Legislature(2005 - 2006)

05/23/2005 08:20 PM 001

Audio Topic
08:20:27 PM Start
08:28:38 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                 CONFERENCE Committee HB 1                                                                                      
                        May 23, 2005                                                                                            
                         8:20 p.m.                                                                                              
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Representative Meyer called the House Finance Committee                                                                         
meeting to order at 8:20:27 PM                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
     Senator Gary Wilken Vice-Chair                                                                                             
     Senator Lyda Green, Member                                                                                                 
     Senator Lyman Hoffman, Member                                                                                              
     Representative, Kevin Meyer, Chair                                                                                         
     Representative Mike Chenault, Member                                                                                       
     Representative Les Gara, Member                                                                                            
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 1(HES)                                                                                                    
     "An Act relating to the base student allocation used in                                                                    
     the formula for state funding of public education; and                                                                     
     providing for an effective date."                                                                                          
SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 1(FIN)                                                                                      
     "An Act relating to the base student allocation used in                                                                    
     the formula for state funding of public education; and                                                                     
     providing for an effective date."                                                                                          
     CC CSHB 1 was REPORTED out of Committee with a "do                                                                         
     pass" recommendation.                                                                                                      
Representative Chenault MOVED to ADOPT CSHB 1 (HES) as the                                                                      
conference committee version.                                                                                                   
8:21:18 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Gara  OBJECTED for the purpose  of discussion.                                                                   
He agreed with the motion but  pointed out that even with the                                                                   
$4,919  [ADM] that  there  will be  teacher  cuts around  the                                                                   
state. He observed  that the state of Alaska  is preparing to                                                                   
fund a  capital budget,  which  is $600 -  $700 million  more                                                                   
than  the previous  year's appropriation  and suggested  that                                                                   
additional  education  funding in  the capital  budget  would                                                                   
avoid  school cuts.  He  suggested that  the  $38 million  in                                                                   
PERS/TRS  funding be  added on  top of the  $4,919 ADM.  This                                                                   
would provide funding  at the level requested by  many of the                                                                   
school districts  and would  address shortfalls  in education                                                                   
Representative Gara WITHDREW his OBJECTION.                                                                                     
8:23:03 PM                                                                                                                    
Senator Wilken acknowledged that  some districts would have a                                                                   
shortfall, but  maintained that many districts  would do fine                                                                   
with the proposed funding level.                                                                                                
8:23:47 PM                                                                                                                    
Senator Hoffman  observed that there are different  facets to                                                                   
the budget,  including the capital  budget. He  observed that                                                                   
the major  maintenance list has  been discussed  and stressed                                                                   
the need for  new schools. He maintained it  is difficult for                                                                   
children to learn without adequate facilities.                                                                                  
8:24:54 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Chenault  observed that he has  worked on cost                                                                   
differential issues  and that there would be a  task force to                                                                   
continue work  on the  issue. He  maintained that there  have                                                                   
been too many  studies on cost differentials  in recent years                                                                   
that  have  not resulted  in  change.  He stressed  that  his                                                                   
district is  hurting as much as  most other districts  in the                                                                   
state. He observed that $4,919  is a large increase over past                                                                   
years.  He  noted  that  the  capital  budget  would  contain                                                                   
funding for deferred maintenance.  He expressed the hope that                                                                   
savings in  fuel costs  or maintenance  can be turned  toward                                                                   
8:26:58 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Gara  agreed that there had  been improvements                                                                   
in the  backlog of  school maintenance  and construction.  He                                                                   
maintained that school districts  representing more than half                                                                   
of the  children in  the state  would suffer  cuts under  the                                                                   
$4,919  funding  level  [Anchorage,  Wrangel,  Kake,  Juneau,                                                                   
Kenai,  Iditarod,  Lake  and  Peninsula,  Copper  River,  and                                                                   
Unalaska]  but observed  that  several  districts will  still                                                                   
suffer cuts.                                                                                                                    
Representative Gara WITHDREW his OBJECTION.                                                                                     
There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                    
8:28:38 PM                                                                                                                    
The meeting was adjourned at 8:28 PM                                                                                            

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