Legislature(2017 - 2018)CAPITOL 106

04/30/2018 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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Audio Topic
08:06:09 AM Start
08:06:45 AM HR7
09:13:57 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HR 7 SUPPORTING A SAFE SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT TELECONFERENCED
Moved HR 7 Out of Committee
-- Testimony <Invited/Public> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         April 30, 2018                                                                                         
                           8:06 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Harriet Drummond, Chair                                                                                          
Representative Justin Parish, Vice Chair                                                                                        
Representative Tiffany Zulkosky                                                                                                 
Representative Ivy Spohnholz                                                                                                    
Representative David Talerico                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Jennifer Johnston                                                                                                
Representative Chuck Kopp                                                                                                       
Representative Lora Reinbold (alternate)                                                                                        
Representative Geran Tarr (alternate)                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 7                                                                                                          
Recognizing the importance of safe school environments for                                                                      
students, staff, and their families; and supporting improvement                                                                 
of school safety measures.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HR 7 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HR 7                                                                                                                    
SHORT TITLE: SUPPORTING A SAFE SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT                                                                               
SPONSOR(s): EDUCATION                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
04/26/18       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/26/18       (H)       EDC                                                                                                    
04/30/18       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
GEORGE ASCOTT, Staff                                                                                                            
Representative Harriet Drummond                                                                                                 
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   During the  hearing of HR 7,  presented the                                                             
resolution on  behalf of the House  Education Standing Committee,                                                               
Representative Drummond, Chair.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
KAREN GABORIK                                                                                                                   
Superintendent of Schools                                                                                                       
Alaska Superintendent Association President                                                                                     
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  During the hearing of HR 7, testified.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DEANNA BECK, President                                                                                                          
Alaska Council of School Administrators                                                                                         
Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals President                                                                    
Northwood ABC Elementary School Principal                                                                                       
Anchorage School District (ASD)                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  During the hearing of HR 7, testified.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DANIEL WALKER, Superintendent                                                                                                   
Lower Kuskokwim School District                                                                                                 
Bethel, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   During  the hearing of  HR 7,  testified in                                                             
support of the resolution.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
BOBBY BOLEN, Superintendent                                                                                                     
Bering Strait School District                                                                                                   
Unalakleet, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:   During  the hearing of  HR 7,  testified in                                                             
support of the resolution.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
TIM PARKER, President                                                                                                           
NEA-Alaska                                                                                                                      
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   During  the hearing of  HR 7,  testified in                                                             
support of the resolution.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SHAWN ARNOLD, Superintendent                                                                                                    
Nome Public Schools (NPS)                                                                                                       
Nome, Alaska                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT:   During  the hearing of  HR 7,  testified in                                                             
support of the resolution.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
KERRY BOYD, Superintendent                                                                                                      
Yukon-Koyukuk School District (YKSD)                                                                                            
Koyukuk, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:   During  the hearing of  HR 7,  testified in                                                             
support of the resolution.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DAN CARSTENS, Principal                                                                                                         
Nikiski Middle/Senior High School                                                                                               
President, Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals                                                                    
Nikiski, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:   During  the hearing of  HR 7,  testified in                                                             
support of the resolution.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
LISA SKILES PARADAY, Executive Director                                                                                         
Alaska Council of School Administrators                                                                                         
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   During  the hearing of  HR 7,  testified in                                                             
support of the resolution.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SANA EFRID, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                                 
Department of Education and Early Development                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   During  the hearing of  HR 7,  testified in                                                             
support of the resolution.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:06:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  HARRIET  DRUMMOND  called  the  House  Education  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to order at  8:06 a.m.  Representatives Parish,                                                               
Zulkosky, Spohnholz,  Talerico, and Drummond were  present at the                                                               
call to order.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
           HR 7-SUPPORTING A SAFE SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:06:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DRUMMOND  announced that the  only order of  business would                                                               
be HOUSE  RESOLUTION NO.  7, Recognizing  the importance  of safe                                                               
school environments for students,  staff, and their families; and                                                               
supporting improvement of school safety measures.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:07:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GEORGE  ASCOTT, Staff,  Representative  Harriet Drummond,  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature, introduced the  resolution and advised that HR                                                               
7  will help  keep school  safety at  the forefront  of education                                                               
policy discussions.   Children cannot protect  themselves, and it                                                               
is  a  fundamental responsibility  of  society  to keep  children                                                               
safe,  particularly when  entrusted to  our care  at school.   He                                                               
pointed  to the  committee  packets and  offered  that there  are                                                               
numerous examples of  the types of dangers the state  must try to                                                               
anticipate  and   then  prepare   to  prevent  or   mitigate  any                                                               
incidents.   The packet includes  examples of quick  thinking and                                                               
great selflessness in defense of children.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. ASCOTT reminded  the committee that on the morning  of May 7,                                                               
2001,  four  children  at Mountain  View  Elementary  School,  in                                                               
Anchorage, were stabbed  by a man wielding a filet  knife.  Swift                                                               
action by a brave teacher,  the Mountain View Volunteer Community                                                               
Patrol,  and a  heroic sixth-grader  held  the man  off until  he                                                               
could be  subdued by a  massive response of the  Anchorage Police                                                               
Department (APD), and all of the children survived.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. ASCOTT  reminded the  committee that in  1998, a  gifted boy,                                                               
who had been bullied at  an Anchorage middle school, attempted to                                                               
take  his  own  life  and was  left  permanently  brain  damaged.                                                               
Dennis  Maloney, the  family's attorney,  later spent  $30,000 of                                                               
his  own  money to  host  a  nationally recognized  anti-bullying                                                               
conference in Anchorage.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. ASCOTT reminded  the committee that in 2015,  a Noatak school                                                               
worker, Harry Nevack,  was hailed as a hero after  he disarmed an                                                               
upset student  who was  carrying a rifle  and attempting  to harm                                                               
the school principal.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:08:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ASCOTT commented  that sometimes  the public  does not  hear                                                               
much about  positive circumstances, such  as in the Fall  of 2015                                                               
at West  High School, APD  School Resource Officers were  able to                                                               
successfully de-escalate  a situation in  which an armed  man was                                                               
seeking to enter the school.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. ASCOTT commented that Alaskans are  ready to do their part to                                                               
keep our  children safe, and it  is important to be  vigilant and                                                               
resourceful in order to identify  any potential problems and find                                                               
solutions before tragedy takes place.   To that end, he said, the                                                               
House  Education Standing  Committee  invited  the top  education                                                               
officials  and members  of the  public from  around the  state to                                                               
update this committee as to  their efforts to keep children safe,                                                               
and to advise how the legislature may assist in that endeavor.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:09:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KAREN GABORIK,  Superintendent of Schools,  Alaska Superintendent                                                               
Association President, thanked Speaker  Bryce Edgmon for inviting                                                               
the  Alaska Council  School Administrators  to  participate in  a                                                               
public school safety  roundtable that took place  during a recent                                                               
legislative  "fly-in."   She noted  her  understanding that  this                                                               
resolution  grew in  part  from that  dialogue,  and offered  her                                                               
appreciation  for the  comprehensive approach  put forth  in this                                                               
resolution  for   the  security  of   facilities,  community-wide                                                               
preventions  measures,  training   for  district  employees,  and                                                               
coordination  with law  enforcement, which  are all  critical for                                                               
any  effective  school district  safety  plan.   The  legislative                                                               
appropriation in  2014 for school  safety upgrades  for districts                                                               
was  critical for  Fairbanks as  it used  those funds  to install                                                               
cameras  and   upgrade  the  communication  systems   across  the                                                               
districts.   She advised that  those funds paid for  hardware and                                                               
staffing to  install and implement  hardware that  they otherwise                                                               
would  likely  not  have  been  able   to  fund.    Due  to  that                                                               
legislative  support,  Fairbanks   has  systematically  addressed                                                               
specific  gaps  across its  entire  system,  although other  gaps                                                               
continue  to exist.   In  a challenging  fiscal climate,  limited                                                               
resources are  almost always prioritized toward  teacher staffing                                                               
in  order to  keep class  sizes as  low as  possible.   While the                                                               
ability  of  a  teacher  to   nurture  their  relationships  with                                                               
students  is one  way to  create  a positive  school culture  and                                                               
enhance  school safety,  it is  not  the only  answer.   Teachers                                                               
alone cannot meet  all of the social/emotional  needs of students                                                               
today;  therefor, counselors,  nurses, school  psychologists, and                                                               
school resource  officers are  necessary.   All educators  in the                                                               
entire system need training in  areas ranging from how to address                                                               
adverse  childhood  experiences, to  how  to  respond in  serious                                                               
crisis situations, she pointed out.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:11:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. GABORIK noted that in Fairbanks,  it would be most helpful if                                                               
a facilities analysis would include:  school building needs; what                                                               
resources  are available;  and what  would be  most effective  to                                                               
secure all of the schools' exits  to make sure that the entrances                                                               
to  Alaska's school  are safe.    Schools where  the entrance  is                                                               
located in such a manner that  the main office staff is unable to                                                               
monitor  that  entrance  in  order to  maintain  security.    She                                                               
suggested that the security may  include door buzzers, cameras, a                                                               
formal  check-in system,  and additional  staffing at  the school                                                               
entrances.   Every  school administrator  in Fairbanks  is asking                                                               
for more cameras,  both interior and exterior, she  advised.  The                                                               
Fairbanks school system has been  able to install a minimum level                                                               
of security surveillance,  but the coverage is  not complete, and                                                               
it needs  to provide  anti-harassment and  anti-bullying training                                                               
for  all of  the students  in the  districts.   Fairbanks schools                                                               
attempted to get  at that type of training with  Title 1 funds at                                                               
the  elementary school  level,  but  that is  not  enough.   That                                                               
limited funding  for Fairbanks effectively  reaches approximately                                                               
nine elementary schools,  with no funding for  the middle schools                                                               
and high schools.   The school districts cannot  continue to rely                                                               
on federal grants  to train a small portion of  the students, and                                                               
that a  systemic approach with  adequate resources  is necessary,                                                               
she stressed.  There must be  a focus on the secondary school age                                                               
children and  an investment in district-wide  training explaining                                                               
how to  respond in  an active killer  situation.   In partnership                                                               
with the  local Fairbanks law enforcement  agencies, Fairbanks is                                                               
moving forward  with Alert,  Lockdown, Inform,  Counter, Evacuate                                                               
(ALICE) training,  and while  the hope is  that an  active killer                                                               
situation  will never  happen  in Fairbanks,  it  is a  potential                                                               
reality  that their  school community  faced  one week  ago.   On                                                               
Friday,  she advised,  the Fairbanks  Daily  News Miner  reported                                                               
that on  April 20, the  day of the nation-wide  anti-gun violence                                                               
walkouts,  in which  a few  of the  high schools  participated, a                                                               
high school student  brought a gun and ammunition  onto campus in                                                               
his  personal vehicle.    The student's  aunt  called the  Alaska                                                               
State Troopers to report that  several guns were missing from her                                                               
locked gun safe, she believed  her nephew had taken the firearms,                                                               
and that something  bad would happen due to  the events scheduled                                                               
at  school that  day.   The Alaska  State Troopers  responded and                                                               
arrested the student and impounded his vehicle, she advised.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:14:11 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. GABORIK  put forth  that there  are many  things that  keep a                                                               
school superintendent  up at  night, the  safety of  the children                                                               
she  serves is  definitely  one  of them,  and  it is  especially                                                               
stressful not having the resources to  do the job as it should be                                                               
performed.   There are many  influences outside of the  six hours                                                               
each day  the students  are in  attendance that  educators cannot                                                               
control.  This resolution, she  stated, will help with policy and                                                               
will hopefully  also give the  school districts the  resources to                                                               
address the  issues that are  within their purview.   She thanked                                                               
the  committee for  this resolution  and that  she is  hopeful it                                                               
will  shine  a spotlight  on  what  is necessary  to  proactively                                                               
support safe school environments.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:15:21 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEANNA BECK, President, Alaska  Council of School Administrators,                                                               
Alaska  Association of  Elementary  School Principals  President,                                                               
Northwood  ABC  Elementary  School Principal,  advised  that  she                                                               
recently  she  participated  in  the  Anchorage  School  District                                                               
Facility  Review  and  the  most   important  issues  include:  a                                                               
thorough  update  of  the schools,  which  includes  surveillance                                                               
systems  (indisc.); looking  at (indisc.)  systems; limiting  the                                                               
exits  and  entrances;  looking   at  school  renovations,  which                                                               
include  office  relocations  at   the  entrances;  and  possibly                                                               
perimeter  systems.    The  over-arching  issue  taken  from  the                                                               
meeting was  to be  sure they  balanced making  schools welcoming                                                               
places and that  schools are safe.  Safety is  important in order                                                               
for  learning  to  take  place  and  for  community  members  and                                                               
students to  feel welcome in  the schools,  but they do  not want                                                               
their schools to be prisons.   Fifty percent of students entering                                                               
middle  school  are  survivors of  trauma,  abuse,  neglect,  and                                                               
household dysfunction.  The legislature  needs to look at what it                                                               
can do to  ensure that Alaska's students have  the opportunity to                                                               
access  counselors,  social  workers,  and  other  mental  health                                                               
providers,  and the  state must  build schools  that prevent  any                                                               
outside   risk  and   are  internally   supportive  of   students                                                               
experiencing trauma in their lives, she expressed.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:18:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH asked  that if  as a  school administrator                                                               
she had complete  discretion to spend $300,000  per year, whether                                                               
the lives  of her students would  be better and safer  by putting                                                               
the money into  hard investments, such as  fencing, more cameras,                                                               
closer  access doors;  or soft  investments like  a lower  pupil-                                                               
teacher ratio or an additional counselor.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. BECK answered  that currently, she is fortunate  to have some                                                               
discretionary funds,  and she prioritizes having  a (indisc.) "at                                                               
my school  with my Title  1 son.   I keep  it at .5  already, and                                                               
then  I  fully fund  it  to  a  .5.   And,  I  was trying  to  do                                                               
everything I could for next year  in order to fully fund a social                                                               
worker  and I  just don't  have enough  funds to  do that."   She                                                               
explained  that her  students  need those  people  to make  those                                                               
connections when they come to  school so she would highly support                                                               
lower class sizes.   During the first semester of  this year, she                                                               
had up to and over 30  students in her kindergarten through third                                                               
grade classrooms.  (Indisc.)  additional teacher, second semester                                                               
the class sizes  were reduced to approximately  25 students which                                                               
has made a  huge difference in the lives of  those students, they                                                               
are  more able  to attend  to  learning because  their needs  are                                                               
being  met in  making connections  with adults.   She  reiterated                                                               
that  she does  fully fund  the counselor  in order  to have  her                                                               
available,   and  she   would  welcome   social  workers   (audio                                                               
difficulties).                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:21:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH   asked  whether  she  would   agree  that                                                               
reducing  the  pupil-teacher  ratio  and having  a  counselor  is                                                               
likely to have  an impact on the long-term health  of students by                                                               
building resilience,  thereby resulting  in reduced  suicides and                                                               
the other  traumas associated with Adverse  Childhood Experiences                                                               
(ACEs).                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. BECK responded  that she would agree with  that statement and                                                               
noted that her  school is currently in the third  year of rolling                                                               
out Trauma-Informed  School Practices.   The 2016-2017  data from                                                               
the sixth  graders is that  the number  of students who  can name                                                               
five or more adults at school  who they felt connected to was 50-                                                               
79 percent, in one year that  was a 29 percent increase of adults                                                               
making critical connections with  our students, and when students                                                               
feel  more connected  to people  who  care about  them, the  more                                                               
likely they are to succeed.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DRUMMOND commented that she  finds it encouraging that when                                                               
the focus is  on Trauma-Informed School Practices,  that Ms. Beck                                                               
has seen improvements in the student body.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:23:16 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DANIEL WALKER,  Superintendent, Lower Kuskokwim  School District,                                                               
commented that there is a  challenge to keeping our schools safe,                                                               
from the 1997  school shooting at Bethel Regional  High School to                                                               
the attempted school shooting two  years ago in Noatak.  Bethel's                                                               
teachers and staff  are on the front lines of  this, he stressed.                                                               
For over  20 years,  the Lower  Kuskokwim School  District (LKSD)                                                               
has employed  an entire social  work department with  10 master's                                                               
level social workers  that travel to the 27 schools  in the Lower                                                               
Kuskokwim Region.  These social workers  are on the front line of                                                               
issues, such as suicide prevention  and the wellbeing of its over                                                               
4,100 students.   He remarked  that he  knows of no  other school                                                               
district  that employs  this number  of social  workers and  yet,                                                               
that only  touches the tip  of the iceberg  when it comes  to the                                                               
social/emotional  wellbeing  of  the   students  in  the  region.                                                               
Recently,  the  school district  had  a  strong focus  on  school                                                               
climate,  connectedness, and  expanding  its tribal  connections,                                                               
and one  of the most  important actions  the state could  take to                                                               
help  increase student  academic achievement  is to  evaluate and                                                               
fully fund  social and  mental health  services.   These services                                                               
would  include the  Office of  Children's Services,  and probably                                                               
most importantly,  law enforcement in  rural Alaska.   He related                                                               
that most communities  have no one to  turn to in the  event of a                                                               
crisis  so the  principals  and teachers  are  definitely on  the                                                               
front  line.   Currently, he  said,  the LKSD  is continuing  the                                                               
following:    training  for  staff  to  include  new  efforts  to                                                               
mitigate   potential  threats   to   the  schools;   consistently                                                               
upgrading  and  adding  security   cameras  as  a  priority;  and                                                               
coordinating  among  other  agencies  in  the  region,  which  is                                                               
incredibly important and  helpful when a crisis takes  place.  He                                                               
related that all  of those efforts are  continually challenged by                                                               
the lack of  law enforcement resources in rural Alaska.   He then                                                               
offered  his  appreciation  for  the  resolution  because  it  is                                                               
shining a bright light on the issues of school safety.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:26:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ZULKOSKY  referred to Mr. Walker's  statement that                                                               
not having  public safety officials sometimes  exacerbates school                                                               
safety challenges  in rural  Alaska, and  asked him  to highlight                                                               
the top priorities for making sure the rural schools are safe.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WALKER   responded  that  the  discussion   returns  to  how                                                               
important it  is for  every child  to have  a connection  with an                                                               
adult who cares for them and is  able to check on them.  He noted                                                               
that they  perform a  lot of  work in that  area with  the school                                                               
climate and  connectedness, and  they emphasize  the relationship                                                               
the  school   staff  makes  with   students,  parents,   and  the                                                               
communities.   The  number  one thing  that could  be  done as  a                                                               
state,  would  be   to  fund  local  law   enforcement  in  rural                                                               
communities in particular.  He  stressed that he simply could not                                                               
list the  number of  times he  has been on  the telephone  with a                                                               
principal trying to coach them  through a situation where someone                                                               
in the community, who is  possibly intoxicated and walking around                                                               
with  a  loaded  firearm,  and they  are  possibly  shooting  the                                                               
firearm.  In those situations, the  community may not even have a                                                               
law  enforcement person  to  respond to  those  events, and  that                                                               
pressure and stress  is added to the lives  of staff, principals,                                                               
teachers,  classified   staff,  and  most  importantly,   to  our                                                               
students, he  expressed.   The social  service agencies  in rural                                                               
Alaska are absolutely overwhelmed, they  have so much intake they                                                               
cannot  address all  of those  needs, thereby  putting the  added                                                               
burden on  the schools to  intervene in many of  those incidents.                                                               
He  commented  that  law  enforcement  and  social  services  are                                                               
suffering from the huge gaps currently.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:29:16 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BOBBY  BOLEN,  Superintendent,  Bering  Strait  School  District,                                                               
advised  that  the  Bering  Strait  School  District  encompasses                                                               
80,000  square miles,  with approximately  1,900 students  spread                                                               
across 15  schools.   Although, he  related, the  school district                                                               
has  not had  any  serious incidents  in  recent history,  school                                                               
safety in  Bush Alaska faces  big challenges.   Only 5 of  the 15                                                               
remote  communities  currently  employ a  Village  Public  Safety                                                               
Officer (VPSO),  and only one  of the  15 villages has  access to                                                               
the Alaska State  Troopers.  Each day, he  related, the students,                                                               
teachers,  and  staff,  go  to  work  with  no  backup  plan  for                                                               
professional  assistance should  a serious  incident occur,  they                                                               
can only  practice and  drill for  active shooters  and dangerous                                                               
situations so many times.  In  the event of a real life emergency                                                               
involving safety and  the potential loss of life  in the schools,                                                               
there would be no relief coming  soon and it could be days before                                                               
law  enforcement  and  medical  care  could  reach  some  of  the                                                               
villages,  he advised.   The  Bering Strait  School District  has                                                               
actively participated  in the  Culturally Relevant  Education and                                                               
Social/Emotional  Learning (CRESEL)  grant program  the last  two                                                               
years,  he  remarked.   This  grant,  he explained,  allowed  the                                                               
school  district to  educate its  students  about possessing  the                                                               
ability to work through the  many challenges they bring with them                                                               
to the doorsteps of their schools.   He related that life outside                                                               
of the  doors of the  schools can  be challenging and  unless the                                                               
whole  child can  be taken  of,  oftentimes learning  comes to  a                                                               
halt.  As  with all schools across the country,  the incidents of                                                               
bullying still occur in our  schools, the districts have programs                                                               
in place to  report and address bullying,  but unfortunately, the                                                               
definition of bullying and its  effects on the children are still                                                               
difficult to  get across to the  students.  He offered  that what                                                               
is teasing  and what  is bullying  is a fight  he still  has, not                                                               
only in  the communities  but with staff  members.   Schools must                                                               
develop  plans that  offer support  in raising  the awareness  of                                                               
bullying,  and the  schools must  have the  resources to  educate                                                               
everyone as  to the negative effects  of bullying.  He  said that                                                               
he has  spent all  10 years of  his administrative  experience in                                                               
the Bering  Strait School District,  and he has been  to numerous                                                               
communities  and  traveled  to  all   15  school  sites.    As  a                                                               
superintendent, he said he has  received calls wherein someone in                                                               
the village  was shooting  a rifle  and they  lock the  doors and                                                               
secure their outdated  schools hoping they can keep  all of their                                                               
students safe until law enforcement might  be able to fly in from                                                               
Nome or Unalakleet.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:31:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BOLEN  advised   that  he  has  also   received  calls  from                                                               
principals  when a  student  posted on  Facebook  that they  were                                                               
being  bullied and  no  longer  wished to  be  alive,  or when  a                                                               
student committed suicide,  and then listen to the  blame game as                                                               
to  who  was  at fault.    In  reality,  he  pointed out,  it  is                                                               
everyone's  fault,   it  is  everyone's   challenge  and   it  is                                                               
everyone's  responsibility.   In  Bush Alaska,  people live  with                                                               
guns around them because guns are  their way of life when hunting                                                               
for their  subsistence way of  life.  It  is not uncommon  to see                                                               
school age children  with those guns in a  variety of situations,                                                               
and for  the most part,  children have  been raised to  use those                                                               
gun appropriately and  for good.  Each day when  the school doors                                                               
are opened, the responsibility falls on  all of us to provide our                                                               
students  with a  safe, welcoming  and  learning environment,  he                                                               
advised.  There  are no school resource officers  in Bush Alaska,                                                               
there's no  response team coming  from down the street  to assist                                                               
in  an emergency,  there are  only the  students themselves,  the                                                               
teachers, and possibly a community  member that happened to be in                                                               
the right  place at the  right time.   He asked the  committee to                                                               
consider the challenges of Bush  Alaska when considering options,                                                               
currently class are often without  certified teachers because the                                                               
ability to  find a  substitute is limited  to non-existent.   The                                                               
answer, he  pointed out, is  not across  the street at  the local                                                               
service agency  and it is  not necessarily about  another program                                                               
being mandated to teach.  The  answer is about being able to help                                                               
provide  the   necessary  resources  to  those   schools  already                                                               
overburdened with  educational needs  with the  financial ability                                                               
to provide a safe learning environment to all community members.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:33:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  asked the largest  threat to the  lives of                                                               
the  children  in  Mr.  Bolen's school  district,  and  what  the                                                               
legislature can do to help.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. BOLEN  responded that  suicide is  definitely the  number one                                                               
killer  of  youth  in  Bush  Alaska.    Unfortunately,  he  said,                                                               
currently there  are five  open counselor  positions, and  he has                                                               
attended  approximately   15  job   fairs  across   the  country,                                                               
advertised  on  (indisc.), and  his  school  district cannot  get                                                               
school counselors  to apply and  move to the  district's schools.                                                               
In reality,  he remarked, they  have one counselor who  may serve                                                               
2-3 schools,  which means  they are only  able to  services those                                                               
students every third week, every fourth  week, and it may be even                                                               
longer.   He  stressed  that  the problem  is  not necessarily  a                                                               
financial issue because  they have the money  to hire counselors.                                                               
Although, he noted,  most of the finances are with  grants and as                                                               
grants   come   and  go,   the   school   district  loses   those                                                               
opportunities.   He  lamented that  it would  be nice  to have  a                                                               
sustainable manner  in which to  have counselors in  the schools,                                                               
but most counselors  end up spending their time  with high school                                                               
students, getting them ready for  college, and preparing them for                                                               
other opportunities.   It is absolutely critical  for the younger                                                               
students  to receive  an early  education about  social/emotional                                                               
learning  and  how to  deal  with  their thoughts  and  feelings.                                                               
Definitely, anything that can be  done to provide those resources                                                               
for the younger students is extremely important, he expressed.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:36:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH asked what the legislature can do to help.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. BOLEN  replied that  the school  district needs  help funding                                                               
and recruiting  counselors and then  sustain the hiring  of those                                                               
counselors.    Grants are  used  to  seed  programs and  get  the                                                               
counselors hired,  but in  reality, with  the funding  they have,                                                               
they  have to  make  sure  their teachers  are  in the  classroom                                                               
first.    Funding  for counselors  to  provide  social/emotional,                                                               
suicide,  bullying,  prevention  type  programs  to  the  younger                                                               
children is most critical, he pointed out.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:37:16 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DRUMMOND commented  that the  University of  Alaska should                                                               
take  note of  this  need and  help to  educate  counselors as  a                                                               
pipeline directly into the state's rural schools.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BOLEN  replied  that school  counseling  programs  would  be                                                               
critical but there is not such  a program in the State of Alaska.                                                               
He  advised  that  in  reality,  it is  hard  to  convince  those                                                               
graduating from  college to  leave their families  and move  to a                                                               
village that  is still without  running water, and  still without                                                               
reliable  transportation  should an  emergency  occur.   The  big                                                               
picture is, there  are many challenges and  roadblocks in getting                                                               
staff into Bush  Alaska or all across the state,  and it does not                                                               
help  that  there is  not  a  positive school  counselor  program                                                               
within Alaska, he reiterated.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:39:20 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TIM  PARKER, President,  NEA-Alaska, advised  that he  is a  high                                                               
school English teacher in Fairbanks,  he supports the resolution,                                                               
and  that  NEA-Alaska  appreciates   this  focus  on  safety  and                                                               
increasing the public  discussion on this important  issue.  Last                                                               
year, NEA-Alaska  participated on the Alaska  Education Challenge                                                               
Safety Committee  and the  issue of  Maslow's hierarchy  of needs                                                               
was addressed.   [Maslow's hierarchy of needs -  a person's needs                                                               
lower down in  the hierarchy must be satisfied  before the person                                                               
can  attend   to  their  needs   higher  up.    The   needs  are:                                                               
physiological,  safety,  love  and belonging,  esteem  and  self-                                                               
actualization.]   From an educator's  standpoint, he  pointed out                                                               
that learning  cannot take place  without first  addressing these                                                               
safety  needs,   such  as  the  physical   needs,  address  their                                                               
psychological needs,  and their  belonging and  friendship needs.                                                               
He explained that  once those needs are  addressed, educators can                                                               
then  move on  to the  learning, that  is in  the standards,  and                                                               
trying to help the students achieve.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  PARKER then  divided school  safety into  the two  different                                                               
forms that  must be addressed,  as follows: threats  from outside                                                               
the school by  people who often have no connection  to the school                                                               
and those safety needs involve  cameras, safety personnel, and so                                                               
forth.   There are also the  safety needs of our  children, which                                                               
comes into  play when trauma is  a daily situation for  them, the                                                               
buildup of  stress and the  circumstances that are part  of their                                                               
lives, he  said.  Educators  and specifically teachers  see these                                                               
stressors intimately almost  every day, depending on  the site of                                                               
the school,  and educators  feel deeply  about the  students they                                                               
are charged with  teaching and they work hard  on nurturing those                                                               
relationships.  Speaking  as a teacher, he related  that he knows                                                               
he is  one person, amongst  many, who  can work with  students on                                                               
those needs  and counselors,  psychologists, nurses,  even school                                                               
safety officers, and para-educators,  all have relationships with                                                               
students.   Unfortunately, he pointed  out, the budget  has often                                                               
been  cut for  those  personnel, and  fewer  of those  particular                                                               
personnel now work in the schools.   That, he stressed, is a real                                                               
concern and that issue is something  to keep "our eye on" because                                                               
teachers do not have the ability  to do everything that is needed                                                               
for  our  students in  order  for  them  to  learn.   He  further                                                               
stressed  that  personnel   assisting  in  student  psychological                                                               
needs, safety needs, and their health, must be addressed.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. PARKER offered appreciation for  the continued support of the                                                               
Alaska  Education Challenge,  and  noted that  the committee  met                                                               
last   summer  to   develop  assistance,   such   as  the   three                                                               
commitments.   This resolution speaks  to the  three commitments,                                                               
and one of  those commitments is to cultivate  student safety and                                                               
well-being,  all   schools  will   be  safe,  and   the  students                                                               
nourished, he advised.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:43:35 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SHAWN ARNOLD,  Superintendent, Nome Public Schools,  offered that                                                               
his  testimony is  supported by  the Nome  School Board  and they                                                               
strongly support  HR 7.  He  pointed out that this  resolution is                                                               
one  of the  tools  that will  help keep  schools  safe in  these                                                               
upcoming  years.   After college,  he noted  that he  entered the                                                               
military, both the United States  Army and United State Airforce,                                                               
he was part of  a hostage rescue team, and for  many years he was                                                               
part of  an anti-terrorism  response force.   He advised  that he                                                               
was  part of  the teams  deployed on  rapid deployment  from Fort                                                               
Richardson  and  Fort Carson,  Colorado,  he  is well  versed  in                                                               
safety procedures and is comfortable  in a stressful environment.                                                               
Although, he commented, those experiences  do not play out within                                                               
the  schools  today  because  the focus  is  in  instruction  and                                                               
learning,  without thoughts  of violence  or worry  that anything                                                               
may happen to a school.   Students are impressionable, young, our                                                               
precious commodities, and their thoughts  should not be that they                                                               
are going to  be harmed, their thoughts should  be on instruction                                                               
in a  safe place to  learn.  Those,  he stressed, are  the number                                                               
one  needs  the   state  must  address  as  it   is  the  state's                                                               
responsibility.    He pointed  out  that  the Nome  teachers  and                                                               
principals are  not trained  to counteract  any type  of violence                                                               
that may occur and they  rely on the available resources, thereby                                                               
making their jobs easier to keep  the schools safe.  He said, not                                                               
just  like (indisc.),  the physical  properties,  such as  stolen                                                               
cameras,  security (indisc.)  into  the buildings,  but also  the                                                               
supports local law enforcement agencies can provide.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:46:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ARNOLD  pointed  out  that  HR  7  includes  first  response                                                               
training  that can  be provided  to educators,  thereby, offering                                                               
peace  of mind  and  the ability  to respond  in  the worst  case                                                               
scenarios.   He  referred to  the ALICE  training that  has taken                                                               
place  around the  state, and  noted  that out  of the  districts                                                               
testifying  today,  his  district  is one  of  the  smallest  and                                                               
probably the  least funded.   He pointed out that  ALICE training                                                               
is usually  a blanket  cost of approximately  $10,000, and  for a                                                               
small district, like  Nome, it does not have the  ability to find                                                               
those funds  so it would have  to cut some sort  of instructional                                                               
training  simply  to  provide  the  funds  for  the  ALICE  first                                                               
responder  training.   He  offered  concern  in that  regard  and                                                               
stated that the  district does what it can with  the resources it                                                               
has  but  it lacks  the  funds  for  training, although  it  does                                                               
consult  with the  Alaska  State Troopers  and  Nome's local  law                                                               
enforcement.   As  to  the  areas of  mental  health and  support                                                               
services, Nome  is fortunate to  have "an amazing  hospital" that                                                               
serves  not just  Nome but  the  Bering Straits  Region with  its                                                               
large behavioral health office.   This support is not something a                                                               
math or reading  teacher, for example, can  fully perform because                                                               
teachers  are  not  psychologists  or law  enforcement  and  they                                                               
cannot meet  those needs.   Unfortunately, he pointed out,  it is                                                               
the  nature of  the lack  of funding  and lack  of staffing  that                                                               
Nome's  behavioral health  services locally  are overwhelmed  and                                                               
there  are fewer  and fewer  opportunities to  have the  students                                                               
referred, which  puts more stress  on the schools.   He explained                                                               
that it is not  due to the lack of staff, but  the lack of funds.                                                               
The lack  of funds  is impactful  because usually  the counselors                                                               
are the first pro-active line  of defense in providing social and                                                               
emotional learning  supports, and  the school  district struggles                                                               
with that  problem.  He  referred to the school  safety measures,                                                               
and reiterated that for the  emergency planning, the funds in his                                                               
small district  are limited  and it  struggles to  offer whatever                                                               
support possible.   The Nome school  district has seen a  rise in                                                               
the number  of students who  move from disengaged  to disruptive,                                                               
and there  is increasing concern  from the staff that  the school                                                               
district  is not  doing  enough.   School  safety  is always  the                                                               
priority for the  district, he pointed out, and  any support from                                                               
the state for resources, and better  ideas, will "kind of go that                                                               
little bit further."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:50:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  asked that if  school funding was  to keep                                                               
up with inflation,  whether it would help keep  students safer in                                                               
the long-term from  violence, bullying, suicide, and  a number of                                                               
other issues.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. ARNOLD  responded that keeping  up with inflation  would help                                                               
because  schools would  not have  to re-allocate  funds from  the                                                               
"peripheral  cuts."   He explained  that  the cuts  might not  be                                                               
direct cuts  from the classrooms  for teaching  reading, writing,                                                               
and math, but it is  the support specialists, such as counselors,                                                               
aides, that might be able to work with more students, and one-                                                                  
on-one.  When  looking at those cuts it appears  the district has                                                               
not  put  in  the  necessary   efforts  because  while  a  crisis                                                               
situation  has not  happened,  and everyone  is  hoping it  won't                                                               
happen, if  the district did  not have those  supports available,                                                               
it would not be good, he described.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:52:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KERRY  BOYD,   Superintendent,  Yukon-Koyukuk   School  District,                                                               
advised  that  she has  been  the  Superintendent of  the  Yukon-                                                               
Koyukuk School  District for approximately  11 years,  the school                                                               
district  covers 70,000  square miles  with 10  rural and  remote                                                               
schools, and those students fly in  except for 2 [students].  She                                                               
offered support  for HR 7,  which highlights the need  for school                                                               
safety.   Over  the  years,  she said  she  has experienced  many                                                               
different occasions when there have  been school safety concerns,                                                               
and many  are (audio  difficulties), and  the impact  to students                                                               
when  they get  to  school.   The  Yukon-Koyukuk School  District                                                               
(YKSD)  employs  two guidance  counselors  and  she said  she  is                                                               
highlighting the word  "guidance."  The school  district has been                                                               
advertising for additional counselors for  1.5 years to no avail,                                                               
although, they have hired counselors  but they leave mid-year.  A                                                               
counselor was  recently hired  so the  school district  will have                                                               
three counselors for  next year and it is excited,  she said, and                                                               
those three counselors  will travel to all 10 sites.   The school                                                               
district  uses video  conferencing  to help  with  its needs  and                                                               
partners as  best it can  with the  local agencies, but  they too                                                               
are  over-burdened with  mental  health and  other  issues.   The                                                               
Yukon-Koyukuk School  District needs social workers  and clinical                                                               
counselors to deal with the trauma  "that is happening" as it has                                                               
little  to  zero law  enforcement.    The Village  Public  Safety                                                               
Officer  (VPSO)  will  sometimes  travel to  the  district  as  a                                                               
reaction, but few  villages have a VPSO officer  and the officers                                                               
are not  available in the  villages for  months.  As  the schools                                                               
are  updated  for  major maintenance,  cameras  are  being  added                                                               
throughout, and she  commented that the schools have  not had any                                                               
real incidents  other than the four  times in the last  ten years                                                               
where  a lock-down  was necessary.    Most of  the problems  take                                                               
place before  the students  arrive at  school partly  because the                                                               
proper training does  not take place in the  communities, for law                                                               
enforcement, and  there is no  proper social services  and mental                                                               
health  and  positive  lifestyles  training, she  advised.    She                                                               
thanked the committee  for anything it could do  and its support,                                                               
and that the YKSD will work on its end.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:55:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DRUMMOND  referred to  Ms. Boyd's  statement that  the YKSD                                                               
performs  video  counseling, and  asked  where  the counselor  is                                                               
located  that performs  the video  counseling, whether  the video                                                               
counselor  can reach  all of  the  schools in  the district,  and                                                               
whether the necessary technology is available.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BOYD  answered  that  the   school  district  has  excellent                                                               
technology and it  is fortunate in that regard, it  is limited to                                                               
the  ten  megabits.    The  technology  has  been  "pretty  good"                                                               
depending on the  location of the counselors,  for example, right                                                               
now it is snowing  in the villages "and one of  them is having to                                                               
stay extra."  Counselors can  counsel using the school district's                                                               
video technology from  any classroom, and every  classroom is set                                                               
up with that  ability.  Thereby, allowing  for private individual                                                               
counseling  when needed  no  matter the  location  in the  school                                                               
district, it  is just that  sometimes it is necessary  to counsel                                                               
in-person because  the students need  that contact.   She advised                                                               
that the technology  has helped and that the  school district has                                                               
utilized  this type  of counseling  for several  years with  good                                                               
feedback.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DRUMMOND  noted that she was  happy to hear about  the good                                                               
feedback and while  she knows video counseling is  not the answer                                                               
to everything, it is better than no counseling at all.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:57:03 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH asked whether  YKSD has ever contracted the                                                               
services of counselors  via video counseling outside  of the YKSD                                                               
region or in a hub community.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BOYD replied  that  they  actually have  and  have tried  to                                                               
partner with  the Tanana  Chiefs Conference  (TCC) and  the local                                                               
agencies  there.      The  YKSD has  contracted  outside  of  the                                                               
district, but a lot of the  counseling the children need is above                                                               
and beyond what a traditional  school counselor could offer.  She                                                               
described   it  more   as   social   work  and   social/emotional                                                               
counseling,  the district's  counselors are  trained the  best it                                                               
can, that  is, she remarked,  for the counselors who  have stayed                                                               
with the district long enough to receive that training.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:58:30 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DAN  CARSTENS,  Principal,  Nikiski  Middle/Senior  High  School,                                                               
Kenai  Peninsula  Borough   School  District  (KPBSD)  President,                                                               
Alaska  Association of  Secondary School  Principals, noted  that                                                               
Nikiski  is in  serious need  of mental  health support  from all                                                               
levels.   He  suggested  that  the focus  should  be  put on  the                                                               
elementary  level  because  children  go  through  all  sorts  of                                                               
adverse  childhood   experience  (ACEs),  and  it   is  genuinely                                                               
important to  provide support at  that age.   In that  regard, he                                                               
said,  benefits will  be reaped  by  starting at  that age  group                                                               
rather than  trying to  react to  it at a  secondary level.   Mr.                                                               
Carstens  advised  that  the   district  contracts  with  outside                                                               
services  to provide  counseling within  the schools  so it  does                                                               
have  a  school  counselor  here, but  not  necessarily  as  many                                                               
counselors as  necessary.   The school  counselors have  to worry                                                               
about schedules, college, and career  readiness for the students.                                                               
Except,  he  pointed  out,  counselors   are  torn  "in  so  many                                                               
different ways" because  they are not always able  to provide the                                                               
social/emotional  needs  of  every  student.   Although,  if  the                                                               
counselors are  able to provide  that support, something  else is                                                               
dropped and it has to be picked  up some place else.  He remarked                                                               
that  the last  time  he  hired a  student  counselor only  three                                                               
people  applied  for the  position  because  it  is not  an  easy                                                               
position to fill,  but it is a truly important  position to fill.                                                               
Another  issue  that needs  addressing  is  the state's  educator                                                               
shortage.   This resolution  represents an issue  "on all  of our                                                               
minds" and it  is something to address in  a preventative manner,                                                               
not in a reactive manner, he pointed out.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:01:35 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH  asked  what  the legislature  can  do  to                                                               
assist in that endeavor.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. CARSTENS responded  that there are many things,  such as: the                                                               
rehire of quality education retirees  or rehires; provide avenues                                                               
for social/emotional type counselors  into the schools; provide a                                                               
focus on  social/emotional learning (SEL) needs  of the students;                                                               
and so forth.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:03:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LISA  SKILES  PARADAY,  Executive  Director,  Alaska  Council  of                                                               
School  Administrators (ACS),  advised  that  the ACS  represents                                                               
superintendents,  elementary  and  secondary  principals,  school                                                               
business  officials,  and  other   school  administrators.    She                                                               
related that the  focus is on improving the  safety and wellbeing                                                               
of students through  partnerships, families, communities, tribes,                                                               
which has been  the overall theme and hopefully  it will continue                                                               
to be developed  in moving forward with  the Education Challenge.                                                               
During  a  recent  roundtable, two  themes  emerged  as  follows:                                                               
secure  facilities,   with  the  need  to   perform  an  external                                                               
audit/gap analysis of the school  facilities as to what is needed                                                               
to ensure  that the  public school facilities  are safe,  and the                                                               
Department  of  Education and  Early  Development  is looking  at                                                               
those issues.   Prevention is  genuinely key as an  investment in                                                               
the social/emotional  needs of  all of  Alaska's students  in the                                                               
form of school counselors, nurses,  mental health support, all of                                                               
the issues testified to today,  and another important piece is to                                                               
ensure that every educator and  student has access to appropriate                                                               
training.  During this roundtable,  there was a tremendous amount                                                               
of   discussion  about   strengthening  regional   and  community                                                               
partnerships as  well as working  with the University  of Alaska,                                                               
College of Education, to make  sure that the pre-service training                                                               
for teachers  is inclusive of these  items as well.   She related                                                               
that there was a follow-up  discussion with Speaker Bryce Edgmon,                                                               
Representative   Tiffany  Zulkosky,   and  Commissioner   Michael                                                               
Johnson  to discuss  what the  next steps  could be  in terms  of                                                               
moving forward with  some of these needs.  That,  she related, in                                                               
some  ways  is where  we  are  today  in  terms of  bringing  the                                                               
resolution  forward.   Clearly,  she noted,  there are  financial                                                               
needs that would accompany some of  these items, and there is the                                                               
hope that the districts could  share with the legislature and lay                                                               
the  ground work  for a  potential request  around public  school                                                               
safety.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:06:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  asked whether flat funding  has any effect                                                               
on the safety of children.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DR. PARADY answered that clearly,  flat funding over time results                                                               
in cuts  to these service  professionals, in terms of  nurses and                                                               
counselors who  may not  be in  the classroom  but are  cut first                                                               
because  all   districts  are  trying  to   focus  on  protecting                                                               
instruction in the  classroom.  She related that  safety is first                                                               
and  foremost  for  every  educator, they  own  the  question  of                                                               
safety,  every  single  educator  is about  taking  care  of  the                                                               
students.   Having  said  that, she  offered,  as districts  have                                                               
experienced  cuts, some  of the  school  counselors, nurses,  and                                                               
mental  health professionals  have been  cut  as a  result.   She                                                               
said,  "The  answer  is,  yes, we  need  full  funding,  adequate                                                               
funding to support these positions."                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:08:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DRUMMOND  opened   public  testimony  on  HR   7.    After                                                               
ascertaining  no  one  who  wished   to  testify,  closed  public                                                               
testimony on HR 7.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:08:59 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 9:09 a.m. to 9:10 a.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:10:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DRUMMOND reopened public testimony on HR 7.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:10:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SANA  EFRID, Deputy  Commissioner,  Department  of Education  and                                                               
Early  Development,  noted  that  the members  of  the  committee                                                               
participated in  Alaska's Education  Challenge as a  top priority                                                               
of Alaskans  working together to identify  recommendations around                                                               
safety and the  wellbeing of Alaska's students.   She stated that                                                               
the Department  of Education and Early  Development supports this                                                               
resolution,  and  the  department  is  excited  to  see  that  it                                                               
encompasses  three  different  areas:   physical  safety  of  the                                                               
schools; training  for teachers  and other school  personnel; and                                                               
the support  of other  staffing that must  take place  to support                                                               
Alaska's students  within the schools  and not  simply counselors                                                               
but  nurses and  other  mental health  clinicians.   She  offered                                                               
appreciation  for  HR 7  because  it  focuses  on the  safety  of                                                               
students, which is a top  priority for the administration and the                                                               
Department of Education and Early Development.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:12:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 9:12 a.m. to 9:13 a.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:13:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH moved to report  HR 7 out of committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  the  accompanying fiscal  notes.                                                               
There being  no objection,  HR 7  was reported  out of  the House                                                               
Education Standing Committee.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:13:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Education Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 9:14 a.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HR 7 Education Committee Packet.pdf HEDC 4/30/2018 8:00:00 AM
HR 7
HR 7 Keeping Schools Safe v9.pdf HEDC 4/30/2018 8:00:00 AM
HR 7
HR 7 Bullied boy brain damaged after suicide attempt.pdf HEDC 4/30/2018 8:00:00 AM
HR 7
HR 7 Evan Ramsey's tattered life filled him with rage.pdf HEDC 4/30/2018 8:00:00 AM
HR 7
HR 7 DEED School Safety Efforts.pdf HEDC 4/30/2018 8:00:00 AM
HR 7
HR 7 Fiscal Note.pdf HEDC 4/30/2018 8:00:00 AM
HR 7
HR 7 Rapid rise in mass school shootings in the US, study shows.pdf HEDC 4/30/2018 8:00:00 AM
HR 7
HR 7 Round 'em up - event tests driving skills of Alaska bus drivers.pdf HEDC 4/30/2018 8:00:00 AM
HR 7
HR 7 Slasher wounds kid - knife wielding assailant.pdf HEDC 4/30/2018 8:00:00 AM
HR 7
HR 7 Sponsor Statement.pdf HEDC 4/30/2018 8:00:00 AM
HR 7
HR 7 Stop the bullying - three day conference puts the problem under a microscope.pdf HEDC 4/30/2018 8:00:00 AM
HR 7
HR 7 Village worker who restrained and disarmed upset teen is being called a hero.pdf HEDC 4/30/2018 8:00:00 AM
HR 7
HR 7 ver J.PDF HEDC 4/30/2018 8:00:00 AM
HR 7