
  replicate those  throughout  the state.  In  combating  this                 
  legislation, it is redirecting positive energy that could be                 
  better spent.  This is not only a concern of the department,                 
  but of the administration.                                                   
  Senator Taylor shared his concern with the triggering impact                 
  of a decrease of 1% in basic need.  He asked Ms. Peterson to                 
  explain to  the committee what it means  in practical terms.                 
  He explained that  his assumption  is, that it  has to be  a                 
  decrease in state  aide.  The  decrease would have to  occur                 
  with  the  legislature,  not  a  decrease generated  out  of                 
  decisions made at the local city or borough level. The local                 
  people would not  be triggering the downsizing, it  would be                 
  an overall  decrease coming  out of  the legislature.   This                 
  would impact every district in  the state, as everyone would                 
  be impacted equally under the existing formula.                              
  Duane Guiley, Director,  School Finance, Dept of  Education,                 
  responded that the  definition of basic need  in the statute                 
  is the number  of instructional  units a district  generates                 
  for K-12 education, as well  as, special eduction, bilingual                 
  education, and  vocational education, added  together; times                 
  the  area differential  applicable to  that district,  times                 
  instructional values set  in statute.  Basic  need is shared                 
  between three revenue sources: local revenue, state revenue,                 
  and  federal  revenue  source  through  impact  aide.    The                 
  sponsor's intent in  using the basic need  language, opposed                 
  to  the  language  for  state  aide,  is  to  eliminate  the                 
  fluxuation of local  property values.   State aide makes  up                 
  for fluxuations  in the other  two revenue sources  to allow                 
  the layoff  of a  tenure teacher, when  the total  resources                 
  remain unchanged.  As we have inflating property values, the                 
  state aide goes  down, but total resource  remains the same,                 
  if measured on basic need.  In addition to basic  need, city                 
  and borough  districts are allowed to  contribute additional                 
  resources.    That is  over  and  above basic  need  and not                 
  subject to this calculation.   Changes in local contribution                 
  in excess of the  minimum required, would have no  effect on                 
  the right to  lay off a tenured teacher.  Whether it goes up                 
  or down by any  percentage.  The statute requires  a minimum                 
  contribution in  all city  and borough  districts.  It  also                 
  requires recognition  of federal  impact aide.   As  the two                 
  components  of  the  basic  need   change,  the  state  aide                 
  component  automatically  changes  to   make  up  for  those                 
  fluxuations.  That  is why  the reference is  to basic  need                 
  opposed to state aide.  Senator Taylor asked how it could be                 
  triggered by  local circumstances?   Mr.  Guiley   responded                 
  that it could  only be triggered  by a reduction of  revenue                 
  across the state.   There would be a possibility  in changes                 
  in categorical revenue  that would come  about by change  in                 
  statute that might impact one district more than another, so                 
  that it may not be uniform  throughout the state, but again,                 
  it  would  be  a  statutory  change  that  would  effect all                 
  districts entitled to that portion of the foundation program                 
  revenue.  Senator Taylor said that the original bill started                 
  off with a standard that was the old decrease in enrollment,                 
  or, a decrease of  revenue. It was not defined.  Since then,                 
  there has been an evolution of  "basic need", with the local                 
  effort taken out.                                                            
  Senator Duncan responded  that currently there is  $61.0, if                 
  the legislature was to appropriate less than $61.0, would it                 
  trigger  a  layoff?    Mr.  Guiley  responded  that  if  the                 
  legislature funded education  less than entitlement, through                 
  a  change  in the  statute to  effect  unit value,  it would                 
  effect all  districts equally.   If  the legislature  short-                 
  funded   education   through   simply    short-funding   the                 
  entitlement  and   the  appropriation   measure,  then   all                 
  districts would not  be equally effected, because  each year                 
  there  is  an   adjustment  in  districts  for   changes  in                 
  enrollment.    He  stated  that  if  the district  is  in  a                 
  declining enrollment mode,  or a  stagnant enrollment  mode,                 
  and if the appropriation was to  impact them at greater than                 
  1%, this provision could be effective for that district.                     
  Senator  Zharoff  asked  Ms.  Peterson  if  the   department                 
  supports  this bill?  She  responded that the department has                 
  not come to a formal position  one way or the other.   There                 
  are concerns the way the bill is written and will be waiting                 
  see what the legislature comes up with as a solution.                        
  Rod McCoy,  has taught school  for 24 years in  Alaska.  Did                 
  his  student  teaching  in  Alaska  and   is  proud  of  his                 
  contribution. He testified that it is important that  a high                 
  public attitude be  kept for  school teachers.   One of  the                 
  things he has invested a lot of  energy on, as a teacher, is                 
  examining better management structures,  where professionals                 
  gather  together to make  decisions together.   It isn't the                 
  pyramid structure that was seen in earlier years. He  stated                 
  that there was not anything in this bill that encourages the                 
  restructuring  of  education.    In this  bill,  he  sees  a                 
  separation or putting  people on  different levels, such  as                 
  tenured  versus nontenure people.  This  is contrary to good                 
  management.  He  emphasized the need for the  legislature to                 
  restructure  schools   and   make  them   more  viable   and                 
  successful.  This bill takes  away, rather than contributing                 
  to it.   The reason  it was  created, was to  solve problems                 
  other than the restructuring of  schools, and solve problems                 
  other  than those  kinds that  are being experienced  in the                 
  classroom.   All teachers will be effected by this bill.  He                 
  stressed that this  creates a  lack in the  professionalism,                 
  sense of pride,  in the relationship to  the administration.                 
  He  said  this  will  not  promote  a  one  on  one  working                 
  relationship that  is needed  to restructure  schools.   The                 
  tenured people already have a tough time.  He has heard  all                 
  too often, a  good idea expressed  and then the person  will                 
  say, "I cannot say that because I an not tenured".  If it is                 
  set up so that a person has to go 4 years for tenure,  there                 
  is going to be an expectation set up, their whole experience                 
  in the field  will be  to sit  still and not  speak up,  and                 
  hence, not share ideas.  Those who first come out of school,                 
  bring good fresh  ideas to  our classrooms, their  nontenure                 
  status will cause them  to hold back. He declared  that this                 
  bill will prohibit  them from speaking up  and sharing their                 
  ideas.   In  turn everyone  looses.     Teaching is  an art.                 
  There is  a sincere  problem,  because teaching  is a  human                 
  experience.  Teaching  requires the use of  the personality.                 
  He expressed the need of the  teacher to integrate the those                 
  skills into the  teaching experience.  If merit teaching  is                 
  put into place,  integrity will be  lost.  Teachers will  be                 
  teaching in  the style  that they  think the  administrators                 
  want them to teach, just to get the money.  He stressed that                 
  there is not any reason why  a bill cannot come out of  this                 
  legislature that makes education whole.  It  can happen, but                 
  he warned that  the legislators are  going to have to  spend                 
  the time to talk  it over and  put their minds together  and                 
  create solutions.   It can be done  and he expects it  to be                 
  done.   He asked that the legislators  not to hurt people in                 
  the process.                                                                 
  Lucy Hope, President of  the Mat-Su Educational Association,                 
  expressed concern of the four years to tenure portion of the                 
  bill.  She noted that 160 out of 800 teachers in  Mat-Su are                 
  nontenure.  That means there are 27 schools. Between two and                 
  twelve teachers  at each of  those schools are  nontenure at                 
  this  time.    In  the past  three  years,  the  Educational                 
  Association has put together an evaluation  process.  It was                 
  put together  in collaborative  manner with  administrators,                 
  school board  members,  teachers, and  parents.   It  is  an                 
  excellent  process.    It  requires four  observations  each                 
  semester,  for  a total  of  eight observations  each school                 
  year,  and  two  formal  written  evaluations,  four  formal                 
  conferences  for  each year  that  teacher is  on probation.                 
  This is a major time commitment.   It is the most  important                 
  job an administrator  can do since it  does directly improve                 
  instruction.  There is a mandatory plan for improvement if a                 
  teacher  does  not meet  the  instruction at  a satisfactory                 
  level.  The process is intensive.  She expressed her concern                 
  over  the  increased  number  of  years to  receive  tenure,                 
  without creating the  funding for the administration  in the                 
  evaluation process. If the number  of nontenure teachers are                 
  doubled, it doubles the time  commitment, and the intensity,                 
  which  decreases the  quality  of  the  evaluation.    In  a                 
  district that is growing as rapidly as Mat-Su, it would more                 
  than double the  workload.  Is  that what lawmakers want  to                 
  achieve?   She  noted  that  Mat-Su has  something  that  is                 
  working now, and lengthening the time  for tenure is not the                 
  answer.   She expressed  the importance  of mentoring.   She                 
  stated  that the  ability  to mentor  is  already in  place.                 
  Mentoring does cost money. The only way  to release teachers                 
  to help other  teachers is through  grants.  Her last  point                 
  was  the Section  in  the bill  regarding  bargaining.   She                 
  mentioned that she has been on  5 bargaining teams in Mat-Su                 
  for the past ten years.  This is an issue for local control.                 
  The community decides what works best for the community. The                 
  outcome has always  been the same,  no matter how they  have                 
  handled  it, they  have always  reached a  settlement.   The                 
  section in this legislation, is  already law.  The contracts                 
  or negotiated agreements are public documents.                               
  Lela Aires, teacher for 26 years, stated that she likes what                 
  she  does  and plans  on  continuing  for many  years.   She                 
  expressed  her  feelings toward  the lengthening  process of                 
  tenure.   Tenure is not the problem.   She has witnessed it,                 
  in  her many  years of  teaching, and she  knows there  is a                 
  process that works well.  She  knows teachers who should not                 
  be  teaching, and  they are  not.   Tenure causes  emotional                 
  turmoil in  school  districts and  in personal  lives.   She                 
  asked the committee to consider their actions.                               
  Lucy  Bikulcs, stated  that  teachers  agree  that  teachers                 
  should be terminated if  they are not competent.   It should                 
  be done through an evaluation procedure.  She noted that the                 
  evaluation should be  done even before the person  is hired.                 
  There  is  evaluation  processes  that  take  place  at  the                 
  university level,  and the  student teaching  level, by  the                 
  university  professors  and the  cooperating teacher.   Once                 
  again,  there  is an  evaluation  process in  the  first two                 
  years.   Teachers should  be evaluated  and lengthening  the                 
  time  before  achieving   tenure  makes  it  easy   for  the                 
  administrators  to be  lax  in their  evaluation procedures.                 
  They may  feel they have more  time to make  the decision to                 
  nonretain a teacher who may in  fact need to be nonretained.                 
  Why drag that out  for another 4 years.  In  Mat-Su there is                 
  an evaluation  process in place.   Senator Zharoff  asked if                 
  she  supported  merit pay.   She  said  that it  could cause                 
  divisiveness and did not support it.                                         
  Thais Thomas, NEA-AK Board Member, speaking to the committee                 
  as a teacher  from the  Anchorage school  district,   stated                 
  that  the bill  before  the committee  is  a combination  of                 
  ideas.   After listening  to discussion today,  when law  is                 
  being written that will eventually  require litigation.  She                 
  hopes  that the bill will end up  being trashed.  She stated                 
  that tenure does not need to  be lengthened.  The evaluation                 
  process  must be  strengthened.  The  bill does  not address                 
  administrators doing their job.  She stated that she is a 25                 
  year veteran, and a mentor  in the Anchorage school district                 
  for the last five years.   Current law states that there  is                 
  two years to  tenure.   Anchorage local has  a process  that                 
  speaks  to evaluation.   That  process  begins each  year in                 
  October, with a  plan for  improvement by January.   If  the                 
  administration chooses to wait for  two years before telling                 
  a teacher  they are at risk, there will  be two years of bad                 
  practices to undo.   It is very difficult for the teacher to                 
  revise their whole process  in order to attain tenure.   She                 
  noted that the  Association develops a plan  for improvement                 
  that is measurable.  She has  participated in the evaluation                 
  process. It is an intense process. She has worked with about                 
  20 tenured and  nontenure teachers  throughout the years  in                 
  this process.   About two thirds  of the nontenure  teachers                 
  were not caucasian.  Most of the mentored teachers, who went                 
  through the process were successful and reached tenure.  The                 
  results of this process has eliminated expensive  litigation                 
  in  nonretaining  a teacher.   Tenure  does  not need  to be                 
  lengthened.  Evaluation must be  strengthened.  She ended by                 
  saying  that  once  a person  has  gone  through the  tenure                 
  process, that  tenure should go  with you  wherever you  go.                 
  Tenure means, "just  cause thereafter  to be fired".   If  a                 
  process  is  in place,  it  results in  less  litigation and                 
  expense to everyone.  Senator Zharoff asked that she comment                 
  on merit pay.  She noted it is divisive.  It is an emotional                 
  issue.  She is  not aware of any system that  has made merit                 
  pay  work.    There  are  other  ways  of  recognizing  good                 
  teachers, she cautioned.                                                     
  John Cyr, teacher at Wasilla High and the  Vice-President of                 
  NEA-AK, stated that this is the third or  fourth time he has                 
  testified on  this bill.  He was  surprised to hear Mr. Rose                 
  speak of  this as  a compromise  piece of  legislation.   If                 
  anyone is compromised, it is the  educators.  He stated that                 
  they have not had a chance  to sit down at a table in  equal                 
  partnership  and  talk about  education  and the  quality of                 
  instruction and what  would improve instruction.   This bill                 
  is not about the quality of instruction.  This bill is about                 
  money.  This bill is set  up to save money, because it  does                 
  not do  anything for  education.  Every  speaker has  spoken                 
  about the evaluation process, the lack of the same, the fact                 
  that some administrators do not evaluate well, and therefore                 
  they need more time.   The Mat-Su teachers talk  about their                 
  evaluation process, in that it is intensive, takes time  and                 
  effort, and that those who go through the process are fairly                 
  evaluated.  NEA-AK has  suggested that there be a  bill that                 
  mandates evaluation.  That all teachers are evaluated in the                 
  fair, even-handed way, so that no one has to wonder.  Nobody                 
  wants  bad teachers, so  what makes education  better.  This                 
  bill does not  talk about evaluation.   Mentoring is  great.                 
  Districts  are  hesitant  because the  money  is  not there.                 
  Money is  more important  than improving  instruction.   The                 
  layoff provision is  clearly an  issue of finance.   We  are                 
  increasing class  size, giving  districts  the potential  to                 
  make the  buildings less safe,  and decrease the  quality of                 
  instruction.   He  stressed cutting  the  administrators and                 
  examining  the   money   that  goes   into   the   classroom                 
  instruction.  He  suggested language  that says, "80-85%  of                 
  the dollars that  come from the  state goes directly to  the                 
  classroom".    Instead,  there  is   discussion  on  the  1%                 
  reduction in  the amount of funding.   He noted  that he did                 
  not understand this  rationale.  The  Mat-Su District has  a                 
  history  of  the  wholesale  laying  off  of  its  nontenure                 
  teachers.  Every year while the legislature decides how much                 
  money is in the till, the  Mat-Su School District pink slips                 
  all its nontenure teachers, because  they are uncertain what                 
  is going to  happen with the finances.  We bargained in that                 
  district,  a  long  section, exactly  how  that  layoff will                 
  occur, how they will  be called back, and what  their rights                 
  are in our  bargained agreement.  This is  an issue of local                 
  control.  If that  works in the Mat-Su Valley,  certainly we                 
  ought to allow the Mat-Su Valley  and any other district the                 
  opportunity to enter into an  appropriate  agreement.  Local                 
  control is one of  the issues that we face every  year.  The                 
  same is true  with public  bargaining.  He  stated that  the                 
  Association was in agreement on hearings.  He said that with                 
  regard  to  career  paths and  merit  pay,  nothing prevents                 
  districts from bargaining  career paths  and merit pay  with                 
  their local associations at the table.  The RIP provision is                 
  blood money.   He suggested  that there be  a RIP  bill, but                 
  that it live or die on its own merits.                                       
  Mr. Cyr said that this bill reduces the quality of education                 
  because what it  allows districts  to reduce  the number  of                 
  teachers in  the classroom over  a 1% reduction  in funding.                 
  He says  it is  wrong to  make classrooms  larger than  they                 
  already  are.   He  noted  that he  has  165 students  and 5                 
  classes.  If every student shows up, he does not have enough                 
  desks.  He ended by stating that the bill is wrong.                          
  Tape 70, Side 2  End                                                         
  Tape 68, Side 2  Begin                                                       
  Senator  Rieger MOVED to adopt amendment  #8.  The amendment                 
  reads,  "The  district  shall  provide  an evaluation  of  a                 
  nontenure teacher in  each year of employment.  For purposes                 
  of  this subsection,  "evaluation"  includes  at  least  two                 
  formal  observations  and  one  written  evaluation and,  if                 
  necessary,  shall   include  a   plan  for   improvement  in                 
  cooperation  with  the  teacher,  established  mentors,  and                 
  appropriate administrators."  Discussion was had  by Senator                 
  Salo and Senator Sharp which eventually changed the language                 
  in the  amendment to read,  "The district  shall provide  an                 
  evaluation  of  a   nontenure  teacher   in  each  year   of                 
  employment.   For purposes  of this subsection, "evaluation"                 
  includes at least  two formal  observations and one  written                 
  evaluation.  Should a plan for improvement  be necessary, it                 
  shall  be   developed  in  cooperation  with   the  teacher,                 
  established mentors, if any, and appropriate administrators.                 
  Senator Rieger  MOVED to  amend amendment  #8. No  objection                 
  being heard, it was ADOPTED.   Senator Rieger MOVED to adopt                 
  the amended version of amendment #8.    No  objection  being                 
  heard, it was ADOPTED.                                                       
  Senator Zharoff  MOVED  to adopt  amendment #1.   There  was                 
  objection.    Senator  Zharoff  proceeded   to  explain  the                 
  amendment.  It took RIP out of the bill. By a show of hands,                 
  the amendment FAILED.  Senator Zharoff voted in favor of the                 
  amendment  and  Co-chairs  Halford  and  Frank,  along  with                 
  Senators Rieger, Sharp and Phillips were opposed.                            
  Senator  Zharoff  MOVED  to adopt  amendment  #2.  There was                 
  Senator  Zharoff proceeded  to explain  that this  amendment                 
  will reinsert two  years instead  of four for  tenure. By  a                 
  show of  hands the amendment  FAILED.  Senators  Zharoff and                 
  Phillips were  in favor of  the amendment.   Co-chair Frank,                 
  along with Senators Rieger and Sharp were opposed.                           
  Senator  Zharoff MOVED  to adopt  amendment  #3.   There was                 
  objection. Senator  Zharoff proceeded  to explain  that this                 
  amendment puts tenure at two  years and extend probation for                 
  certain teachers.  By a show of hands, the amendment FAILED.                 
  Those  in  favor:    Senators  Zharoff and  Phillips;  those                 
  opposed: Co-chair Frank and Senators Sharp, and Rieger.                      
  Senator Zharoff WITHDREW amendment #4.                                       
  Senator  Zharoff MOVED  to adopt  amendment  #5.   There was                 
  Senator Zharoff  proceeded to  explain  that this  amendment                 
  would allow  the  school district  to  lay off  a  nontenure                 
  school teacher instead of flat retaining nontenure teachers.                 
  It provides a hearing and appeal  for the layoff decision as                 
  currently provided a teacher when there is a decrease in the                 
  school attendance.   It also provides  an opportunity for  a                 
  tenured teacher to question layoff before a neutral decision                 
  maker.  By a  show of hands, amendment  #5 FAILED.   Senator                 
  Zharoff was in  favor.  Co-chairs  Halford and Frank,  along                 
  with Senators Sharp, Phillips, and Rieger were opposed.                      
  Senator Zharoff  MOVED to  adopt  amendment #6.   There  was                 
  Senator Zharoff proceeded to explain that  on page 4 line 7,                 
  insert, "A teacher on layoff status accrues credited service                 
  under the teachers' retirement system  (AS 14.25) during the                 
  period of layoff."  By a show of hands the amendment FAILED.                 
  Senators Zharoff and  Phillips voted for the amendment.  Co-                 
  chairs Halford  and Frank,  along with  Senators Sharp,  and                 
  Rieger were opposed.                                                         
  Senator Zharoff WITHDREW amendment #7.                                       
  Senator Zharoff MOVED to delete Section  8 on page 4 and  5.                 
  Section 8 concerns  career path and merit pay.  By a show of                 
  hands,  the amendment FAILED.  Senator Zharoff voted for the                 
  amendment.  Co-chairs Halford and Frank, along with Senators                 
  Phillips, Rieger, and Sharp were opposed.                                    
  Willie Anderson, NEA-AK,  stated that  presently 90% of  the                 
  districts in  the State of Alaska have layoff procedures for                 
  nontenure  teachers with recall  rights attributed  to them.                 
  The language  as it  is written  in this  bill will  nullify                 
  those negotiated agreements. Earlier, the committee spoke of                 
  the need for  local control.  That is a local agreement that                 
  the  board and  association has  entered into.    This would                 
  nullify all those agreements.   NEA-AK would propose on page                 
  3, line 11,12 and 16, deletion and  new language. Discussion                 
  was  had  on  new  language.  It  was  determined  that  the                 
  negotiated  right  to  layoff is  determined  by  individual                 
  contract and that state law could not intervene.                             
  Senator Zharoff  offered a Letter  of Intent for  Section 8,                 
  saying,  "It  is the  intent  of  the  legislature that  the                 
  funding for AS 14.20.220 come directly to the administration                 
  services of  each school  district and  not the  indirect or                 
  direct funding  for the  students or  building maintenance."                 
  Senator Rieger opposed allocating funds.                                     
  Senator Phillips  offered a conceptual amendment to prohibit                 
  university personnel, once RIPPED, from reemployment  in the                 
  university system.  By a show of hands the amendment FAILED.                 
  Senator  Phillips  voted  for  the  amendment.     Co-chairs                 
  Halford,  Frank,  along  with Senators  Rieger,  Sharp,  and                 
  Zharoff were opposed.                                                        
  Co-chair  Frank  MOVED  to  adopt  SCSCSHB  217  (FIN)  with                 
  individual  recommendations  and accompanying  fiscal notes.                 
  No objection being heard, SCSCSHB 217 (FIN) was REPORTED OUT                 
  of committee with  a "do  pass" from  Co-chairs Halford  and                 
  Frank,  along  with  Senators  Rieger  and Sharp.    Senator                 
  Phillips  signed "no  recommendation",  and Senator  Zharoff                 
  signed "do not  pass".  The  accompanying fiscal notes  were                 
  from the Dept of Education, zero; and Dept of Administration                 
  for $315.5.                                                                  
  End    Tape #68, Side 2                                                      
  Begin  Tape #72, Side 1                                                      

Document Name Date/Time Subjects