Legislature(2019 - 2020)CAPITOL 106

04/10/2019 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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Audio Topic
08:01:46 AM Start
08:02:28 AM Confirmation Hearing(s):|| Alaska Board of Education & Early Development
09:04:11 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: Alaska TELECONFERENCED
Board of Education & Early Development
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         April 10, 2019                                                                                         
                           8:01 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Harriet Drummond, Co-Chair                                                                                       
Representative Andi Story, Co-Chair                                                                                             
Representative Grier Hopkins                                                                                                    
Representative Chris Tuck                                                                                                       
Representative Tiffany Zulkosky                                                                                                 
Representative Josh Revak                                                                                                       
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative DeLena Johnson                                                                                                   
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                                        
Alaska Board of Education & Early Development                                                                                 
     Sally Stockhausen - Ketchikan, Alaska                                                                                      
     Bob Griffin - Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                            
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
SALLY STOCKHAUSEN, Appointee                                                                                                    
Alaska Board of Education & Early Development                                                                                   
Ketchikan, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as appointee to the Alaska Board                                                               
of Education & Early Development.                                                                                               
BOB GRIFFIN, Appointee                                                                                                          
Alaska Board of Education & Early Development                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as appointee to the Board of                                                                   
Education & Early Development.                                                                                                  
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:01:46 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  HARRIET DRUMMOND  called the  House Education  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to  order at 8:01 a.m.   Representatives Story,                                                               
Revak, Hopkins, and  Drummond were present at the  call to order.                                                               
Representatives Tuck and  Zulkosky arrived as the  meeting was in                                                               
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                                       
^Alaska Board of Education & Early Development                                                                                  
                    CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                 
         Alaska Board of Education & Early Development                                                                      
8:02:28 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  announced that  the  only  order of  business                                                               
would   be   the   confirmation  hearing   for   the   governor's                                                               
appointee(s)   to  the   Alaska  Board   of  Education   &  Early                                                               
8:03:52 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee  took an  at-ease from  8:04 a.m.  to 8:05  a.m. to                                                               
address technical difficulties.                                                                                                 
8:05:07 AM                                                                                                                    
SALLY STOCKHAUSEN,  Appointee, Alaska Board of  Education & Early                                                               
Development,  provided  her background  information.    She is  a                                                               
special education  teacher at Ketchikan  High School.   She began                                                               
her  teaching  career in  1998,  in  Texas,  and moved  with  her                                                               
husband to  Glen Allen, Alaska,  in 2002,  which is when  she got                                                               
her start  as a  paraeducator.   She said  being an  advocate for                                                               
students  in special  education is  her  passion.   She earned  a                                                               
master's  in   special  education  at  University   of  Alaska  -                                                               
Anchorage (UAA).   She has taught  in Ketchikan since 2008.   She                                                               
emphasized her interest in teaching  students who struggle how to                                                               
advocate for themselves and creating  a safe learning environment                                                               
for them.                                                                                                                       
MS.  STOCKHAUSEN  said  the  board is  strong  and  committed  to                                                               
investing in  the future of  Alaska.   She stated her  support of                                                               
the  mission statement  that every  student receive  an excellent                                                               
education  every  day.    She expressed  support  of  the  Alaska                                                               
Education  Challenge  to   increase  student  success,  cultivate                                                               
student  wellbeing,   and  support  responsible   and  reflective                                                               
learning.     She  expressed  excitement  regarding   the  trauma                                                               
informed school  movement that she said  is transforming schools.                                                               
She  said  the  movement  addresses  the  issues  that  classroom                                                               
teachers  have been  struggling with  in helping  students.   She                                                               
said  she is  optimistic in  the  benefits that  can result  from                                                               
addressing the traumas  that many students or  their families are                                                               
MS.  STOCKHAUSEN  listed that  which  she  brings to  the  board:                                                               
years  of  teaching  at  the   elementary  and  secondary  level;                                                               
experience  teaching  in  inner-city  and  rural  schools;  years                                                               
teaching general  education, English as a  second language (ESL),                                                               
and   special  education;   and  service   on  "many   teams  and                                                               
committees."   She  expressed excitement  in  the opportunity  to                                                               
bring her perspectives  to the board, as well  as the opportunity                                                               
to gain new perspective by serving  on the board.  She said times                                                               
are challenging.                                                                                                                
8:08:28 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. STOCKHAUSEN imparted  that her goal for the board  is to help                                                               
districts  implement the  Alaska Education  Challenge by  finding                                                               
creative ways  "to increase students' success,  cultivate safety,                                                               
and support learners."  She  called educators resourceful people,                                                               
and she said  she is excited to  be helping to find  ways to make                                                               
the  education system  sustainable in  a changing  economy.   She                                                               
emphasized the  importance of addressing trauma  so that students                                                               
are able to learn.  She  stated, "Often out of times of adversity                                                               
comes  times of  great  growth."   She  said  she sees  struggles                                                               
related  to test  scores, budget  issues,  and accreditations  as                                                               
opportunities  for  growth.   She  emphasized  the importance  of                                                               
skills  classes to  give students,  who may  struggle in  school,                                                               
confidence.  She said she is  excited about the goal of improving                                                               
partnerships with  families, communities, and tribes,  which is a                                                               
priority at the state level.                                                                                                    
8:10:34 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR STORY  asked Ms. Stockhausen  what she believes  are the                                                               
tools to help students reach third-grade literacy standards.                                                                    
MS. STOCKHAUSEN  answered that the  earliest intervention  is the                                                               
best.   In the past,  screening was  not done until  third grade,                                                               
and it  is known  now that  if a  child is  not reading  by third                                                               
grade, he/she is never going to "catch up."                                                                                     
8:11:51 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK asked how Ms.  Stockhausen was selected for a                                                               
position on the board.                                                                                                          
MS. STOCKHAUSEN  offered her understanding  that those  doing the                                                               
selecting  were looking  for someone  in Southeast  Alaska.   She                                                               
expressed interest, applied, and "went  through the process."  In                                                               
response to  a follow-up question, she  said the role of  a board                                                               
member is to support the goals  set forth in the Alaska Education                                                               
Challenge, set policies  to that end, and  support districts that                                                               
are implementing [the policies and  practices necessary to reach]                                                               
those goals.  To a  question regarding Mt. Edgecombe, she offered                                                               
her understanding that  the board has a liaison that  goes to Mt.                                                               
Edgecombe's  meetings.    She recapped  her  passion  related  to                                                               
supporting children,  and she talked  about taking a  more active                                                               
role  in standards,  assessments,  and policies,  along with  the                                                               
staff of the Department of  Education & Early Development (DEED).                                                               
She  recollected some  committee names  related to  standards and                                                               
assessments and policy.                                                                                                         
8:14:44 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  STORY asked  Ms. Stockhausen  if she  supports Governor                                                               
Mike Dunleavy's proposal to reduce school funding by 25 percent.                                                                
MS.  STOCKHAUSEN said  the budget  worries her;  however, she  is                                                               
also concerned  about the financial  future of Alaska.   She said                                                               
she does not envy the job  of the legislature and the governor to                                                               
figure out how  to create a budget that works  now and for future                                                               
generations.   She  stated,  "I  thank you  for  your service  in                                                               
carrying  this burden  for us,  so  we as  a board  can focus  on                                                               
students in Alaska."                                                                                                            
CO-CHAIR  STORY said  she  views  the board's  role  as being  an                                                               
advocate for  public education, and  she expressed her  hope that                                                               
the  board   would  "adequately  look  at   situations  and  make                                                               
advisements based  on what they see  as the need."   She said she                                                               
knows resourcing  is "not everything  to make  positive changes,"                                                               
but it  does matter; therefore,  she expressed her hope  that Ms.                                                               
Stockhausen would "adequately advise for public education."                                                                     
8:16:16 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND noted that Ms.  Stockhausen had "worked through                                                               
multisensory  instruction" in  Copper  Center, and  she asked  if                                                               
that included the identification of children with dyslexia.                                                                     
MS. STOCKHAUSEN  responded that there was  multisensory training,                                                               
but "what we had was the  Linda McBell [program]."  She explained                                                               
it as "a  huge assessment package" that breaks  reading down into                                                               
little parts.  She said,  "While we didn't and couldn't, exactly,                                                               
diagnose people  with dyslexia,  we could  easily find  out where                                                               
the weaknesses were."  She  explained that the Linda Bell program                                                               
helped in finding students with "dyslexia-like tendencies."                                                                     
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  asked  Ms.   Stockhausen  if,  as  a  special                                                               
education  teacher,  she is  aware  of  a  letter from  the  U.S.                                                               
Department of Education stating  that dyslexia is an identifiable                                                               
reading  disability, which  should be  identified in  students by                                                               
MS. STOCKHAUSEN answered yes.                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND,  assuming  the  necessary  training  did  not                                                               
occur,  asked  whether  Ms.  Stockhausen  is  able  to  recognize                                                               
dyslexia in  students now and  subsequently able to  do something                                                               
for those high school students she teaches.                                                                                     
MS.  STOCKHAUSEN answered  yes.   She said  the Ketchikan  School                                                               
District does not use the  Linda McBell program, but her training                                                               
has helped her  to identify those children who  have dyslexia and                                                               
are  not  already  coping  with  it, by  giving  them  a  reading                                                               
assessment.  She said she  has paraprofessionals on her staff who                                                               
have  taught reading  at the  elementary level;  therefore, as  a                                                               
team they work together "to meet those needs."                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  noted that  Ms. Stockhausen  had said  she had                                                               
worked in an inner-city school district.                                                                                        
MS.  STOCKHAUSEN confirmed  she had  worked for  four years  in a                                                               
school district in Fort Worth, Texas.                                                                                           
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND asked  Ms. Stockhausen  if  she supported  the                                                               
section of the Constitution of  the State of Alaska that promises                                                               
appropriate public education to every student in the state.                                                                     
MS. STOCKHAUSEN said she swore on  the constitution and it is her                                                               
duty as  a board member  to uphold the constitution;  however, in                                                               
terms of amendments to the  constitution, she said, "It's my duty                                                               
to also be  open to the discussion from all  angles, to help make                                                               
a decision  of what is  best for students."   She added,  "But if                                                               
the  constitution prohibits  that, then  it's my  job to  support                                                               
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND asked  whether the  Ketchikan School  District                                                               
had done an  assessment on the impact of  the governor's proposed                                                               
budget cuts.                                                                                                                    
MS.  STOCKHAUSEN answered  yes.   She said  it is  terrifying how                                                               
many  teachers could  be lost  and  how that  could affect  class                                                               
sizes;  however, she  said she  is  split on  the issue,  because                                                               
there needs  to be  change made  for a  sustainable future.   She                                                               
said, "It's  time to go  back to the  table and say,  'Okay, what                                                               
can we do to make this work?'"                                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  asked how  Ms. Stockhausen  would vote  on the                                                               
governor's budget as a board member.                                                                                            
MS. STOCKHAUSEN answered as follows:                                                                                            
     I'm going to  yield to our statement  that we released,                                                                    
     that   we're  supportive   of  you   guys,  and   we're                                                                    
     supportive  of the  governor, as  you work  together to                                                                    
     create a  budget that  will carry  us into  the future.                                                                    
     And  regardless of  how much  that budget  increases or                                                                    
     decreases,  we're  going  to remain  steadfast  to  the                                                                    
     Alaska Education Challenge.                                                                                                
8:23:31 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  posited,  "That's  kind  of  a  non-opinion                                                               
MS. STOCKHAUSEN responded, "Uh-huh."                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  offered  his  understanding  that  Co-Chair                                                               
Drummond had  asked specifically  how Ms. Stockhausen  would vote                                                               
on "this past budget."                                                                                                          
MS. STOCKHAUSEN acknowledged that she  had, but said that at this                                                               
point the  board is not  going to vote  on that.   She concluded,                                                               
"And so, I'm going to yield to that."                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK cited AS 14.07.150, which read as follows:                                                                  
      Sec. 14.07.150.   Budget and fiscal authority.                                                                            
     The commissioner  has responsibility and  authority for                                                                    
     the preparation and  execution of a budget  and for the                                                                    
     other fiscal affairs of the  department, subject to the                                                                    
     approval of the board.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK asked again  if Ms. Stockhausen would approve                                                               
of the budget.                                                                                                                  
MS.  STOCKHAUSEN  apologized  for   not  answering  the  question                                                               
directly,  but  explained  that  she felt  she  needed  to  "stay                                                               
united"  with  the   statement  released  by  the   board.    She                                                               
reiterated her concerns both with  the budget and with the future                                                               
of Alaska,  and she  concluded, "I don't  know where  that answer                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK pointed  out that Ms. Stockhausen  has a role                                                               
and responsibility [as  a member of the board],  and avoiding it,                                                               
even united with  others, "isn't what's written in  statute."  He                                                               
encouraged  Ms. Stockhausen  to read  the applicable  statutes in                                                               
order to understand her role on the board.                                                                                      
MS. STOCKHAUSEN thanked Representative Tuck.                                                                                    
8:25:23 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   REVAK  expressed   his   appreciation  for   Ms.                                                               
Stockhausen's resume,  the work she  has done, and  her avoidance                                                               
of being  political.  He  said he thinks  it is important  not to                                                               
get into partisan politics.                                                                                                     
MS. STOCKHAUSEN thanked Representative Revak.                                                                                   
8:25:56 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  responding that following law  isn't playing                                                               
into  politics but  is "the  duty and  responsibility of  a board                                                               
member."   He asked  Ms. Stockhausen to  share which  budgets she                                                               
has had the experience in overseeing.                                                                                           
MS.  STOCKHAUSEN  answered  that  she  serves  on  the  Ketchikan                                                               
Theatre Ballet Board,  and as such has  addressed expense issues.                                                               
Further, she  serves on the  board at her church,  which includes                                                               
budget discussion.                                                                                                              
8:26:43 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND said  she would  like to  ask Ms.  Stockhausen                                                               
about  preschool,   but  time  had   run  out.     She  expressed                                                               
appreciation for Ms. Stockhausen's service to Alaska.                                                                           
8:27:03 AM                                                                                                                    
BOB  GRIFFIN,  Appointee,  Alaska  Board  of  Education  &  Early                                                               
Development, after  sharing some  information about his  wife and                                                               
children,  provided  his background  information.    He said  his                                                               
family  has  lived   in  Alaska  since  1899,   when  his  great-                                                               
grandparents  came to  Skagway to  build the  White Pass  & Yukon                                                               
Route Railway.   At age  four, he was  one of the  first students                                                               
enrolled  in  Head  Start.    He   shared  that  he  has  been  a                                                               
professional pilot for over 40 years.                                                                                           
MR. GRIFFIN  listed the experience he  brings to the board:   six                                                               
years on the  Budget Advisor Commission for  the Anchorage School                                                               
District;  the  last  eight  years  on  the  Capital  Improvement                                                               
Advisory Committee;  and ten years  as senior  education research                                                               
fellow  for  the  Alaska  Policy  Forum,  which  included  travel                                                               
through  the  U.S.  to  attend   education  conferences  to  seek                                                               
opportunities to  improve student  outcomes.  He  said he  has "a                                                               
wonky  sense of  curiosity"; he  involves himself  in the  never-                                                               
ending search  for information.   He said he hopes  to contribute                                                               
his knowledge  working collaboratively  with other  board members                                                               
and  stakeholders  "to  fully   implement  the  Alaska  Education                                                               
Challenge to  increase students' success, to  ... cultivate [the]                                                               
safety  and   wellbeing  of  our   students,  and   [to]  support                                                               
responsible and reflective learning."                                                                                           
MR. GRIFFIN said  his personal goals are in line  with the Alaska                                                               
Education  Challenge.   One is  to address  "the crisis  of early                                                               
childhood literacy in Alaska."   He mentioned a handout [provided                                                               
to the committee], which outlines  the history of test scores for                                                               
fourth-grade reading; Alaska is shown in  the trends.  He said he                                                               
is an advocate  of the Florida model, which  focuses on improving                                                               
student  outcomes   with  science-based  rating.     He  said  he                                                               
appreciates  the taskforce  chaired  by Representative  Drummond,                                                               
and he acknowledged the many  volunteers who participated in that                                                               
effort.  He  opined that early screening of children  must be one                                                               
of the  highest priorities.   He  said the  state has  had "great                                                               
pockets of success,"  as well as "great  pockets of disappointing                                                               
MR. GRIFFIN  expressed his  excitement to be  serving on  a board                                                               
comprising people with a wide variety  of skill sets.  He said he                                                               
has gotten  to know the  members pretty  well "over the  32 hours                                                               
and 1,800 pages of materials"  covered in the first two meetings.                                                               
He  relayed that  he is  currently serving  on Regulatory  Review                                                               
Subcommittee,  and he  expressed  pride in  being  the only  non-                                                               
Inupiaq speaker  serving on the Tribal  Compact Subcommittee that                                                               
was recently  formed.   He said  he is excited  to be  present to                                                               
tackle  challenges.   He  stated,  "Despite  our challenges,  I'm                                                               
always  comforted by  the knowledge  that  our kids  are just  as                                                               
bright as kids anywhere; our  teachers are just as dedicated; and                                                               
our  parents love  their kids  just as  much as  parents anywhere                                                               
else."   He opined that  strong policy prescriptions  will enable                                                               
children to achieve at "the level that they naturally would."                                                                   
8:34:51 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  asked if  Mr. Griffin has  any experience                                                               
in the education system within schools.                                                                                         
MR. GRIFFIN answered that he  has been involved in his children's                                                               
schools, and he said he had  been a flight instructor.  He opined                                                               
that one  of "the beauties"  of the  Alaska Board of  Education &                                                               
Early Development  is the wide  variety of skill sets  brought by                                                               
its members,  and many  of those  skills complement  one another.                                                               
To  a  follow-up  question,  he  said he  has  no  inside  school                                                               
experience other than  his six years serving as  member and chair                                                               
of  the  budget  advisory  commission for  the  Anchorage  School                                                               
District, during  which time he  visited about half  the campuses                                                               
in the district.                                                                                                                
8:36:33 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK noted  that  his own  experience  on a  like                                                               
committee gave him insight into how  the school system works.  He                                                               
revisited  the previous  discussion concerning  the board's  role                                                               
regarding budget and  the statement read by  Ms. Stockhausen, and                                                               
he asked, "Are you standing beside that statement, as well?"                                                                    
MR.  GRIFFIN answered,  "Absolutely."   He said  he thinks  it is                                                               
important that  the board maintain  solidarity on this  issue and                                                               
do the best  job it can with the resources  allocated.  He talked                                                               
about the  substantive discussions by the  board toward improving                                                               
the outcome for students.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  said part of the  budgeting process includes                                                               
recommendations by commissioners of  departments for the governor                                                               
and the  legislature to  consider.  The  final say  involves "the                                                               
governor's veto pen."   He said [the  legislature] relies heavily                                                               
on  the  recommendations of  the  board  and DEED  regarding  the                                                               
budget.  He said he knows  the governor wants to take the control                                                               
away from  the board,  and he said  he does not  like to  see new                                                               
board members let  that happen.  He mentioned a  legal opinion by                                                               
the Department of Law, which left out AS 37.07.110, which read:                                                                 
      Sec. 37.07.110.   Interpretation of chapter.                                                                              
     This chapter shall be construed  as supplemental to all                                                                    
     other  state  laws not  in  conflict  with  it.   If  a                                                                    
     section  or part  of a  section of  this chapter  is in                                                                    
     conflict with  federal requirements  for a  program for                                                                    
     which  federal grant-in-aid  funds  are available,  the                                                                    
     section  or part,  to the  extent of  the conflict,  is                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK   said  the  first  line   in  that  statute                                                               
addresses the  Executive Budgeting  Act.   He said,  "The statute                                                               
that is more  prescriptive is the one that prevails."   He opined                                                               
that there  is "very prescriptive  language" related to  the role                                                               
and responsibilities of  the board.  He indicated  that "shall be                                                               
construed  as supplemental"  means that  the language  is not  in                                                               
conflict   with  other   statute.     He  said   he  feels   this                                                               
administration is  "trying to cripple education  in putting board                                                               
members in  there that are  willing to go  along with that."   He                                                               
said  he  hopes Mr.  Griffin  will  stand  up  for his  role  and                                                               
responsibility as a board member.                                                                                               
MR. GRIFFIN responded that because  board members live across the                                                               
state  and do  not have  the time  and resources  to prepare  the                                                               
budget, he sees the board's role  more as on the execution of the                                                               
budget - to  take the allocated resources and  execute the vision                                                               
and produce best  educational outcomes.  He said "we"  are in the                                                               
horrible position of  having to reduce good  programs to preserve                                                               
the core program for long-range stability.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK emphasized  the importance  of hearing  from                                                               
the board  as to  what resources  would be  needed to  follow the                                                               
aforementioned Florida model  for literacy.  He  opined that "the                                                               
solidarity stand"  [of board members]  does not support  the idea                                                               
that there is  passion for education.  He said  that if the board                                                               
cannot convince  the governor  of what needs  to happen,  then it                                                               
may  need to  convince  the legislature.    He acknowledged  that                                                               
serving at  the whim  of the  governor can  result in  "walking a                                                               
fine line"; however,  he expressed hope that  [Mr. Griffin] would                                                               
"find boldness" to support his vision for the board.                                                                            
8:44:56 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  asked whether Mr. Griffin  is currently a                                                               
member of the Alaska Policy Forum.                                                                                              
MR.  GRIFFIN answered  yes.   He answered  a series  of follow-up                                                               
questions.   He  confirmed his  work is  strictly volunteer.   He                                                               
confirmed that  he was  one of  the people  who wrote  the report                                                               
regarding literacy  and "must read  by [age]  nine."  He  said he                                                               
thinks the policy  prescriptions being requested in  the "read by                                                               
nine"  document  closely  mirror  the  laws  passed  in  2002  in                                                               
Florida.   He said it  is difficult to  "divvy out if  those were                                                               
the only  things that ...  created better student outcomes."   He                                                               
mentioned the chart  he had previously provided to  show that one                                                               
good  outcome in  Florida was  in relation  to reading  levels of                                                               
low-income students, which rose  from "twenty-eighth to first" in                                                               
a short time.  He confirmed  that Florida has a similar system to                                                               
that of Alaska.  Regarding  how a cost differential might compare                                                               
between  the two  states,  he said  it is  more  expensive to  do                                                               
things in  Alaska.  He said  K-12 spending in Alaska  and average                                                               
student daily  attendance has grown  faster than in  Florida over                                                               
the  last 18-year  period [since]  the policies  in Florida  were                                                               
instituted.  He said Alaska does  not spend too much, but Florida                                                               
has found  a way to reallocate  resources on a tight  budget.  He                                                               
said  Florida  has  a  constitutional  amendment  limiting  class                                                               
sizes;  however, he  noted that  Florida currently  has about  19                                                               
students per  educator, whereas Alaska  averages 13  students per                                                               
educator.    Florida's pre-K  program  came  about in  2005,  and                                                               
"voluntary pre-K  has probably helped them  maintain their number                                                               
one status; it wasn't actually part of the number one status."                                                                  
8:51:49 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ZULKOSKY said  cost  comparisons  are often  made                                                               
between Alaska  and other  states, but she  pointed out  that the                                                               
cost of living in Florida  is dramatically different from that in                                                               
rural Alaska.   She offered examples  of the high cost  of living                                                               
in rural  Alaska.  She  asked Mr.  Griffin if he  recognizes that                                                               
there  is a  stark difference  in providing  education throughout                                                               
rural Alaska compared to Florida.                                                                                               
MR.  GRIFFIN answered,  "Absolutely."   He said  as chair  of the                                                               
Budget Advisory Commission, he is  familiar with the cost drivers                                                               
of  K-12  education,  many  of   which  are  related  to  outside                                                               
classroom  costs, such  as healthcare.    He said  this begs  the                                                               
question  as to  how some  states have  been able  reign in  cost                                                               
drivers when some of them have grown out of control for Alaska.                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE ZULKOSKY  asked whether  Mr. Griffith, as  a board                                                               
member,  would  "uphold  the  solvency  of  delivering  education                                                               
throughout Alaska equitably through  full and adequate funding of                                                               
the   (indisc.)    student   allocation"   and    by   increasing                                                               
opportunities for  funding to ensure  the provision  of "adequate                                                               
state match for early learning programs."                                                                                       
MR. GRIFFIN answered yes.  He  said the state board will take the                                                               
resources available  to produce the best  student outcomes, while                                                               
living "within the reality of the situation that we're in."                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  ZULKOSKY echoed  Representative Tuck's  statement                                                               
that the board  is in the position of developing  a position that                                                               
is   then  forwarded   to  the   governor  and   legislature  for                                                               
consideration;  therefore, she  implored  Mr.  Griffith that  the                                                               
board  take   a  position  advocating  education   with  adequate                                                               
8:57:11 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR STORY said her experience  shows larger class sizes than                                                               
what Mr.  Griffith stated as the  number 13.  She  encouraged him                                                               
to visit schools,  because she said the board  is responsible for                                                               
knowing the students it serves  and classroom situations, and for                                                               
being the voice for students.                                                                                                   
8:58:17 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND noted  that among  the solutions  Mr. Griffith                                                               
proposed in  a report are  home reading  programs.  To  that end,                                                               
she  asked  what he  thought  about  the governor's  proposal  to                                                               
completely  eliminate the  Parents As  Teachers program  and Best                                                               
Beginnings, the  latter of which  provides books to  thousands of                                                               
children in Alaska.                                                                                                             
MR.  GRIFFIN  reiterated  that  the  state  is  in  the  horrible                                                               
situation  of   having  to  reduce  programs   to  preserve  core                                                               
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  emphasized the programs are  being eliminated,                                                               
not reduced.                                                                                                                    
MR. GRIFFITH  reiterated his statement about  having to eliminate                                                               
programs in order to preserve core programs.                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR   DRUMMOND   said   Florida  has   voluntary   universal                                                               
preschool.  She said Governor  Dunleavy is proposing to eliminate                                                               
any  preschool programs,  as  well as  the  Head Start  program's                                                               
basic  grant, which  she said  generates another  $50 million  in                                                               
federal revenue.   She asked Mr.  Griffith if he approves  of the                                                               
elimination of preschool when it  contributes to improved reading                                                               
MR. GRIFFIN said  he personally gained value from  the Head Start                                                               
program  as  a child.    He  suggested  there are  possibly  more                                                               
innovative  solutions available  to produce  similar outcomes  if                                                               
Alaska is in the situation where it cannot afford preschools.                                                                   
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  questioned how  the expense of  the innovative                                                               
solutions would be covered.   She then asked Mr. Griffith whether                                                               
he supports  Governor Dunleavy's  "sweep of the  higher education                                                               
investment  fund that  currently generates  about $20  million in                                                               
interest  revenues  at  over  6 percent  a  year  [and]  provides                                                               
scholarships and  grants to hundreds  of Alaskan students."   She                                                               
explained  that the  fund would  be swept  into the  general fund                                                               
where  the  scholarship applicants  would  have  to compete  with                                                               
every other  request of the  general fund, and it  would generate                                                               
less  than one  percent in  interest, and  once it  is spent,  it                                                               
would be gone.                                                                                                                  
MR. GRIFFIN responded  that that issue is not  in his wheelhouse;                                                               
therefore, he could not make an educated comment.                                                                               
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND said  she would then ask a  series of questions                                                               
to which  she asked Mr. Griffith  to provide a yes  or no answer.                                                               
She asked whether it is true  that Mr. Griffith would not run for                                                               
public  office again  because he  refused to  take the  candidate                                                               
training class from the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC).                                                                
MR. GRIFFIN answered no.                                                                                                        
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND remarked  that she  has  a file  from APOC  in                                                               
which  indicates Mr.  Griffith had  said he  would not  take [the                                                               
training].  She  then asked Mr. Griffith whether it  is true that                                                               
APOC found that Mr. Griffith  accepted cash contributions for his                                                               
campaign for school board in excess of the allowed amount.                                                                      
MR. GRIFFIN answered, "That's true."                                                                                            
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND asked  Mr. Griffith  if it  is true  that APOC                                                               
found that  he accepted anonymous  contributions to  his campaign                                                               
for school board.                                                                                                               
MR.  GRIFFIN answered,  "That's  true."   He  began  to offer  an                                                               
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  interjected her next question,  asking whether                                                               
it is true  that APOC could not determine how  Mr. Griffith spent                                                               
excess campaign funds  after the campaign but  did determine that                                                               
most  were  taken  from  the  account  through  automatic  teller                                                               
machine (ATM) withdrawals in another state.                                                                                     
MR. GRIFFIN answered, "That is true."                                                                                           
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND told Mr. Griffith,  "In that case, if you can't                                                               
manage  your  personal  campaign   finances  running  for  public                                                               
office,  I  can't   support  you  in  an   appointed  position  -                                                               
especially  when  you're overseeing  ...  upwards  of a  billion-                                                               
dollar  budget  in the  state  Department  of Education  &  Early                                                               
Development."   She thanked Mr.  Griffith for his  public service                                                               
and his coming forward today.                                                                                                   
9:03:32 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  STORY   stated  that   the  House   Education  Standing                                                               
Committee  had  reviewed  the qualifications  of  the  governor's                                                               
appointees to the  Alaska Board of Education  & Early Development                                                               
and  recommends  that the  names  of  Sally Stockhausen  and  Bob                                                               
Griffin be  forward for consideration  by a joint session  of the                                                               
legislature.   She said this  does not  reflect intent by  any of                                                               
the members to  vote for or against these  individuals during any                                                               
further  sessions  for  the  purposes   of  confirmation.    [The                                                               
confirmations were considered advanced.]                                                                                        
9:04:11 AM                                                                                                                    
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Education Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 9:04 a.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
4.10.19 DEED Board Confirmation Committee Packet.pdf HEDC 4/10/2019 8:00:00 AM