Legislature(2019 - 2020)DAVIS 106

02/26/2020 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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08:04:51 AM Start
08:05:42 AM HB236
10:08:25 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Teleconference <Listen Only> --
Heard & Held
-Invited Testimony Followed by Public Testimony-
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                       February 26, 2020                                                                                        
                           8:04 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Harriet Drummond, Co-Chair                                                                                       
Representative Andi Story, Co-Chair                                                                                             
Representative Grier Hopkins                                                                                                    
Representative Chris Tuck                                                                                                       
Representative Tiffany Zulkosky                                                                                                 
Representative DeLena Johnson                                                                                                   
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 236                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to education; increasing the base student                                                                      
allocation; and providing for an effective date."                                                                               
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HB 236                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: INCREASE BASE STUDENT ALLOCATION                                                                                   
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) STORY                                                                                             
02/05/20       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/05/20       (H)       EDC, FIN                                                                                               
02/26/20       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM DAVIS 106                                                                               
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
MARY HAKALA, Staff                                                                                                              
Representative Andi Story                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HB 236 on behalf of prime                                                                      
HEIDI TESHNER, Director                                                                                                         
Finance and Support Services Division                                                                                           
Department of Education & Early Development                                                                                     
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions during the presentation                                                               
of HB 236.                                                                                                                      
NORM WOOTEN, Executive Director                                                                                                 
Association of Alaska School Boards                                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 236.                                                                          
LISA S. PARADY, Ph.D., Executive Director                                                                                       
Alaska Council of School Administrators                                                                                         
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 236.                                                                          
TIM PARKER, President                                                                                                           
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 236.                                                                          
KAREN GABORIK, EdD                                                                                                              
Fairbanks North Star Borough School District                                                                                    
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 236.                                                                          
ANGELA HAYDEN, Teacher                                                                                                          
Jack Egnaty Sr. School                                                                                                          
Sleetmute, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 236.                                                                          
NEAL SANFORD, Student                                                                                                           
Jack Egnaty Sr. School                                                                                                          
Sleetmute, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 236.                                                                          
DESIRAE MORGAN, Student                                                                                                         
Jack Egnaty Sr. School                                                                                                          
Sleetmute, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 236.                                                                          
KYLIE HAYDEN, Student                                                                                                           
Jack Egnaty Sr. School                                                                                                          
Sleetmute, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 236.                                                                          
NATHAN FREEMAN, Educator                                                                                                        
Joann A Alexie Memorial School                                                                                                  
Atmautluak, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 236.                                                                          
REBECCA SOZA, STEM Program Manager                                                                                              
Juneau Economic Development Council                                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 236.                                                                          
KEENAN MILLER, Associated Student Body President                                                                                
Thunder Mountain High School Student Government                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 236.                                                                          
KELLY LESSENS, Co-Founder                                                                                                       
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 236.                                                                          
KERRY BROWN                                                                                                                     
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 236.                                                                          
PETER HOEPFNER, Board Member                                                                                                    
Cordova School District                                                                                                         
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 236.                                                                          
WINTER MARSHALL-ALLEN, Teacher                                                                                                  
Homer High School                                                                                                               
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 236.                                                                          
CLAIRE SMITH                                                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 236.                                                                          
MELODY DOUGLAS, Associate Executive Director                                                                                    
Alaska Association of School Business Officials                                                                                 
Kenai, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 236.                                                                          
BESSIE WESTON, Board Member                                                                                                     
Lower Kuskokwim School District                                                                                                 
Mekoryuk, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 236.                                                                          
DAVID BRIGHTON, President                                                                                                       
Kenai Peninsula Education Association                                                                                           
Kenai, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 236.                                                                          
NATASHA GAMACHE                                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 236.                                                                          
BRIDGETT WEISS, PhD, Superintendent                                                                                             
Juneau School District                                                                                                          
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 236.                                                                          
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:04:51 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  HARRIET DRUMMOND  called the  House Education  Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting  to  order  at   8:04  a.m.    Representatives                                                               
Zulkosky,  Hopkins,  Johnson,  Tuck,  Story,  and  Drummond  were                                                               
present  at the  call  to order.    [One seat  was  vacant as  of                                                               
            HB 236-INCREASE BASE STUDENT ALLOCATION                                                                         
8:05:42 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  announced that  the  only  order of  business                                                               
would  be HOUSE  BILL  NO.  236 "An  Act  relating to  education;                                                               
increasing  the base  student allocation;  and  providing for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
8:06:14 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  STORY,  as  prime  sponsor,  presented  HB  236.    She                                                               
explained  that   the  bill  would  increase   the  Base  Student                                                               
Allocation (BSA), which  is a key element  in determining funding                                                               
levels for schools  in Alaska.  She noted that  the bill includes                                                               
funding for  two years, the  first is an  increase of $115  in FY                                                               
21,  and the  second  is an  increase  of  $110 in  FY  22.   She                                                               
explained  that the  latter  is calculated  at  2.25 percent  for                                                               
inflation.  She indicated that  this bill recognizes the increase                                                               
in costs for  schools that includes healthcare,  fuel oil, school                                                               
supplies, utilities,  and equipment.  She  suggested that without                                                               
the  increase  in  the  proposed  legislation,  schools  will  be                                                               
subject to $30 million reduction  in funding.  She predicted that                                                               
such a cut  would result in loss of  teachers, counselors, health                                                               
aides,  gifted  and  talented   programs,  Career  and  Technical                                                               
Education (CTE) or  other essential programs.   She asserted that                                                               
Alaska  schools are  facing an  educational  crisis comprised  of                                                               
non-competitive teacher salaries  and retirement benefits, budget                                                               
cuts, a  need for reading  improvements, and the need  to address                                                               
Adverse  Childhood  Experiences  (ACEs)   among  students.    She                                                               
suggested that  strong economies in  the Lower 48,  when compared                                                               
with Alaska's  financial difficulties, have enabled  other states                                                               
to invest  in education,  while Alaska  is restrained  from doing                                                               
so.  She  suggested that passage of this bill  would result in an                                                               
increase  in  certainty  in school  funding,  which  would  allow                                                               
stakeholders to  focus on teaching  and learning.   She suggested                                                               
that certainty in  funding allows for efficiency  and increase in                                                               
return  on  investment in  education.    She claimed  that,  once                                                               
adjusted  for  inflation,  the  current  spend  is  on  par  with                                                               
education spend  in 1988.   She suggested  that U.S.  Census data                                                               
suggests   that   Alaska   spends  disproportionately   more   on                                                               
education; however, when  adjusted for cost of  living and taking                                                               
into  consideration other  unique  attributes, Alaska  is in  the                                                               
median  for education  spending,  on a  per-student  basis.   She                                                               
noted  areas  of  importance  in   education  in  Alaska  include                                                               
progress in  reading, reasonable  class sizes,  hands-on learning                                                               
materials,  relevant CTE  coursework, and  a culture  of learning                                                               
and  should not  include a  steady undercutting  of capacity  and                                                               
resources.     She  postulated   that  building   a  high-quality                                                               
education system is  a wise investment in the  state's people and                                                               
its future.   She  encouraged all  stakeholders to  contribute to                                                               
the discussion around this legislation.                                                                                         
8:11:03 AM                                                                                                                    
MARY  HAKALA,  Staff,  Representative Andi  Story,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, presented  HB 236  on behalf  of the  prime sponsor.                                                               
She outlined the  contents of the committee  packet including the                                                               
sponsor statement, the bill itself,  and sectional analysis which                                                               
explains statutory changes proposed by HB 236.                                                                                  
MS.  HAKALA   drew  attention  to  packet   insert  that  depicts                                                               
historical BSA  and funding  outside of  the formula,  the latter                                                               
provided  by  the Department  of  Education  & Early  Development                                                               
(DEED).    She  noted  that  the last  line  on  the  "Foundation                                                               
Funding"  chart  has  a  typographical   error  and  should  read                                                               
$28,581.7 -  not $29,581.7.   She stated  that the  data suggests                                                               
over the  last 19 years, every  year except for 2018  received an                                                               
increase in the  BSA, or a one-time funding, or  both in response                                                               
to increased  costs.  She  suggested that given the  frequency of                                                               
one-time funding, it may be misleading to view it as such.                                                                      
8:13:43 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON  asked  what the  total  increase  amount                                                               
would be.                                                                                                                       
8:14:08 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. HAKALA explained  that the $30 million amount  is an estimate                                                               
based  on projections  for  FY  21, and  in  FY  22 an  increment                                                               
increase is  projected to total  $28,581,700, with  the increment                                                               
"rolled in" to  the BSA, it would bring the  total to $58,462,600                                                               
because  the bill  consists of  two steps,  FY 21  and FY  22 BSA                                                               
8:15:13 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON asked  to  confirm that  the total  added                                                               
cost is approximately $60 million.                                                                                              
MS. HAKALA confirmed that in  the second year, the increase would                                                               
be approximately $58 million [higher] than FY 20.                                                                               
8:15:35 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ZULKOSKY  characterized  the  inflation  adjusted                                                               
rate of  funding at 1988 level  as "sobering".  She  asked if any                                                               
consideration has  been given to  implementing inflation-proofing                                                               
so  that BSA  is not  relegated  to "a  political football"  each                                                               
8:16:47 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  STORY  indicated that  this  bill  adjusts the  BSA  to                                                               
inflation proof  the two  years named in  the bill,  and although                                                               
districts have indicated that they  desire inflation proofing for                                                               
the long  term, this bill does  not address that.   She suggested                                                               
that a Foundation  Formula study be undertaken, and  that the two                                                               
years of  [stabilized] funding could provide  opportunity to plan                                                               
and execute such a study  to determine more precisely the funding                                                               
needs of schools.                                                                                                               
8:18:10 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  reflected  upon  the two  most  recent  prior                                                               
fiscal  years,  with $20  million  and  $30 million  respectively                                                               
appropriated  outside of  the Foundation  Formula  and that  were                                                               
subject to  governor veto  and resulted  in litigation  to compel                                                               
distribution  of  the  funds.   She  asked  whether  schools  are                                                               
receiving  funds   timely  this   year,  and  whether,   if  this                                                               
legislation  fails to  pass,  it  will result  in  a  cut of  $30                                                               
million outside  of the  Foundation Formula.   She  asked whether                                                               
failure  of  this legislation  would  jeopardize  $30 million  in                                                               
future funding.                                                                                                                 
8:19:15 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  STORY  referred  Co-Chair   Drummond  to  confirm  with                                                               
representatives of DEED  on her question of timing  of release of                                                               
funds this year.                                                                                                                
8:19:43 AM                                                                                                                    
HEIDI TESHNER,  Director, Finance and Support  Services Division,                                                               
Department of  Education & Early Development,  testified that the                                                               
$30 million one-time funding for  current year was distributed to                                                               
districts in approximately January 2020.                                                                                        
8:19:59 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND asked  whether the funds were  distributed in a                                                               
lump sum or in installments.                                                                                                    
MS. TESHNER affirmed that funds were distributed in a lump sum.                                                                 
8:20:11 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS  asked  what  the  schedule  is  for  BSA                                                               
distribution for districts.                                                                                                     
MS.  TESHNER explained  that the  statutory  requirement is  that                                                               
funds be  received by  districts by the  fifteenth of  the month,                                                               
and DEED  processes payments so  that they disburse on  or before                                                               
the fifteenth of each month.                                                                                                    
8:20:38 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS  asked  whether the  monthly  installment                                                               
schedule was based on a nine, or a twelve, month cycle.                                                                         
MS. TESHNER affirmed a twelve-month cycle.                                                                                      
8:20:57 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. HAKALA  referred to  fiscal note  HB236-EED-FP-2-20-20, which                                                               
informs that the  funds are appropriated to  the Public Education                                                               
Fund, from which Foundation Formula  payments are made.  She drew                                                               
attention  to the  packet insert  chart developed  by Legislative                                                               
Finance  Division   comparing  per  student   inflation  adjusted                                                               
funding from FY  88 to present, showing no  increase in inflation                                                               
adjusted  per student  funding.   She referred  to packet  insert                                                               
produced by DEED which  depicts BSA from FY 20, FY  21, and FY 22                                                               
itemized by district and assuming passage  of the bill.  She drew                                                               
attention  to  committee packet  insert  from  The University  of                                                               
Alaska,  Anchorage  Institute  of Social  and  Economic  Research                                                               
(ISER),  which summarizes  spending  amounts  in Alaska's  public                                                               
education.  She cited Figure  3 and suggested that the comparison                                                               
of  per-pupil  education  spending  to other  states  using  only                                                               
indices  adjustments  made  for  Anchorage  does  not  accurately                                                               
reflect  the disparity  in  spending.   She  suggested that  when                                                               
rural  metrics  such  as  school   size,  remote  locations,  and                                                               
efficiencies  of   scale  are   taken  into   consideration,  the                                                               
comparison would be depicted differently,  and that 13 percent of                                                               
schools  in Alaska  are small,  or less  than 25  students.   She                                                               
explained that health  care costs are one of the  larger areas of                                                               
expenditure that drive up costs.                                                                                                
8:25:08 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  commented that she supports  educators as                                                               
the representative for  the fastest growing area of  Alaska.  She                                                               
expressed concern as to whether  Alaska can afford increasing the                                                               
BSA.    She  suggested  that pooling  employee  healthcare  could                                                               
provide cost savings through economies of scale.                                                                                
8:25:58 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND   indicated  that  House  Health   and  Social                                                               
Services Standing  Committee is having discussions  regarding the                                                               
costs of  healthcare.  She noted  that she has been  contacted by                                                               
individuals requesting an area cost  differential study, as it is                                                               
believed   that  Anchorage   costs  are   actually  higher   than                                                               
indicated.    She asked  the  bill  sponsor when  the  Foundation                                                               
Formula was last evaluated at the request of the legislature.                                                                   
MS. HAKALA  referenced a study  conducted by  Augenblick, Pakaich                                                               
and  Associates   in  2015  as  the   most  recent  comprehensive                                                               
analysis, she suggested  that the most recent  data available for                                                               
geographic cost differential may be available through ISER.                                                                     
8:27:28 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ZULKOSKY  commented  that   higher  costs  are  a                                                               
reality in Alaska, and that higher  costs and cuts both will have                                                               
impact on  classrooms, and those  impacts are being felt  in both                                                               
rural and urban Alaska.                                                                                                         
8:28:08 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  indicated that teacher turnover  is costly and                                                               
the estimated cost for a  single teacher turnover is estimated to                                                               
be  approximately  $20,000.   She  expressed  her hope  that  the                                                               
committee proceedings will  continue to address the  issue of the                                                               
costs and  negative impacts of teacher  turnover, recruitment and                                                               
8:29:46 AM                                                                                                                    
NORM  WOOTEN, Executive  Director, Association  of Alaska  School                                                               
Boards, testified in support of HB  236.  He referred to existing                                                               
data available  for the committee's  consideration.   He compared                                                               
and  contrasted  a  school  district   budget  in  Alaska  to  an                                                               
individual's  household budget,  and noted  that cost  categories                                                               
fuel  oil, transportation,  airfares, janitorial  supplies, paper                                                               
products,  Internet, utilities,  salaries, facility  maintenance,                                                               
contractual  services,   curricular  materials,   food  supplies,                                                               
healthcare, and  technology upgrades are increasing  in cost year                                                               
after year.  He described  funds received by districts outside of                                                               
the BSA  as unpredictable  and restricted  in what  districts may                                                               
plan for  their use.   He contrasted  funds received  through the                                                               
BSA  as predictable  and sustainable  for districts  to plan  and                                                               
execute  budgets efficiently.   He  suggested that  investment in                                                               
education is investment in Alaska's future.                                                                                     
8:32:59 AM                                                                                                                    
LISA  S. PARADY,  Ph.D., Executive  Director,  Alaska Council  of                                                               
School Administrators, shared a  PowerPoint presentation with the                                                               
committee entitled  "HB 236 ACSA  Presentation," included  in the                                                               
committee  packet.   She  explained that  the  Alaska Council  of                                                               
School  Administrators  (ACSA)  supports  Alaska  Superintendents                                                               
Association, Elementary  and Secondary School  Principals, Alaska                                                               
Association  of   School  Business  Officials,  and   all  school                                                               
administrators  that   serve  in  Alaska,  in   partnership  with                                                               
Association  of  Alaska  School  Boards  and  National  Education                                                               
Association  Alaska.   She shared  a slide  that depicted  school                                                               
districts  in  Alaska  and urged  solidarity  when  contemplating                                                               
decisions that affect children in  Alaska.  She presented a slide                                                               
with results of a public  opinion poll commissioned by ACSA which                                                               
depicts public  support for funding  public education  in Alaska.                                                               
She referred  to the  packet item  entitled "2020  Joint Position                                                               
Statements" that  identify ACSA  priorities, of  which, increased                                                               
funding for education is the  highest.  She encouraged timely and                                                               
predictable funding through the BSA.                                                                                            
8:36:34 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. PARADY  referred to  the ACSA  position statement  of timely,                                                               
reliable, and  predictable revenue  for schools as  a cornerstone                                                               
of ACSA's work with the  legislature to establish forward funding                                                               
of education.  She remarked  that teacher turnover rate and costs                                                               
that have  been discussed have  a tremendous impact on  the sites                                                               
involved, and that Alaska started  this school year "down by 200"                                                               
teachers.   She  suggested that  principal turnover  can cost  as                                                               
much as $75,000.                                                                                                                
8:38:51 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  asked what  the total  number of  teachers was                                                               
after the shortage was taken into consideration.                                                                                
DR. PARADY will provide to the committee a verified total.                                                                      
8:39:19 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND asked  if progress  has been  made in  filling                                                               
those 200 positions this school year.                                                                                           
DR. PARADY answered  by explaining that districts are  in a year-                                                               
round recruitment  cycle.  She described  the changing experience                                                               
at  job  fairs wherein  the  recruiters  outnumber the  potential                                                               
recruits.  She offered an  estimate on survey data that indicated                                                               
in the Lower 48, upon  which Alaska relies for teacher workforce,                                                               
the number  of teachers  leaving the  workforce in  the mid-2010s                                                               
citing  "poor working  conditions" was  estimated to  be 500,000,                                                               
whereas teachers joining the workforce  were estimated to be only                                                               
200,000.   She suggested  that the  national teacher  shortage is                                                               
exacerbated in  Alaska due  to the  challenges of  recruiting for                                                               
rural teachers.                                                                                                                 
8:41:10 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  PARADY  explained that  the  rural  remote areas  definition                                                               
which the  federal government uses  for studies on  education was                                                               
required to  be modified  to take  into consideration  the unique                                                               
attributes of many  Alaska communities.  She  indicated that half                                                               
of  superintendents  in  Alaska  have  less  than  two  years  of                                                               
experience.   She  indicated that  research on  teacher, student,                                                               
and  superintendent  turnover reveals  a  link  to lower  student                                                               
achievement.  She explained that  working conditions for teachers                                                               
have  become more  demanding, due  to social  emotional learning,                                                               
student trauma, and ACEs among even very young students.                                                                        
8:43:34 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  PARADY  stated  her  belief that  the  proposed  bill  would                                                               
improve  financial  certainties   that  would  positively  impact                                                               
teacher  recruitment and  retention, and  would provide  for more                                                               
predictable  funding, which  would result  in more  stability for                                                               
each  district.   She described  that, should  the proposed  bill                                                               
fail,  and  funding  conditions remain  unchanged,  a  "Cycle  of                                                               
Uncertainty"   would  persist,   which   ACSA   depicts  in   its                                                               
presentation as "Groundhog Day."                                                                                                
8:44:14 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ZULKOSKY referenced  the PowerPoint slide entitled                                                               
"Social,  Emotional  and  Mental Health"  statement  which  read:                                                               
"ACSA supports funding  to enable schools to  recruit, retain and                                                               
increase  their  access  to   school  counselors,  school  social                                                               
workers,   school  psychologists,   nurses   and  mental   health                                                               
specialists."   She acknowledged  her understanding  of increased                                                               
demands  made   upon  teachers  in  dealing   with  trauma  among                                                               
students.    She  asked  whether  the  passage  of  HB  236  plus                                                               
inflation  proofing  the BSA  would  be  adequate to  hire  these                                                               
professionals, or if additional funds would be necessary.                                                                       
8:45:21 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. PARADY  indicated that additional  funds would  be necessary.                                                               
She indicated that fiscal uncertainty  impacts timing of budgets,                                                               
and  that  funds  appropriated  outside  of  the  BSA  cannot  be                                                               
adequately  taken  into  consideration for  budget  planning  and                                                               
development, which applies both to  mental health workers as well                                                               
as teachers in the classroom.                                                                                                   
8:46:11 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. PARADY explained that the  "Groundhog Day" phenomenon is such                                                               
since  the   uncertainty  arises  year  after   year  for  school                                                               
districts  in  Alaska.   She  recounted  deleterious  effects  of                                                               
current  conditions  and potential  effects  should  the BSA  not                                                               
realize an  increase from the  PowerPoint slide  entitled "Impact                                                               
on   School  Districts,   which   read   as  follows:   [original                                                               
punctuation included]                                                                                                           
     No increase to the BSA will lead to:                                                                                       
     ? Reductions in staff (teachers, reading specialists,                                                                      
       paraprofessionals), less competitive salaries for                                                                        
     ? Loss of counselor positions and student intervention                                                                     
        Cuts to academic (CTE, foreign languages, course                                                                        
     offerings), sports, and lunch programs                                                                                     
     ? Increased class sizes in some schools                                                                                    
        ? Postponing replacement of aging textbooks and                                                                         
     ? Deferment of maintenance projects, focusing only on                                                                      
     those which are safety and health issues                                                                                   
DR.  PARADY indicated  that teachers  can, and  are, taking  jobs                                                               
elsewhere and unstable funding is a contributing factor.                                                                        
8:49:08 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND recalled  that as  a member  of the  Anchorage                                                               
School District Board  of Education, she had  participated in $25                                                               
million in cuts  prior to 2003, and would like  to know what that                                                               
cost  would adjust  to with  current indices.   She  related that                                                               
University  of Alaska  Anchorage  (UAA) is  cutting its  clinical                                                               
psychology  program,  and  rhetorically   asked  if  UAA  is  the                                                               
pipeline  for  counselors,  social  workers,  and  mental  health                                                               
8:50:44 AM                                                                                                                    
TIM  PARKER, President,  NEA-Alaska, testified  in support  of HB
236.     He  explained  that NEA-  Alaska  [an  affiliate of  the                                                               
National   Education  Association]   consists   of  over   12,000                                                               
educators, on whose  behalf he serves.  He extolled  the love and                                                               
passion  among  educators  and  indicated  that  the  fundamental                                                               
purpose   of  their   profession   is  student   learning.     He                                                               
rhetorically asked  the committee  if all stakeholders  share the                                                               
caring and passion for student  learning that educators in Alaska                                                               
have expressed.  He claimed  that the meeting materials that have                                                               
been  distributed to  legislators regarding  education in  Alaska                                                               
have  great  value  and  depict  the  challenging  conditions  of                                                               
MR. PARKER  suggested that the committee  contemplate the purpose                                                               
of public  education and its  funding.  He suggested  that public                                                               
education is  a moral  obligation of  lawmakers, and  that budget                                                               
documents could be  described as moral documents.   He noted that                                                               
in   Alaska,  there   are  over   130,000   students  in   grades                                                               
kindergarten   through  twelfth,   and   the  responsibility   in                                                               
educating them  to become good  citizens is taken  very seriously                                                               
by educators.                                                                                                                   
8:54:25 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  PARKER  asked  the  committee   to  recall  their  childhood                                                               
education  experience  and  noted  that 90  percent  of  American                                                               
children are educated through public  schools.  He suggested that                                                               
the  collective  have  benefitted through  public  education  and                                                               
proclaimed that prior legislative  bodies identified the need and                                                               
importance of public education enough to  codify it into law.  He                                                               
advised  the  committee  to  examine   the  suggestion  of  moral                                                               
obligation to continue supporting education of today's youth.                                                                   
MR. PARKER offered perspectives  from the classroom, stating that                                                               
at the moment of his testimony,  some child may learn to read, or                                                               
learn about  civics and  the legislative process  in school.   He                                                               
indicated  that priorities  among  students and  parents are  the                                                               
desire to learn, small class  sizes, access to school nurses, and                                                               
access  to  the best  quality  teachers  and  lessons.   He  read                                                               
directly from existing statute, as follows:                                                                                     
     Sec. 14.03.015.   State education policy.                                                                                  
     It  is the  policy of  this state  that the  purpose of                                                                    
     education  is to  help ensure  that  all students  will                                                                    
     succeed in  their education and work,  shape worthwhile                                                                    
     and  satisfying  lives  for themselves,  exemplify  the                                                                    
     best values  of society, and be  effective in improving                                                                    
     the character and quality of the world about them.                                                                         
MR. PARKER explained that students  now are coming to school with                                                               
a tremendous  amount of emotional  baggage, and that  schools are                                                               
serving students better than ever  before with training in social                                                               
emotional  learning and  trauma informed  schools.   He described                                                               
the majority  of Alaska students  as having at least  one Adverse                                                               
Childhood  Experience  (ACE),   defined  as  neglect,  witnessing                                                               
domestic  violence,  growing  up  with  substance  abuse,  mental                                                               
illness,  or having  a parent  incarcerated,  which teachers  are                                                               
trained to recognize  and deal with.  He  mentioned that Alaska's                                                               
Educational  Challenge prompted  a change  in the  commitments of                                                               
public  educators to  center on:    increasing student  learning,                                                               
support  responsible  and   reflective  learners,  and  cultivate                                                               
safety  and well-being.    He identified  the  third priority  as                                                               
having  contributed to  the new  paradigm supporting  emotionally                                                               
challenged students  for them to  thrive.  He explained  that the                                                               
development  of  these  priorities  was unique  in  that  it  had                                                               
occurred  with  unprecedented  unanimity.     He  correlated  the                                                               
priorities  developed  in  Alaska's Educational  Challenge  to  a                                                               
moral obligation.                                                                                                               
9:00:33 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. PARKER noted  that the passage of proposed HB  236 would also                                                               
further the  goals of mental health  in education.  He  made note                                                               
of some  statistics, most of  which he posited the  committee was                                                               
already  aware:    five  years  with  no  increase  in  the  BSA,                                                               
inflationary reality, class size  growth at unsustainable levels,                                                               
and  $30  million reduction  if  HB  236  should  not pass.    He                                                               
concluded that  these contributing factors have  led to decisions                                                               
resulting  in  sacrifices  in lieu  of  improvements  in  meeting                                                               
growing  needs.   He  stated his  appreciation  for the  proposed                                                               
increase to  the BSA;  however, he  requested that  the committee                                                               
consider whether  HB 236  is adequate  under the  current demands                                                               
being  made  on  education  in   Alaska.    He  recommended  that                                                               
inflation  proofing  should  be incorporated  into  the  proposed                                                               
9:03:56 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. PARKER  urged the need  for fiscal  certainty.  He  said that                                                               
this  is  perceptible  in   teacher  recruitment  and  retention,                                                               
explaining  that  each day  that  passes  during the  legislative                                                               
session in  which a budget is  not passed, or forward  funding is                                                               
not  passed, is  equated to  another  day of  job insecurity  for                                                               
teachers.   He  explained  that teachers  are seeking  employment                                                               
opportunities from April to June of  each year in which to secure                                                               
employment,  and failure  to secure  employment for  the upcoming                                                               
school  year could  compel teachers  to  leave their  field.   He                                                               
noted  that  this  negatively   affects  morale  and  discourages                                                               
teachers from remaining in the profession.                                                                                      
9:05:24 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS asked how end  of year "pink slips" affect                                                               
the teachers and staff he encounters.                                                                                           
MR.  PARKER answered  that there  are a  variety of  thoughts and                                                               
feelings expressed  to him by  employees faced  with uncertainty.                                                               
He  explained that  for  the  most part  there  is  a desire  for                                                               
teachers  to stay  in their  communities, as  they are  residents                                                               
with homes  and families  and are  rooted in  Alaska.   He stated                                                               
that newer teachers  report that at around five  years of service                                                               
they  begin to  understand that  there is  no retirement  benefit                                                               
plan,  and they  begin  to ask  questions  about their  long-term                                                               
financial stability.   He illustrated  the point by  sharing that                                                               
the  2017 Teacher  of the  Year James  Harris from  Soldotna High                                                               
School  is now  teaching  at a  school outside  of  Seattle.   He                                                               
emphasized   that  the   recruitment   of   teachers  is   highly                                                               
competitive, and Alaska is failing  to compete effectively due to                                                               
fiscal uncertainty.                                                                                                             
9:08:02 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND opened public testimony on HB 236.                                                                            
9:08:32 AM                                                                                                                    
KAREN GABORIK, EdD, Superintendent,  Fairbanks North Star Borough                                                               
School District,  testified in support of  HB 236.  She  spoke in                                                               
support of the  proposed bill inflation proofing  the BSA, citing                                                               
rising costs of goods, services,  salaries, and health care.  She                                                               
explained  ongoing  management   decisions  within  her  district                                                               
resulting in cost savings despite a growing student population.                                                                 
9:11:01 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. GABORKIK  indicated that reduced funding  prohibits Fairbanks                                                               
North   Star   Borough   School  District   from   investing   in                                                               
professional  development  in  areas  such  as  social  emotional                                                               
learning.  She indicated that  requests for safety equipment such                                                               
as  cameras  are  unfulfilled,   and  the  district's  intent  to                                                               
transition  its discipline  model away  from punitive  discipline                                                               
towards restorative discipline is not  implemented due to lack of                                                               
9:11:59 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS   asked  Dr.   Gaborik  to   explain  any                                                               
implications  of the  timing of  funding between  the legislative                                                               
appropriation  of  budgets,  the  Fairbanks  North  Star  Borough                                                               
School  District  Budget  deadlines, and  the  Fairbanks  Borough                                                               
budget deadlines, and how they intersect.                                                                                       
DR. GABORIK  indicated that the  school district is  not informed                                                               
of available  funds timely to  teachers trying to make  plans for                                                               
their  employment.   She  explained  that  each year  the  budget                                                               
deadlines are April  first for the borough  budget submission and                                                               
early  May  for  the  school   district  budget  submission;  and                                                               
legislative  appropriation   schedule  is  unpredictable.     She                                                               
explained  that it  is necessary  for the  district to  develop a                                                               
plan in mid-April to early  May for staffing decisions, resulting                                                               
in teacher  layoffs if  revenue comes in  lower than  its already                                                               
conservative estimates.                                                                                                         
9:14:42 AM                                                                                                                    
ANGELA  HAYDEN, Teacher,  Jack Egnaty  Sr.  School, testified  in                                                               
support of HB 236.  She  explained that Jack Egnaty Sr. School in                                                               
Sleetmute,  Alaska consists  of 18  students in  grades preschool                                                               
through twelfth, and the community population is 80.                                                                            
9:15:08 AM                                                                                                                    
NEAL  SANFORD,  Student, Jack  Egnaty  Sr.  School, testified  in                                                               
support of HB 236.  He  spoke of the importance of school funding                                                               
to  support the  population,  to guard  against homelessness,  to                                                               
provide opportunities later in life,  and spoke of the importance                                                               
of the robotics program.                                                                                                        
9:16:01 AM                                                                                                                    
DESIRAE  MORGAN, Student,  Jack Egnaty  Sr. School,  testified in                                                               
support  of HB  236.    She spoke  of  the  importance of  school                                                               
funding  to support  employment of  important community  members,                                                               
and for  travel to events like  robotics.  She noted  that she is                                                               
required  to lodge  with another  family in  order to  obtain her                                                               
9:16:46 AM                                                                                                                    
KYLIE  HAYDEN,  Student, Jack  Egnaty  Sr.  School, testified  in                                                               
support of  HB 236.   She noted  that an increase  in the  BSA is                                                               
necessary to pay for teachers, FIRST LEGO League, and robotics.                                                                 
9:17:11 AM                                                                                                                    
ANGELA HAYDEN  explained that she  has been an educator  for over                                                               
20 years, with 12 years at  the village in which she is currently                                                               
1 of 2 teachers.  She noted  three years prior, her school was in                                                               
danger  of closing  because  it consisted  of  only 10  students.                                                               
This prompted a  threat of moving one teacher  to another school,                                                               
leaving  her to  manage all  the students  for the  school.   She                                                               
spoke  about  a  high  incidence   of  ACEs  among  students  and                                                               
explained that  teaching in  remote villages  is difficult.   She                                                               
stated that  her district's  budgets are  due in  April; however,                                                               
the BSA is  not known at that  time of the year  and teachers who                                                               
have  been hired  are at  risk of  losing their  jobs if  funding                                                               
results are inadequate.  She noted  that relocating in and out of                                                               
remote villages is  difficult and expensive.   She explained that                                                               
small  villages  have  no additional  revenue  streams  and  rely                                                               
heavily on  the BSA to  create educational opportunities  for the                                                               
future  citizens of  the communities  and  have few  or no  other                                                               
opportunities  for  educational  growth  and  development.    She                                                               
explained  that should  the BSA  not  increase on  pace with  the                                                               
increase  of costs  and  services, cuts  must  be made,  students                                                               
become displaced, and cultures are eroded.                                                                                      
9:20:16 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  asked  the  grade levels  of  each  of  the                                                               
MR. SANFORD indicated that he is in the sixth grade.                                                                            
MISS MORGAN indicated that she is in the eighth grade.                                                                          
MISS HAYDEN indicated that she is in the sixth grade.                                                                           
9:20:35 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  asked whether Ms. Hayden  teaches a particular                                                               
grade range.                                                                                                                    
MS. HAYDEN indicated that she  teaches kindergarten through fifth                                                               
grade and math for middle school level children.                                                                                
9:20:54 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR STORY asked  the students to share  the robotics project                                                               
details for which they have traveled to Juneau.                                                                                 
MR.  SANFORD explained  that it's  a solution  to the  problem of                                                               
individuals under the influence of  alcohol in places where it is                                                               
9:21:22 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  STORY  asked how  that  would  be accomplished  through                                                               
their robotics project.                                                                                                         
9:21:33 AM                                                                                                                    
MISS  HAYDEN explained  that they  conducted  research through  a                                                               
blood  bank  and  learned  that   law  enforcement  officers  use                                                               
flashlights  as  breathalyzers,  which  detect  the  presence  of                                                               
alcohol.    The  students  proposed  to  mount  these  flashlight                                                               
devices to railings within two  feet proximity to access areas in                                                               
which alcohol use  is prohibited.  She explained  that if alcohol                                                               
is detected,  the doors to  the location will  automatically lock                                                               
and a teacher would be notified.                                                                                                
9:22:22 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND asked whether Sleetmute  is a dry, damp, or wet                                                               
9:22:38 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  HAYDEN answered  that Sleetmute  is  damp.   She noted  that                                                               
school  events   are  often  subject  to   unwelcome  intoxicated                                                               
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND commiserated  that  Anchorage School  District                                                               
sanctioned   events  had   also  been   disrupted  by   unwelcome                                                               
intoxicated individuals.                                                                                                        
9:23:48 AM                                                                                                                    
NATHAN  FREEMAN,  Educator,  Joann   A  Alexie  Memorial  School,                                                               
testified in support of HB 236.   He stated that he is testifying                                                               
on behalf  of all students  in rural  Alaska villages.   He spoke                                                               
about  inequities  in education  which  ultimately  led to  lower                                                               
graduation rates.  He named lack  of access to social workers and                                                               
counselors, teacher  turnover, and inadequate access  to advanced                                                               
programs  for students  who demonstrate  greater  potential.   He                                                               
advocated for  every remote village  to employ at least  one full                                                               
time  social worker  based on  existing  needs.   He stated  that                                                               
itinerant  social  workers  are  employed  by  his  district  and                                                               
expressed  his gratitude  for their  presence; however,  he noted                                                               
that students  have difficulty developing  trusting relationships                                                               
with itinerants.   He suggested  that the legislature  in Vermont                                                               
faced  an exigent  mandate to  address  funding deficiencies  and                                                               
enacted a statewide property tax  that he suggested provided more                                                               
equity throughout economically diverse districts in that state.                                                                 
9:29:35 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ZULKOSKY  asked Mr. Freeman to  explain the impact                                                               
of  BSA that  is inadequate  for the  school's needs  on a  micro                                                               
level as compared to the macro level that has been discussed.                                                                   
MR. FREEMAN  answered that suicide is  a micro effect of  lack of                                                               
funding.  He  suggested that, in the aftermath of  a suicide in a                                                               
community, the  lack of social  workers contributes to  a "domino                                                               
effect"  such as  occurred in  Toksook  Bay.   He suggested  that                                                               
suicide is not  viewed as an educational  issue; however, schools                                                               
are at  the social  center of such  events, and  students require                                                               
social  and emotional  support  in the  school  environment.   He                                                               
explained that students in rural  areas experience a high rate of                                                               
adverse experiences  including domestic violence and  exposure to                                                               
alcohol abuse.                                                                                                                  
9:34:23 AM                                                                                                                    
REBECCA SOZA,  STEM Program Manager, Juneau  Economic Development                                                               
Council,  testified  in  support  of  HB 236.    She  shared  her                                                               
experience  in working  in the  education  profession in  various                                                               
communities in  Alaska, including  in the FIRST  Robotics Program                                                               
for  over   ten  years.     She  suggested  that   many  Science,                                                               
Technology,  Math  and  Engineering  (STEM)  programs  are  being                                                               
reduced or eliminated  due to fiscal uncertainty.   She suggested                                                               
that  the BSA  is the  appropriate vehicle  by which  to increase                                                               
fiscal  certainty,  with  regards  to  recruiting  and  retaining                                                               
teachers and  volunteers.  She  suggested that the  budget cycles                                                               
are  too  unpredictable for  teachers  to  make commitments  with                                                               
uncertainty  of   employment  between   spring  and  fall   of  a                                                               
particular  year,  a problem  that  she  suggested is  unique  to                                                               
Alaska.  She  explained that fiscal uncertainty leads  to a cycle                                                               
affecting  training  and  retention,  and  negative  effects  are                                                               
exacerbated because  of their cyclic  nature.  She  commended the                                                               
witnesses from  Sleetmute as  a worthy  example of  STEM programs                                                               
enabling students and  citizens to work toward  solving their own                                                               
community problems.                                                                                                             
9:37:09 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND asked whether the robotics team would be                                                                      
exhibiting their project while in Juneau.                                                                                       
MS.  SOZA answered  that the  robotics  team is  the nominee  for                                                               
global  innovation for  Alaska,  and will  be  presenting at  the                                                               
Innovation  Summit today,  as well  as  demonstrating with  other                                                               
groups while in Juneau.                                                                                                         
9:37:38 AM                                                                                                                    
KEENAN MILLER, Associated Student Body President, Thunder                                                                       
Mountain High School Student Government, testified in support of                                                                
HB 236, and read aloud from prepared testimony as follows:                                                                      
     Howdy,  my name  is Keenan  Miller,  and I  am here  in                                                                    
     support  of   HB  236  ...  which   will  increase  our                                                                    
     statewide base  student allocation.  I  am representing                                                                    
     myself  and the  Thunder Mountain  High School  student                                                                    
     government  in  my   official  capacity  as  Associated                                                                    
     Student Body  President.  Currently,  I am a  senior at                                                                    
     Thunder  Mountain  High School,  and  I  have lived  in                                                                    
     Juneau for my  whole life.  For almost  13 years, state                                                                    
     funding  has given  me opportunities  and an  education                                                                    
     that  I,   along  with   Alaska's  over   130,000  K-12                                                                    
     students, am  going to  build the rest  of my  life off                                                                    
     of.   As Alaska continues to  weather budget challenges                                                                    
     triggered  by 2015's  dramatic drop  in oil  prices and                                                                    
     perpetuated  to some  extent  by legislative  gridlock,                                                                    
     Alaska's  students, schools,  and teachers  are feeling                                                                    
     the aftershocks.   Last year, school has  become a pawn                                                                    
     in  the  budget  battle.     The  uncertainty  of  that                                                                    
     experience,  the affront  of knowing  that the  funding                                                                    
     for  and the  quality of  my education,  of my  younger                                                                    
     sister's education,  is caught up in  a petty political                                                                    
     tug-of-war   is   something   that  I   won't   forget.                                                                    
     Increasing  the BSA  is  critical  because it  directly                                                                    
     translates  to certainty.    School administrators  can                                                                    
     know  that   teacher  salaries,  building   upkeep  and                                                                    
     maintenance costs,  professional development, supplies,                                                                    
     and the  basic things that quality  ... education would                                                                    
     inherently suffer without, are  guaranteed.  In June of                                                                    
     2019,  the Alaska  Legislature released  a  $20 or  $30                                                                    
     million  state grant  - not  sure on  the exact  number                                                                    
     there -  to schools.   This is  money that  schools had                                                                    
     counted on and  might have never appeared  to lift them                                                                    
     out of the  red.  That's shameful.   Increasing the BSA                                                                    
     directly  addresses  instability  and  uncertainty  and                                                                    
     will  only help  schools  use the  money  that they  do                                                                    
     receive, as  people have brought up,  more thoughtfully                                                                    
     and effectively.   It is  also worth noting  again that                                                                    
     the Alaska BSA hasn't been  budged in three years.  For                                                                    
     schools,  flat  funding  means that  essentially,  each                                                                    
     year, the  purchasing power of  the money that  they do                                                                    
     receive is decreased as a  result of inflation.  Though                                                                    
     the best long-term solution for  this problem is to tie                                                                    
     the  BSA directly  to inflation  rates, increasing  the                                                                    
     BSA  now is  an essential  short-term solution  to this                                                                    
     unrelenting problem.  So  please, champion the increase                                                                    
     in Alaska's  BSA.  Feel  proud to  do so.   One hundred                                                                    
     thirty-two  thousand,  five   hundred  and  seventy-six                                                                    
     Alaska students  are counting  on you.   Thank  you for                                                                    
     your time and have a great day.                                                                                            
9:40:39 AM                                                                                                                    
KELLY  LESSENS, Co-Founder,  ASD60,  testified in  support of  HB
236.  She  explained that the organization  which she co-founded,                                                               
ASD60,  advocates  for  children to  increase  physical  activity                                                               
during the  school day.    She ventured  that a host  of problems                                                               
are a result of  flat funding of the BSA for  several years.  She                                                               
recounted  her experience  as a  parent of  children enrolled  in                                                               
Trailside  Elementary School,  which  has four  teachers for  123                                                               
enrolled  fifth and  sixth graders,  and  class sizes  are at  or                                                               
above 30  students; the third  grade has a  class size of  27, or                                                               
nearly  double  the  recommended size  for  kindergarten  through                                                               
third  grade.   She  suggested  that  health education  is  being                                                               
reduced,  student contact  with teachers  is reduced,  gifted and                                                               
talented  programs are  jeopardized,  and these  are symptoms  of                                                               
reduced or  unstable funding.   She  noted that  individual sites                                                               
may   conduct   fundraising   through   organizations   such   as                                                               
Parent/Teacher  Associations;   however,  such  efforts   do  not                                                               
provide  for  equity among  all  students.   She  suggested  that                                                               
increase  in  BSA  would  aid  in  advancing  the  constitutional                                                               
obligation to provide an adequate  education for every student in                                                               
Alaska.    She  recommended  that  the  committee  pass  HB  236,                                                               
establish  forward funding  for education  in Alaska,  embrace an                                                               
education "head  tax," agree to  tax the oil  industry, inflation                                                               
proof the BSA, and reevaluate the Foundation Formula.                                                                           
9:43:22 AM                                                                                                                    
KERRY BROWN    testified in  support of HB 236.   She categorized                                                               
herself  as both  a graduate  of the  public-school system  and a                                                               
parent of students  in Alaska.  She offered that  class sizes are                                                               
larger now  than before  the development  of the  Alaska Pipeline                                                               
[and  its  resulting revenue].    She  recommended that  revenues                                                               
should  be  increased from  the  oil  industry and  existing  and                                                               
future  revenues  be  redirected  to education.    She  suggested                                                               
inflation  proofing  the BSA  so  that  responsible planning  for                                                               
education may occur.                                                                                                            
9:45:25 AM                                                                                                                    
PETER HOEPFNER, Board Member,  Cordova School District, testified                                                               
in support  of HB 236.   He suggested that increasing  the BSA is                                                               
"but a start"  to address funding issues in  education in Alaska,                                                               
and  that should  health insurance  costs increase  by 8  percent                                                               
within the next year, the  BSA increase would be fully exhausted.                                                               
He  recounted that  the  loss  of ferry  service  to Cordova  has                                                               
resulted in increased costs of  $150,000 that were unanticipated,                                                               
as  the  district  had  planned,  and  budgeted,  assuming  ferry                                                               
service would  remain.  He  stated that the consumer  price index                                                               
increases have resulted  in funding levels on par with  1988.  He                                                               
expressed  concern  with  other  proposed  legislation  that  may                                                               
redirect  education  funding.   He  spoke  in strong  support  of                                                               
increasing education funding.                                                                                                   
9:47:49 AM                                                                                                                    
WINTER MARSHALL-ALLEN,  Teacher, Homer High School,  testified in                                                               
support of HB  236.  She suggested that unstable  funding had led                                                               
to  a  near strike  of  teachers  and  had precipitated  loss  of                                                               
teachers  to the  district.   She recommended  that districts  be                                                               
subject to  audit to  ensure that cuts  to funding  are equitably                                                               
distributed.   She suggested that inadequate  funds are collected                                                               
for  use in  public education  from  the oil  industry, and  that                                                               
additional   revenue  streams   should  be   examined,  including                                                               
potential taxation of  nonresidents.  She testified  that she has                                                               
previously  experienced  layoff  and  stated her  hope  to  avoid                                                               
layoff in the future.                                                                                                           
9:50:09 AM                                                                                                                    
CLAIRE SMITH testified  in support of HB 236.   She expressed her                                                               
belief that  her local school  district has room  for improvement                                                               
on planning  and budgeting, and  that cuts to  education diminish                                                               
programs that enable students to  grow and learn.  She encouraged                                                               
increase  in  the  BSA  which could  allow  gifted  and  talented                                                               
program, IGNITE, to continue in  her district, as well as funding                                                               
a  nurse  position  in  a   district  which  experiences  a  high                                                               
incidence of poor  mental health, and could aid  in the reduction                                                               
of  class  sizes.    She  urged support  of  HB  236  and  future                                                               
stabilization of funding.                                                                                                       
9:52:24 AM                                                                                                                    
MELODY DOUGLAS, Associate  Executive Director, Alaska Association                                                               
of School  Business Officials,  testified in  support of  HB 236.                                                               
She suggested that school districts  should obtain stable funding                                                               
in order  to plan efficiently  and effectively.  She  stated that                                                               
funding outside  of the BSA  is not stable  funding as it  is not                                                               
assured and does  not permit districts to commit  to teachers nor                                                               
long term planning for programs, staffing, and other costs.                                                                     
9:54:12 AM                                                                                                                    
BESSIE  WESTON, Board  Member, Lower  Kuskokwim School  District,                                                               
testified in support  of HB 236.  She  testified representing the                                                               
communities of Mekoryuk, Kipnuk,  Kwillingok, and Chefornak.  She                                                               
met with  students at Nuniwamiut School,  who provided structured                                                               
feedback for  Ms. Weston  to bring  before the  committee stating                                                               
their   top  three   program   priorities:     Native   language,                                                               
basketball,  and  Native  Youth  Olympics.   She  emphasized  the                                                               
importance of CTE  in the district.  She  indicated that students                                                               
are  being asked  to  perform without  adequate  resources.   She                                                               
explained that, should the proposed  legislation not pass, the $1                                                               
- $2  million budget  shortfall will impact  28 schools  among 23                                                               
communities.    She echoed  previous testimony on  the importance                                                               
of  teacher  retention  and  recruitment.     She  described  the                                                               
district's Native language  program as the only one  in the world                                                               
that teaches its dialect.                                                                                                       
9:56:47 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  requested  that Ms.  Weston  provide  written                                                               
testimony and provide details of  the unique dialect being taught                                                               
in their district.                                                                                                              
9:57:11 AM                                                                                                                    
DAVID    BRIGHTON,   President,    Kenai   Peninsula    Education                                                               
Association, testified in support of  HB 236.  He echoed previous                                                               
testimony  regarding the  many years  that the  BSA has  remained                                                               
flat.   He noted  that two,  one-year, one-time  funds injections                                                               
over the current and prior fiscal  years have led the district to                                                               
a "fiscal cliff."   He stated that nearly half  of the district's                                                               
budget reserve is  spent.  He expressed his concern  that lack of                                                               
funds will result in teacher layoffs and program cuts.                                                                          
9:59:36 AM                                                                                                                    
NATASHA GAMACHE testified in support of  HB 236.  She recalled an                                                               
earlier  question regarding  micro  effects of  budget cuts,  and                                                               
indicated that  students' needs are  not being  met, specifically                                                               
special   needs  students   who  need   occupational  therapists,                                                               
physical  therapists, speech  language pathologists,  and special                                                               
education staff.  She noted  that general education needs include                                                               
that of school  counselors.  She claimed that  students in Alaska                                                               
suffer  from  the highest  rates  of  child sexual  abuse,  child                                                               
abuse, child neglect, and nearly  the highest child removal rate.                                                               
She claimed that  the need for additional  funding is exacerbated                                                               
due to  budget cuts in  mental health  care as well  as Medicaid.                                                               
She  urged  that  anti-bullying  programs are  essential  to  the                                                               
safety of  her own  children and  shared her  personal experience                                                               
with the suffering of her autistic child.                                                                                       
10:03:21 AM                                                                                                                   
BRIDGETT  WEISS,  PhD,  Superintendent, Juneau  School  District,                                                               
testified  in support  of HB  236.   She  compared school  budget                                                               
planning from previous conditions  selecting the best programs to                                                               
include,  to now  selecting  which programs  to  eliminate.   She                                                               
stated that  current funding levels  are not adequate  to sustain                                                               
the district's strategic  plan.  She shared a  list depicting the                                                               
cuts to essential programs.   She expressed her dismay at feeling                                                               
unable  to meet  the  needs of  students in  her  district.   She                                                               
asserted  her belief  that continued  lack  of funding  increases                                                               
will imperil the entire educational system.                                                                                     
10:07:28 AM                                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND sought to ascertain  the total number of budget                                                               
cuts that had been sustained in her district.                                                                                   
DR.  WEISS  stated the  cuts  are  estimated  to be  $35  million                                                               
adjusted dollars from approximately 2008.                                                                                       
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND stated her  understanding that Anchorage School                                                               
District sustained $19 million.                                                                                                 
DR.  WEISS  added that  Juneau  School  District is  planning  to                                                               
sustain $1.2 million in cuts currently.                                                                                         
10:08:17 AM                                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND stated that she would leave public testimony                                                                  
open and announced that HB 236 would be held over.                                                                              
10:08:25 AM                                                                                                                   
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Education Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 10:08 a.m.                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 236 ACSA Dr. Lisa S. Parady presentation digital packet on HB236[2].pdf HEDC 2/26/2020 8:00:00 AM
HB 236
HB 236 Background BSA & Funding Outside Formula History.pdf HEDC 2/26/2020 8:00:00 AM
HB 236
HB 236 Background ISER 2019 Ed Cost Summary.pdf HEDC 2/26/2020 8:00:00 AM
HB 236
HB 236 ACSA Presentation 2.26.20.pdf HEDC 2/26/2020 8:00:00 AM
HB 236
HB 236 Fiscal Note EED.FP.2.20.20.pdf HEDC 2/26/2020 8:00:00 AM
HB 236
HB 236 Committee Packet Minus ACSA Materials.pdf HEDC 2/26/2020 8:00:00 AM
HB 236
HB 236 Fiscal Note EED.PEF 2.20.20.pdf HEDC 2/26/2020 8:00:00 AM
HB 236
HB 236 FY88-21Gov per student in 2018 dollars.pdf HEDC 2/26/2020 8:00:00 AM
HB 236
HB 236 Projected entitlement DEED 2.21.20.pdf HEDC 2/26/2020 8:00:00 AM
HB 236
HB 236 Sectional Analysis 2.21.20.pdf HEDC 2/26/2020 8:00:00 AM
HB 236
HB 236 Sponsor Statement 2.21.20.pdf HEDC 2/26/2020 8:00:00 AM
HB 236
HB 236.PDF HEDC 2/26/2020 8:00:00 AM
HB 236
HB 236 Email Testimony Received by 2.28.20.pdf HEDC 2/26/2020 8:00:00 AM
HB 236
HB236 Testimony Letters - Received by 2.28.20.pdf HEDC 2/26/2020 8:00:00 AM
HB 236
HB 236 Testimony AASB spreadsheet 3.2.20.pdf HEDC 2/26/2020 8:00:00 AM
HB 236