Legislature(2003 - 2004)

03/16/2004 09:07 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 233(EDU) am                                                                                          
     "An  Act increasing  the base  student allocation  used in  the                                                            
     formula  for state funding of  public education; and  providing                                                            
     for an effective date."                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This was the first hearing for this bill in the Senate Finance                                                                  
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken stated this bill, sponsored by Representative                                                                   
Wilson, "increases the student dollar by $419 to $4,588 per                                                                     
student."                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PEGGY WILSON, read the sponsor statement into the                                                                
record as follows.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     School  districts  all over the  state are  budget trimming  to                                                            
     cope  with inflationary  factors including  but not limited  to                                                            
     greatly  increased insurance  costs.  The legislature  supports                                                            
     the  concept  of  "No  Child  Left  [Behind]  Act"  and  it  is                                                            
     imperative  that  increased  funds  be allocated  in  order  to                                                            
     implement this act  and assure that no child is left behind. In                                                            
     addition  greatly  increased costs  of PERS/TERS  were  largely                                                            
     unforeseen  and if additional  dollars  are not added  to cover                                                            
     these  increased  costs  that will  cause  direct  cuts to  the                                                            
     classroom.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Public   education    is   charged   with   assuming    greater                                                            
     responsibility  at the same time  they face a reduction  in the                                                            
     purchasing power of  the student dollar. Alaska cannot continue                                                            
     to  ask its  school  districts  to meet  all  these  additional                                                            
     responsibilities    with   insufficient   dollars;    therefore                                                            
     additional funding is a necessity.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Providing  additional funding  for K-12 education early  in the                                                            
     session would  be tremendously helpful to school  districts. It                                                            
     would keep  many school districts from having  to hand out pink                                                            
     slips,  which cause unnecessary  anxiety in schools  across the                                                            
     state.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     The  substantial   increase   of  $419  to  the  base   student                                                            
     allocation  in CS House Bill 233 as amended would  bring needed                                                            
     help to  our local schools districts  at this very challenging                                                             
     time.  This   would  assist  them  in  meeting  and   hopefully                                                            
     exceeding  the public's expectations  and demands. The  time to                                                            
     act  is now and  I ask  your support  of CS  HB 233 as  amended                                                            
      which will raise the base student allocation to $4,588.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken  noted a drafting error in the committee  substitute                                                            
passed by the  House of Representatives,  in which the current  base                                                            
student allocation should  read $4,169, rather than $4,010.  He also                                                            
informed  that fiscal  note #2 is  incorrect and  the Department  of                                                            
Education  and Early  Development  would  submit an  updated  fiscal                                                            
note.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Wilson clarified  that $4,010  was the base  student                                                            
allocation  amount  the  previous  year  when this  bill  was  first                                                            
introduced.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken ordered the bill HELD in Committee.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                

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