Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/20/2001 09:09 AM EDU

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION                                                                            
                         April 20, 2001                                                                                         
                           9:09 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Con Bunde, Chair                                                                                                 
Representative Brian Porter                                                                                                     
Representative Joe Green                                                                                                        
Representative Peggy Wilson                                                                                                     
Representative Gary Stevens                                                                                                     
Representative Reggie Joule                                                                                                     
Representative Gretchen Guess                                                                                                   
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
Senator Bettye Davis                                                                                                            
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 105                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to the base student allocation used in the                                                                     
formula for state funding of public education; and providing for                                                                
an effective date."                                                                                                             
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                               
BILL: HB 105                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:FOUNDATION FORMULA INCREASE                                                                                         
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S)STEVENS                                                                                            
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
02/05/01     0236       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
02/05/01     0236       (H)        EDU, HES, FIN                                                                                
02/09/01     0287       (H)        COSPONSOR(S): HAYES                                                                          
03/19/01     0655       (H)        COSPONSOR(S): DAVIES                                                                         
03/22/01     0697       (H)        COSPONSOR(S): LANCASTER                                                                      
03/28/01                (H)        EDU AT 8:00 AM HOUSE FINANCE                                                                 
03/28/01                (H)        Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                      
04/04/01                (H)        EDU AT 8:00 AM HOUSE FINANCE                                                                 
04/04/01                (H)        Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                      
04/10/01     0939       (H)        COSPONSOR(S): HALCRO, SCALZI,                                                                
04/10/01     0939       (H)        MURKOWSKI, CHENAULT                                                                          
04/20/01     1103       (H)        COSPONSOR(S): CROFT                                                                          
04/20/01                (H)        EDU AT 9:00 AM HOUSE FINANCE                                                                 
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
MIKE MURPHY                                                                                                                     
PO Box 1062                                                                                                                     
Nome, Alaska 99762                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on behalf of Nome public schools                                                                 
in support of HB 105.                                                                                                           
MELODY DOUGLAS, Director of Finance                                                                                             
Kenai Peninsula Borough School District                                                                                         
148 North Brinkley Street                                                                                                       
Soldotna, Alaska 99669                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 105.                                                                            
JOHN HOLST                                                                                                                      
PO Box 1954                                                                                                                     
Sitka, Alaska 99835                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on behalf of the Sitka School                                                                    
District in support of HB 105.                                                                                                  
DAVE JONES, Director of Finance                                                                                                 
Kodiak Island Borough School District                                                                                           
722 Mill Bay Road                                                                                                               
Kodiak, Alaska 99615                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 105.                                                                                       
DARREN SANBORN                                                                                                                  
PO Box 510                                                                                                                      
Unalaska, Alaska 99685                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on behalf of the Unalaska City                                                                   
School District in support of HB 150.                                                                                           
DEBBIE OSSIANDER, Member                                                                                                        
Anchorage School Board                                                                                                          
PO Box 670772                                                                                                                   
Chugiak, Alaska 99567                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 105.                                                                            
WOODY WILSON, Superintendent                                                                                                    
Wrangell Public School District                                                                                                 
PO Box 2319                                                                                                                     
Wrangell, Alaska 99929                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 105.                                                                            
REBECCA O'HARA, Parent                                                                                                          
Parent Teacher Association                                                                                                      
Anchorage School District                                                                                                       
2400 Nancy Circle                                                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska 99516                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 105.                                                                            
DAN BECK                                                                                                                        
PO Box 527                                                                                                                      
Delta Junction, Alaska 99737                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on behalf of the Delta/Greely                                                                    
School District in support of HB 105.                                                                                           
RICHARD KRONBERG, President                                                                                                     
National Education Association-Alaska                                                                                           
3511 Chiniak Bay Drive                                                                                                          
Anchorage, Alaska 99515                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 105.                                                                                       
ROD McCOY, Region VI Director                                                                                                   
National Education Association-Alaska                                                                                           
7749 Old Harbor Avenue                                                                                                          
Anchorage, Alaska 99504                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 105.                                                                                       
CRAIG BAKER, Teacher                                                                                                            
Kodiak Island Borough School District                                                                                           
PO Box 8514                                                                                                                     
Kodiak, Alaska 99615                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 105.                                                                            
KRISTI LOHRENZ, Region IV Director                                                                                              
National Education Association-Alaska                                                                                           
PO Box 3229                                                                                                                     
Mountain Village, Alaska 99632                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 105.                                                                            
CARL ROSE, Executive Director                                                                                                   
Association of Alaska School Boards                                                                                             
316 West 11th Street                                                                                                            
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 105.                                                                                       
LUCY HOPE, Teacher                                                                                                              
Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District                                                                                       
125 West Evergreen                                                                                                              
Palmer, Alaska 99645                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 105.                                                                                       
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
TAPE 01-28, SIDE A                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
CHAIR CON BUNDE  called the House Special  Committee on Education                                                               
meeting to  order at 9:09  a.m.  Members  present at the  call to                                                               
order   were  Representatives   Bunde,  Porter,   Green,  Wilson,                                                               
Stevens, and Joule.   Representative Guess joined  the meeting as                                                               
it was in progress.                                                                                                             
HB 105-FOUNDATION FORMULA INCREASE                                                                                            
[Contains discussion of SB 48.]                                                                                                 
CHAIR BUNDE announced that the  committee would hear testimony on                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO.  105,  "An  Act relating  to  the  base  student                                                               
allocation  used  in the  formula  for  state funding  of  public                                                               
education; and providing for an  effective date."  He stated that                                                               
he is not planning on moving the bill today.                                                                                    
Number 0113                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS, sponsor  of  HB 105,  made  a motion  to                                                               
adopt the proposed committee substitute  (CS) for HB 105, version                                                               
22-LS0506\C, Ford, 4/20/01, as a work draft.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE objected.   He asked, "What's the difference                                                               
in this:  that we would reduce  the amount that would go into the                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS  responded that this reduces  [the formula                                                               
increase] from  $29 million to $20  million.  He stated  that the                                                               
difference brings  the total [increase],  per student,  down from                                                               
$147 to $101.                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE asked why it was changed.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS replied  that  there is  support for  $20                                                               
million but not for $29 million.                                                                                                
CHAIR  BUNDE remarked,  "It may  be a  case of  infinite need  by                                                               
finite resources."                                                                                                              
Number 0288                                                                                                                     
A roll  call vote  was taken.   Representatives  Stevens, Porter,                                                               
Green, and  Bunde voted in favor  of adopting the CS  for HB 105.                                                               
Representatives  Wilson,  Guess,  and  Joule  voted  against  it.                                                               
Therefore, proposed CSHB  105 was before the committee  by a vote                                                               
of 4-3.                                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS  stated  that  it  is  hard  for  him  to                                                               
[sponsor] this  proposed CS, but  he thinks this is  a reasonable                                                               
compromise.    Certainly, he  said,  one  of the  most  important                                                               
things done in  the legislature is to fund  education.  Education                                                               
has taken  a tremendous hit  in the last  few years; yet  more is                                                               
being demanded  of the system in  terms of the exit  exam.  Also,                                                               
he stated, there are increasing  problems in terms of finding and                                                               
retaining qualified  teachers and administrators.   He noted that                                                               
in the  last ten years  there has been  a 30 percent  increase in                                                               
the cost-of-living  index but  only a 5  percent increase  in the                                                               
funding  formula, which  is putting  a tremendous  strain on  the                                                               
districts  and  boroughs.    He  explained  that  the  foundation                                                               
formula is  based on  a specific dollar  amount per  student. The                                                               
base student  allocation established  in 1998  was at  $3,040 per                                                               
student and  has not changed  since.  This proposed  CS increases                                                               
that allocation by $101 per student                                                                                             
MIKE  MURPHY  testified  via teleconference  on  behalf  of  Nome                                                               
public schools.  He stated:                                                                                                     
     I'm in favor  of this increase, albeit  it's really not                                                                    
     enough, ... [an]  example being, in fiscal  year '97 we                                                                    
     received $5,100,000  in state-aid foundation  money and                                                                    
     in  fiscal year  2002  we'll  be receiving  $4,929,000,                                                                    
     basically for  the same amount  of students.   Over the                                                                    
     years  our  foundation  money  has  [been]  going  down                                                                    
     because  of factors  involved in  figuring it  out, and                                                                    
     yet  costs  keep  going  up.   The  foundation  is  not                                                                    
     bringing in enough money for  us to operate our schools                                                                    
     in  a desired  manner  to give  our  students the  best                                                                    
     education  - especially  with all  the demands  to meet                                                                    
     standards. ...   In  order to  meet our  desired budget                                                                    
     for  fiscal year  2002, we're  having to  come up  with                                                                    
     over 40 percent with local  effort, which is putting an                                                                    
     undue burden on the town itself.                                                                                           
Number 0576                                                                                                                     
MELODY DOUGLAS, Director of Finance, Kenai Peninsula Borough                                                                    
School District, testified via teleconference in support of HB
105.  She stated:                                                                                                               
     We do  want to  note that  the Kenai  Peninsula Borough                                                                    
     School District  is at  the cap,  as determined  by the                                                                    
     foundation  formula.   The additional  revenue realized                                                                    
     for this particular amendment -  the increase of $101 -                                                                    
     would basically fund a one-year  increase on our salary                                                                    
     schedule.  We're facing about  [a] $1.2 million or $1.4                                                                    
     million increase annually for  our salaries and related                                                                    
CHAIR BUNDE remarked that he wanted to thank the Kenai                                                                          
[Peninsula Borough School District] for being responsible in                                                                    
supporting education at the local level.                                                                                        
Number 0649                                                                                                                     
JOHN HOLST testified via teleconference in support of HB 105 on                                                                 
behalf of the Sitka School District.  He stated:                                                                                
     I am  disappointed, of course,  to see the  lowering of                                                                    
     it  from $145  to  $101, because  my prepared  comments                                                                    
     were  to ask  you to  raise it  to $200,  which is  the                                                                    
     amount  of money  our  board has  budgeted  for in  the                                                                    
     budget that is  now in front of the assembly  - it will                                                                    
     be approved here in another  week.  We desperately need                                                                    
     more help than this.  Our  heat bill alone ... is going                                                                    
     to  go up  $85,000.   This increase  will bring  in ...                                                                    
     slightly more than  that.  ... This is  barely going to                                                                    
     cover  that cost.  ...  This is  heading  in the  right                                                                    
     direction  by  adding money.    The  CS today  is,  I'm                                                                    
     sorry, heading  in the wrong  direction, I believe.   I                                                                    
     think that we  need to be increasing it  from $145, not                                                                    
     decreasing it.                                                                                                             
CHAIR BUNDE asked Mr. Holst if Sitka is at the cap for its local                                                                
MR. HOLST  responded that [Sitka] has  been at the cap  for about                                                               
six years.   He stated  that their  budget will come  up $450,000                                                               
short if they  don't get the $200 figure [per  student].  He said                                                               
the  number today  is $225,000  short,  in terms  of the  budget,                                                               
which  will  correspond  to  the   elimination  of  five  to  six                                                               
positions.   This is  in addition to  the ten  already eliminated                                                               
this year and the five that were eliminated in the current year.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS clarified  that,  with  the proposed  CS,                                                               
Sitka  will  be  up  $230,000,  Kenai  Peninsula  Borough  School                                                               
District will be up $1,497,000, and Nome will be up $95,000.                                                                    
Number 0835                                                                                                                     
DAVE  JONES, Director  of Finance,  Kodiak Island  Borough School                                                               
District,  testified  via  teleconference.   He  stated  that  he                                                               
wanted  to address  the need  for  the additional  revenue to  be                                                               
delivered in this particular vehicle.                                                                                           
     One of the goals in SB  36 was to provide a system that                                                                    
     would provide resources to  school districts across the                                                                    
     state  in an  equitable manner.   The  intent was  that                                                                    
     future  increases  in   revenue  would  be  distributed                                                                    
     through  an increase  in  the  base student  allocation                                                                    
     value.    Unfortunately, subsequent  funding  increases                                                                    
     have come  in the form  of quality schools  or learning                                                                    
     opportunity  grants.   It appears  on  the Senate  side                                                                    
     they're currently  favoring additional  dollars through                                                                    
     an  addition to  the  learning  opportunity grant  with                                                                    
     specifically  designated areas  of  expenditures.   The                                                                    
     problem  with that  is that  not  all school  districts                                                                    
     across the  state have the  same needs.  We  don't have                                                                    
     needs  for  nursing  in  Kodiak  because  we  currently                                                                    
     provide nurses.   We do have needs  for additional fuel                                                                    
     and electricity charges that we're facing.                                                                                 
     So what we'd have to do is,  if we got the money in the                                                                    
     form of a learning opportunity  grant, we would need to                                                                    
     move  money that  we currently  had  budgeted in  those                                                                    
     specific  areas   in  our  operating  funds   into  the                                                                    
     learning opportunity grant.   We could then  be able to                                                                    
     move the money that had  been freed up in our operating                                                                    
     fund into fuel and electricity.   The problem with that                                                                    
     is, then,  the learning opportunity grants  don't count                                                                    
     in    the   70/30    calculation   for    instructional                                                                    
     expenditures  that  was required  by  SB  36.   So,  in                                                                    
     effect, by  the money  not being  put through  the base                                                                    
     student  allocation value,  we'd be  penalized to  meet                                                                    
     the requirements of SB 36.                                                                                                 
     My  other concerns  with the  money coming  through the                                                                    
     learning opportunity  grants are that those  numbers do                                                                    
     not  use the  adjusted student  account, which  was the                                                                    
     purpose of  SB 36 - to  provide equitable distribution.                                                                    
     My other concern with  learning opportunity grant money                                                                    
     versus  HB 105,  which would  be an  increase, is  that                                                                    
     learning opportunity  monies are a one-time  monies and                                                                    
     we  cannot provide  long-term  planning under  one-time                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS   remarked  that  Kodiak   would  receive                                                               
$468,000 with the proposed CS.                                                                                                  
CHAIR BUNDE stated that if  learning opportunity grants are used,                                                               
not only would  some of the problems that Mr.  Jones addressed be                                                               
prevalent, but  also Anchorage would  get a much larger  share of                                                               
the money.                                                                                                                      
Number 1028                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS remarked  that Unalaska  would receive  a                                                               
$44,000 increase with the proposed CS.                                                                                          
DARREN  SANBORN testified  via teleconference  on  behalf of  the                                                               
Unalaska City School District in support  of HB 105.  However, he                                                               
said he would like to see  the foundation formula increased.   He                                                               
remarked that  he thinks every  time money is put  into education                                                               
it  should be  put into  the foundation  formula because  that is                                                               
something that can be counted on.                                                                                               
DEBBIE OSSIANDER,  Member, Anchorage School Board,  testified via                                                               
teleconference in support of HB  105.  She stated that Anchorage,                                                               
along with  other areas  in the  state, is no  longer able  to be                                                               
competitive in certain areas with  employee salaries and employee                                                               
positions.    There  have  been   marked  increases  in  unfilled                                                               
positions  and   decreases  in  ability  to   attract  sufficient                                                               
qualified staff.   She stated that [the  Anchorage School Board],                                                               
for  the  upcoming  year,  has  cut over  $12  million  worth  of                                                               
programs  and  services  just  to   maintain  current  levels  of                                                               
services in other areas.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS   noted  that  Anchorage   would  receive                                                               
$6,775,000 and  Wrangell would receive $75,000  with the proposed                                                               
Number 1212                                                                                                                     
WOODY  WILSON, Superintendent,  Wrangell Public  School District,                                                               
testified via  teleconference in  support of HB  105.   He stated                                                               
that in the  case of Wrangell public schools, there  has not been                                                               
an increase in funding in over a decade.  He said:                                                                              
     A senior  in Wrangell  High School today  generates $42                                                                    
     dollars  more  in  state  money  than  when  that  same                                                                    
     student was in first grade.   If you think about the 30                                                                    
     percent ... in inflation over  that same period of time                                                                    
     this student  has been in  school, you can  imagine all                                                                    
     the  cuts  in  courses,  programs,  services  in  other                                                                    
     curriculum areas that  we had to make.  We  need to add                                                                    
     to  funding  to  provide  an  adequate  education.  ...                                                                    
     Inflation in Anchorage this last  year, from January to                                                                    
     January, was  2.4 percent.  Since  education funding in                                                                    
     the  state has  been  flat, the  Association of  School                                                                    
     Administrators feel that a 5  percent increase would be                                                                    
     a good start.                                                                                                              
     All  of  you know  fuel  costs  have jumped.  ...  Five                                                                    
     percent would  not give schools  a large boost,  but it                                                                    
     would actually be a modest  increase, when you consider                                                                    
     fuel and insurance.  [A]  $145 increase would be a 3.68                                                                    
     percent increase.   With  2.4 percent  inflation, you'd                                                                    
     get about  1.2 percent  more money  in real  money than                                                                    
     you got  last year.  If  you reduce it to  $101, that's                                                                    
     [a] 2.56  percent increase, and  it only keeps  up with                                                                    
     inflation. ... We  would ask you to  reconsider and put                                                                    
     more  money in  this  formula for  kids. ...  Something                                                                    
     that  the legislature  should also  be asking  is, "How                                                                    
     much  local  money  do  communities  put  behind  their                                                                    
     kids?"   In  the case  of  Wrangell, we  put $2,500  in                                                                    
     local  money  behind our  kids.    That's at  the  cap;                                                                    
     that's all we can do.                                                                                                      
Number 1377                                                                                                                     
REBECCA  O'HARA,   Parent,  Parent  Teacher   Association  (PTA),                                                               
Anchorage  School District,  testified via  teleconference.   She                                                               
stated  that she  believes  strongly in  public  education.   She                                                               
     I have watched and been  aware of the education funding                                                                    
     process  for  about ten  years,  and  I have  seen  the                                                                    
     effect of the shrinking  education dollar in Anchorage.                                                                    
     The Anchorage  School District is  not what it  was ten                                                                    
     years ago.  Programs  have been eliminated, maintenance                                                                    
     has been  seriously delayed or left  completely undone,                                                                    
     curriculum  updates  have  been delayed  or  set  aside                                                                    
     permanently,  and   teacher  salaries  are   no  longer                                                                    
     competitive.  ...  I  appreciate that  this  state  has                                                                    
     faced declining  revenues and have understood  the need                                                                    
     for  a  tightening of  the  belt.   However,  the  line                                                                    
     between the tightening of the  belt and cutting off the                                                                    
     air has been  crossed, in my opinion.   Education costs                                                                    
     have increased  and funding has  not kept up.   We need                                                                    
     to loosen the belt another  notch to get some breathing                                                                    
     So, as a  parent I'm grateful that class  size has been                                                                    
     a   priority   of   the   Anchorage   School   District                                                                    
     administration; that  we have dedicated  teachers [who]                                                                    
     routinely  go  above and  beyond  what  is required  of                                                                    
     them; that  we have  curriculum standards; and  that we                                                                    
     have so  many involved  volunteer parents.   My concern                                                                    
     is  that  at the  current  level  of funding  Anchorage                                                                    
     schools  cannot  sustain   their  current  services  or                                                                    
     expand services  when and where necessary.   Therefore,                                                                    
     I, along with Rabbit  Creek Elementary PTA, Golden View                                                                    
     Middle School  PTA, the Anchorage  Council of  PTA, and                                                                    
     the  Alaska State  PTA, support  this  increase in  the                                                                    
     base student  allocation on the funding  formula.  This                                                                    
     increase will  enable schools around  the state  to use                                                                    
     the funds,  as needed,  locally to maintain  and better                                                                    
     our schools.                                                                                                               
Number 1495                                                                                                                     
DAN  BECK   testified  via  teleconference   on  behalf   of  the                                                               
Delta/Greely School  District in  support of HB  105.   He stated                                                               
that  he is  representing  one  of those  districts  that do  not                                                               
support education through local effort.  He said:                                                                               
     One of the  solutions is Senator Wilken's  bill, SB 48,                                                                    
     that  is  in  the  House currently.    And  that  could                                                                    
     provide  a solution  for those  districts that  do have                                                                    
     the  wherewithal to  provide that  local support.   But                                                                    
     what I  would encourage you  to do  is to pass  HB 105.                                                                    
     ... We  had a mild  winter in  the Interior.   Our fuel                                                                    
     bills  went  up,  I think,  about  $75,000  this  year.                                                                    
     Electricity  is   going  to  follow  because   of  oil-                                                                    
     generated  electricity.   Inflation is  just eating  us                                                                    
     up.    Our  salary  schedule   is  the  lowest  in  the                                                                    
     Interior, including Fairbanks,  and actually lower than                                                                    
     the Anchorage School District salary  schedule.  We may                                                                    
     have trouble  recruiting teachers if we  weren't laying                                                                    
     off teachers.                                                                                                              
Number 1709                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS stated that Juneau would receive $790,000                                                                
with the proposed CS.                                                                                                           
RICHARD KRONBERG, President, National Education Association-                                                                    
Alaska (NEA-Alaska), came forth and stated:                                                                                     
     Chairman Bunde made a comment  at the beginning that we                                                                    
     are dealing  with infinite and finite  resources.  Now,                                                                    
     I don't  know [that] the  needs are infinite,  but they                                                                    
     are substantial  - very substantial.   Our expectations                                                                    
     for  public schools  have increased  exponentially, and                                                                    
     the  resources provided  to our  school districts  have                                                                    
     clearly  not  kept  pace.   An  increase  in  the  base                                                                    
     student allocation  is the best  way to meet  the needs                                                                    
     of  all Alaskan  districts.   Each district  has unique                                                                    
     needs, ranging  from text books  to heating fuel.   All                                                                    
     districts need the ability to  attract and keep quality                                                                    
     school  employees.   The  best program  for  kids is  a                                                                    
     quality teacher in every classroom.   The law of supply                                                                    
     and demand hasn't been repealed,  and our districts are                                                                    
     no longer  competitive in  being able to  do that.   HB
     105  will help  in  that  regard; it  does  not go  far                                                                    
     enough.    Other states  have  passed  us by  and  made                                                                    
     substantial  incentives  to  attract and  keep  quality                                                                    
     staff, while  our districts have not  had the resources                                                                    
     to  do this.   NEA-Alaska  is fully  in support  of our                                                                    
     districts being  provided the resources they  need.  HB
     105  is   an  overdue,  positive  step   in  the  right                                                                    
     direction.   We hope that it  is truly a first  step in                                                                    
     recognizing that investing in  our children is the best                                                                    
     use of Alaska's resources.                                                                                                 
Number 1713                                                                                                                     
EDDY  JEANS,  Manager,  School Finance  and  Facilities  Section,                                                               
Education  Support Services,  Department of  Education and  Early                                                               
Development, came  forth and stated  that all funding  should run                                                               
through  the  foundation  formula.   He  remarked  that  the  $20                                                               
million  increase  and the  $6  million  in learning  opportunity                                                               
grants that the  House has already passed fall short  of what the                                                               
funding  task-force recommended  for an  increase in  fiscal year                                                               
2002 by about $8.4 million.                                                                                                     
MR. JEANS [referring  to a spreadsheet provided  in the committee                                                               
members'  packets] stated  that  the first  column  shows the  FY                                                               
(fiscal  year)  2000  projected   state  aid  under  the  current                                                               
foundation formula.   The next three columns show  an increase of                                                               
$20 million, which would increase  the base student allocation by                                                               
$101, to  a total of  $4,041.  The  first column, he  said, shows                                                               
the impact  of the  increase in the  foundation program  prior to                                                               
the adjustments for the funding floor.   He explained that if the                                                               
funding  floor were  suspended,  the increased  cost  for a  $101                                                               
increase  in  the  base  student  allocation  would  actually  be                                                               
$21,355,000.  With the funding  floor active, the actual increase                                                               
would be  approximately $20.2 million.   He stated that  if there                                                               
were a  $25 million increase,  the base student  allocation would                                                               
be increased by $126  or a total of $4,066.   Finally, he said an                                                               
increase at $30  million would raise the  base student allocation                                                               
by  $151.   He  added  that  it's  important that  any  increased                                                               
funding  for  the  schools  go  through  the  foundation  program                                                               
because  that  also  supports  lifting   the  cap  on  the  local                                                               
contributions.   When the legislature appropriates  money such as                                                               
the learning  opportunity grants outside the  funding formula, it                                                               
doesn't help the districts with their local caps.                                                                               
CHAIR BUNDE asked  how much the foundation  formula had increased                                                               
via SB 36.                                                                                                                      
MR.  JEANS   responded  that  the   increase  under  SB   36  was                                                               
approximately  $21 million  in state  general funds;  however, in                                                               
the  following years  there  was an  increase  in required  local                                                               
effort and  increased impact  aid.   Therefore, the  general fund                                                               
commitment to  the foundation formula  has actually  decreased by                                                               
almost $21 million.                                                                                                             
Number 1967                                                                                                                     
ROD McCOY,  Region VI  Director, National  Education Association-                                                               
Alaska, came forth and stated:                                                                                                  
     I was shocked  when I came in here.   The first item of                                                                    
     the day  was to cut $9  million again out of  hopes for                                                                    
     children in education.  I  did not anticipate that, and                                                                    
     I was  very disappointed  to observe  that. ...  It has                                                                    
     been the rule  of the day down here ...  to look at not                                                                    
     [what] education needs,  but ... [with] too  much of an                                                                    
     interest  in cutting  the budget.   One  representative                                                                    
     had on  his wall a plastic  meat axe, when I  came down                                                                    
     here, as  a theme  of the  day for  his agenda  here in                                                                    
     Juneau.    Well,  not  on  his  intention,  Head  Start                                                                    
     lobbyists were coming around and  putting on all of the                                                                    
     doors drawings  of children.   This had the  effect, of                                                                    
     course, of  having a  meat axe held  over the  heads of                                                                    
     the Head Start  children.  And that's  exactly what has                                                                    
     been the  theme of the day  down here for years.   That                                                                    
     must change.                                                                                                               
     ... If  I were to  just march  in the general  theme of                                                                    
     the day,  in the classroom,  if I  were to not  try new                                                                    
     risks, try  new practices, invent new  efforts to reach                                                                    
     children  and to  bring them  onboard  in education,  I                                                                    
     could not be in pursuit  of excellence. ... Let's think                                                                    
     a little bit about  state accountability for education.                                                                    
     I don't know if you realize  it or not, but you rank at                                                                    
     the 2 percent  level in the nation for  your ability to                                                                    
     keep up funding for education.   Alaska is dead last in                                                                    
     relationship  to other  states in  the nation  that are                                                                    
     much  more ambitious  in their  hopes  for children  in                                                                    
     their  state.    I  don't  think  that's  a  very  high                                                                    
     accounting  for  the   legislative  practices  in  this                                                                    
     state.  ...  In  Anchorage  ... we  cut  17  elementary                                                                    
     positions; in physical education,  music, and art we've                                                                    
     cut   9  positions;   we  cut   an  elementary   school                                                                    
     counselor; we cut the  learning opportunity grants; ...                                                                    
     the   elementary   agenda  for   interschool   academic                                                                    
     competition ... has  been cut.  Textbook  adoption - we                                                                    
     need  to have  textbooks  that meet  standards of  this                                                                    
     state;  we   need  to  train   students  to   not  only                                                                    
     understand a concept in mathematics,  but to be able to                                                                    
     take that concept and write  out their understanding of                                                                    
     that concept.   Our textbooks don't do that.  ... If we                                                                    
     are going to have  quality and excellence in education,                                                                    
     we  have got  to have  quality and  excellence in  your                                                                    
     pursuits in these [legislative] halls.                                                                                     
Number 2149                                                                                                                     
CRAIG  BAKER, Teacher,  Kodiak  Island  Borough School  District,                                                               
came forth  and stated that  he wanted to  look at this  in three                                                               
ways.   First of all,  he said, at  the statewide level  there is                                                               
difficulty in recruiting and retaining  teachers.  There has been                                                               
a one-third-turnover rate of teachers  in school districts in the                                                               
northern part  of the state.   On the local level,  in Kodiak, he                                                               
stated,  in order  to minimize  the increased  class size,  there                                                               
have  been many  cuts such  as for  crossing guards,  swim trips,                                                               
elementary  band  programs,  and  sports  travel.    Finally,  he                                                               
     On a  personal level, I've  waited for 16 years  for my                                                                    
     colleague to  retire from  the high  school so  I could                                                                    
     move up.   I've been stuck  in a time warp  in seventh-                                                                    
     grade science for 16 years.   I finally get there and I                                                                    
     find that  the budget's been  cut such that I  can't do                                                                    
     the sorts  of things  I want to  do in  science without                                                                    
     spending  my own  money.   I've  already  put close  to                                                                    
     2,000 of my own dollars  into my classroom. ... My wife                                                                    
     is an elementary  school teacher.  Every  year she puts                                                                    
     a couple thousand  dollars into her classroom  - of our                                                                    
     money  - because  there's not  enough  budget. ...  I'm                                                                    
     constantly  hearing  that  it  doesn't  help  to  throw                                                                    
     money; that's not going to  solve the problem.  And I'm                                                                    
     not  arguing with  you, but  we need  to maintain  some                                                                    
     basic  things.   And it's  getting down  to that  basic                                                                    
     level right now.                                                                                                           
Number 2278                                                                                                                     
KRISTI   LOHRENZ,   Region   IV  Director,   National   Education                                                               
Association-Alaska, came  forward and stated that  she represents                                                               
several large  areas [in  Bush Alaska].   Her local  district, in                                                               
Lower Yukon,  has 11 sites.   She  remarked that last  year there                                                               
were  52 [staff]  openings,  and this  year there  are  60.   She                                                               
explained that  much of  it has  to do with  lack of  funding for                                                               
schools -  lack of funding  because of the living  situations and                                                               
because teachers  can't afford  to live [in  the Bush]  and can't                                                               
put their  own money into  their education classes.   Every year,                                                               
she said,  she puts in $2,000  to $5,000 to benefit  her students                                                               
because  the  schools  don't have  up-to-date  globes,  maps,  or                                                               
reading materials.   She added that the Bush is  a very different                                                               
situation in  a lot of  ways because  it is totally  dependent on                                                               
state funding.                                                                                                                  
TAPE 01-28, SIDE B                                                                                                              
Number 0026                                                                                                                     
CARL  ROSE,  Executive  Director, Association  of  Alaska  School                                                               
Boards,  said  he  would  speak   about  the  last  15  years  of                                                               
[Alaska's]  educational system.    He emphasized  the gravity  of                                                               
what has  taken place.  He  illustrated his point by  saying that                                                               
if one  boils a pot of  water and throws  a frog in it,  the frog                                                               
pops out,  but if  one slowly  boils that  pot, the  frog doesn't                                                               
jump out.                                                                                                                       
MR. ROSE explained  that throughout the past 15  years there have                                                               
been efforts  to improve  the quality  of education,  and schools                                                               
are about "boiled out."  As  the executive director of the school                                                               
board  association, he  said he  sits on  the other  side of  the                                                               
table from teachers;  "we" have been paring down  and holding the                                                               
line to  such a  degree that [Alaska]  is no  longer competitive.                                                               
He  pleaded with  the  committee  to look  at  the  needs of  the                                                               
educational system and to make the investment.                                                                                  
MR. ROSE pointed  out that he served on the  A-plus committee and                                                               
that  a report  was generated  which identified  $34 million  [in                                                               
needs], he commented that  it was a modest request.   It is a lot                                                               
of  money,  but over  the  past  15  years  the system  has  been                                                               
depleted.   [Schools] have increased the  accountability and have                                                               
benchmark exams and  high school qualifying exams,  and are being                                                               
required to do  things that have never been  required before; the                                                               
ability to meet that challenge is being hampered, however.                                                                      
Number 0102                                                                                                                     
MR.  ROSE  commented that  the  SB  36  initiative was  to  first                                                               
establish  equity,  although  some  of "us"  disagree  with  that                                                               
equity,  and  second to  address  adequacy,  which has  not  been                                                               
addressed.     Basically,  it  was  for   distribution  and  then                                                               
adequacy, and "we"  are still suffering from this today.   The 30                                                               
percent  loss  of buying  power  has  affected every  portion  of                                                               
operation; in  looking at  the funding floor,  when the  bill was                                                               
put in place,  "we" tried to "rat mound" those  people who needed                                                               
protection.   Now  that the  bill has  been in  place, "we"  have                                                               
accomplished that,  and for $1.4  million one can  eliminate that                                                               
funding floor  and treat  everyone equitably,  so people  who get                                                               
new  students  don't   get  discounted  by  40   percent.    This                                                               
description  gives people  an  idea of  how  "we" treat  everyone                                                               
MR. ROSE  explained that if  one is looking at  adequacy, dollars                                                               
into the foundation formula should  be distributed equitably.  He                                                               
doesn't believe that the funding  floor accomplishes that, and it                                                               
needs to be looked at.                                                                                                          
Number 0260                                                                                                                     
MR.  ROSE remarked  that he  understands all  of the  constraints                                                               
that the  committee is under.   He added that he  is working with                                                               
Alaskans United  [Against the  Cap] to talk  to people  about the                                                               
loss of  revenue and  the increase of  essential services  in the                                                               
state so that  "we" can cultivate a better  understanding of what                                                               
needs  to be  done to  improve the  quality of  services and  the                                                               
quality of  life.  There  are two  choices:  crash  headlong into                                                               
the wall  in the next  four to five  years; or put  together some                                                               
kind of  plan that vaults us  over that wall and  safely into the                                                               
future.  The  inability to do that will  cause inadequate funding                                                               
of what needs  to be accomplished.  Standards have  been set, and                                                               
he would  like to help  [the committee]  reach them.   He pointed                                                               
out that  the last  15 years  have taken  a slow  and incremental                                                               
toll on the educational system that has been devastating.                                                                       
Number 0323                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  BUNDE  commented  that there  were  people  getting  money                                                               
previously  that  couldn't  justify  it, so  when  talking  about                                                               
fairness,  if the  floor  is eliminated,  then  an unfairness  is                                                               
compounded  in some  people's minds;  therefore, don't  eliminate                                                               
it.    He  said  he  represents  a  well-educated  district  that                                                               
appreciates  education, but  the majority  of people  there still                                                               
think  that   the  best   way  out   of  the   state's  financial                                                               
difficulties is by reducing state  spending.  The largest portion                                                               
of  state  spending  is  for education,  so  [the  committee]  is                                                               
actually going against the advice  of many [Alaskan] citizens and                                                               
attempting to increase state spending in  this arena.  He said 50                                                               
percent of something is better than 100 percent of nothing.                                                                     
Number 0419                                                                                                                     
MR. ROSE  said he understands  what the committee members  are up                                                               
against; he thanked them for  looking at the learning-opportunity                                                               
grants and  funneling whatever money  possible to  the foundation                                                               
formula.   He said it  is the  mechanism that "we"  decided would                                                               
distribute money equitably.                                                                                                     
Number 0458                                                                                                                     
LUCY  HOPE, Teacher,  Matanuska-Susitna Borough  School District,                                                               
said she is also a  member of the National Education Association-                                                               
Alaska (NEA-Alaska)  Board of Directors.   She said she  wants to                                                               
talk about  the retention and difficulty  of recruiting teachers.                                                               
In  the  [Matanuska-Susitna]  district, 315  teachers  have  been                                                               
hired in the last four years,  which represents 33 percent of its                                                               
teaching force.   Forty percent of those people  have no teaching                                                               
experience  at all,  and "we"  are working  very hard  to support                                                               
them  at  the  beginning  of  their  career  because  we  are  so                                                               
desperate to retain them.                                                                                                       
MS. HOPE  said recruitment  has been  difficult, and  the state's                                                               
university  program graduates  only  30 percent  of the  teachers                                                               
that [Alaska]  needs to hire every  fall across the state.   That                                                               
means  that if  every one  of those  teachers went  into teaching                                                               
here in Alaska,  [Alaska] would still have to go  out and recruit                                                               
70 percent of  the teaching force that is needed  every year.  It                                                               
is  more important  than  ever that  [Alaska]  has a  competitive                                                               
salary and  benefit package to offer.   She said she  has been at                                                               
recruitment  fairs  for  special  education,  and  it  is  really                                                               
discouraging  when people  walk right  by the  Alaskan recruiting                                                               
booths and  go talk to recruiters  from Los Angeles and  New York                                                               
and so forth.                                                                                                                   
Number 0570                                                                                                                     
MS. HOPE commented  that she supports the  committee's efforts to                                                               
add more  money into  the formula,  for all  of the  reasons that                                                               
were spoken  to; she added that  it is important to  keep in mind                                                               
that in the case of  the Matanuska-Susitna [Borough], there is an                                                               
interesting  situation with  the  "assessed valuation"  increase,                                                               
which has been phenomenal over the  last three years.  Because of                                                               
the formula  language -  the "deduct" provision  - next  year the                                                               
state formula will bring $72 less  per student than this year, so                                                               
even with the $101 increase,  the Matanuska-Susitna district will                                                               
only  realize  a  $29  per-student   increase.    She  urged  the                                                               
committee  to look  at  funding [as  recommended  in the]  A-plus                                                               
report, and said it was a balanced report and a modest request.                                                                 
CHAIR  BUNDE  said  he   understands  the  competitive  challenge                                                               
regarding teacher's  salaries because  when he  came to  teach in                                                               
Alaska, he doubled his salary.                                                                                                  
MS. HOPE commented  that she did, too, and had  she stayed in the                                                               
district that she left, she would now be making $12,000 more.                                                                   
Number 0642                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GUESS  made a motion  to move  the CS for  HB 105,                                                               
version  22-LS5056\C,  Ford,  4/20/01,   out  of  committee  with                                                               
individual recommendations and the attached fiscal notes.                                                                       
CHAIR BUNDE stated that he was not going to move the bill [out                                                                  
of committee] today, and that Representative Guess must not have                                                                
been present when he made the announcement.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GUESS challenged the decision.                                                                                   
Number 0603                                                                                                                     
CHAIR BUNDE announced that the House Special Committee on                                                                       
Education meeting was adjourned.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GUESS objected to the decision to adjourn.                                                                       
Number 0663                                                                                                                     
CHAIR BUNDE announced at 10:10 a.m. that the House Special                                                                      
Committee on Education meeting was recessed to a call of the                                                                    
Chair.  [HB 105 was held over.]                                                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects