Legislature(2019 - 2020)DAVIS 106

03/26/2020 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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Audio Topic
08:07:07 AM Start
08:08:03 AM Confirmation Hearing(s)|| Board of Education & Early Development|| Professional Teaching Practices Commission|| University of Alaska Board of Regents
08:15:51 AM HB153
09:57:02 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Continued from 3/25/20 --
-- Teleconference <Listen Only> --
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
Professional Teaching Practices Commission -
Lem Wheeles
University of Alaska Board of Regents -
Cachet Garrett
Board of Education & Early Development -
Keith Hamilton, Lorri Van Diest
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 153 PRE-ELEMENTARY PROGRAMS/FUNDING TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 26, 2020                                                                                         
                           8:07 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Harriet Drummond, Co-Chair                                                                                       
Representative Andi Story, Co-Chair                                                                                             
Representative Grier Hopkins                                                                                                    
Representative Chris Tuck                                                                                                       
Representative Tiffany Zulkosky (via teleconference)                                                                            
Representative DeLena Johnson (via teleconference)                                                                              
Representative Mike Prax                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Tom Begich                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Board of Education & Early Development                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Keith Hamilton  Soldotna, Alaska                                                                                           
     Lorri van Diest  Palmer, Alaska                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Professional Teaching Practices Commission                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Lem Wheeles  Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
University of Alaska Board of Regents                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Cachet Garrett  Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 153                                                                                                              
"An Act relating  to early education programs  provided by school                                                               
districts; relating to funding for  early education programs; and                                                               
relating to the duties of the  state Board of Education and Early                                                               
Development."                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 153                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: PRE-ELEMENTARY PROGRAMS/FUNDING                                                                                    
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) DRUMMOND                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
05/07/19       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
05/07/19       (H)       EDC, FIN                                                                                               
03/09/20       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM DAVIS 106                                                                               
03/09/20       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/09/20       (H)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
03/11/20       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM DAVIS 106                                                                               
03/11/20       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/11/20       (H)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
03/14/20       (H)       EDC AT 1:00 PM DAVIS 106                                                                               
03/14/20       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/14/20       (H)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
03/25/20       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM DAVIS 106                                                                               
03/25/20       (H)       Scheduled but Not Heard                                                                                
03/26/20       (H)       EDC AT 8:00 AM DAVIS 106                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CACHET GARRETT, Student Regent Appointee                                                                                        
University of Alaska Board of Regents                                                                                           
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as student regent appointee to                                                                 
the University of Alaska Board of Regents.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
HEIDI TESHNER, Director                                                                                                         
Finance and Support Services Division                                                                                           
Department of Education and Early Development (DEED)                                                                            
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  During the hearing of HB 153, reviewed the                                                               
five fiscal notes accompanying the bill.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
LOKI TOBIN, Staff                                                                                                               
Senator Tom Begich                                                                                                              
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   During  the hearing  of  HB 153,  answered                                                             
questions and  provided a revised sectional  analysis for Version                                                               
U, the proposed committee substitute.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL JOHNSON, Ph.D., Commissioner                                                                                            
Department of Education and Early Development                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   During  the hearing  of  HB 153,  answered                                                             
questions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:07:07 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR   HARRIET  DRUMMOND   reconvened  the   House  Education                                                             
Standing  Committee  meeting  at  8:07 a.m.    [The  meeting  was                                                               
recessed on  3/25/20.]  Present  at the  call back to  order were                                                               
Representatives Johnson  (via teleconference),  Hopkins, Zulkosky                                                               
(via teleconference), Tuck, Story,  and Drummond.  Representative                                                               
Prax arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                                        
^Board of Education & Early Development                                                                                         
^Professional Teaching Practices Commission                                                                                     
^University of Alaska Board of Regents                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                    CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                 
             Board of Education & Early Development                                                                         
           Professional Teaching Practices Commission                                                                       
             University of Alaska Board of Regents                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:08:03 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND [announced  that the  first order  of business                                                               
would  be  continuation  of the  confirmation  hearings  for  the                                                               
governor's appointees  to the  state Board  of Education  & Early                                                               
Development, the Professional  Teaching Practices Commission, and                                                               
the University of Alaska Board of Regents.]                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND specified  that the  confirmation hearing  for                                                               
Keith Hammond and Lorri van  Diest, appointees to the state Board                                                               
of Education & Early Development, had been finished.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND said the confirmation  hearing for Lem Wheeles,                                                               
appointee to the Professional  Teaching Practices Commission, had                                                               
mostly been finished.  She  asked whether members had any further                                                               
questions of Mr. Wheeles.  She noted there were no questions.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  stated  that  the  committee  would  continue                                                               
hearing  from Cachet  Garrett, student  regent  appointee to  the                                                               
University of  Alaska Board of  Regents.  She offered  her belief                                                               
that Ms. Garrett had completed her testimony.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:08:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CACHET GARRETT,  Student Regent  Appointee, University  of Alaska                                                               
Board of Regents, confirmed she  had completed her testimony, but                                                               
said  she would  like to  add a  thought to  her testimony.   She                                                               
explained  that in  a  normal budget  year  she would  prioritize                                                               
supporting the  strong programs at  the University of  Alaska and                                                               
the student services that the  university offers in order to meet                                                               
the needs of the state.   In this current fiscal atmosphere those                                                               
priorities  do not  change, she  noted, but  working through  the                                                               
multitude of crises the university  faces at this time is exactly                                                               
what the board is doing.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:11:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR   STORY   said   the    committee   has   reviewed   the                                                               
qualifications  of  the governor's  appointees  to  the Board  of                                                               
Education   &  Early   Development  and   recommends  that   [the                                                               
nominations  of] Keith  Hamilton and  Lorri van  Diest should  be                                                               
forwarded   to  a   joint  session   of   the  legislature   [for                                                               
confirmation or  rejection].  She  stated that the  committee has                                                               
reviewed the  qualifications of the  governor's appointee  to the                                                               
Professional  Teaching Practices  Commission and  recommends that                                                               
[the nomination  of] Lem Wheeles  should be forwarded to  a joint                                                               
session of the legislature [for  confirmation or rejection].  She                                                               
further   stated   that   the    committee   has   reviewed   the                                                               
qualifications of  the governor's appointee to  the University of                                                               
Alaska Board of  Regents and recommends that  [the nomination of]                                                               
Cachet  Garret should  be forwarded  to  a joint  session of  the                                                               
legislature [for confirmation or  rejection].  She explained that                                                               
this does  not reflect intent by  any of the members  to vote for                                                               
or against these individuals during  any further sessions for the                                                               
purposes of confirmation.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:12:11 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 8:12 a.m. to 8:15 a.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
             HB 153-PRE-ELEMENTARY PROGRAMS/FUNDING                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:15:51 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  announced that  the  next  order of  business                                                               
would be HOUSE BILL NO. 153,  "An Act relating to early education                                                               
programs provided  by school districts;  relating to  funding for                                                               
early  education programs;  and  relating to  the  duties of  the                                                               
state Board  of Education  and Early  Development."   [Before the                                                               
committee was the proposed committee  substitute (CS) for HB 153,                                                               
Version  31-LS0928\U,  Caouette,  3/4/20, adopted  as  a  working                                                               
document during  the House  Education Standing  Committee meeting                                                               
on 3/9/20.]                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND stated  that  HB 153,  Version  U, The  Alaska                                                               
Reads Act, is  a large, complex bill.  She  reminded members that                                                               
the five  fiscal notes reviewed  at the bill's last  hearing were                                                               
draft notes  at that point.   She requested Ms. Heidi  Teshner to                                                               
re-address the fiscal notes starting from the beginning.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:17:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HEIDI TESHNER,  Director, Finance and Support  Services Division,                                                               
Department of  Education and Early Development  (DEED), began her                                                               
review of the five fiscal notes  for HB 153.  She first addressed                                                               
the fiscal note for the  Foundation Program, Office of Management                                                               
& Budget  (OMB) Component Number 141.   She pointed out  that the                                                               
Foundation  Program fiscal  note  and the  Public Education  Fund                                                               
fiscal note  go hand in  hand.  She  explained that no  costs are                                                               
seen in  the Foundation Program  fiscal note because  the funding                                                               
mechanism for the  Foundation Program is a  general fund transfer                                                               
from the Public Education Fund.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:18:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY  offered her understanding that  OMB Component 141                                                               
starts in fiscal year 2021 (FY 21).                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER  confirmed the Foundation Program  fiscal note starts                                                               
in  FY 21  but explained  that  the initial  cost underneath  the                                                               
Foundation Program and the Public  Education Fund doesn't come in                                                               
until FY  24.   She pointed  out that these  fiscal notes  do not                                                               
reflect  any  immediate  costs for  those  districts  that  could                                                               
qualify that  have an  existing pre-kindergarten  (pre-K) program                                                               
that could  go straight to the  state Board of Education  & Early                                                               
Development for approval once the standards are adopted.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:19:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER  resumed her review  of the  fiscal notes.   She drew                                                               
attention to the  fiscal note for the Public  Education Fund, OMB                                                               
Component  Number  2804,  and  said   it  relates  to  the  Early                                                               
Education Grant.  She stated  that after [districts] go through a                                                               
three-year  grant process  they would,  with approval,  then flow                                                               
into  the foundation  formula.   She explained  that the  average                                                               
cost  per  average  daily  membership  (ADM)  was  calculated  by                                                               
dividing the  total amount  of projected state  aid by  the total                                                               
number  of the  ADM.    Students would  be  funded  at half  time                                                               
through under the Foundation Program,  with an estimated cost per                                                               
student  of   $4,685.    [The  department]   assumed  that  those                                                               
[districts] starting  the three-year grant process  in 2021 would                                                               
get their  program approved  and would  flow into  the foundation                                                               
formula in  2024.  The  initial cost for  the initial group  is a                                                               
little over $1.7 million in FY 24.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:21:28 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  asked whether she is  correct in understanding                                                               
that [the  fiscal note] is moving  to the out years,  the section                                                               
on reading proficiency.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER  replied that  these grants  are the  early education                                                               
grants, so  these are for  four- and five-year-olds.   "The Pre-K                                                               
component  fiscal note  addresses those  three-year grants,"  she                                                               
said, "so  these are  those after  that three-year  grant process                                                               
and they've moved  into the formula, so just  the early education                                                               
grant portion of ... the bill."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  stated that the  grants would be  talked about                                                               
in another fiscal  note.  She inquired whether she  is correct in                                                               
understanding that  FY 24  is when those  first grant  groups are                                                               
incorporated into the  foundation formula and it will  be at half                                                               
an average cost per student.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER responded correct.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:22:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND requested  clarification on  why half  cost is                                                               
$4,685 since the base student allocation (BSA) is about $6,000.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER  answered that what  was looked  at was not  the BSA.                                                               
Drawing  attention  to  the  third   paragraph  of  the  analysis                                                               
section, she explained that the  calculation was done by dividing                                                               
the  projected FY  21 State  Aid  Entitlement of  just over  $1.2                                                               
billion by the projected FY 21  ADM of 128,923.91 to arrive at an                                                               
average  cost  per student  overall  of  $9,370, which  was  then                                                               
divided in half to arrive at $4,685.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND offered  her understanding  that that  average                                                               
cost is  based on  the adjusted ADM  according to  the foundation                                                               
formula, not on the actual ADM or number of bodies.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TESHNER replied  it is  not on  the adjusted,  it is  on the                                                               
total projected average daily membership;  so, it is being looked                                                               
at before going through all the adjustments.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  said  she is  somewhat  confused  because  it                                                               
sounds like  the BSA  has grown significantly  if this  number is                                                               
$9,370.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER  responded that  $9,370 is just  an average  cost per                                                               
student across  the state.   Responding further she  confirmed it                                                               
is the average cost for the  pre-K.  The average cost per student                                                               
is [$9,370],  she continued,  so half of  that student  is $4,685                                                               
and that  is for  the increase that  is going to  be seen  in the                                                               
foundation formula for those pre-K programs that get approved.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND asked why it is half.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER  answered that  the bill  states they  are to  be run                                                               
through as a half time.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND offered  her  understanding  that the  average                                                               
cost for pre-K is under the grant program.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TESHNER replied  that DEED  is using  the average  cost when                                                               
determining the  grant program cost,  which will be  reflected in                                                               
another fiscal note that will be  discussed.  But, for this case,                                                               
this  is just  what DEED  is estimating  for those  students once                                                               
they've gone through that grant program.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:26:03 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER  returned to  her review  of the  fiscal notes.   She                                                               
directed  attention to  the fiscal  note for  Student and  School                                                               
Achievement, OMB  Component Number 2796, which  reflects the cost                                                               
associated with  the school improvement  reading program  and the                                                               
comprehensive reading intervention program.   She said DEED would                                                               
provide direct  support and intervention to  districts and school                                                               
reading programs.   During year one, she explained, up  to 10 low                                                               
performing  districts would  each be  served directly  by reading                                                               
specialists employed  by the department,  and up to  20 districts                                                               
would be served in year two and  beyond.  In the initial year, FY                                                               
21,  there would  be 24  total position  control numbers  (PCNs),                                                               
with 20  reading specialists included  in that total.   Depending                                                               
on the  school size and  the need, there  would be either  one or                                                               
two reading specialists  assigned per school.   Ms. Teshner added                                                               
that  this fiscal  note also  reflects the  department chargeback                                                               
cost of $9,600  per person, one-time cost of  $5,000 for supplies                                                               
and  equipment per  person, and  an additional  one-time cost  of                                                               
$6,000  for   legal  services  associated  with   developing  the                                                               
regulations around the school improvement reading program.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER  stated the final  cost associated with  this reading                                                               
program  is the  purchase of  supplemental reading  textbooks and                                                               
materials  for school  districts,  which DEED  won't purchase  if                                                               
they aren't  needed.  To  correct what  she stated in  a previous                                                               
meeting, she said  that the cost per student when  adopting a new                                                               
reading  curriculum is  $250.   At approximately  10,000 students                                                               
per grade  level in  Alaska schools,  there would  be a  total of                                                               
40,000 students  in kindergarten through  third grade (K-3).   In                                                               
the  2019-2020 school  year, 391  schools served  K-3.   Dividing                                                               
40,000  students  by 391  schools  equals  102 K-3  students  per                                                               
school  on average.    Ten  schools times  102  K-3 students  per                                                               
school times  $250/student comes  to a cost  of $255,000  for the                                                               
supplemental reading textbooks and materials.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:29:11 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  recalled there  was confusion here  during the                                                               
last  meeting as  to  whether  it was  thousands  or hundreds  of                                                               
dollars.  She drew attention to  the last page of the fiscal note                                                               
and  the  line  for  commodities,   and  said  she  assumes  that                                                               
commodities are the supplies and  materials to the schools, which                                                               
ordinarily is  done by the schools  or the school district.   She                                                               
asked whether she  is correct in understanding that  in this case                                                               
it is being done by the department.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER replied yes, it's  to provide additional supplemental                                                               
materials to help.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND offered  her  understanding  that the  reading                                                               
specialists are hired  and directed by the department  and at the                                                               
start they will  be sent to the 10 lowest  performing schools and                                                               
the travel costs will be covered by the department.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER responded correct.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:30:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STORY  offered  her   understanding  that  ideally  the                                                               
reading specialists would be hired  from and living in the school                                                               
community.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER answered yes; it would  be ideal if somebody could be                                                               
found  in a  community  where  one of  the  starting schools  was                                                               
identified.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:31:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PRAX  brought attention to  page 3 of  fiscal note                                                               
2796 and asked  whether specialists would be hired  per school or                                                               
per school district.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER  replied that  ideally the  department would  like to                                                               
have one  or two reading specialists  that are in that  school in                                                               
that  district providing  the services  directly  to the  student                                                               
alongside all the teachers in that school and district.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PRAX  stated the numbers don't  appear to increase                                                               
proportionately.   He  said it  seems the  numbers would  have to                                                               
increase roughly the  same amount every year given  the number of                                                               
schools is increasing over the years.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER responded that the  fiscal note reflects hiring up to                                                               
20  reading specialists  in FY  21 and  then adding  5 additional                                                               
reading specialists  each year through  2025 to get to  a maximum                                                               
of 40 reading specialists that  would be serving the students and                                                               
districts each year.   The department only intends to  hire up to                                                               
40 reading specialists  to help implement this  program and serve                                                               
the students.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:34:28 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS observed under  personnel services that 20                                                               
reading specialists  would be hired the  first year at a  cost of                                                               
$2,680,000.   He offered his  hope that  they would be  people in                                                               
the  community  who are  familiar  with  the school  and  trusted                                                               
advisors  there.   He  inquired whether  the  20 initial  reading                                                               
specialists on up  to 40 reading specialists in the  end would be                                                               
school district employees or department employees.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER answered that they would be department employees.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS  asked  whether the  reading  specialists                                                               
would be dedicated  to that specific school for the  life of that                                                               
reading program or whether they would also go to other schools.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER replied  that they would be dedicated  to that school                                                               
and helping that school get through this process.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  inquired whether the  reading specialists                                                               
would hop around within a district or would stay at a school.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER deferred to Loki Tobin to answer the question.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:36:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LOKI TOBIN, Staff, Senator Tom  Begich, Alaska State Legislature,                                                               
responded that  this school improvement  program is  dependent on                                                               
the district to  apply for that support,  however that individual                                                               
will  be dedicated  to the  school  that is  most in  need.   The                                                               
district  can choose  to utilize  that person's  services however                                                               
the district  requests, but particularly that  person is assigned                                                               
to  the  lowest performing  school  within  that district.    The                                                               
[reading specialist]  will be  a DEED  employee and  the district                                                               
has the purview to utilize  the specialist in whatever fashion it                                                               
chooses, but  [the specialist's]  focus will  be on  that school.                                                               
Responding further  to Representative  Hopkins, she  confirmed it                                                               
would be one person per district.   She pointed out that there is                                                               
additional language  in the  bill that  allows for  an additional                                                               
support person in case that individual needs additional support.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:37:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS   offered  his  understanding   that  the                                                               
$355,000 for  commodities is for  the supplemental  material that                                                               
would be purchased for the school district.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TOBIN  answered  that  language   in  the  bill  allows  for                                                               
supplemental  materials  if the  school  district  so chooses  to                                                               
utilize them.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  asked whether  districts get  other funds                                                               
to  help purchase  new reading  material before  the supplemental                                                               
material  comes for  them.   For example,  he continued,  whether                                                               
there is  still local  opportunity to  utilize funds  to purchase                                                               
material  the district  feels  most effective,  such  as a  rural                                                               
school district to develop  culturally relevant curriculum versus                                                               
the supplemental  material that will go  to Fairbanks, Anchorage,                                                               
and Juneau as well.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TOBIN replied  she doesn't  know the  dollar amount  for any                                                               
sort of  additional supplemental  materials that are  specific to                                                               
creating curriculum.   She deferred to Ms. Teshner  to provide an                                                               
answer.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:38:30 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS  asked  Ms.   Teshner  whether  there  is                                                               
funding for original  reading material for the  lowest 10 percent                                                               
performing  school districts  to purchase  and develop  their own                                                               
culturally relevant  curriculum or whether there  is only funding                                                               
for reading improvement curriculum  supplemental material that is                                                               
identical statewide.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TESHNER  responded that  the  only  funds included  [in  the                                                               
fiscal  notes] are  for  supplemental materials.    She said  the                                                               
department  would  hope  that  the  districts  already  have  the                                                               
reading curriculum on site.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:39:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND drew  attention to  the fiscal  note for  Pre-                                                               
Kindergarten Grants,  OMB Component  Number 3028, and  noted that                                                               
this first year  is targeted at approximately 368  students.  She                                                               
said the point is to be focused and intense.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:39:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PRAX posited that rural  districts only have a few                                                               
schools  per district,  while the  Anchorage district  might have                                                               
100 schools  and Fairbanks several dozen.   He said the  way this                                                               
is  structured  is  confusing  but   what  matters  is  that  the                                                               
department has  it figured out  and has addressed the  problem of                                                               
it not working out the same  per district, it's going to work out                                                               
more per  school.  For  example, he  continued, there might  be a                                                               
couple  hundred  students  in  grades  one  through  three  in  a                                                               
Fairbanks school  district as opposed to  only four or five  in a                                                               
rural school  district, so  a rural school  should be  figured on                                                               
the per student.  He allowed he is stumbling here.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND agreed  that this  is "hard  to get  your arms                                                               
around."  While she would like  for every one of the K-3 students                                                               
to be  addressed all at once,  she said there isn't  the capacity                                                               
to do that.  The department  is going to have trouble hiring that                                                               
many reading specialists and specialists  will be hard to find in                                                               
small rural communities.  The goal  is to work with each district                                                               
and  ensure  that they  have  the  appropriate assistance.    She                                                               
requested Ms. Tobin to address this.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN  clarified that the  early education grant  program and                                                               
the school  improvement program are  two separate programs.   The                                                               
early  education grant  program will  be serving  100 percent  of                                                               
districts, she  explained, which  is represented in  fiscal notes                                                               
OMB 141,  3028, and  2804.  The  school improvement  program will                                                               
not be  serving 100 percent  of districts;  it is focused  on the                                                               
lowest  performing 10  percent of  districts.   The program  that                                                               
talks about  the reading specialists  is focused on  those lowest                                                               
performing school districts and  those do not necessarily include                                                               
"the  big five"    Anchorage,  Juneau, and  the Matanuska-Susitna                                                               
(Mat-Su) Valley.   She  pointed out  that rural  school districts                                                               
are very large in their service  areas - the Bering Strait School                                                               
District has something like 60 schools within its purview.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:43:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND noted that in five  or six years it will expand                                                               
to include "the big five."                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN replied correct.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND said it is  starting with the lowest performing                                                               
10 schools  in the state and  there are just over  500 schools in                                                               
the  state.   It starts  too slowly,  she opined,  but the  state                                                               
cannot afford to do them all  at once.  The early education piece                                                               
will be  giving all those four-year-olds  a leg up and  help them                                                               
get started early, which is good.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PRAX stated that he will  let this go for now, but                                                               
that he will  perhaps talk to the department more  about the cash                                                               
demands and being more flexible than what he sees right now.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:44:21 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER continued  her review of the fiscal  note for Student                                                               
and School Achievement, OMB Component  Number 2796.  She moved to                                                               
the  portion of  the  fiscal note  related  to the  comprehensive                                                               
reading  intervention program.    She explained  that DEED  would                                                               
manage and  operate this program  and provide direct  support and                                                               
training  for  all K-3  teachers  on  the  use of  the  statewide                                                               
screening and  assessment tool.   Staff needed to  accomplish and                                                               
provide  support for  this program  would  include one  education                                                               
administrator,  two  education  specialists,  and  one  education                                                               
associate.    The  salary  and  benefits  costs  for  those  four                                                               
positions are in  the fiscal note, she said, and  staff will also                                                               
be required to participate and  present at statewide professional                                                               
development conferences  and provide  direct support  to district                                                               
staff  concerning the  statewide  screening  or assessment  tool.                                                               
Within  this there  is a  travel  budget of  $3,000 annually,  so                                                               
$1,000 per  trip for  three of  the positions.   In  addition are                                                               
department chargeback costs  of $9,600 per person  and a one-time                                                               
cost of $5,000 per person for supplies and equipment.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER  related that the comprehensive  reading intervention                                                               
program would also  require the adoption and  administration of a                                                               
statewide screening or assessment  tool to help identify students                                                               
in K-3 with  reading deficiencies.  With about  4,000 students in                                                               
K-3,  the  statewide screener  would  cost  approximately $8  per                                                               
student, resulting  in an annual  cost of $320,000.   Lastly, she                                                               
said, the program includes grants  for one staff member from each                                                               
of  the  53  districts  to attend  the  statewide  screening  and                                                               
assessment  tool training,  so  at $1,000  per  person the  total                                                               
estimated cost is $53,000.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER stated that, overall, the  estimated cost in FY 21 is                                                               
$4,221,700   to  begin   implementation   of   both  the   school                                                               
improvement  reading   program  and  the   comprehensive  reading                                                               
intervention program.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:47:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND surmised the  statewide screening or assessment                                                               
tool training could be done  remotely given [the current COVID-19                                                               
pandemic].                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TESHNER replied  correct.    She added  that  DEED would  do                                                               
everything  it  could to  provide  remote  training as  often  as                                                               
possible to support districts.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:48:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER drew attention to  the fiscal note for Early Learning                                                               
Coordination,  OMB Component  Number  2912.   She explained  that                                                               
this fiscal note goes back  to the early education grant program.                                                               
It  shows   the  costs  associated  with   operating  that  early                                                               
education grant  program as  well as  providing the  training and                                                               
support to grantees.  It is  estimated that this will require two                                                               
education specialists and one education  associate to operate the                                                               
program and  provide the  training and support.   In  addition to                                                               
the salary  and benefits  for these three  positions, there  is a                                                               
department chargeback  cost of $9,600  per position  and one-time                                                               
cost of  $5,000 per position  for [supplies] and equipment.   She                                                               
further noted  that since  the state Board  of Education  & Early                                                               
Development will  need to adopt the  standards through regulation                                                               
there is an additional one-time  cost of $6,000 reflected for the                                                               
legal services associated with developing the regulations.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:49:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND asked  if she is correct  in understanding that                                                               
these early  education staffers will  be department  staffers and                                                               
they will be working with  early childhood educators in districts                                                               
around the state.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER confirmed these will be  DEED staff and they will run                                                               
that grant program and provide the support to districts.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  inquired whether the early  education programs                                                               
are currently funded  by the districts themselves  or through the                                                               
grant program.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER answered that it is  a mixture.  Currently, a handful                                                               
of districts  get a pre-kindergarten  grant from  the department,                                                               
and a number of [districts] use  their own funds or federal funds                                                               
that they received to run their pre-kindergarten programs.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:50:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS inquired  about the  number of  positions                                                               
that would be hired as DEED employees.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER  replied there would  be three staff members  to help                                                               
run these programs.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  asked whether  these three  staff members                                                               
would be for the initial ten districts.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TESHNER responded  no, this  is  not related  to the  lowest                                                               
performing,  which is  the school  improvement program.   Rather,                                                               
this  is  to  spear  up  the early  education  grant  program,  a                                                               
comprehensive  program across  the state.   It  is voluntary  and                                                               
districts don't have to do it, but  if they want to get a program                                                               
that  is approved  by the  department, then  they can  go through                                                               
this early education grant program.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:51:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER  resumed her review of  the fiscal notes for  HB 153.                                                               
The  fiscal  note  for  Pre-Kindergarten  Grants,  OMB  Component                                                               
Number 3028, she explained, shows  the costs associated with just                                                               
the early  education grant  program.  Page  3 provides  a funding                                                               
breakdown by fiscal year for this three-year grant.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:52:23 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  observed that the cost  of this pre-elementary                                                               
program in the  first year is approximately $1.7  million and the                                                               
operating  budget is  $4.3 million.    She asked  whether she  is                                                               
correct in  thinking that the  cost is  $6 million for  the pre-K                                                               
programs  statewide because  the  $1.7 million  and $4.3  million                                                               
total $6 million.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER  answered that there is  money in the budget  for the                                                               
pre-K programs  and that  is expected  to continue.   This  is an                                                               
addition to  that.   The $1.7 million  in FY 21  is just  for the                                                               
lowest 10 percent  of districts that could go  through this grant                                                               
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  offered her understanding that  the lowest ten                                                               
percent  of districts  correlates  to approximately  five or  six                                                               
districts, not the lowest ten schools.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER replied correct.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  asked whether she is  correct in understanding                                                               
that this  is new  money for new  pre-school programs  where they                                                               
don't already exist  to cover, on a voluntary  basis, every four-                                                               
year-old.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER responded  that there could be a  potential that they                                                               
have a grant program, but their  grant program might not meet the                                                               
standards that  are going  to be  adopted by  the state  Board of                                                               
Education  & Early  Development.   So, she  explained, this  will                                                               
allow  the districts  to build  up those  grant programs  to meet                                                               
those  standards so  that  they could  have  that program  moving                                                               
forward  and   then  those  students   could  flow   through  the                                                               
foundation formula.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND inquired  about the point at  which those funds                                                               
are incorporated into the foundation.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER answered  that she will discuss page 3  of the fiscal                                                               
note to  outline how it lays  out and explain how  the funds flow                                                               
into foundation.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:54:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TESHNER continued  her review  of the  fiscal note  for Pre-                                                               
Kindergarten Grants,  OMB Component  Number 3028.   She explained                                                               
that Table  1 on page 3  calculates an estimate of  the number of                                                               
students that  could be  served by this  legislation.   There are                                                               
approximately 10,000  four-year-old cohorts, she said.   Removing                                                               
the students  who are  already served by  pre-K programs  or Head                                                               
Start results in  3,675 students that could be served  by HB 153,                                                               
a participation rate of 88.45.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER turned  to Table 2 on  page 3 that shows  how each of                                                               
the six district cohorts would be  added each fiscal year.  Based                                                               
on  the bill,  she explained,  in FY  21 the  first cohort  to go                                                               
through would  be the lowest 10  percent.  The lowest  10 percent                                                               
of districts  could apply  during that first  year and  then they                                                               
would  go  through their  three-year  grant  cycle.   By  FY  24,                                                               
assuming their  grant program is  approved, they would  flow into                                                               
the foundation  formula.   In FY 22  the second  district cohort,                                                               
the second lowest  15 percent, would be addressed;  next would be                                                               
the third lowest  15 percent [in FY 23]; next  would be the third                                                               
highest  20  percent [in  FY  24];  then  the second  highest  20                                                               
percent  [in FY  25];  and last  [in  FY 26]  is  the highest  20                                                               
percent of  all six  district cohorts that  can apply  for grants                                                               
through the three-year early education grant.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER said Table 3 on  page 3 shows, by year, which cohorts                                                               
would be  flowing through the  grant cycle.   At any  given time,                                                               
there would be up to three  cohorts going through each year until                                                               
all have phased out by FY 28.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER related  that Table 4 on page 3  shows those students                                                               
after  they've gone  through the  three-year  grant program,  the                                                               
number of students that would flow into the foundation formula.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER  addressed the chart  at the bottom  of page 3.   She                                                               
said the  top part is  the three-year  grant and the  colors show                                                               
each of the  cohorts and how they would flow  through and then go                                                               
into the foundation  formula.  It's estimated that by  FY 29, the                                                               
foundation program would increase by  about $17.2 million and the                                                               
total grant program would be about $51.6 million.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:57:28 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND inquired  whether the  foundation formula  and                                                               
the grant program would be operating simultaneously.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER replied yes.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND asked  when the  grants are  incorporated into                                                               
the foundation formula, the $51.6 million.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER responded  that the $51.6 million is  just the three-                                                               
year  grant program  itself, which  is reflected  in fiscal  note                                                               
3028.   Once they've  gone through  the three  years, or  if they                                                               
need  an additional  year  because they're  not  ready, and  once                                                               
they've been  approved by  the state Board  of Education  & Early                                                               
Development, they can flow into the foundation formula.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  asked whether she is  correct in understanding                                                               
that  the $51.6  million grant  will  eventually go  away as  the                                                               
early  childhood programs  are incorporated  into the  foundation                                                               
formula.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TESHNER  answered that's  correct,  the  program sunsets  in                                                               
2031.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  stated she thinks it  would be good to  run it                                                               
out to 2031  so it can be seen when  the grant program disappears                                                               
and when  it becomes  fully funded through  the foundation.   She                                                               
asked whether she is correct  in understanding that it is cheaper                                                               
to fund it through the foundation.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER replied correct.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:59:37 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS observed  on Table  1 that  the estimated                                                               
number  of students  who are  going to  be moved  into the  early                                                               
education grant  program, which  would be  the current  number of                                                               
pre-K students in  current programs, is 3,590.   He asked whether                                                               
he is correct in understanding  that the estimated cost for those                                                               
current students  being incorporated into the  foundation formula                                                               
at  half cost  would  be calculated  by  multiplying 3,590  times                                                               
$4,685.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER responded  that that is a good estimate.   She stated                                                               
that  by taking  the current  number being  served, and  assuming                                                               
those  programs  meet  the  standards,  then  that  could  be  an                                                               
immediate cost to the program.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:01:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND observed  on Table  1 that  eventually [88.45]                                                               
percent of four-year-olds  will be served.   She inquired whether                                                               
the  department surveys  private preschool  programs in  order to                                                               
get  a handle  on how  many students  are out  there, given  that                                                               
ultimately most  of those students  will enter the  public school                                                               
system.    She  stated  that  in terms  of  the  quality  of  the                                                               
programs,  she  wants  to  ensure  that  all  kids  have  similar                                                               
opportunities by the time they are ready to enter kindergarten.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER  answered that  the department  looks at  all cohorts                                                               
across  the  K-12  system  and   they  are  approximately  10,000                                                               
students.  "So,"  she continued, "knowing that  what we currently                                                               
serve as pre-K  or kindergarten students in the  reports that are                                                               
listed  on  the  department's  website, they  may  not  currently                                                               
reflect ... the private school pre-K,  but then if they flow into                                                               
the public system they would be  reflected in out years, so we're                                                               
still  kind of  including  them through  that approximate  10,000                                                               
students per cohort."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:02:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY  asked how  this envisions  working with  the Head                                                               
Start programs in Alaska's communities.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER  replied that  the bill  only addresses  the district                                                               
operated  early  education  grant  programs.   She  related  that                                                               
Senator Begich's office has had  numerous conversations with Head                                                               
Start programs specifically, but this  one is only addressing the                                                               
programs the districts are operating.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND observed on Table  1 that there are about 1,600                                                               
Head Start students.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. TESHNER answered that's correct.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN  stated that Senator  Begich's office has  had numerous                                                               
conversations  with Head  Start programs  and the  bill has  been                                                               
crafted with their  insight.  She said the  senator's office also                                                               
has  two memorandums  regarding how  this bill  holds Head  Start                                                               
harmless.   The goal was  to ensure that those  programs continue                                                               
to offer  their high-quality programming  for students  three and                                                               
four years of age, and this  really focuses on high quality pre-K                                                               
service, which is age four.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND confirmed  that  that's Head  Start and  early                                                               
Head Start is the three-year-olds.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:04:21 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PRAX  stated   that  existing  private  preschool                                                               
programs is an interesting point.   He recalled a hearing where a                                                               
couple  of   preschool  operators   were  concerned   about  this                                                               
program's impact on  their service.  He asked  whether anyone has                                                               
consulted with private preschools to get  an idea of how they are                                                               
going about  it, how  this impacts them,  and whether  they could                                                               
participate in this somehow.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  responded that  most of those  testifying were                                                               
daycare  programs and  they talked  about the  impact.   She said                                                               
those are much  younger kids.  Only  three-year-olds, Head Start,                                                               
and early Head Start are being  talked about and there aren't too                                                               
many.  She  asked whether it is correct that  the figure of 1,580                                                               
students on Table 1 depicts four-year-olds.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN nodded.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND continued  and stated it could  be assumed that                                                               
the  number of  three-year-olds is  equivalent.   She noted  that                                                               
districts also  operate special education programs  that start at                                                               
the age of three for students  who are identified.  She said this                                                               
is not  going to impact  infant care  or toddler care;  these are                                                               
kids  that are  potty  trained, and  their  parents are  thinking                                                               
about preparing  them for school.   There is an  extreme shortage                                                               
of  childcare  slots,   she  added,  but  that   is  a  different                                                               
discussion than this  bill.  She related  her previous experience                                                               
when  the Anchorage  School District  annually  surveyed all  the                                                               
private  K-12 schools  in  the Anchorage  area  and queried  them                                                               
about their  populations so it  would be  known how many  kids in                                                               
Anchorage were  going to public  schools and how many  were going                                                               
to private  schools.  That  was a  long time ago,  she continued,                                                               
and  now there's  a  lot  more home  schooling  going on  through                                                               
families  and   through  charter  schools  operating   from  many                                                               
locations in  the state,  and that's  harder to  look at.   Early                                                               
care is a different conversation than  what is being had for this                                                               
bill, she advised.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN  pointed out that  HB 153 is about  universal voluntary                                                               
preschool.   If an  individual wants  to put  their child  into a                                                               
private  preschool  program  the   bill  still  allows  for  that                                                               
opportunity.   This  bill  simply focuses  on  offering pre-K  to                                                               
everyone  regardless  of  socio-economic status  and  focuses  on                                                               
school readiness.   It's trying  to address  those four-year-olds                                                               
who  don't  know how  to  sit  and stand  in  line,  or who  need                                                               
assistance  in learning  their  colors or  numbers,  or who  need                                                               
preparation to read.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:07:52 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY stated she isn't  quite sure how the programs work                                                               
together with Head  Start.  She noted that  facilities are shared                                                               
in  many  of the  districts  and  that  there are  nice  linkages                                                               
between Head  Start and those  kids flowing naturally  into their                                                               
school  districts.   There are  memorandums of  agreement on  how                                                               
things are used  jointly, and the committee  and Senator Begich's                                                               
office have heard  from Head Start providers.   She asked whether                                                               
Senator  Begich's office  has talked  about  how to  have a  good                                                               
partnership working  together and has thought  about a memorandum                                                               
of agreement.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN  answered that the conversations  between the senator's                                                               
office  and Head  Start  programs were  related  to a  particular                                                               
provision on page  11 of the bill that  talks about accommodating                                                               
and working  with existing programs regardless  of socio-economic                                                               
status.   There has been some  insight that that might  not be as                                                               
clear as  intended in bill language,  she related.  The  focus is                                                               
about  working  with existing  programs  that  service three-  to                                                               
five-year-olds in their communities, so  a look is being taken at                                                               
tightening that  up to  ensure that  that is  the intent  in that                                                               
line at the very bottom of page 11.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN said the senator  has heard from several districts that                                                               
offer  Head  Start  and  pre-K  programs  to  their  students  at                                                               
different  points  during  the   day  and  potentially  different                                                               
facilities  within   their  district.    Nothing   in  this  bill                                                               
precludes someone or  a district from offering  that, she stated.                                                               
It would be  allowed within the bill to have  Head Start students                                                               
in the  morning in one  space and  then have those  same students                                                               
roll  into a  pre-K program  that  is offered  in the  afternoon.                                                               
However, the bill  prohibits double dipping    students cannot be                                                               
enrolled in a pre-K program and  enrolled in a Head Start program                                                               
at  the  same time;  federal  funds  and  state funds  cannot  be                                                               
received for the same student at the same point in time.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STORY asked  which line  on  page 11  the provision  is                                                               
located.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN  replied that it is  line 29, [subparagraph] (D).   She                                                               
reiterated  that  the intent  is  for  that  to be  working  with                                                               
existing programs.  Because it  may not be the cleanest language,                                                               
a look is  being taken at amending it and  suggestions for how to                                                               
amend that language would be entertained.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY said she would look at that.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:10:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND asked whether Head  Start programs are full day                                                               
or half day.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN  responded that she doesn't  know and will get  back to                                                               
the committee with an answer.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  pointed out that  this is looking  at half-day                                                               
programs and said  it is going to continue to  create issues with                                                               
childcare.   She added  that it  is looking  ahead and  after the                                                               
COVID-19 virus pandemic.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN  pointed out that  the bill  does allow for  a full-day                                                               
pre-K program, but it doesn't fund a full-day pre-K program.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND surmised  the districts  could do  that within                                                               
their own abilities.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN answered that's correct.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:11:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TESHNER, in  response to  Co-Chair Drummond,  confirmed that                                                               
she had completed her review of all five fiscal notes.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:12:07 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 9:12 a.m. to 9:16 a.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:16:05 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND brought  attention  to  the amended  sectional                                                               
analysis within the  committee packet titled, "CS  HB 153: Alaska                                                               
Reads  Act,  Sectional  Analysis,  CS for  House  Bill  153(EDU),                                                               
Version:  31-LS0928\U."   She turned  to Ms.  Tobin to  provide a                                                               
review of the amended analysis.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN  explained that the amended  sectional analysis expands                                                               
specific sections to give more  clarity and in-depth information.                                                               
She said Section  1 establishes the Act as the  Alaska Reads Act.                                                               
She  noted that  Section 2  amends AS  14.03.060(e) to  include a                                                               
Department  of Education  and Early  Development (DEED)  approved                                                               
early  education program,  including Head  Start, as  part of  an                                                               
elementary school.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STORY recalled  Ms. Tobin's  comment about  Head Start.                                                               
She suggested that [Section 2] might  also be a place if she were                                                               
going to make  an amendment to include a  memorandum of agreement                                                               
with the Head Start agency or  some language, as it would seem to                                                               
make sense to have it here.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:17:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN resumed  her review of the  amended sectional analysis.                                                               
She  said Section  3 amends  AS 14.03.072(a)  to include  reading                                                               
intervention services in addition  to intervention strategies for                                                               
early literacy.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:18:03 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY  stated she is  asking questions as  the committee                                                               
goes along because it will  help members to understand the Alaska                                                               
Reads Act and what it hopes  to accomplish.  Of great importance,                                                               
she said, is that Alaska's  core reading program instruction be a                                                               
scientific evidence-based program.   That's the tier one program,                                                               
then it moves  into tier two for the interventions.   It is known                                                               
that most of  Alaska's students are not reading  or proficient at                                                               
the end  of third grade,  she opined.   Alaska cannot  have 50-60                                                               
percent  of  its students  in  intervention  programs, so  it  is                                                               
critical to support the core programs.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY  suggested that  here or  somewhere in  the Alaska                                                               
Reads Act must include talk  about the importance of core reading                                                               
programs.   She urged the  committee to  think about this  and to                                                               
hear  from the  commissioner and  Senator Begich  about where  to                                                               
state in  the bill that  each district  will provide to  DEED the                                                               
scientific evidence-based  core reading instruction  program they                                                               
are  using  and their  reading  instruction  practices in  formal                                                               
assessments and  curriculum so that  there is a baseline  of what                                                               
is being done  in early reading programs across the  state.  As a                                                               
policy maker,  she said she wants  to know that every  one of the                                                               
state's districts  is using  a scientific  evidence-based reading                                                               
program.   Once it is  known what  that is, the  department would                                                               
work in partnership  with a district to analyze  its core reading                                                               
program and  then that  analysis would be  shared with  the local                                                               
school board members and the community,  so they know they have a                                                               
good solid  core reading program.   As  part of that,  DEED would                                                               
provide  access  to  supportive  intensive  teacher  training  in                                                               
scientific  evidence-based reading.   She  said she  wants to  be                                                               
assured that in  doing a state reading act that  "we know we have                                                               
got these programs and how do we know."                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:21:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STORY  drew attention  to  Section  3, subsection  (a),                                                               
which states that each school  district shall annually provide to                                                               
parents  and  guardians  of  students  enrolled  in  kindergarten                                                               
through  grade three  in a  public  school in  the state  current                                                               
information on  the importance  of reading.   She  suggested that                                                               
paragraph (4) be moved up  to be paragraph (1) because strategies                                                               
and resources to help children learn  to read should be the first                                                               
things given  to parents.   She suggested  paragraph (2)  stay as                                                               
(2), and  paragraph (1) be  moved to  become paragraph (3).   She                                                               
urged  that the  language  in  lines 19-20  be  changed to  read:                                                               
grade  proficiency  standards  and policies  for  the  elementary                                                               
school  attended, including  retention.   This way  parents would                                                               
know what they  are aiming for, for their students.   This is the                                                               
Alaska Reads Act,  she opined, and "we want to  know our programs                                                               
are delivering core great  reading instruction, scientific based,                                                               
and that  we want our  parents to  know ... those  strategies and                                                               
resources  that  we  have,  we   want  them  to  know  the  grade                                                               
proficiency standards, so they know what they're aiming for."                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:22:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  asked whether  Co-Chair Story  is suggesting                                                               
that Section 3 or Section 4 be amended.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STORY replied  Section 3.   She  said the  provision in                                                               
subsection (a)  would stay  the same  regarding that  each school                                                               
district  shall annually  provide  information to  parents.   She                                                               
suggested  adding [subsection]  (b), which  would stipulate  that                                                               
each  district  shall  annually provide  to  the  department  the                                                               
scientific evidenced-based core  reading intervention instruction                                                               
program they  are using,  their reading  instructional practices,                                                               
formal assessment practices,  and curriculum materials, including                                                               
each district's  culturally relevant place-based materials.   She                                                               
stated  that while  there is  this formal  reading program,  it's                                                               
also important  that the local programs  have culturally relevant                                                               
materials, and  that DEED knows  what those are.   Co-Chair Story                                                               
further suggested  adding [subsection]  (c), which  would provide                                                               
that  the department  in partnership  with [each]  district shall                                                               
analyze their  core reading programs  and the analysis  should be                                                               
shared with their  school board and their community.   She lastly                                                               
suggested  adding [subsection]  (d),  which would  be to  provide                                                               
intensive  teacher  training  and   support  for  the  scientific                                                               
evidence-based  program.    She  offered  her  belief  that  many                                                               
districts  are doing  this, but  she  would like  the comfort  of                                                               
knowing  that.   What  follows  is  going into  the  intervention                                                               
programs,  but  it's important  to  know  what the  core  reading                                                               
programs are and that they are scientific based.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:24:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK noted  that  Section 3  provides for  annual                                                               
reports  to  parents and  guardians  of  students and  Section  4                                                               
provides  for  [annual] reports  to  the  legislature.   He  said                                                               
therefore  he is  asking  which of  these  two sections  Co-Chair                                                               
Story wants  to put  her suggestions.   He said  he thinks  it is                                                               
more important for the legislature  to know this information than                                                               
to  provide  it  to  parents.    Parents  should  understand  the                                                               
strategies and resources  to help children learn to read.   It is                                                               
also important for  parents to know when they may  want to retain                                                               
a child since it  is a parental choice.  He said  he is fine with                                                               
Co-Chair Story's  suggestions, but  it may  be more  important to                                                               
have them in Section 4.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY responded she would be fine with that.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND surmised Co-Chair Story  is going to propose an                                                               
amendment at some point.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY answered affirmatively.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:25:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND agreed  the legislature needs to  know what the                                                               
state's school districts are currently  doing and she is going to                                                               
assume that the department is  going to assess what the districts                                                               
are doing.   She  said some districts  have embarked  on improved                                                               
reading  programs  in the  last  several  years and  are  already                                                               
showing results.   This program  may not  need to be  provided to                                                               
every  single  district since  they  are  coming along,  but  the                                                               
legislature does need to know what they are doing.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STORY related  she had  a brief  conversation with  the                                                               
commissioner about  her concern, and  he said he would  give some                                                               
thought for where that information should  be.  She said it seems                                                               
natural to have it at the beginning of the Act.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND invited the commissioner to testify.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:27:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL  JOHNSON, Ph.D.,  Commissioner,  Department of  Education                                                               
and  Early Development,  offered  his appreciation  for the  idea                                                               
that Co-Chair  Story and Representative  Tuck proposed.   He said                                                               
he thinks  information is transparency  and transparency  is good                                                               
for  kids.     He  stated  that  collecting   and  reporting  and                                                               
supporting   districts  with   the  materials,   curriculum,  and                                                               
teaching strategies  they are using and  further harmonizing that                                                               
with what is in the bill  in terms of evidence-based reading is a                                                               
great idea.  He  said he is happy to work  with the committee and                                                               
Senator Begich on that idea.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:27:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK asked whether  the term is "scientific-based"                                                               
or "evidence-based."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON replied it  is evidence-based.  He explained                                                               
that most people are referring to  the same thing and that is the                                                               
five components of  reading that were talked about  before in the                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK asked whether  he is correct in understanding                                                               
that that is spelled out later in the bill.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON responded correct.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  suggested the committee go  through the bill                                                               
to see  where everything  is placed and  then discuss  whether to                                                               
rearrange the locations of the provisions.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:28:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN resumed  her review of the  revised sectional analysis.                                                               
She said Section  4 amends AS 14.03.078(a) which  directs DEED to                                                               
include  information collected  under  AS  14.03.120, Parents  as                                                               
Teachers, and AS 14.30-760    14.30.775, the Alaska Reads Act, in                                                               
their annual report to the legislature.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN stated Section 5  amends Alaska statute by changing the                                                               
date a student is eligible  to enter kindergarten and establishes                                                               
a waiver process for eligibility.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:29:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY  inquired whether she is  correct in understanding                                                               
that the date has gone back to September 1.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TOBIN  replied she  is  unsure  what  the rules  are  around                                                               
speaking  to   a  potential   committee  substitute   in  another                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  related  she  has  heard  a  conversation  on                                                               
whether to keep the September  1 kindergarten entry age or change                                                               
it to June 1.  She said it  makes a big difference for some kids.                                                               
She  instructed that  it be  noted for  the committee  to discuss                                                               
this.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK pointed out  there is already opportunity for                                                               
parents to opt out their children  from this.  He asked about the                                                               
number of children and what the  difference is between June 1 and                                                               
September 1.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN responded that the  exact number of students that would                                                               
be impacted is not  known, but it is known that  as of October 1,                                                               
2019, eight students out of  the approximately 10,000 students in                                                               
kindergarten were below the age of five.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND surmised  that those kids would  have gotten an                                                               
exemption to enter that early.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN answered that's correct.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND stated  that a  June 1  entry date  allows for                                                               
children to be  more mature by the time  they enter kindergarten.                                                               
But,  she noted,  there  is variation  of opinion  on  this.   In                                                               
working  on the  early childhood  part and  making sure  kids are                                                               
ready when they walk into  kindergarten, this may eventually be a                                                               
moot point.  She suggested this be a future topic of discussion.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:31:54 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TOBIN   continued  her  review  of   the  revised  sectional                                                               
analysis.  She  said Section 6 amends AS 14.03.080  by adding new                                                               
subsection  (g) which  changes the  date a  child is  eligible to                                                               
enter a public early education program.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:32:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PRAX  stated it  would be helpful  to say  on both                                                               
these sections from which date to which date.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN replied that Section  5 changes the date from September                                                               
1 to  June 1  preceding the  beginning of the  school year.   She                                                               
said the new  addition to Alaska statute in Section  6 allows for                                                               
a child who is at least four,  but no more than five, before June                                                               
1 preceding the  beginning of school year to attend  or may enter                                                               
a public-school early education program.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  noted that  those are  all permissive  in that                                                               
they  all state  "may."    She pointed  out  that Alaska  doesn't                                                               
require  kids to  go to  kindergarten.   She  inquired about  the                                                               
entry age.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN  responded that Alaska  has compulsory  attendance from                                                               
ages seven to sixteen.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  related that there  are people who  would like                                                               
to move that.  She said  the committee might want to discuss this                                                               
if  it is  seen  that  not enough  kids  are  in kindergarten  or                                                               
properly prepared to be reading  proficiently by the end of grade                                                               
three.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:33:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TOBIN  returned  to  her review  of  the  revised  sectional                                                               
analysis.   She said Section  7 amends  AS 14.03.120 by  adding a                                                               
new   subsection   (h),   which  establishes   annual   reporting                                                               
requirements for  school districts regarding  student performance                                                               
metrics in  grades K-3.   These  new performance  metrics include                                                               
information related to  class size, the number  and percentage of                                                               
students in K-3 who are  proficient at grade-level skill reading,                                                               
and the number  and percentage of students who  are retained from                                                               
advancing  in grades  K-3.   Currently districts  report none  of                                                               
this information, so this will  help inform future legislation or                                                               
future policy.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:34:37 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY  drew attention to page  4 and said it  seems that                                                               
DEED would  also want to get  the percentage of students  who are                                                               
receiving free  and reduced lunch  in each classroom.   She noted                                                               
that part of the sponsor  statement talks about the importance of                                                               
giving  more  support  to  children  and  families  with  limited                                                               
incomes.  Oftentimes  it's been shown in the data  that they come                                                               
in with  not as  much literacy experience  even though  they have                                                               
very rich experiences.  This  would also give more information to                                                               
the district,  she added, and  she may make an  amendment because                                                               
it would be helpful.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STORY addressed  lines [6-7]  on page  4, which  state,                                                               
"(A)  in  grades  kindergarten  through  three  who  demonstrated                                                               
improvement."   She  recommended using  the word  "growth" rather                                                               
than "improvement" because that is  the standard language used in                                                               
assessments.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TOBIN offered  to make  that  recommendation to  Legislative                                                               
Legal Services.  She related  that she inserted the word "growth"                                                               
and Legislative  Legal Services changed  it to  "improvement," so                                                               
she will inquire about the reason for this choice.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:36:50 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY spoke  to line 13 on page 4  that states "in grade                                                               
three who  demonstrated sufficient" and  recommended substituting                                                               
"proficient" for "sufficient" because  proficient is the language                                                               
that is used.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  asked whether a student  would be proficient                                                               
at grade three  or whether it is wanted to  ensure that a student                                                               
is  at  a certain  level  at  grade three.    This  is where  the                                                               
difference  is between  the words  proficient and  sufficient, he                                                               
posited, and a definition of  proficient for a third grader might                                                               
need to  be added.  He  said he thinks sufficient  reading skills                                                               
are what are wanted for the grade progression.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:38:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY suggested hearing  from the commissioner about why                                                               
the  word   sufficient  was  chosen   since  it  isn't   used  on                                                               
assessments.   "When we're keeping  data at the  district level,"                                                               
she  stated, "we  want to  know  kids who  are proficient,  below                                                               
proficient, above proficient  and we usually target  the kids who                                                               
are below proficient."                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON  responded  that the  language  "sufficient                                                               
reading skills"  is in  keeping with the  idea that  promotion or                                                               
retention is not  based on one single data point.   Because those                                                               
decisions are  so consequential,  he continued,  [the department]                                                               
doesn't want  that to be  determined on one  test.  It  is wanted                                                               
students to have  the benefit of being able  to demonstrate their                                                               
proficiency   or   sufficiency   in   several   different   ways.                                                               
Assessments are  one of those, but  the bill makes sure  to allow                                                               
for  other  ways to  demonstrate  that  and the  word  sufficient                                                               
allows  that  broader  opportunity   to  demonstrate  the  skills                                                               
necessary to move on.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:40:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STORY  stated  that  when  districts  are  giving  this                                                               
information to  the department,  they are  not simply  looking at                                                               
one score for  whether the student is proficient,  even though it                                                               
is always scores that are being  talked about.  She asked whether                                                               
the districts would be giving  the department that one data point                                                               
as  well  as  other  assessments.   She  further  asked  how  the                                                               
department is going  to put it all in categories  if there is not                                                               
something to find.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON answered  that it  may be  assessments, but                                                               
the  bill  also  allows  for portfolios  for  students  that  may                                                               
struggle with  assessments.  Teachers would  have the opportunity                                                               
to  provide  other  evidence  that   a  student  has  the  skills                                                               
necessary to move on, he  explained.  Additionally, the bill does                                                               
call  for a  statewide  screener, but  it  allows districts  that                                                               
already  have implemented  an evidence-based  screener to  have a                                                               
waiver  from using  the statewide  screener.   So, districts  can                                                               
continue  to use  the screener  that they've  already implemented                                                               
because most districts  are already doing that.   Those screeners                                                               
use a  variety of  terms -  some use  proficient, some  use other                                                               
terms to  indicate that, and  that's another reason why  the word                                                               
sufficient is used.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:41:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY observed that the  language "for grade progression                                                               
based" is used  in [subparagraphs (D)], (E), and (F).   She asked                                                               
whether there  is a reason  the department felt  it had to  be in                                                               
there, that retention is not mandatory.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  replied that  the point of  the bill  is to                                                               
make sure  that students are proficient  or are ready to  move on                                                               
past  third  grade  with  adequate  skills  for  reading.    That                                                               
decision to  move a  student along through  those levels  is very                                                               
important and  that's why the  language is necessary in  the bill                                                               
to say as a student progresses from grade to grade.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK said  he thinks one of the goals  of the bill                                                               
for when there are early language  learners is to be able to move                                                               
them  along.   He recalled  that earlier  the committee  was told                                                               
that children who  speak two languages really excel  by the tenth                                                               
grade  even though  they  may  not be  as  proficient as  English                                                               
primary-speaking children,  but it might  be sufficient  for them                                                               
to move  on.  He  said he is glad  for this discussion  and would                                                               
like to stick with the word sufficient.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:43:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND stated that  all teachers teaching kindergarten                                                               
through  third grade  are continuously  assessing their  students                                                               
themselves.  [The  bill] is just talking about a  couple of tools                                                               
that  the  department  will  provide.    She  drew  attention  to                                                               
paragraph (1)  on lines  3-4 of  page 4,  which states  that "the                                                               
number of students and teaching  staff assigned to each classroom                                                               
in  grades kindergarten  through  three", and  she stressed  that                                                               
class size  is a  critical issue  across the  state.   As budgets                                                               
have tightened  through the  years, class  sizes have  gotten too                                                               
large  for   teachers  to  pay  sufficient   attention  to  these                                                               
youngsters.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY said that is one  of the reasons why she suggested                                                               
giving the  percentages of  students in  free and  reduced lunch.                                                               
She further  suggested including special education  because there                                                               
are  four levels  of special  education.   A lot  of kids  in the                                                               
class are at level  1 and level 2.  If there are  25 kids and one                                                               
teacher  has six,  it really  makes  a difference  on how  things                                                               
might go along in the classroom.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK requested  clarification  on  whether it  is                                                               
early learning  or grades one  through three that  Co-Chair Story                                                               
is talking about.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STORY responded  that paragraph  (1) [on  lines 3-4  of                                                               
page  4]  states  grades  kindergarten   through  three,  so  her                                                               
suggestion would need to be added  under paragraph (2).  She said                                                               
teachers tell  her that  each year  is different;  depending upon                                                               
the needs they have in their  classroom, it affects outcomes.  It                                                               
might be that the school  decides to have a paraprofessional help                                                               
in that classroom for more intervention.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:46:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND related that she  and Co-Chair Story previously                                                               
talked  about the  number of  kids  who get  assigned to  special                                                               
education  classes  when  they  don't  necessarily  need  special                                                               
education  services;  they  just   need  more  intensive  reading                                                               
services.   [The state] would save  a ton of money  if this could                                                               
be caught early, she said, and  that is the whole point   smaller                                                               
class sizes and intensive supports to ensure kids are ready.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY  stated that's  why it's  important that  the core                                                               
one  programs  of  all teachers  are  evidence-based.    Alaska's                                                               
children  are  going  to  do  better  if  evidence-based  reading                                                               
programs are used and teachers are trained in it.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  inquired whether  Co-Chair Story  meant "core"                                                               
one or "tier" one.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY explained  she used core because  the core reading                                                               
program is usually  in the tier one instruction.   She said there                                                               
are three  instructional levels  - tier one,  tier two,  and tier                                                               
three.   Tier  one is  the basic  instruction, and  all kids  get                                                               
reading in their program, so it's their core reading program.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:47:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TOBIN   continued  her  review  of   the  revised  sectional                                                               
analysis.   She said Section  8 creates a  stair-step, three-year                                                               
grant  program  to  provide training  and  assistance  to  school                                                               
districts in  developing an early  education program,  defined as                                                               
pre-K.  She explained in further  detail:  In year one the lowest                                                               
performing 10 percent of school  districts will be eligible for a                                                               
grant to establish a district-wide,  high quality early education                                                               
program.   In year two the  next lowest performing 15  percent of                                                               
school  districts  will be  eligible  for  that three-year  grant                                                               
program.   In  year three  the grants  will be  available to  the                                                               
third lowest performing 15 percent  of districts.  Then the third                                                               
highest 20  percent of  school districts in  year four,  then the                                                               
second highest performing 20 percent  of school districts in year                                                               
five, and  finally the  highest performing  20 percent  of school                                                               
districts in year six.  Over  six years all school districts will                                                               
have  been offered  the opportunity  to participate.   She  added                                                               
that at  the end  of the  three-year grant  cycle, DEED  would be                                                               
responsible  for determining  if the  district's early  education                                                               
program is in  alignment with state standards  and as established                                                               
by the state Board of Education & Early Development.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:48:54 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ZULKOSKY  recalled  the  discussion  about  local                                                               
evidence-based  screeners  and  state-provided  screeners.    She                                                               
noted  that the  state's  education  environment has  drastically                                                               
transformed  for the  foreseeable future  due to  COVID-19.   She                                                               
inquired about the type of  flexibilities and considerations that                                                               
might need  to be  made to  uphold the goals  of the  bill, given                                                               
they were likely  within the framework of  a traditional learning                                                               
environment rather than students learning from home.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON replied that  the current situation requires                                                               
thinking  ahead.   He explained  that  in places  where there  is                                                               
connectivity the  screeners can  be conducted  face-to-face using                                                               
Zoom, which  is possible  even in many  rural communities.   When                                                               
that  isn't  possible,  some  of  these  screeners  can  be  done                                                               
verbally over  the phone - for  instance, in very early  grades a                                                               
teacher  could say  a  word and  then ask  the  student how  many                                                               
sounds were  in that word.   That's building  phonemic awareness.                                                               
Also,  a teacher  could ask  a student  to read  and measure  the                                                               
student's fluency in reading as  he or she progresses through the                                                               
different grade  levels.  So,  there are ways to  accommodate and                                                               
make it workable even in the current situation.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:51:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN resumed  her review of the  revised sectional analysis.                                                               
She  continued with  Section  8, noting  that  this section  also                                                               
codifies the Parents  as Teachers (PAT) program,  a state program                                                               
within DEED,  and specifies criteria  for PAT to  demonstrate its                                                               
efficacy in supporting school districts with pre-K education.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN  stated Section  9 amends  AS 14.07.020(a)  and directs                                                               
DEED  to supervise  all early  education programs,  approve those                                                               
early  education programs  established under  AS 14.03.410.   She                                                               
said Section  9 also establishes  the new reading  program, which                                                               
will  be   detailed  in   a  later   section,  and   the  reading                                                               
intervention programs  of participating schools, which  will also                                                               
be detailed in a later section.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TOBIN said  Section 10  amends the  definition of  an "early                                                               
education program" as a pre-K  program for students three to five                                                               
years  old if  the primary  function is  educational.   She noted                                                               
that the three-year-old students are  not included in the program                                                               
of this bill  but are included in this definition  to ensure they                                                               
are not excluded from existing state and federal programs.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.   TOBIN  explained   Section   11  allows   DEED  to   supply                                                               
supplemental   reading  textbooks   and   materials  related   to                                                               
intervention services.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. TOBIN  said Section  12 amends  AS 14.07.165(a),  relating to                                                               
the duties  of the state  Board of Education &  Early Development                                                               
and  directs   the  board   to  adopt   regulations  establishing                                                               
standards  for an  early education  program that  is half-day  or                                                               
full-day  or  less than  half-day  and  is locally  designed  and                                                               
evidence-based.   The  lead teacher  of the  program must  hold a                                                               
valid teaching  certificate and  have satisfactorily  completed a                                                               
minimum  of six  credit  hours in  early  childhood education  or                                                               
complete  the six  credits  within one  year  of their  teacher's                                                               
employment  or have  two  or more  years  of experience  teaching                                                               
kindergarten  or  another  early  education program.    She  said                                                               
regulations  must  also  be established  to  develop  appropriate                                                               
objectives  and   accommodations  for  all  children   and  allow                                                               
districts to  adapt content to  be culturally appropriate  and to                                                               
local communities.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:54:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY  drew attention  to page  11, subparagraph  (B) on                                                               
line 14, which states "a requirement  that a teacher in charge of                                                               
a program".   She  asked whether it  should say  "school program"                                                               
because  there can  be many  schools in  a district,  and she  is                                                               
wondering what the  intent is.  She  noted that paraprofessionals                                                               
would be working in some  of these classrooms under the direction                                                               
of a teacher in  charge, so she is wondering if  that needs to be                                                               
clarified  as to  the  district  or school  level.   She  further                                                               
inquired  about what  the  qualifications are  for  a Head  Start                                                               
teacher and  whether this should be  included as one of  the sub-                                                               
subparagraphs under subparagraph (B).                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TOBIN  answered  that  Section  12  only  relates  to  pre-K                                                               
programs, it  does not define  or amend any statute  that relates                                                               
to  who  leads or  does  not  lead a  Head  Start  program.   She                                                               
recommended not inserting that into this section.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:56:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND announced that HB 153 was held over.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:57:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Education Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 9:57 a.m.                                                                 

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