Legislature(2017 - 2018)SENATE FINANCE 532

04/10/2017 01:30 PM FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ SB 102 INTERNET FOR SCHOOLS; FUNDING TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ SB 103 ED GRANTS/SCHOLARSHIP;INNOVATIVE ED FUND TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ SB 104 EDUCATION CURRICULUM TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
SENATE BILL NO. 102                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act relating to funding for Internet services for                                                                      
     school districts; and relating to the Alaska higher                                                                        
     education investment fund."                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 103                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act establishing  the Alaska  education innovation                                                                    
     grant program;  eliminating the Alaska  education grant                                                                    
     program   and   the  Alaska   performance   scholarship                                                                    
     program;  redesignating  the  Alaska  higher  education                                                                    
     investment  fund  as  the Alaska  education  innovation                                                                    
     grant fund; and providing for an effective date."                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 104                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act  relating to the  duties of the state  Board of                                                                    
     Education  and  Early   Development;  and  relating  to                                                                    
     school curriculum."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:45:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRITTANY   HUTCHISON,   STAFF,   SENATOR   ANNA   MACKINNON,                                                                    
offered an overview about why  the suite of bills were being                                                                    
introduced. She asserted that SB  102, 103, and 104 had been                                                                    
crafted out of  the need for major  improvements in Alaska's                                                                    
educational  system. She  said that  the needs  addressed in                                                                    
the legislation  were threefold: the prioritization  of K-12                                                                    
education   as   a    constitutional   responsibility,   the                                                                    
improvement of outcomes for  Alaskan students, and providing                                                                    
for   efficient  and   streamlined  delivery   of  education                                                                    
processes and procedures.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:46:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Hutchison provided a sponsor statement for SB 102:                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     The goal of this  legislation is to improve educational                                                                    
     outcomes for Alaskan students.  The graduation rate for                                                                    
     high school  in Alaska for  2016 is 76%. Of  the amount                                                                    
     of students who go to  the University of Alaska, 52% of                                                                    
     incoming Alaska freshman  need remediation classes. Our                                                                    
     children and workforce deserve  better. This bill seeks                                                                    
     to   improve  outcomes   by  providing   students  with                                                                    
     additional  internet access  and increased  opportunity                                                                    
     for virtual  education, even in the  most remote places                                                                    
     in  Alaska.  This  will  provide  access  to  the  best                                                                    
     teachers in  our state  to teach  in multiple  areas of                                                                    
     our state, via the internet.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     It   is   the  Legislature's   primary   constitutional                                                                    
     requirement  to  provide  for an  education  system  in                                                                    
     Alaska. It is time to  refocus and prioritize our state                                                                    
     money on improved deliveries of  education. SB 102 will                                                                    
     provide  assistance to  districts with  high technology                                                                    
     costs  and technological  disadvantages, by  increasing                                                                    
     the minimum requirement of megabits  per second from 10                                                                    
     to 25. It will direct  monies from the higher education                                                                    
     fund  to increase  the amount  of Broadband  Assistance                                                                    
     Grants  (BAG)   that  the  state  can   pay  to  school                                                                    
     districts  and will  allow schools  the flexibility  to                                                                    
     direct additional dollars to the classroom.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Currently,  137   schools,  in  29   school  districts,                                                                    
     receive a BAG  award. SB 102 will bring  197 schools up                                                                    
     to the new floor of  25Mbps and provide funding to help                                                                    
     those schools reach 25Mbps.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     The  total  cost  of  internet  services  in  FY16  was                                                                    
     approximately   $92.6  million.   The  Federal   E-Rate                                                                    
     program discount  covered approximately  $79.1 million.                                                                    
     The  School BAG  awards  covered  $3.4 million.  School                                                                    
     Districts  across   the  state   only  had  to   pay  a                                                                    
     cumulative sum of approximately $10 million in FY16.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     The  value  of  E-Rate  and  BAG  for  our  schools  is                                                                    
     tremendous.  This bill  will leverage  between 70-  90%                                                                    
     federal  dollars. For  every state  dollar, we  receive                                                                    
     about $7 from the federal government.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     I  urge  your  support  of  this  legislation  to  help                                                                    
    improve educational outcomes for Alaskan students.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Hutchison relayed that the bill would not provide                                                                           
funding    for     infrastructure,    personal    computers,                                                                    
microphones, or software.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:48:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Hutchison discussed the sectional analysis for SB 102                                                                       
(copy on file):                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Section 1 AS 14.03.127(a)                                                                                                  
     Increases the floor of internet  download speed from 10                                                                    
     megabits per  second (Mbps) to  25 megabits  per second                                                                    
     (Mbps) for every school in Alaska.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Section 2 AS 37.14.750(a)                                                                                                  
     Puts  into statute  that the  legislature  may pay  for                                                                    
     internet services through the Higher Education                                                                             
     Fund.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Section 3 AS 37.14.750                                                                                                     
     Conforming language that allows the legislature to pay                                                                     
     for internet services through the Higher Education                                                                         
     Fund.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:49:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair MacKinnon OPENED public testimony.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JACK WALSH, SUPERINTENDENT,  CRAIG SCHOOLS, CRAIG, testified                                                                    
in  support  of the  bill.  He  believed that  the  expanded                                                                    
internet access would help  to provide additional vocational                                                                    
programs.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:50:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TONY  HABRA,  HAINES  BOROUGH   SCHOOLS,  HAINES,  spoke  in                                                                    
support  of  the legislation.  He  noted  that the  internet                                                                    
access in Haines  was good, but that it  would be beneficial                                                                    
to connect  with other districts that  currently had limited                                                                    
access.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:52:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TIM PARKER, PRESIDENT, NEA ALASKA,  JUNEAU, spoke in support                                                                    
of the legislation.  He lamented the proposed  5 percent cut                                                                    
to education funding.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  MacKinnon reminded  the  testifier  that the  bill                                                                    
before the committee was SB 102.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Parker  spoke to  SB  102.  He stated  that  additional                                                                    
broadband was  definitely needed,  but that there  were some                                                                    
fiber  optic   cable  issues  as  well   as  satellite  data                                                                    
transmittal struggles.  He stressed that a  long term fiscal                                                                    
solution  to  the budget  crisis  was  necessary to  provide                                                                    
stable, forward funding for Alaska schools.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair MacKinnon  understood that Mr. Parker  supported SB                                                                    
102.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Parker  stated that he  was in  support of the  bill. He                                                                    
said  that  slow  running   computers  were  detrimental  to                                                                    
classroom learning. He opined that  teachers had to have two                                                                    
lesson  plans in  place:  one that  used  the computer,  and                                                                    
another for when the computer did not work.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:56:59 PM                                                                                                                    
DAVID  BRIGHTON, KENAI  EDUCATION ASSOCIATION,  KENAI, spoke                                                                    
in support  of SB  102. He spoke  of the  Alaska Performance                                                                    
Scholarship. He  said that his son  would not be able  to go                                                                    
to college without the scholarship.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  MacKinnon  requested  that testifiers  keep  their                                                                    
comments to the bill before the committee.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:59:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Micciche  clarified  that the  committee  would  be                                                                    
hearing public testimony for the other bills on the agenda.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:59:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JEFF  HEBARD,  FAIRBANKS EDUCATION  ASSOCIATION,  FAIRBANKS,                                                                    
expressed support for  the bill. He was  concerned about the                                                                    
funding source.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair   MacKinnon   stressed   that   individual   public                                                                    
testimony would be taken for each bill.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Hebard  urged support  for  local  control of  decision                                                                    
making for  school funding issues.  He testified  against SB                                                                    
103. He lamented the various  struggles faced by students in                                                                    
Alaska's school  system. He argued that  educators could not                                                                    
build necessary relationships  with students when classrooms                                                                    
were overcrowded.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:02:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Bishop asked whether  Mr. Hebard wanted broadband                                                                    
to be optional.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Hebard answered in the affirmative.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair MacKinnon surmised that  the school districts would                                                                    
pick up the cost of the broadband.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Hebard  responded  that he  was  encouraging  that  the                                                                    
decision making be at the local level.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:03:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LISA  PARADY,  ALASKA   COUNCIL  OF  SCHOOL  ADMINISTRATORS,                                                                    
JUNEAU, testified in support of  the bill. She stressed that                                                                    
expanding  internet speed  in rural  Alaska  was a  critical                                                                    
piece in moving forward  with virtual learning. She believed                                                                    
that the effort to maximize federal dollars was prudent.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:06:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair MacKinnon remarked that  Senator Olson had been the                                                                    
original  carrier   of  a  broadband  assistance   bill  for                                                                    
communities outside of the Railbelt.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:07:13 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:07:36 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ALYSE  GALVIN, GREAT  ALASKA SCHOOLS,  JUNEAU, testified  in                                                                    
support  of  SB  102.  She acknowledged  the  importance  of                                                                    
broadband in  rural Alaska, but  added that  actual teachers                                                                    
in classrooms was the ultimate goal of her organization.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:09:41 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:11:38 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
PJ FORD SLACK, SUPERINTENDENT,  HOONAH CITY SCHOOLS, HOONAH,                                                                    
spoke  in support  of  the  bill. She  thought  it was  very                                                                    
important to  achieve connectivity to other  schools in real                                                                    
time. She hoped that the  legislature could offer support in                                                                    
talking  to  local  providers about  providing  support  for                                                                    
infrastructure.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:13:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Bishop  asked whether her district  would be able                                                                    
to  build  the  infrastructure necessary  to  implement  the                                                                    
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Ford Slack  replied that her district would  not be able                                                                    
to afford the necessary cable without help from providers.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  MacKinnon commented  that the  bill did  not offer                                                                    
cable,  satellite, or  other amenities.  She clarified  that                                                                    
only  addressed existing  schools that  had the  capacity to                                                                    
step up  to 25 megabits.  She said that there  were projects                                                                    
in motion that could  provide additional infrastructure that                                                                    
would provide tie-ins for other communities.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:14:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Micciche asked  for a  clarification on  the dollar                                                                    
amount for  the first  leg of  infrastructure in  Ms. Ford's                                                                    
district.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Ford  Slack replied  $6.6 million for  the first  leg of                                                                    
cable.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  MacKinnon  hoped  that  the  administration  could                                                                    
provide  the  numbers  for schools  that  needed  additional                                                                    
help.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:15:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator von Imhof  queried the distance of the  first leg of                                                                    
cable.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Ford  Slack was  unsure about the  amount of  miles, and                                                                    
clarified that  the route  was from  Juneau to  Hoonah. That                                                                    
route was  the shortest leg  before going out to  Pelican or                                                                    
up to Yakutat.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator  von Imhof  referred to  the sponsor  statement. She                                                                    
believed  that  the  state  should  take  advantage  of  the                                                                    
federal match  dollars. She thought  that the bill  could be                                                                    
more effective by including fiber optic cable.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:17:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair MacKinnon  shared that  there was an  "Alaska Plan"                                                                    
crafted by the federal  delegation currently in process that                                                                    
would provide support for infrastructure advancement.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:17:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PAUL   KENDALL,   SELF,  ANCHORAGE   (via   teleconference),                                                                    
expressed frustration  for the public testimony  process and                                                                    
the decline of the moral foundation in the state.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:21:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair MacKinnon CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PATIENCE  FREDRIKSON,   DIRECTOR,  DIVISION   OF  LIBRARIES,                                                                    
ARCHIVES  AND MUSEUMS,  DEPARTMENT  OF  EDUCATION AND  EARLY                                                                    
DEVELOPMENT, testified in favor of the legislation.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:22:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SB  102  was  HEARD  and   HELD  in  committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:23:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms.   Hutchison   commented   that  the   Alaska   Telephone                                                                    
Association  had written  that  the  current technology  and                                                                    
infrastructure was able to deliver  25 megabits, per second,                                                                    
to all schools in the state.  The bill would not require any                                                                    
additional infrastructure.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 102 - Sectional Analysis.pdf SFIN 4/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 102
Copy of SB 102 Alaska Schools Under 25mbps.pdf SFIN 4/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 102
SB 102 Sponsor Statement.pdf SFIN 4/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 102
SB 103 2015-2016 Graduation Rates.pdf SFIN 4/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 103
SB 103 AEG.pdf SFIN 4/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 103
SB 103 APS.pdf SFIN 4/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 103
SB 103 High School to College.pdf SFIN 4/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 103
SB 103 HS Grads UA Table and Remediation Rates.pdf SFIN 4/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 103
SB 103 Public Testimony Hoza.msg SFIN 4/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 103
SB 103 Sectional Analysis.pdf SFIN 4/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 103
SB 104 - Sectional Analysis.pdf SFIN 4/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 104
SB 104 - Sponsor Statement.pdf SFIN 4/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 104
SB 103 APS UA Scholars Overlap.pdf SFIN 4/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 103
SB 103 – Alaska Performance Scholarship Azpilcueta.pdf SFIN 4/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 103
SB 103 – Alaska Performance Scholarship Schrage.pdf SFIN 4/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 103
SB 103 – Alaska Performance Scholarship Keene.pdf SFIN 4/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 103
SB 103 – Alaska Performance Scholarship Brekke.pdf SFIN 4/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 103
SB 103 - Alaska Performance Scholarship Sosnowski.pdf SFIN 4/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 103
SB 103 – Alaska Performance Scholarship Echaverria.pdf SFIN 4/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 103
SB 103-Alaska Performance Scholorship Doner.pdf SFIN 4/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 103
SB 103 ACPE Testimony.pdf SFIN 4/10/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 103