Legislature(2017 - 2018)CAPITOL 106

03/10/2017 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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Audio Topic
08:03:18 AM Start
08:03:42 AM Confirmation Hearing(s): || University of Alaska Board of Regents
08:29:27 AM HB64
08:36:58 AM HB135
09:03:35 AM HB137
09:33:42 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Confirmation Hearing: University of AK Board of TELECONFERENCED
Regents
+= HB 64 READING PROFICIENCY TASK FORCE; DYSLEXIA TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 64(EDC) Out of Committee
*+ HB 135 SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION GRANT PROGRAM TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invited/Public> --
*+ HB 137 ST. COUNCIL ON THE ARTS: PUBLIC CORP. TELECONFERENCED
Moved HB 137 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 10, 2017                                                                                         
                           8:03 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Harriet Drummond, Chair                                                                                          
Representative Justin Parish, Vice Chair                                                                                        
Representative Zach Fansler                                                                                                     
Representative Ivy Spohnholz                                                                                                    
Representative Jennifer Johnston                                                                                                
Representative Chuck Kopp                                                                                                       
Representative David Talerico                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Lora Reinbold (alternate)                                                                                        
Representative Geran Tarr (alternate)                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
University of Alaska Board of Regents                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Mary Katherine Hughes - Anchorage                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 64                                                                                                               
"An Act relating to the establishment of the Task Force on                                                                      
Reading Proficiency and Reading Instruction for All Students and                                                                
on the Effects of Dyslexia on Some Students."                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 64(EDC) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 135                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to school district participation in the school                                                                 
construction grant program."                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 137                                                                                                              
"An Act re-designating the Alaska State  Council on the Arts as a                                                               
public  corporation  and   governmental  instrumentality  of  the                                                               
state;  defining  the  powers  and duties  of  the  Alaska  State                                                               
Council on the Arts; providing exemptions from certain statutes                                                                 
for the Alaska State Council on the Arts; making conforming                                                                     
amendments; and providing for an effective date."                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HB 137 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 64                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: READING PROFICIENCY TASK FORCE; DYSLEXIA                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) DRUMMOND                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
01/20/17       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/20/17       (H)       EDC                                                                                                    
01/30/17       (H)       EDC AT 9:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
01/30/17       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
01/30/17       (H)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
03/10/17       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 135                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION GRANT PROGRAM                                                                                  
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) WESTLAKE                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
02/20/17       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/20/17       (H)       EDC                                                                                                    
03/10/17       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 137                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: ST. COUNCIL ON THE ARTS: PUBLIC CORP.                                                                              
SPONSOR(s): EDUCATION                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
02/20/17       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/20/17       (H)       EDC, FIN                                                                                               
03/10/17       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MARY KATHERINE HUGHES, Appointee                                                                                                
University of Alaska Board of Regents                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as appointee to the University of                                                              
Alaska Board of Regents.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
KRISTIN KRANENDONK, Staff                                                                                                       
Representative Harriet Drummond                                                                                                 
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented the  committee substitute (CS) for                                                             
HB  64, on  behalf  of the  House  Education Standing  Committee,                                                               
sponsor by request, chaired by Representative Drummond.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DEAN WESTLAKE                                                                                                    
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Presented HB  135, as  prime sponsor,  and                                                             
answered questions.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
ANNMARIE O'BRIEN, PhD, Superintendent                                                                                           
Northwest Arctic Borough School Board                                                                                           
Kotzebue, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in  support of HB 135 and answered                                                             
questions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MIKE NAVARRE, Mayor                                                                                                             
Kenai Peninsula Borough                                                                                                         
Soldotna, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in  support of HB 135 and answered                                                             
questions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
KRISTIN KRANENDONK, Staff                                                                                                       
Representative Harriet Drummond                                                                                                 
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Presented  HB 137, on  behalf of  the House                                                             
Education  Standing Committee,  sponsor  by  request, chaired  by                                                               
Representative Drummond.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
BENJAMIN BROWN, Chair, Board of Trustees                                                                                        
Alaska State Council on the Arts                                                                                                
Department of Education and Early Development                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 137.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ANDREA NOBLE-PELANT, Executive Director                                                                                         
Alaska State Council on the Arts                                                                                                
Department of Education and Early Development                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 137.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ALICE TUNUUNATAQ BIOFF, Member, Board of Trustees                                                                               
Alaska State Council on the Arts; Business Planning Specialist                                                                  
Kawerak, Inc.                                                                                                                   
Nome, Alaska                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 137.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:03:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  HARRIET  DRUMMOND  called  the  House  Education  Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting  to  order  at   8:03  a.m.    Representatives                                                               
Drummond, Kopp,  Parish, Johnston,  and Talerico were  present at                                                               
the  call  to  order.    Representatives  Fansler  and  Spohnholz                                                               
arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                                       
^University of Alaska Board of Regents                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                    CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                
             University of Alaska Board of Regents                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:03:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DRUMMOND announced  that the first order  of business would                                                               
be  a confirmation  hearing  for Mary  Hughes,  appointee to  the                                                               
University of Alaska (UA) Board of Regents.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:04:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARY  KATHERINE  HUGHES,  Appointee, University  of  Alaska  (UA)                                                               
Board of Regents, directed attention  to the committee packet and                                                               
reviewed the highlights  of her resume.  Ms.  Hughes informed the                                                               
committee  she  is  a  lifelong  Alaskan  and  practiced  law  in                                                               
Anchorage for 20 years, with  a focus on telecommunications.  Ms.                                                               
Hughes also  served as the  municipal attorney for  Anchorage and                                                               
worked   for   U.S.  Senator   Lisa   Murkowski   as  her   chief                                                               
administrative  officer and  as  her state  director for  Alaska.                                                               
She said  she was first appointed  to the UA Board  of Regents in                                                               
2002 and was reappointed in 2008.   Ms. Hughes also serves on the                                                               
Willamette  University [Salem,  Oregon] board  of trustees,  is a                                                               
life trustee  at Willamette  University, and  has served  for the                                                               
last four years  on the board of directors of  the Association of                                                               
Governing Boards  of Universities and  Colleges, which is  like a                                                               
trade  association for  regents  and trustees.    She added  that                                                               
several members of her family  have served as teachers, on school                                                               
boards, and  in support  of institutions  of higher  learning for                                                               
many years, and she is honored to  continue to do so.  During her                                                               
time  serving on  the Board  of  Regents, UA  has undergone  many                                                               
changes, and  the university  is very  dear to  her family.   She                                                               
said she is  especially pleased to assist the  university at this                                                               
time as the university faces a  loss of state general funds and a                                                               
decline in the  school population in Alaska,  noting high schools                                                               
are the major source of students  for the university.  Ms. Hughes                                                               
said  the Board  of  Regents will  continue  to provide  "college                                                               
knowledge" for students throughout Alaska.   One of her goals for                                                               
UA has not  been met:  The university has  the capability and the                                                               
teaching  excellence  to  be the  university  for  all  Alaskans.                                                               
Service on  the board is  a big job and  each member needs  to be                                                               
very committed to the university and its president and programs.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:10:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON referred to  the seat the appointee holds                                                               
on  the board  of trustees  at Willamette  University, and  asked                                                               
whether the position includes governance.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. HUGHES replied yes, just as  the Board of Regents selects the                                                               
president of UA,  the board of trustees selects  the president of                                                               
Willamette University.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON opined serving  a private university such                                                               
as Willamette  University, and  a public  university such  as UA,                                                               
could provide an interesting perspective.   She asked whether the                                                               
appointee's  experience provides  institutional knowledge  on how                                                               
to approach declining enrollment.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. HUGHES agreed,  noting that her longstanding  service to both                                                               
institutions has been recognized  by the Association of Governing                                                               
Boards.  She advised private  schools, due to their high tuition,                                                               
were affected  by the depression  felt strongly in the  Lower 48,                                                               
and  thus  are  very  interested  in  knowing  from  where  their                                                               
students  originate.    For example,  Willamette  University  has                                                               
discovered that  many of  their students  no longer  originate in                                                               
Oregon,  other Pacific  Northwest  states, and  Hawai'i, but  are                                                               
coming from  California.  However,  California wants  students to                                                               
remain  in  California,   and  provides  financial  [incentives],                                                               
affecting  Willamette University's  ability to  attract students.                                                               
She said at  Willamette University and UA,  every student counts.                                                               
Further, many UA  students are returning to education  on a part-                                                               
time basis, thus  UA is educating all Alaskans -  at some point -                                                               
through  programs  such  as  mining  certificates  and  fisheries                                                               
programs.   Ms. Hughes opined  each institution needs  to develop                                                               
its own plan from a  matriculation standpoint, so the institution                                                               
ensures it has the students it needs to remain healthy.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:14:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH  pointed  out  the  cost  of  tuition  has                                                               
increased at  more than twice  the rate  of inflation.   He asked                                                               
what approach might  be taken to remedy the  situation of student                                                               
debt which, on a national level, exceeds $1 trillion.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. HUGHES  responded that increases  in tuition at  UA typically                                                               
result from  the university's financial circumstances,  which are                                                               
based on income  from general funds (GF),  tuition, and research,                                                               
in fact,  every dollar  of research  [funding] has  a compounding                                                               
affect within the  community.  The regents believe  UA tuition is                                                               
still  quite  good,  and  increases  in  tuition  are  considered                                                               
carefully.   She expressed her  preference to not  raise tuition,                                                               
but  UA does  not  receive GF  at a  level  consistent with  past                                                               
appropriations,  and  concluded UA  provides  a  good quality  of                                                               
education for the cost paid.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP  inquired about  her  role  as a  regent  to                                                               
resolve the  divide between UA  leadership and faculty  staff who                                                               
recently took  a vote of  no confidence  in the president  of the                                                               
university.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  HUGHES said  change  is  difficult for  all  and opined  the                                                               
situation  with  Strategic  Pathways  [a  multi-part,  multi-year                                                               
process to  reconfigure UA  administrative and  academic programs                                                               
to address funding cuts] has led  to fears on the part of faculty                                                               
members.   At  a March  [2017], public  meeting regents  met with                                                               
representatives  - which  was very  helpful  - and  she said  she                                                               
thought there  would be  similar meetings.   The regents  and the                                                               
president value  and respect the  faculty, and  the circumstances                                                               
that UA  faces today are  unprecedented, with the  possibility of                                                               
"cutting lines  of education ... the  lines of what are  we going                                                               
to teach, at  what campuses, and what is going  to be closed down                                                               
...."   She  stressed UA  must  face major  issues, although  all                                                               
parties are in the process  together.  Ms. Hughes stated faculty,                                                               
students, and  the administrative  staff will present  ideas; not                                                               
all the  ideas will  come from  Strategic Pathways,  the regents,                                                               
and UA  executive staff.  The  response from the faculty  was due                                                               
to  faculty  members  feeling  threatened by  how  UA  will  seek                                                               
funding,   and   she   expressed    her   hope   that   including                                                               
representatives from  faculty, students, and  the administration,                                                               
at every future meeting, will be helpful.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:20:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH referred  to UA's  large, statewide  staff                                                               
and  noted   Dr.  Abel  Bult-Ito  [University   of  Alaska  (UAF)                                                               
Department  of  Biology  and  Wildlife]   has  proposed  a  staff                                                               
reduction in order  to increase the level of  scholarships and to                                                               
increase the  research staff,  thereby increasing  UA attendance.                                                               
He asked whether  Dr. Bult-Ito has presented his  proposal to the                                                               
regents.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. HUGHES  acknowledged that many of  the university's statewide                                                               
functions have positions - such  as payroll and accounting - that                                                               
would need to  be discontinued, and she said  Dr. Bult-Ito's plan                                                               
is available  to all of the  regents and has been  discussed.  In                                                               
looking  at  statewide  functions, the  regents  have  considered                                                               
transferring some positions to  Fairbanks and Anchorage; however,                                                               
these  positions are  not limited  to  the president's  executive                                                               
staff.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DRUMMOND  noted  that  faculty   and  students  have  been                                                               
weighing  in on  the statewide  staffing situation  and the  high                                                               
salaries  that  these  mostly non-teaching  positions  represent.                                                               
She questioned  whether the  regents are  considering dismantling                                                               
the  UA   statewide  department  in   the  same  manner   as  was                                                               
implemented by the state university in Oregon.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS.  HUGHES said  that consolidation  of  statewide positions  to                                                               
accomplish  administrative  operations  is   a  concern  in  many                                                               
states,   and  the   regents  are   looking  at   "any  and   all                                                               
opportunities  to provide  Alaskans [with  a] better  education."                                                               
In  further response  to  Chair  Drummond, she  said  she is  the                                                               
longest serving member presently on the Board of Regents.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DRUMMOND expressed support for the appointee.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:26:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  moved to  advance the confirmation  of the                                                               
appointee  to  a  joint  session  of the  House  and  Senate  for                                                               
consideration.   He  noted that  each member's  signature on  the                                                               
committee's report  in no way  reflects the member's  vote during                                                               
the  joint  floor  session.     There  being  no  objection,  the                                                               
confirmation was advanced.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:27:03 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 8:27 a.m. to 8:29 a.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
         HB 64-READING PROFICIENCY TASK FORCE; DYSLEXIA                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:29:27 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DRUMMOND  announced that the  next order of  business would                                                               
be HOUSE  BILL NO. 64, "An  Act relating to the  establishment of                                                               
the  Task Force  on Reading  Proficiency and  Reading Instruction                                                               
for  All  Students  and  on  the  Effects  of  Dyslexia  on  Some                                                               
Students."                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DRUMMOND  asked  Representative  Parish  to  withdraw  his                                                               
motion  to  report  HB  64   out  of  committee  with  individual                                                               
recommendations  and forthcoming  fiscal notes.   [The  motion by                                                               
Representative Parish and  the objection to the  motion stated by                                                               
Representative Talerico were made and left pending on 1/30/17.]                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:29:58 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH withdrew his motion.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:30:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH  moved  to adopt  the  proposed  committee                                                               
substitute (CS)  for HB 64, labeled  30-LS0345\J, Glover, 3/2/17,                                                               
as  the working  document.   [Without  objection,  Version J  was                                                               
before the committee.]                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:30:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KRISTIN  KRANENDONK,  Staff,   Representative  Harriet  Drummond,                                                               
Alaska State Legislature,  presented the changes made  by the CS,                                                               
which are  offered to address  concerns voiced during  a previous                                                               
hearing.   She directed attention  to the  bill on page  1, lines                                                               
11-12, and explained  language was changed to  recognize the work                                                               
the state is doing for  students, while still acknowledging there                                                               
is  room  for  improvement.    Continuing to  page  2,  line  27,                                                               
[subparagraph] (C)  was added to  examine what  education reforms                                                               
are currently  being implemented in  the state and to  provide an                                                               
effectiveness  evaluation.   On  page 2,  beginning  on line  27,                                                               
through  page 3,  line 2,  language  was changed  to clarify  the                                                               
scope  of the  task force  and  language related  to funding  was                                                               
removed.   On page 4,  lines 1-3,  language was changed  to allow                                                               
one member to  represent either the Association  of Alaska School                                                               
Boards or the  Alaska Council of School Administrators.   On page                                                               
4, lines 4-5,  language was removed regarding a  seated member of                                                               
the task force being a  non-voting judge and replaced that member                                                               
with a  person representing the Alaska  Association of Elementary                                                               
School Principals.   On page 4, line 13, language  was changed to                                                               
recognize  all non-profit  organizations focused  on reading  and                                                               
education  issues and  to  include  that at  least  one of  those                                                               
members  is  a parent  of  a  child  with a  reading  disability.                                                               
Finally, on  page 4, line  31, language  was added to  define the                                                               
term "dyslexia," using the most universally accepted definition.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FANSLER  referred to  the removal of  the judicial                                                               
member and  asked if there is  any concern that the  removal will                                                               
be detrimental in any way.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KRANENDONK  said the  judicial  member  was removed  at  the                                                               
request of  the court system  as judges  are not permitted  to be                                                               
partisan and serve on a task force.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:34:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH  moved  to  report CSHB  64,  Version  30-                                                               
LS0345\J,  Glover,  3/2/17,  out  of  committee  with  individual                                                               
recommendations  and the  accompanying zero  fiscal note.   There                                                               
being  no objection,  CSHB 64(EDC)  was reported  from the  House                                                               
Education Standing Committee.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:34:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 8:34 a.m. to 8:36 a.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
            HB 135-SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION GRANT PROGRAM                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:36:58 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DRUMMOND  announced that the  next order of  business would                                                               
be  HOUSE BILL  NO.  135,  "An Act  relating  to school  district                                                               
participation in the school construction grant program."                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:37:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   DEAN   WESTLAKE,   Alaska   State   Legislature,                                                               
introduced HB  135 paraphrasing from a  prepared statement, which                                                               
read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     HB 135  will allow  the Commissioner of  the Department                                                                    
     of  Education  to  grant   time  extensions  to  school                                                                    
     districts  raising their  percentage  share of  project                                                                    
     costs appropriated through  the "Educational facilities                                                                    
     maintenance and  construction fund" (as  outlined under                                                                    
     AS  14.11.008 "School  district participation  in grant                                                                    
     program" for appropriations made under AS 37.05.560).                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Currently, school  districts are required to  raise the                                                                    
     percentage share  of the total  project cost  within 3-                                                                    
     years of appropriation approval.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     However,  since   the  adoption  of  the   3-year  time                                                                    
     constraint  in 1993,  multiple  projects have  required                                                                    
     more time to raise their required percentage share.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     The  more   recent  examples  of  projects   that  have                                                                    
     required  more  time  include,   but  not  limited  to,                                                                    
     projects  within  the   Yukon  Flats  School  District,                                                                    
     Northwest  Arctic   Borough  School   District,  Yupiit                                                                    
     School District and the  Kenai Peninsula Borough School                                                                    
     District.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     According  to  the  Department  of  Education  &  Early                                                                    
     Development, the  3-year time lapse is  appropriate for                                                                    
     about  95%  of  approved projects.    However,  there's                                                                    
     about  5% of  the projects  that could  utilize a  time                                                                    
     extension  when  faced with  extenuating  circumstances                                                                    
     outside of the school districts' control.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     The Kivalina Replacement School  project is one example                                                                    
     of why a provision for extensions is needed.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     In FY2015  the State  appropriated $48,958,120  for the                                                                    
     project  State  Share  funding, and  the  participating                                                                    
     share  amounted   to  $12,239,530,  for  a   total  EED                                                                    
     Recommended amount to $61,197,650.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     However, the grant agreement has  not yet been executed                                                                    
     for reasons beyond the control  of both the Borough and                                                                    
     District.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     First, for FY 2016 a  moratorium was placed on approval                                                                    
     of the  grant pending legislative consideration  of the                                                                    
     balance of  funding [does  it need  further explanation                                                                    
     on the moratorium?].                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Secondarily, the project cannot  begin until the access                                                                    
     road is  constructed as a  separate project.   The road                                                                    
     development is  proceeding in conjunction  with DOT/PF,                                                                    
     but  it is  not scheduled  to be  completed before  the                                                                    
     three-year deadline expires.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Without an  approved grant  agreement, it  is difficult                                                                    
     to  apply for  other  grant funds  that  could be  used                                                                    
     towards the local share.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Furthermore, if the Borough  and School District cannot                                                                    
     apply  for  an extension,  there  is  potential that  a                                                                    
     critically  needed school  project might  be forced  to                                                                    
     forfeit  the previously  appropriated State  funds when                                                                    
     all that  is needed is  more time to  secure additional                                                                    
     matching sources.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     In  this  case, if  HB  135  is passed,  the  Northwest                                                                    
     Arctic   Borough  could   apply  in   writing  to   the                                                                    
     Commissioner  to   request  an   extension.     If  the                                                                    
     Commissioner  decided  that  the  project  demonstrated                                                                    
     good  cause to  for the  requested extension,  then the                                                                    
     Commissioner could grant one.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WESTLAKE named  projects that  fall within  the 5                                                               
percent  category,  which  are:    Tuluksak  School  improvement,                                                               
Hoonah  major  maintenance,   Arctic  Village  soil  remediation,                                                               
Kivalina replacement  school, and  Kachemak Selo new  K-12 school                                                               
facility.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:41:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSTON asked  what the  current balance  is for                                                               
the outstanding 5 percent, and how  many of the schools were part                                                               
of a judicial decision [Kasayulie v. State of Alaska].                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   WESTLAKE   said   he   could   provide   further                                                               
information  regarding   the  outstanding   5  percent,   and  he                                                               
clarified Kivalina School was part of a lawsuit settlement.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSTON  inquired  as to  whether  the  Kivalina                                                               
School project includes infrastructure  [access] to the school as                                                               
well as the school building.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WESTLAKE  advised  a   separate  project  is  the                                                               
infrastructure   road  being   handled  by   the  Department   of                                                               
Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF).                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP surmised that the  access road that is needed                                                               
has delayed the replacement of Kivalina School.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WESTLAKE  concurred and  said  the  road must  be                                                               
completed  prior  to  the  school being  rebuilt,  and  the  road                                                               
project is outside of the school district's control.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DRUMMOND questioned  whether construction  can begin  on a                                                               
school prior to having the local share in hand.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WESTLAKE deferred  comment  to the  mayor of  the                                                               
Northwest Arctic Borough.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:43:56 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANNMARIE O'BRIEN,  PhD, Superintendent, Northwest  Arctic Borough                                                               
School Board  (NWABSD), stated support  for HB  135, paraphrasing                                                               
from  a  prepared  statement, which  read  as  follows  [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     The   Northwest   Arctic    Borough   School   District                                                                    
     wholeheartedly   endorses  House   Bill  135,   a  bill                                                                    
     addressing    the   participation    in   the    school                                                                    
     construction  grant program  allowing the  Commissioner                                                                    
     of  Education  to  grant  an   extension  of  the  time                                                                    
     limitation  for  the  identification  of  the  required                                                                    
     local participating share of grant funding.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Currently, the  statutes require  that the  local match                                                                    
     be  identified within  three years  of the  approval of                                                                    
     the legislative appropriation of  grant funding.  There                                                                    
     is no  provision for  the consideration  of exceptional                                                                    
     circumstances  that warrant  additional time  to secure                                                                    
     the match.   This bill recognizes  that such situations                                                                    
     may occur  from time  to time  and allows  Boroughs and                                                                    
     Districts to justify and  petition the Commissioner for                                                                    
     an extension.   Without such  an extension, there  is a                                                                    
     potential  that  a  critically  needed  school  project                                                                    
     might  be forced  to  forfeit  the State  appropriation                                                                    
     when  all  that  is  needed  is  more  time  to  secure                                                                    
     additional local funding sources.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     The  existing State  regulations for  administration of                                                                    
     the  school  construction  grant  program  protect  the                                                                    
     State's  interests  and  assure   the  local  match  is                                                                    
     provided.   The  Department releases  grant funding  to                                                                    
     recipients  only  after specific  milestone  conditions                                                                    
     are met.   The  payments are a  percentage of  only the                                                                    
     State share of  the project amount and  in addition, 5%                                                                    
     of the state share is  withheld until the source of the                                                                    
     local match  is identified.   There is not a  danger of                                                                    
     the State over reimbursing a project.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Not  only is  the State  facing restricted  funding, so                                                                    
     are local governments.   Incorporating some flexibility                                                                    
     into  the provision  for local  match will  allow local                                                                    
     governments more time  to fund their share  of the cost                                                                    
     of a greatly needed school facility upgrade.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Admittedly,  the Northwest  Arctic has  a project  that                                                                    
     would  benefit   from  this   bill  and   the  Kivalina                                                                    
     Replacement School project is  a perfect example of why                                                                    
     a provision for  exceptions is needed.   In April 2015,                                                                    
     the legislature appropriated  partial grant funding for                                                                    
     the  Kivalina Replacement  School.   At  that time  the                                                                    
     clock  started  ticking  to  secure  the  local  share.                                                                    
     However, the grant agreement has  not yet been executed                                                                    
     for several  reasons beyond the control  of the Borough                                                                    
     and District.   For FY 2016 a moratorium  was placed on                                                                    
     approval    of    the   grant    pending    legislative                                                                    
     consideration of the balance of funding.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Another  complication is  construction  of the  project                                                                    
     cannot begin until  an access road is  constructed as a                                                                    
     separate project.   The road development  is proceeding                                                                    
     in    conjunction    with   DOT/PF    [Department    of                                                                    
     Transportation  & Public  Facilities],  but  it is  not                                                                    
     scheduled   to  be   complete  before   the  three-year                                                                    
     deadline for  the match expires.   Without  an approved                                                                    
     grant  agreement, it  is difficult  to apply  for other                                                                    
     grant funds  that could  be used as  part of  the local                                                                    
     share.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     House  Bill   135  will  delegate  to   the  Department                                                                    
     discretion  in  extraordinary  circumstances  to  allow                                                                    
     projects such  as Kivalina  Replacement School  to move                                                                    
     forward  without the  potential  of  having to  forfeit                                                                    
     appropriated funding, and to  continue managing risk to                                                                    
     the   State  and   local  entities   and  support   the                                                                    
     improvement of educational  conditions for the children                                                                    
     of Alaska.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:48:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON noted Northwest Arctic Borough School                                                                   
District (NWABSD) has been undergoing a methodical rebuilding of                                                                
the school  facilities begun in the  1990s or 2000, and  asked if                                                               
this is the final rebuild project.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DR. O'BRIEN replied yes.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON  asked for the percentage  of the average                                                               
local participation match funding.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DR. O'BRIEN replied the borough-required match is 20 percent.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DRUMMOND expressed  concern that because of  the delay, the                                                               
project  will  cost  significantly  more,  and  thus  the  school                                                               
project, as well as school programs, may suffer.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DR.  O'BRIEN  said it's  hard  to  consider  the full  effect  of                                                               
inflation  on a  project that  has  been delayed.   However,  the                                                               
needs of the students attending  Kivalina School are paramount to                                                               
funding  issues.    The  school  is in  poor  condition  and  the                                                               
district makes the  best effort with the existing  facility.  She                                                               
pointed out as  the delay continues, energy  efficiencies and new                                                               
construction methods are becoming available.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSTON  asked  for the  student  population  at                                                               
Kivalina School, and for the  number of students who graduated in                                                               
2016.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DR. O'BRIEN  answered 160 students  are enrolled in  grades K-12,                                                               
and deferred response on the number of graduates.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DRUMMOND said  the legislature  has  been concerned  about                                                               
Kivalina School for  at least five years and asked  for an update                                                               
on the current project schedule.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DR. O'BRIEN  said the  completion of  the road  is indeterminate,                                                               
but   once  construction   of  the   road  is   complete,  school                                                               
construction  can begin,  and that  is expected  to be  completed                                                               
within two years;  with the road construction  estimated at three                                                               
years,  a   five-year  timeframe  is  anticipated   in  the  best                                                               
circumstances.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:53:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MIKE NAVARRE,  Mayor, Kenai Peninsula Borough,  said as currently                                                               
drafted,  HB  135 doesn't  directly  affect  the Kenai  Peninsula                                                               
Borough at  this time,  but he expressed  support for  the bill's                                                               
intent.  Mayor Navarre recalled  last year the borough received a                                                               
legislative grant in the amount of  $10 million to build a school                                                               
in  Kachemak Selo,  which is  a  small community  located at  the                                                               
terminus of  East End Road.   Access to  the school is  not legal                                                               
access because  of switchbacks and  the steep grade of  the road,                                                               
thus  the borough  is exploring  options  on where  to build  the                                                               
school.  The  bill would allow the commissioner,  for good cause,                                                               
to  provide some  flexibility [in  the school  construction grant                                                               
program] for issues such as  looking at school population trends.                                                               
Mayor Navarre  said additional flexibility  for good  cause makes                                                               
good sense.   Regarding the percentage of the match,  which is 35                                                               
percent for  the Kenai Peninsula  Borough, he cautioned  that due                                                               
to the economic  contraction and the fiscal  situation in Alaska,                                                               
the amount of  the match is a challenge for  local governments to                                                               
achieve.  He  noted the borough seeks to find  a successful model                                                               
that  can  be  applied  for all  local  governments  with  remote                                                               
schools  throughout the  state.   Mayor Navarre  related in  1991                                                               
there  was  a recommendation  to  relocate  Kivalina because  the                                                               
village was being eroded by the  ocean and the river; Kivalina is                                                               
the  best demonstrated  case  that  HB 135  may  prevent a  local                                                               
government from  rushing to find  the funds to preserve  a grant,                                                               
instead  of finding  the most  rational and  fiscally responsible                                                               
solutions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:57:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON asked  the mayor if, given  a choice, the                                                               
borough would prefer  the $10 million designated  for the school,                                                               
for education, or for other capital projects.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. NAVARRE responded that the  reality of budget priorities must                                                               
be faced.  He described  the existing student housing in Kachemak                                                               
Selo as deficient and inadequate,  and reluctantly suggested that                                                               
for  this community,  correspondence  education may  be the  best                                                               
option, or  perhaps a  change to  the grant in  order to  build a                                                               
multi-purpose  building   to  also  serve   as  a  school.     He                                                               
acknowledged funding education  is a dilemma for  the borough and                                                               
the state and expressed his support for education.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DRUMMOND asked  if Kachemak Selo is located at  the head of                                                               
Kachemak Bay.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. NAVARRE said  yes, adding the village is situated  at the end                                                               
of East End  Road and across tidal flats.   The village was built                                                               
in a  difficult area due  to its topography and  soil conditions;                                                               
in fact, to build a road would cost about $15 million.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DRUMMOND surmised that busing is not an option.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. NAVARRE concurred and said  a gondola was considered but that                                                               
option was also ruled out - there are no easy options.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:02:28 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DRUMMOND,  after  ascertaining   no  one  else  wished  to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony on HB 135.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
[HB 135 was held over.]                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
          HB 137-ST. COUNCIL ON THE ARTS: PUBLIC CORP.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:03:35 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DRUMMOND announced  that the final order  of business would                                                               
be HOUSE  BILL NO. 137,  "An Act re-designating the  Alaska State                                                               
Council  on the  Arts as  a public  corporation and  governmental                                                               
instrumentality of the  state; defining the powers  and duties of                                                               
the Alaska State  Council on the Arts;  providing exemptions from                                                               
certain  statutes  for the  Alaska  State  Council on  the  Arts;                                                               
making  conforming amendments;  and  providing  for an  effective                                                               
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:03:54 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KRISTIN  KRANENDONK,  Staff,   Representative  Harriet  Drummond,                                                               
Alaska  State Legislature,  introduced HB  137 on  behalf of  the                                                               
House  Education Standing  Committee,  sponsor by  request.   She                                                               
informed  the  committee the  bill  would  [quasi] privatize  the                                                               
Alaska  State Council  on the  Arts (ASCA)  by restructuring  the                                                               
council  as  a  public  corporation,  thereby  allowing  ASCA  to                                                               
continue its work  with Alaskan artists and art  businesses.  The                                                               
bill  would  improve  the  ability of  the  council  to  leverage                                                               
nonstate funding  and remain within  the Department  of Education                                                               
and  Early Development.   Also,  HB  137 would  exempt ASCA  from                                                               
state procurement code, but would  provide formal and appropriate                                                               
procurement   protocols.     Restructuring   would  keep   ASCA's                                                               
operating budget under the Executive  Budget Act for openness and                                                               
transparency, and  transition language  would allow  its advisory                                                               
committee public processes and public  participation to remain in                                                               
place  as   ASCA  administers   grants  programs   and  services.                                                               
Further, the bill would allow ASCA  to grow and develop a funding                                                               
base  and reduce  its reliance  on state  funds.   Ms. Kranendonk                                                               
presented  a  sectional  review,  paraphrasing  from  a  prepared                                                               
statement,   which   read   as  follows   [original   punctuation                                                               
provided]:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Section 1  (Pages 1-4): Amends AS  39.25.110 concerning                                                                    
     exempt  state employees  to add  all  employees of  the                                                                    
     Alaska State  Council on the  Arts (ASCA),  thus making                                                                    
     employees of ASCA exempt from the State Personnel Act.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Section 2  (Pages 5-7): Adds artists'  submissions made                                                                    
     in response to an  inquiry or solicitation initiated by                                                                    
     the Alaska  State Council on  the Arts, to the  list of                                                                    
     records that  are exempt  from public  inspection under                                                                    
     AS 40.25.120.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Section 3 (Page 7):  Repeals and re-enacts AS 44.27.040                                                                    
     regarding  the  creation  of  ASCA,  to  establish  the                                                                    
     Council   as   a   separate  and   independent   public                                                                    
     corporation  of   the  state   of  Alaska   within  the                                                                    
     Department of Education and Early Development (DEED).                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Section 4 (Page 7): Amends  AS 44.27.041 to charge ASCA                                                                    
     to be governed by an  11 member board of trustees, adds                                                                    
     literary arts as a field  represented within the board,                                                                    
     and a  member's expertise,  rather than interest,  as a                                                                    
     factor for consideration for board membership.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Section 5 (Page 7): Amends  AS 44.27.042 to replace the                                                                    
     term "members"  with the term "trustees"  and "council"                                                                    
     with "board of trustees".                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Section 6 (Page 8): Amends  AS 44.27.043 to replace the                                                                    
     term "member" with "trustee".                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Section 7  (Page 8): Replaces  the term  "members" with                                                                    
     the  term  "trustees"  in  AS  44.27.044  and  replaces                                                                    
     language that  entitles trustees  to be  reimbursed for                                                                    
     travel expenses  at the same  rate of members  of state                                                                    
     boards under AS 39.20.180.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Section 8 (Page 8): Amends  AS 44.27.045 to use gender-                                                                    
     neutral terms for board members.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Section 9  (Page 8-9): Amends  AS 44.27.050  to require                                                                    
     the  council  to encourage  literary  arts  as well  as                                                                    
     other  disciplines,  invest   in  arts  throughout  the                                                                    
     state, and conduct research  into artistic and cultural                                                                    
     activities throughout the state.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Section 10 (Page 9): Amends  AS 44.27.052(a) to replace                                                                    
     "educational"  objectives  with "strategic"  objectives                                                                    
     as  it  relates to  the  council's  ability enter  into                                                                    
     contracts   and   accept  gifts,   contributions,   and                                                                    
     bequests.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Section 11 (Page 9-10): Amends  AS 44.27.054 to replace                                                                    
     language with  the proper terms "chair"  and "trustees"                                                                    
     previously   established   and   makes   a   conforming                                                                    
     amendment to Section 1.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Section 12  (Page 10): Adds  a new section to  AS 44.27                                                                    
     detailing the  administration of  affairs of  the board                                                                    
     of  trustees. The  board of  trustees shall  manage the                                                                    
     assets  of  the  council, establish  and  amend  bylaws                                                                    
     governing the  business of the corporation,  and employ                                                                    
     an executive  director to supervise  the administration                                                                    
     of ASCA. This section also exempts ASCA from the State                                                                     
     Procurement  Code (AS  36.30), instructs  the board  of                                                                    
     trustees to  establish procedures for  procurement, and                                                                    
     requires   consistency   with   the   Alaska   Veterans                                                                    
     preference   established   in   AS   36.30.32(f).   The                                                                    
     operating budget  of ASCA is subject  to the provisions                                                                    
     established in the Executive Budget Act (AS 37.07).                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Section 13  (Page 10): Amends  AS 44.27.058  to require                                                                    
     that ASCA comply with the  20 U.S.C 951 - 960 (National                                                                    
     Foundation on the Arts and  the Humanities Act of 1965)                                                                    
     as it relates to the  receipt and disbursement of funds                                                                    
     from the National Endowment for the Arts.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Section  14 (Page  10-11): Amends  AS 44.27.060  to add                                                                    
     new subsections  (e) and (f)  regarding confidentiality                                                                    
     of artist  submissions and adds a  provision for public                                                                    
     disclosure to submissions when the  artist is awarded a                                                                    
     commission   for   said  submission.   However,   under                                                                    
     subsection (g),  subsections (e)  and (f) do  not apply                                                                    
     if the submission was created  as a work for hire under                                                                    
     17 U.S.C.  101 or  if the  artist's copyright  has been                                                                    
     transferred under 17 U.S.C. 204.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Section  15   (Page  11):  Amends   AS  44.27   to  add                                                                    
     definitions for "board of trustees" and "council".                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Section  16 (Page  11-12): Creates  transition language                                                                    
     for  ASCA to  allow council  members to  remain on  the                                                                    
     board  of trustees  until their  term  is over,  allows                                                                    
     current   employees  to   remain   with  ASCA,   allows                                                                    
     regulations,   contracts,   rights,  liabilities,   and                                                                    
     obligations  created under  current  law  to remain  in                                                                    
     effect,  and   allows  ASCA  to  retain   all  records,                                                                    
     equipment, appropriations, and other property.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
      Section 17 (Page 12): Creates an effective date for                                                                       
     this legislation as July 1, 2017.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:11:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BENJAMIN BROWN,  Chair, Board of  Trustees, Alaska  State Council                                                               
on   the  Arts   (ASCA),  Department   of  Education   and  Early                                                               
Development   (DEED),  stated   the   ASCA   Board  of   Trustees                                                               
("council")  has  spent  the  last year  searching  for  ways  to                                                               
address  challenges  facing the  state's  art  agency, which  are                                                               
similar to those facing all parts  of state government.  The bill                                                               
would allow  ASCA to perform well  for the next 50  years, and he                                                               
related HB 137 is the result  of a lengthy and considered process                                                               
involving  all  of  the volunteer  council  members,  staff,  and                                                               
stakeholders, such as the Rasmuson Foundation.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP  asked how  HB  137  would enable  the  arts                                                               
council to more effectively partner  with nonprofits that wish to                                                               
make donations to ASCA.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BROWN said  ASCA  has a  long-standing working  relationship                                                               
with  the Rasmuson  Foundation,  which provides  the majority  of                                                               
funds  supporting arts  education programs.   Recently,  ASCA has                                                               
embarked  on  a  multi-year  partnership  with  the  Margaret  A.                                                               
Cargill Foundation,  and its funds are  supporting meaningful and                                                               
transformative  work  with the  Copper  River  and Kodiak  school                                                               
districts through  the new visions initiative  partnerships.  Mr.                                                               
Brown pointed  out the bill  does not exempt ASCA  from oversight                                                               
by  the   governor  or  the   legislature  in  the   receipt  and                                                               
expenditure  of  private  foundation funds;  however,  the  state                                                               
procurement code brought  out the need for the  bill because when                                                               
ASCA  receives  funds from  a  private  foundation, spending  the                                                               
funds as  it would undesignated  general funds by a  state agency                                                               
is  unnecessarily cumbersome,  and he  provided an  example.   In                                                               
fact,  the procurement  code creates  time-consuming hoops  to be                                                               
negotiated, while affording  few benefits.  Being  a state agency                                                               
impedes ASCA's  desire to be nimble  in its actions, to  seek out                                                               
private  foundation  partner  funding,  and  to  best  serve  its                                                               
constituency  of  arts  educators, individual  artists,  or  arts                                                               
organizations.    He  offered  further   examples  of  how  state                                                               
procedures  and  bureaucratic  red   tape  impede  the  council's                                                               
mission.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:16:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SPOHNHOLZ recalled other  state programs that have                                                               
gone  private  to  obtain additional  flexibility,  such  as  the                                                               
Alaska  Children's  Trust, and  asked  whether  the arts  council                                                               
considered all of its options  before selecting the model defined                                                               
by the bill.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BROWN  pointed  out  ASCA could  not  become  fully  private                                                               
without  losing matching  funds from  the National  Endowment for                                                               
the  Arts (NEA);  the National  Foundation  on the  Arts and  the                                                               
Humanities Act provides that state  arts agencies must be part of                                                               
state government with  one exception, and the funds  to match NEA                                                               
money must  be a  state appropriation:   money from  the Rasmuson                                                               
Foundation  or  the Cargill  Foundation  could  not supplant  the                                                               
appropriation received  from the  state legislature.   Therefore,                                                               
the  bill  directs  for quasi-privatization.    He  cautioned  in                                                               
Kansas, the state  arts organization lost all its  NEA funding by                                                               
privatizing, so ASCA sought a  compromise, and will remain housed                                                               
within  DEED  and  retain  its   enabling  statute.    Mr.  Brown                                                               
explained  the  current council  is  comprised  of eleven  active                                                               
members, and  the bill would allow  the council to be  nimble but                                                               
still accountable to the public.   He restated ASCA, in a similar                                                               
situation as  The Children's  Trust, faced  difficulties granting                                                               
funds in  the best manner,  and encountered obstacles  created by                                                               
the procurement code when sponsoring  events.  Further, regarding                                                               
staffing, ASCA  is down from  six to four fulltime  positions and                                                               
having  employees   in  the  exempt  service,   rather  than  the                                                               
classified  service, and  using contractors  when necessary,  are                                                               
ways ASCA can  meet the realities of its  new budget environment.                                                               
The council  seeks to continue  to meet its mission  to encourage                                                               
all Alaskans  to create and  enjoy art  for all of  its benefits;                                                               
however, the current  system will not serve the  council into the                                                               
future.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:20:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON asked whether  the council would still be                                                               
subject to the personnel rules of the state.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BROWN clarified  ASCA employees  would be  reclassified from                                                               
classified  into   exempt  service;  the  rules   would  be  less                                                               
constraining.   He related  ASCA staff is  aware of  the proposed                                                               
changes to their status.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSTON  asked  if  the council  is  assigned  a                                                               
vacancy factor from the Department of Administration (DOA).                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. BROWN responded six employees  and one part-time position are                                                               
currently on  the books,  and only  four positions  are currently                                                               
filled.   One of the  positions is  the Visual and  Literary Arts                                                               
Program  Director  and  is  a  maintained  vacancy.    The  other                                                               
position  was moved  to shared  services.   Mr. Brown  noted ASCA                                                               
staff  members accept  duties outside  their job  descriptions to                                                               
ensure all the  work is done in a collaborative  environment.  He                                                               
was unsure whether ASCA has an assigned vacancy factor.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DRUMMOND  asked whether ASCA receives  services from shared                                                               
services.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. BROWN  deferred comment to  the executive director  and noted                                                               
ASCA is in need of accounting services.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:24:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DRUMMOND opened public testimony on HB 137.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:24:36 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANDREA NOBLE-PELANT, Executive Director,  Alaska State Council on                                                               
the  Arts (ASCA),  stated  support  for HB  137,  and offered  an                                                               
example of a current project  - involving several partners - that                                                               
has a  planning timeframe  of three months.   [ASCA]  turned over                                                               
the administration of  the logistics of the  project to Americans                                                               
for the  Arts because ASCA  could not complete its  tasks quickly                                                               
due to  its present structure.   Further, she paraphrased  from a                                                               
prepared statement,  which read as follows  [original punctuation                                                               
provided]:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     The Alaska State  Council on the Arts, now  in its 51st                                                                    
     year, is  ready for  organizational change.  The timing                                                                    
     of HB137 is opportune  as Alaska's creative industry is                                                                    
     currently  growing and  expanding  due to  a decade  of                                                                    
     targeted  public and  private investment  and focus  on                                                                    
     the arts and  culture sector as an  economic player. As                                                                    
     a  result, the  Alaska State  Council on  the Arts  has                                                                    
     experienced  rapid  growth   in  grants,  programs  and                                                                    
     public/private partnerships.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     We  wish   to  continue  this  effort,   and  with  the                                                                    
     provisions in  HB137, the Alaska  State Council  on the                                                                    
     Arts  is poised  to continue  grant-making as  a public                                                                    
     corporation  that  will  also allow  new  and  existing                                                                    
     programs to  reach more Alaskans with  increased impact                                                                    
     and efficiency.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     As  staff  of four,  we  work  on local,  national  and                                                                    
     international   levels   to    oversee   projects   and                                                                    
     initiatives    that    build    capacity    for    arts                                                                    
     organizations,    provide     practical    professional                                                                    
     development for individual  artists and boost students'                                                                    
     chances for success through  arts in education. Through                                                                    
     mutually   beneficial  alliances   with  public/private                                                                    
     sector partners, our reach  extends to military service                                                                    
     members  and   their  families  who   experience  PTSD,                                                                    
     incarcerated  individuals,  pre-service  teachers  from                                                                    
     rural communities, Alaskan children  and youth who want                                                                    
     opportunities to  learn through  arts and  culture, and                                                                    
     parents  who  want to  raise  their  families in  safe,                                                                    
     sustainable communities.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Keeping  with our  mission,  revenue  from funders  and                                                                    
     services   goes   back   to   Alaskan   residents   and                                                                    
     communities   as   grants,  programs   and   resources.                                                                    
     Longstanding  partnerships   are  in  place   with  The                                                                    
     Rasmuson  Foundation,  The   Alaska  Arts  and  Culture                                                                    
     Foundation,  and The  Atwood  Foundation. New  partners                                                                    
     include  Margaret A.  Cargill Philanthropies,  The CIRI                                                                    
     Foundation,  and  Sealaska  Heritage  Institute.  Other                                                                    
     partners include  the Alaska  Humanities Forum  and The                                                                    
     Western States  Arts Federation who  contribute in-kind                                                                    
     support, resources and funding.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     HB137  provides flexibility  for staff  to manage  fast                                                                    
     flow projects in a timely  manner and to work statewide                                                                    
     across  sectors such  as health,  economic development,                                                                    
     tourism,   and   transportation.   HB137   allows   for                                                                    
     responsive  project  execution  that is  necessary  for                                                                    
     desired    collaborative    outcomes    which    affect                                                                    
     performance  evaluations  and  our  ability  to  secure                                                                    
     future funding.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:29:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ALICE  BIOFF,   Business  Planning  Specialist,   Kawerak,  Inc.;                                                               
Member, [Board  of Trustees], Alaska  State Council on  the Arts,                                                               
Department  of Education  and Early  Development, stated  support                                                               
for HB 137, paraphrasing from a prepared statement, which read                                                                  
as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     I  am  testifying  today  in my  capacity  as  an  ASCA                                                                    
     council member.   I  am a tribal  member of  the Native                                                                    
     Village of  Koyuk and grew  up there  and in Nome.   My                                                                    
     family and I have lived in  Nome for the last 17 years.                                                                    
     For  much  of  that  time,  I  have  been  employed  by                                                                    
     Kawerak,   Inc.,   the   regional   Native   non-profit                                                                    
     consortium of  tribes for the Bering  Strait region, as                                                                    
     a business planning Specialist.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Through  our work  here at  Kawerak, I  am honored  and                                                                    
     privileged  to work  with  artist entrepreneurs  within                                                                    
     our   communities.     We   provide  direct   technical                                                                    
     assistance  offering  tools  and  resources  to  assist                                                                    
     artists continue  their work  so that they  can sustain                                                                    
     themselves, their  families and their communities.   It                                                                    
     is through  this work  that I  have seen  firsthand how                                                                    
     important  it   is  for  these  artists   who  live  in                                                                    
     communities    with    very     few    resources    and                                                                    
     infrastructure,  to   grow  their   businesses  through                                                                    
     opportunities  such  as  those  that  become  available                                                                    
     through ASCA and others.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Artist Entrepreneurs  are economic  development drivers                                                                    
     in their  communities and the  Alaska State  Council on                                                                    
     the Arts supports these  communities through their work                                                                    
     and advocacy.   With their partnerships,  resources and                                                                    
     programs,   we  see   a   bright   future  and   growth                                                                    
     opportunity to support all artists across the State.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Through  the  restructuring  initiative,  we  see  ASCA                                                                    
     services  continued  and  strengthened to  support  the                                                                    
     artists through  improved ability  to react  to funding                                                                    
     opportunities   and  better   represent,  support   and                                                                    
     advance the artists by offering  the tools and services                                                                    
     needed to strengthen an  already existing and important                                                                    
     economy.    This  is   critical  to  strengthening  and                                                                    
     sustaining  our  rural  communities  in  this  fiscally                                                                    
     challenging time.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     HB  137  streamlines  the  process  ASCA  will  use  to                                                                    
     present  opportunities  to  artists  all  over  Alaska,                                                                    
     including those  artists we have worked  with for years                                                                    
     here   in  the   Bering   Strait  region.     From   my                                                                    
       perspective, this will be a great benefit for all                                                                        
     artists including those in rural Alaska.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DRUMMOND, after ascertaining no one else wished to                                                                        
testify, closed public testimony on HB 137.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:33:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  moved to  report HB  137 out  of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.   There being no objection,  HB 137 was reported  from the                                                               
House Education Standing Committee.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:33:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Education Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 9:33 a.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
CS HB64.pdf HEDC 3/10/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 64
HB64 Fiscal Note LEG-COU-O2-23-17.pdf HEDC 3/10/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 64
HB64 Letter of Support Council on Disabilities.pdf HEDC 3/10/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 64
HB135A.PDF HEDC 3/10/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 135
HB135 Sponsor Statement.pdf HEDC 3/10/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 135
HB 135 Fiscal Note EED 3-03-17.pdf HEDC 3/10/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 135
HB 135 Support Letter NWAB 2.24.17.PDF HEDC 3/10/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 135
HB 135 Support Letter NWABSD 2.24.17.pdf HEDC 3/10/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 135
HB 135 Participating Share Issue Examples.pdf HEDC 3/10/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 135
HB137A.PDF HEDC 3/10/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 137
HB137 Sponsor.pdf HEDC 3/10/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 137
HB137 Supporting Document Brown.pdf HEDC 3/10/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 137
HB137 Supporting Document Alaska Public Media.pdf HEDC 3/10/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 137
HB 137 Fiscal Note EED 3-03-17.pdf HEDC 3/10/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 137
HB137 Letter of Support Kawerak.pdf HEDC 3/10/2017 8:00:00 AM
HB 137