Legislature(2003 - 2004)

03/11/2003 11:00 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                                                                            
                         March 11, 2003                                                                                         
                           11:00 a.m.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Carl Gatto, Chair                                                                                                
Representative Paul Seaton, Vice Chair                                                                                          
Representative John Coghill                                                                                                     
Representative Peggy Wilson                                                                                                     
Representative Kelly Wolf                                                                                                       
Representative Les Gara                                                                                                         
Representative Mary Kapsner                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 154                                                                                                              
"An  Act  relating to  admission  to  and advancement  in  public                                                               
schools  of  children under  school  age;  and providing  for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 165                                                                                                              
"An  Act relating  to  community schools;  and  providing for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 171                                                                                                              
"An  Act   repealing  the  charter  school   grant  program;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 174                                                                                                              
"An Act  relating to the  state centralized  correspondence study                                                               
program,  to   funding  for   educational  programs   that  occur                                                               
primarily outside school facilities, and  to the duties of school                                                               
boards  of  borough  and  city   school  districts  and  regional                                                               
educational  attendance areas;  and  providing  for an  effective                                                               
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 154                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:UNDER SCHOOL AGE STUDENTS                                                                                           
SPONSOR(S): RLS BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
03/05/03     0421       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
                                   REFERRALS                                                                                    
03/05/03     0421       (H)        EDU, HES, FIN                                                                                
03/05/03     0422       (H)        FN1: (EED)                                                                                   
03/05/03     0422       (H)        GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER                                                                
03/11/03                (H)        EDU AT 11:00 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 165                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:COMMUNITY SCHOOLS                                                                                                   
SPONSOR(S): RLS BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
03/05/03     0437       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
                                   REFERRALS                                                                                    
03/05/03     0437       (H)        EDU, HES, FIN                                                                                
03/05/03     0437       (H)        FN1: (EED)                                                                                   
03/05/03     0437       (H)        GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER                                                                
03/11/03                (H)        EDU AT 11:00 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 171                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:REPEAL CHARTER SCHOOL GRANTS                                                                                        
SPONSOR(S): RLS BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
03/05/03     0445       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
                                   REFERRALS                                                                                    
03/05/03     0445       (H)        EDU, HES, FIN                                                                                
03/05/03     0445       (H)        FN1: (EED)                                                                                   
03/05/03     0445       (H)        GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER                                                                
03/11/03                (H)        EDU AT 11:00 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 174                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CORRESPONDENCE STUDY                                                                                               
SPONSOR(S): RLS BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
03/05/03     0449       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
                                   REFERRALS                                                                                    
03/05/03     0449       (H)        EDU, HES, FIN                                                                                
03/05/03     0449       (H)        FN1: (EED)                                                                                   
03/05/03     0449       (H)        GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER                                                                
03/10/03     0496       (H)        FN2: (EED)                                                                                   
03/11/03                (H)        EDU AT 11:00 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
EDDY JEANS, Manager                                                                                                             
School Finance and Facilities Section                                                                                           
Education support Services                                                                                                      
Department of Education and Early Development                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 154, HB 165, HB 171, and HB                                                                
174 responded to questions from the committee.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
KEVIN SWEENEY, Special Assistant                                                                                                
Office of the Commissioner                                                                                                      
Department of Education and Early Development                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 154 and responded to                                                                       
questions from the committee.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
JOYCE KITKA                                                                                                                     
Alaska Association for Community Education                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 165 and                                                                      
answered questions from the committee.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CONNIE MUNROE                                                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 165 and                                                                      
answered questions from the committee.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CARL ROSE, Executive Director                                                                                                   
Association of Alaska School Boards                                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 165.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REBECCA REICHLIN, President                                                                                                     
Alaska Association for Community Education                                                                                      
Anchorage School District Coordinator                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified via teleconference in opposition                                                                 
to the repeal of the community schools grant program in HB 165.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
PETER MACKSEY, Coordinator of Community Schools                                                                                 
Inlet View Elementary School                                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified via teleconference  in opposition                                                               
to HB 165.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
BLYTHE CAMPBELL, Chair                                                                                                          
Anchorage Community Education Association                                                                                       
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified via teleconference  in opposition                                                               
to HB 165.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
LARRY WIGET, Executive Director                                                                                                 
Public Affairs Division                                                                                                         
Anchorage School District                                                                                                       
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified via teleconference  in opposition                                                               
to HB 165.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
BARBARA HAYR, Coordinator                                                                                                       
Bear Valley Elementary School                                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT: Testified  via teleconference  in opposition                                                               
to HB 165.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
JULIE WILD-CURRY, Community After School Program Director                                                                       
Fairbanks North Star Borough School District                                                                                    
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified via teleconference  in opposition                                                               
to HB 165 and answered questions from the committee.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ROSE MARY REEDER                                                                                                                
Kenai Peninsula School District                                                                                                 
Kenai, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified via teleconference  in opposition                                                               
to HB 165.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DEANNA PATZ                                                                                                                     
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 174.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
HAYLIE RUDDELL                                                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified via teleconference  in opposition                                                               
to HB 174 and answered questions from the committee.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
JOHN PADEN, Counselor                                                                                                           
Alyeska Central School;                                                                                                         
Representative, Alyeska Central School Association                                                                              
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 174.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 03-9, SIDE A                                                                                                             
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CARL GATTO called the  House Special Committee on Education                                                             
meeting to  order at 11:00  a.m.  Representatives  Gatto, Seaton,                                                               
Wilson,  Wolf, and  Coghill were  present at  the call  to order.                                                               
Representatives Kapsner  and Gara arrived  as the meeting  was in                                                               
progress.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB 154-UNDER SCHOOL AGE STUDENTS                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO announced  that the first order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO.  154,  "An  Act relating  to  admission  to  and                                                               
advancement in public  schools of children under  school age; and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 0365                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
EDDY  JEANS,  Manager,  School Finance  and  Facilities  Section,                                                               
Education  Support Services,  Department of  Education and  Early                                                               
Development,  testified   in  favor   of  HB  154   and  provided                                                               
background  information  about  the  bill.    He  said  under  AS                                                               
14.03.080(c), a school  district may enroll a  child under school                                                               
age  if  the child  meets  the  mental, physical,  and  emotional                                                               
capacity  to   perform  satisfactorily  within   the  educational                                                               
program  being  offered.   But  the  "education program"  is  not                                                               
defined  anywhere,  so  it  has   very  broad  meaning,  and  the                                                               
department  has found  that over  the  years a  number of  school                                                               
districts have  developed what some call  a two-year kindergarten                                                               
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 0449                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS  said the foundation  funding formula does  not provide                                                               
for  preschool programs.    This statute's  purpose  is to  allow                                                               
those  students that  are under  school age,  but ready  to begin                                                               
kindergarten  at four  years old,  to  enroll early.   A  problem                                                               
occurred  when  the  practice of  allowing  [all]  four-year-olds                                                               
blanketed across some  communities to enroll in  public school to                                                               
generate an additional year's funding  by implementing a two-year                                                               
kindergarten program.  He pointed  out that under this section of                                                               
law it provides for a child  under school age to be admitted into                                                               
the public schools  in the school district of which  the child is                                                               
a  resident,  at the  discretion  of  the  governing body.    The                                                               
department  has taken  the  position that  it  means only  school                                                               
districts  in  which  these  children  reside  can  enroll  these                                                               
children   under   age.     In   other   words,   the   statewide                                                               
correspondence programs  that many  school districts  offer right                                                               
now are  not allowed, under  the department's  interpretation, to                                                               
enroll these four-year-olds early.   Mr. Jeans told the committee                                                               
the reason the department interprets  the statute that way is due                                                               
to the fact that there  is another provision under subsection (e)                                                               
that  says a  child under  school age  shall be  admitted to  the                                                               
school  in the  district  in which  the child  is  a resident  if                                                               
immediately before  the child became  a resident of  the district                                                               
the  child was  legally enrolled  in a  public school  of another                                                               
district or state.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 0615                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS gave an example where  a parent wants to enroll his/her                                                               
four-year-old  in the  Juneau  School District  and  is told  the                                                               
child is not  ready.  So the  parent could enroll the  child in a                                                               
statewide correspondence  program, then  withdraw the  child from                                                               
the  program,  and  then  the Juneau  School  District  would  be                                                               
required  to  accept  that  child  early.   Mr.  Jeans  said  the                                                               
department  believes this  provision  was intended  to allow  for                                                               
that  exceptional child  to  enroll in  the  community school  in                                                               
which the  child resides.  That  is the way the  department would                                                               
intend to enforce this statute if this provision is passed.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 0664                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JEANS  pointed  out  that the  fiscal  note  provided  shows                                                               
savings to  the state foundation  program would  be approximately                                                               
$3.9 million.   He told  the committee  there is a  chart showing                                                               
the savings by school district.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 0715                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA asked if there  have been any studies done to                                                               
see how many  four-year-olds will be left  without any affordable                                                               
preschooling.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JEANS responded  that  his office  has  not researched  that                                                               
question.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA told  the committee  that is  information he                                                               
would like to have before considering the bill.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GATTO  asked if  Representative  Gara  wants to  know  the                                                               
impact on these children.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA responded that is  correct.  He said if there                                                               
are  cuts, he  would  like to  know  what the  impact  is on  the                                                               
children  who  are  being  cut.    He said  he  is  in  favor  of                                                               
efficiencies without harming children's educational prospects.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 0786                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  asked if  a parent  whose income  is above                                                               
the  income eligibility  standard  may buy  into  the Head  Start                                                               
Program  and thereby,  provide for  participation in  a preschool                                                               
program like Head Start.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS replied that he does  not know if families can buy into                                                               
the Head  Start Program.   He told  the committee the  purpose of                                                               
this bill  is to clarify the  language in this statute  that this                                                               
not intended to implement a  two-year kindergarten program across                                                               
the state.   He  said some school  districts, not  all districts,                                                               
are  enrolling   four-year-olds  as  a  normal   practice.    The                                                               
department believes that if some  districts are allowed to enroll                                                               
four-year-olds as  a normal practice  in the  foundation program,                                                               
then  the department  needs to  allow all  districts to  do that.                                                               
The   department's  estimated   cost   in   funding  a   two-year                                                               
kindergarten   program   through   the  foundation   program   is                                                               
approximately $60 million.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS pointed  out that the other piece of  this equations is                                                               
that once the state funds  children under the foundation program,                                                               
those students  are then eligible  for space in  facilities under                                                               
the state's space  guidelines for school construction.   So there                                                               
will also be  an increase in the need to  build larger facilities                                                               
in communities.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 0929                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL clarified  that Head  Start is  a totally                                                               
different  program  and  not  included   in  the  school  funding                                                               
formula.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS  replied that he  is correct.   He said that  some Head                                                               
Start programs are housed in school facilities around the state.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0951                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAPSNER told  the  committee one  portion of  the                                                               
Kuspuk School  District, which she represents,  allows four-year-                                                               
olds to be  enrolled in school.  Part of  the reason the district                                                               
does this  is due to  the fact that  only part of  their district                                                               
has access  to the Head  Start Program.   She told  the committee                                                               
that she  found, in talking  with the superintendent  of schools,                                                               
that many  of the students do  not come to kindergarten  ready to                                                               
learn.    They  come  with  gaps in  oral  language  and  lacking                                                               
exposure  to  print-rich  environments.   Representative  Kapsner                                                               
said that  most of the  students, with  the exception of  the IEP                                                               
[individual education  program] students, are not  funded through                                                               
the foundation  formula.  She  asked Mr. Jeans what  his reaction                                                               
would be to this information.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS  replied that the  department understands  the problems                                                               
school  districts are  having  with children  ready  to learn  in                                                               
kindergarten.   He said  what this bill  addresses is  the policy                                                               
question of whether the legislature  wants to fund four-year-olds                                                               
in the  kindergarten-through-12th-grade [K-12] program.   It is a                                                               
very  straightforward question.   If  the department  allows some                                                               
districts to do it, then  the department must allow all districts                                                               
to do it.   He said this  would not have been an  issue ten years                                                               
ago, when  most school  districts were operating  close to  or at                                                               
capacity.   But with the  flat enrollment  in the last  couple of                                                               
years  and  declining enrollment  in  prior  years, he  said  the                                                               
districts have  space available.   Mr.  Jeans told  the committee                                                               
that the department  is asking for clarity on whether  or not the                                                               
legislature wants  to fund four-year-olds through  the foundation                                                               
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1085                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO commented  that there is a certain  quantity of funds                                                               
devoted  to K-12  education, and  whatever  the legislature  does                                                               
comes out  of that funding.   If funds  are taken from  one area,                                                               
they are  removed from somewhere else.   He said wants  and needs                                                               
are  very different  things and  something  the committee  should                                                               
keep in mind.  He pointed  out that the amount of money available                                                               
to education  is not growing.   He said the state  is looking for                                                               
efficiencies somewhere.   The idea  of starting kids  early would                                                               
be  wonderful,  if  the  state  could afford  it.    Chair  Gatto                                                               
commented that he believes this is a "want," but not a "need."                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  noted that  the  chart  shows one  school                                                               
district   is  getting   $871,000  more   because  of   an  extra                                                               
kindergarten program.   She pointed  out that the schools  in her                                                               
district  are not  receiving  this  extra money.    She said  she                                                               
agrees with Chair  Gatto that this is a "want"  and not a "need."                                                               
She asked Mr. Jeans if this is just  a way for the schools to get                                                               
more money.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS responded  that he believes all  school districts would                                                               
tell the  committee that they  have the need to  educate children                                                               
at four years old, but, as  pointed out, there are some districts                                                               
that are  simply enrolling all  four-year-olds and  claiming them                                                               
for  funding.   This legislation  is  not intended  to block  the                                                               
exceptional  child   from  getting   into  school  early.     The                                                               
department's purpose is to make it  clear in statute that this is                                                               
intended for exceptional  children, and not a plan  to enroll all                                                               
four-year-olds, as is being done in some districts.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 1283                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO asked, if the  funding were eliminated and there were                                                               
four-year-olds  a  district wanted  to  enroll  in this  program,                                                               
whether it would be possible to do that without state funding.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS  reiterated that the  exceptional child should  be able                                                               
to  enroll and  should be  allowed state  funding.   He said  the                                                               
department's  expectation  would  be  that  the  child  would  be                                                               
advanced  to the  next grade  level in  the subsequent  year, not                                                               
remain in kindergarten for two years.   He pointed out that there                                                               
are  not two  years of  first grade  or second  grade.   Children                                                               
advance and  children are held  back.  That  is the norm,  not an                                                               
entire population for one additional year for funding purposes.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOLF shared  his  personal experience  concerning                                                               
early  enrollment,  saying  that  he  and  his  wife  could  have                                                               
enrolled their daughter  at four years old, but his  wife did not                                                               
think it was  appropriate.  They put her in  an early development                                                               
school on  the Kenai Peninsula  and paid  for it themselves.   He                                                               
said he will support this legislation.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA asked  where four-years-olds  [those who  do                                                               
not have access to  Head Start] will go if the  rug is pulled out                                                               
from underneath them.  What will  the department do to help them?                                                               
He  said that  studies show  that four-year-olds  benefit from  a                                                               
learning  environment.   It might  be cheaper  to enroll  kids in                                                               
Head Start, but  the state only funds roughly 20  percent of Head                                                               
Start needs.   Representative Gara asked how the  state is making                                                               
education better rather than worse with this bill.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 1529                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
KEVIN  SWEENEY, Special  Assistant, Office  of the  Commissioner,                                                               
Department  of Education  and Early  Development, responded  that                                                               
the commissioner  would agree that  education would be  better if                                                               
the legislature funded all four-year-olds.   In some districts it                                                               
has shown  that bringing  kids in  at four  years old  has helped                                                               
them  progress.    However,   the  fundamental  question  becomes                                                               
whether the state  feels that is something that  should be funded                                                               
through the  foundation formula.   Maybe something  the committee                                                               
should discuss is funding this  program outside of the foundation                                                               
formula.  He  said the question remains, now  that some districts                                                               
are doing  this through  the foundation  program, of  whether the                                                               
legislature is willing  to accept the increased  cost in offering                                                               
this to all four-year-olds in all districts.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. SWEENEY  repeated Mr. Jeans'  statement that if the  state is                                                               
going  to  pay  for  this through  the  foundation  program,  the                                                               
legislature is  looking at an  additional cost of $50  million to                                                               
$60 million.  If  the state has to use the  same amount of money,                                                               
the  only way  to do  that would  be to  reduce funding  to other                                                               
students.  That is the question.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1605                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA  responded that  he  is  talking about  $3.9                                                               
million for  this coming year.   He asked if Mr.  Sweeney thought                                                               
it would be the responsible  thing to provide educational or Head                                                               
Start  services for  the children  already enrolled,  rather than                                                               
going forward  with a  proposal that  just leaves  these children                                                               
with no educational  services.  He asked if this  should not be a                                                               
comprehensive approach.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 1634                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SWEENEY replied  that  it probably  is  something the  state                                                               
needs to look  at with respect to the four-year-olds  who will no                                                               
longer be  enrolled in this program.   He said this  issue should                                                               
be  dealt with  separately.   As more  parents realize  that this                                                               
program is possible, they will  be asking their school boards and                                                               
school districts to  provide the same program  to their children.                                                               
With  space available  in  some schools,  the  districts will  be                                                               
taking advantage  of it, and  [the state  is] looking at  a large                                                               
amount of money.   He told the committee  the department believes                                                               
this section  of the statute was  never intended to be  funded in                                                               
this way.   He said  the committee  needs to decide  whether they                                                               
want  to  expand the  formula  to  include four-year-olds.    Mr.                                                               
Sweeney said  he could  look at ways  to help  four-year-olds who                                                               
will no longer  be able to receive  the educational opportunities                                                               
available to them through the state.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  commented that  school districts  will look                                                               
at this  as a golden  opportunity to  increase funding.   He said                                                               
these  are  very  young  children   and  the  parents  bear  some                                                               
responsibility  to work  with  the children  before  they get  to                                                               
kindergarten.  He  said he does not see anyone  who can work with                                                               
children  better than  the  children's  parents.   In  a way,  he                                                               
believes that  it probably is  not a  good idea to  have children                                                               
enroll in two years of kindergarten.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 1767                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON asked if all  these children are four-year-                                                               
olds or if some of them are three-year-olds.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. SWEENEY  replied that he  does not  know if a  district could                                                               
then  start a  three-year program  and is  unaware of  that being                                                               
prohibited.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS  replied that there  are some  three-year-olds included                                                               
in those  numbers, but  for the most  part it  is four-year-olds.                                                               
He pointed  out that  the state does  provide funding  for three-                                                               
and  four-year-olds that  are special  education students  on IEP                                                               
[individual education plan].  The  department allows districts to                                                               
claim those  students once  the student  is identified  for state                                                               
funding.   This  is  a  block of  four-year-olds  getting a  13th                                                               
[14th] year of funding in the public school system.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SWEENEY told  the  committee that  the  department does  not                                                               
believe what the districts are  doing is necessarily a bad thing.                                                               
Their efforts are  good.  He said  the administration's intention                                                               
in putting this  bill forward is not to  prevent school districts                                                               
from helping their students to the  best of their ability, but to                                                               
clarify this section of statute,  because [the department] thinks                                                               
what is occurring was never the intent of the statute.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 1902                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAPSNER  told  the committee  that  she  believes                                                               
schools should  be doing  more at  a younger age.   As  a working                                                               
mother with  a four-year-old  son, she  has found,  for instance,                                                               
that in Bethel there is a  preschool called the Little Red School                                                               
House.   It  is expensive  and requires  parents to  do a  lot of                                                               
volunteer work  there to have a  child attend.  Her  son could go                                                               
only six hours  per week and he  was begging to go;  he wanted to                                                               
learn.   She said she believes  the focus should be  to cultivate                                                               
ways to teach kids while they are  still eager to learn.  After a                                                               
certain age they are not eager to  learn.  The state has put in a                                                               
lot of regulations  for childcare providers, and  it has actually                                                               
decreased the  availability of day  care providers by  30 percent                                                               
across  the  state.   She  expressed  concern about  hamstringing                                                               
parents.  Representative Kapsner said  she reads to her son every                                                               
night and she believes in  teaching him his numbers and alphabet.                                                               
She said  she does not see  anything wrong with spending  the $50                                                               
million or  $60 million  to get  kids who are  eager to  learn in                                                               
school and in a learning environment.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  asked  Representative  Kapsner  where  she                                                               
would want to see the $60 million come from.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER  replied that she  does not adhere  to the                                                               
idea that the  money needs to be taken from  somewhere else.  She                                                               
said  she believes  [the legislature]  should increase  education                                                               
funding and look for other revenue sources.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 2060                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  said no one  seems concerned about  the $3.9                                                               
million for four-year-olds, and asked  where the great concern is                                                               
coming  from.   He  pointed out  that this  statute  has been  in                                                               
effect since 1987.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JEANS responded  that he  gets telephone  calls from  school                                                               
districts  all the  time asking  specifically  about this  issue.                                                               
The districts want to know  if they can enroll four-year-olds and                                                               
receive state funding.  He told  the committee his answer to them                                                               
is that the  state does not fund preschools.   Mr. Jeans said the                                                               
superintendents  have  an association  and  they  talk with  each                                                               
other about these  kinds of issues.  He told  the committee there                                                               
are already  a couple of school  districts that were not  on this                                                               
list a  year ago.   This  issue really  came to  the department's                                                               
attention when the department asked  for student-level data where                                                               
the department  takes a look  at whether  a child is  eligible to                                                               
receive  state funding  based on  his/her school  age.   It  is a                                                               
question of  equity.  If  the state  allows some districts  to do                                                               
it, then all districts should be allowed to do it.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA replied  that according  to the  chart, most                                                               
school districts are  already doing this, so in 15  years all the                                                               
department has  come up  with is $3.9  million worth  of programs                                                               
under this  provision, and  more than  half the  school districts                                                               
are  already doing  this.   Representative Gara  asked where  the                                                               
fear  is coming  from that  it is  going to  be $60  million next                                                               
year.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO announced  that  HB 154  will  be held  and                                                               
heard again  at the next  meeting of the House  Special Committee                                                               
on Education.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
HB 165-COMMUNITY SCHOOLS                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 2218                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  announced that  the next order  of business                                                               
would  be HOUSE  BILL  NO.  165, "An  Act  relating to  community                                                               
schools; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 2251                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
EDDY  JEANS,  Manager,  School Finance  and  Facilities  Section,                                                               
Education  Support Services,  Department of  Education and  Early                                                               
Development,  testified  on  HB   165,  which  would  repeal  the                                                               
community schools  program outlined  in Alaska  Statute 14.36.010                                                               
through 14.36.070.   Mr. Jeans  told the committee  the community                                                               
schools statute was  adopted in 1975, and the  purpose and intent                                                               
of  this  program  was  to   assist  local  school  districts  in                                                               
establishing community  schools programs and to  provide funds to                                                               
assist  the   local  communities  in  the   initial  development,                                                               
implementation,  and operations  of  community schools  programs.                                                               
Mr. Jeans  asked the committee  to review the fiscal  note, which                                                               
shows  a $500,000  reduction; however,  the schedule  attached to                                                               
that  fiscal  note demonstrates  that  if  the community  schools                                                               
program were fully funded at  the statutory entitlement, it would                                                               
generate almost $3.3 million.   He told the committee the program                                                               
has been  substantially underfunded  for a number  of years.   He                                                               
said the $500,000 represents 12  percent of the school districts'                                                               
entitlements, and  the department  believes, based on  the intent                                                               
language  in the  statute, that  this program  has fulfilled  its                                                               
intended  purpose.    The  Department   of  Education  and  Early                                                               
Development and  the administration  recommend that  this statute                                                               
be repealed.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 2336                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  said that for  the record the  repealing of                                                               
this  statute does  not  eliminate community  schools.   It  just                                                               
eliminates a  portion of the  funding that may be  substantial to                                                               
some  communities because  they have  become accustomed  to state                                                               
funding.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 2370                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOLF asked  Mr. Jeans  to confirm  that repealing                                                               
this  statute  would in  no  way  deter communities  from  having                                                               
community  schools programs.    For example,  he  asked if  Kenai                                                               
community schools  could charge  a user  fee to  fill the  gap in                                                               
loss of state funding.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JEANS responded  that Representative  Wolf is  correct.   He                                                               
told the committee that districts have  put in place user fees to                                                               
keep those schools open for  after-school and weekend activities.                                                               
He restated  that the  language could  be repealed  and community                                                               
schools programs could continue with user-fee funding.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 2460                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JOYCE   KITKA,  Alaska   Association  for   Community  Education,                                                               
testified in  opposition to HB 165.   She told the  committee she                                                               
has been  in the  field for  23 years and  agrees with  Mr. Jeans                                                               
that community schools has been  underfunded for many years.  She                                                               
said the law was passed in  1978, and the initial funding for the                                                               
community schools program  was obtained in 1980.   Ms. Kitka said                                                               
that even  though community  schools [programs  are] underfunded,                                                               
services  have still  been  provided and  there  has been  fiscal                                                               
responsibility for these years.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 2542                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KITKA  challenged  the  committee  to  find  a  program  for                                                               
$500,000 that logs  in the number of hours this  does, and 20,000                                                               
programs that serve children and  adults.  She told the committee                                                               
community  schools are  responsible for  many programs  that help                                                               
kids.   They are ready  to help  the education system  in meeting                                                               
the federal No Child Left Behind Act.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. KITKA  said community schools  have already  implemented fees                                                               
to  help  administer  the  programs.     She  is  concerned  that                                                               
increasing  the fees  too  much  will mean  that  the Head  Start                                                               
parents  or the  low-income  parents  will not  be  able to  stay                                                               
involved in programs because of the cost.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 2624                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA  asked  what portion  of  community  schools                                                               
funding  goes   to  children's  programs  and   what  portion  to                                                               
individuals over 18 years old.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KITKA responded  that most  of the  adult programs  actually                                                               
subsidize  the  children's programs.    She  said locally,  adult                                                               
classes  are  a  60/40  split, with  the  instructor  getting  60                                                               
percent, and community schools getting  40 percent.  With that 40                                                               
percent  she   told  the   committee  she   opens  the   gym  for                                                               
approximately 150 kids,  and is able to  provide scholarships for                                                               
kids to  go to summer school.   She told the  committee she could                                                               
not speak to the statewide programs.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 2658                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOLF  asked  how  Ms.  Kitka  would  propose  the                                                               
legislature find the dollars to  fund community schools.  He said                                                               
the  legislature has  one source  of funding.   He  asked if  the                                                               
community schools program  is a nonprofit organization.   He said                                                               
he does not question the  value of community schools, but wonders                                                               
if there is a possibility to reach out to the corporate world.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KITKA responded  that she  believes  community schools  have                                                               
reached out to  the corporate world.  She told  the committee the                                                               
program has been creative in ways  of funding programs.  She said                                                               
community schools do have a  lot of business partnerships and she                                                               
is always amazed at the return  from the community.  She said her                                                               
personal  preference for  funding community  schools would  be to                                                               
take her permanent fund dividend.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO praised  Ms. Kitka  for her  dedicated work                                                               
and told her how much it is appreciated.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 2815                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER praised  Ms. Kitka as well.   She said she                                                               
believes Ms. Kitka  was asked an unfair question  because she did                                                               
not run for office; that is what the members were elected to do.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAPSNER asked  Chair Gatto  how this  is not  the                                                               
elimination  of the  community schools  program.   She said  that                                                               
since the  program costs $500,000  and [the bill  is] eliminating                                                               
$500,000, that would eliminate the  funding for the program.  She                                                               
asked how this is only cutting a portion.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS  responded that  the bill  eliminates the  program from                                                               
the statutes.   He said all communities are running  some form of                                                               
community  schools  program.    He told  the  committee  he  will                                                               
provide the  committee with a list  of the total amount  of money                                                               
that  is being  spent on  community schools;  then the  committee                                                               
could look at  that compared with what the  state is contributing                                                               
at the $500,000 level.  Mr.  Jeans asked the committee to look at                                                               
the  statute and  note  that the  intent of  the  statute was  to                                                               
assist communities  in the establishment of  the community school                                                               
programs.   Nowhere  in  the  statute is  there  an intention  to                                                               
support on an ongoing basis  community schools programs, and that                                                               
is why  the department  and the administration  have come  to the                                                               
legislature with  this proposal.  Community  schools programs are                                                               
operating  across the  state through  user fees,  small subsidies                                                               
from the state, and private corporations.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  pointed out  that the state  does do  a lot                                                               
for  community schools  by providing  the schools,  heat, lights,                                                               
and custodians,  just not  the funds.   He  said he  believes the                                                               
state is providing a good  service by allowing communities to use                                                               
the schools.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  asked Mr. Jeans  what the impact will  be on                                                               
community schools if the $500,000 is cut.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 2938                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS responded that when  he provides the committee with the                                                               
schedule that shows how much  money the districts are spending on                                                               
community schools on a statewide  basis, the members will be able                                                               
to determine that.   He told the members that  the department has                                                               
not done  a formal study on  the impact on each  community if the                                                               
state removes the $500,000 contribution,  nor does the department                                                               
intend to  do that.   Mr. Jeans said  he thinks when  the members                                                               
look at  the $500,000 in  relationship to the total  amount being                                                               
spent on community schools, he  believes the members will be able                                                               
to draw their own conclusions.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 03-9, SIDE B                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 2984                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON told  the committee that he  spoke with the                                                               
superintendent of schools in the  Kenai Peninsula School District                                                               
and he  was told that  Kenai is the  fourth-highest-funded school                                                               
district.   He said his  district gets approximately  $32,000 per                                                               
year.   The total the  district is spending on  community schools                                                               
is $220,000  per year.   Eliminating  that $32,000  would require                                                               
raising  some fees,  changing  some programs,  but  it would  not                                                               
eliminate the community schools program.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 2920                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CONNIE  MUNROE  told  the  committee   she  is  a  volunteer  for                                                               
community schools,  retired from the Department  of Education and                                                               
Early Development, where  she was in charge of  this program, and                                                               
received  her  master's  degree   in  adult  community  education                                                               
through APU  [Alaska Pacific University].   Ms. Munroe  said that                                                               
while she is  from Juneau, she is currently living  in Healy, and                                                               
it is  her first  experience in living  in Interior  Alaska where                                                               
there is a very small school.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 2871                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. MUNROE  said that every  single school district in  the state                                                               
applies  for these  funds to  allow and  encourage it  to provide                                                               
lifelong learning.   Every dollar is spent  providing the program                                                               
to the communities.  She  said if the legislature eliminates that                                                               
funding, then the communities will not  pay someone to do it.  It                                                               
is really  difficult to get someone  to come into the  school and                                                               
open it,  because that individual  must be  bonded.  That  is one                                                               
issue.   Another  one is  that  the Department  of Education  and                                                               
Early Development  has made  a very strong  effort to  reduce the                                                               
paperwork to  apply for this grant.   She told the  committee she                                                               
has monitored and reviewed this program across the state.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. MUNROE spoke  to the question of  eliminating adult education                                                               
and GED  [general equivalency diploma]  testing.  She said  it is                                                               
usually the principal of the school  who volunteers to be the GED                                                               
proctor.   She  said that  the librarian  volunteers to  keep the                                                               
library open two evenings per week  or on Saturdays for people to                                                               
come into  the school  and study.   Ms. Munroe  said she  will be                                                               
doing  some testing  for Nenana,  Anderson, Healy,  and the  park                                                               
service  area.   She said  the  adult education  program will  be                                                               
using  community schools  and does  not have  to pay  a fee.   In                                                               
urban areas the fees are a problem.   There is no way to persuade                                                               
someone  to volunteer  to go  to  the corporate  entities to  get                                                               
funds.  It takes a lot of effort to get funds donated.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 2746                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MUNROE also  spoke to  the issue  of a  time of  need for  a                                                               
homeland security type of public forum.   One of the questions in                                                               
Anchorage, Fairbanks,  and Juneau was  where the public  would go                                                               
if  there  were a  war  disaster  in  Alaska  and there  were  no                                                               
utilities.  The  response was that the community would  go to the                                                               
schools.  The question was who  would monitor the schools and who                                                               
would keep people  busy if they were stuck in  the schools two or                                                               
three  days,  or  even  a  week.   Every  community  school  will                                                               
probably have  someone who could take  care of them and  keep the                                                               
kids busy.  She told  the committee she feels community education                                                               
and community schools are essential.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 2692                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GATTO commented  that because  of his  work with  the fire                                                               
department, he knows  that the schools are designed  and built to                                                               
withstand  earthquakes and  other  disasters.   Schools and  fire                                                               
departments  will still  be standing  when  other buildings  have                                                               
fallen.    The   schools  are  designed  to  be   there  for  the                                                               
communities in the  event of a disaster, and that  is part of the                                                               
reason why the  state spends so much money in  building them.  He                                                               
pointed out that  in the Miller's Reach fire it  was Houston High                                                               
School that was the place where  all of the incident command took                                                               
place.  Chair  Gatto agreed with Ms. Munroe that  the schools are                                                               
there for the community.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 2637                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. MUNROE told the committee that  user fees are not charged for                                                               
activities that  do not charge  participants.  She said  that the                                                               
athletic  programs   charge,  but   for  small  children   to  do                                                               
gymnastics  or reading,  there is  no charge.   Other  groups and                                                               
activities  that are  not charged  for  use of  the building  are                                                               
adult  basic  education,  private  and  nonprofit  organizations,                                                               
cooperative  extension   programs,  or  church  groups   that  do                                                               
activities.   She added that if  a fee is charged,  the funds are                                                               
for materials or  support of a private  or nonprofit organization                                                               
that does not have money.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 2592                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA  thanked  Ms.   Munroe  and  Ms.  Kitka  for                                                               
providing  good  arguments in  opposition  to  cutting funds  for                                                               
adult services.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 2563                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CARL  ROSE,  Executive  Director, Association  of  Alaska  School                                                               
Boards, testified  in opposition  to HB 165  because he  sees the                                                               
importance  of   community  schools.    He   told  the  committee                                                               
community schools is just a  small piece of the peripheral issues                                                               
the state is dealing  with in education.  He said  he is aware of                                                               
the fact that  all the funds come out of  one source and whatever                                                               
is  reduced  eventually  is  going   to  be  addressed  with  the                                                               
foundation formula.   He  said the  association is  supportive of                                                               
community  schools  because  the  community  is  central  to  the                                                               
schools  and  whatever  will  engage   communities  is  what  the                                                               
association  wants  to  encourage.     In  response  to  previous                                                               
inquiries  concerning how  community  schools will  be funded  if                                                               
these  dollars are  reduced,  he  said he  believe  they will  be                                                               
picked  up in  other  ways.   The  question is  how  far can  you                                                               
stretch  that  educational   dollar.    This  is   one  of  those                                                               
peripheral issues  and the state  will be dealing with  many more                                                               
in the future.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 2515                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GATTO pointed  out  that the  House  Special Committee  on                                                               
Education is not the place to  deal with how to enhance revenues.                                                               
He commented that everyone wishes  there were more funds, but the                                                               
committee is faced  with the task of dealing  with the governor's                                                               
bills to do something about the  fiscal problems.  Education is a                                                               
huge portion of the state's  budget.  Chair Gatto reiterated that                                                               
the  legislature  is just  trying  to  deal with  the  governor's                                                               
requests.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 2426                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REBECCA  REICHLIN, President,  Alaska  Association for  Community                                                               
Education; Anchorage  School District Coordinator,  testified via                                                               
teleconference  in  opposition to  the  repeal  of the  community                                                               
schools grant  program in  HB 165.   She  urged the  committee to                                                               
support the current  level of funding at $500,000.   She said for                                                               
the past 27  years community education has extended  its reach to                                                               
every school district  in the state.  She said  that while on the                                                               
surface it  may seem that  community schools' primary  purpose is                                                               
to provide  access to  school facilities  beyond the  school day,                                                               
community schools' goals  are far more extensive.   She said they                                                               
provide  programming   for  extended   learning  for   all  ages,                                                               
community  development and  a vehicle  for community  engagement,                                                               
enrichment  opportunities  for school-age  children,  interagency                                                               
cooperation, and opportunities for  youth beyond the regular K-12                                                               
programs.   In  addition,  community schools  are providing  more                                                               
programs  to   meet  the  benchmarks   and  standards   that  the                                                               
legislature has established  in the requirements of  the No Child                                                               
Left Behind Act.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 2351                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. REICHLIN explained that lifelong  learning has many benefits.                                                               
Research shows  that a family  of learners produces  children who                                                               
love to learn.  Community  involvement produces citizens who care                                                               
and  are  active  contributing members  of  society.    Community                                                               
schools are in the business  of educating and providing services.                                                               
The funding  has been  cut to  $500,000, but  the money  has been                                                               
well spent.   In the 2002 school year, over  20,150 programs were                                                               
held,  producing   over  342,000   contact  hours;   over  20,000                                                               
volunteers  contributed  over  211,000  volunteer  hours  to  the                                                               
benefit of over 464,000 youths  and 390,000 adults all engaged in                                                               
learning.   Alaska  Gateway School  District offered  technology,                                                               
tutoring,  and GED  and college  preparation work  for $3,683  in                                                               
grant funding.  In order  to provide these services, the district                                                               
leverages the current  state funding and matched  it with in-kind                                                               
donations,   and  business   and  nonprofit   collaborations  and                                                               
partnerships.   She asked members  to please not  dismantle these                                                               
successful and  far-reaching programs.   She urged  the committee                                                               
to utilize  community schools  to achieve  the state's  goals; to                                                               
provide  safe,  supervised  places   for  Alaska's  youth  to  be                                                               
involved, and to involve local  citizens and empower them for the                                                               
good of Alaska's communities.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 2231                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PETER   MACKSEY,  Community   Schools  Coordinator,   Inlet  View                                                               
Elementary School, testified via  teleconference in opposition to                                                               
HB  165.   He pointed  out that  there are  approximately 600,000                                                               
residents  in Alaska  and that  the  legislature gives  community                                                               
schools approximately  $500,000, which works  out to be  about 84                                                               
cents  per person.   Anchorage  gets between  about $145,000  and                                                               
$150,000, which  works out to be  about 53 cents per  person.  He                                                               
said he  knows Rebecca  [Reichlin] told  the committee  about the                                                               
quality  and quantity  of  volunteer hours.    He indicated  that                                                               
Anchorage  already matches  hour  per hour  and  beyond what  the                                                               
legislature is doing for community schools.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MACKSEY responded  to Representative  Gara's question  about                                                               
adult  education.   He said  the evening  adult-education classes                                                               
are  subsidizing  all  the   children's  classes  that  community                                                               
schools are doing.   He said community schools  give back $65,000                                                               
to the  Anchorage School District  out of  the money raised.   At                                                               
Inlet  View  Elementary  School, the  community  schools  program                                                               
subsidizes  two other  schools' after-school  children's programs                                                               
that are  provided free of  charge.   He told the  committee they                                                               
are getting the most  bang for their buck out of  this money.  In                                                               
some  places outside  of Anchorage,  this  money is  all that  is                                                               
keeping  an after-school  program or  gym open  for kids  to play                                                               
basketball.   He told the committee  he reads the statute  to say                                                               
"operate" schools and not to  say anything about stopping or just                                                               
getting them started.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 2105                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BLYTHE   CAMPBELL,    Chair,   Anchorage    Community   Education                                                               
Association,  testified via  teleconference in  opposition to  HB                                                               
165.   She  told the  committee she  has been  involved with  the                                                               
community  schools program  since 1985.    She said  that HB  165                                                               
repeals the statute  enabling state funding and  pointed out that                                                               
this  funding  is not  a  mandate  in  the  district.   She  said                                                               
eliminating this statute is not  eliminating an obligation; there                                                               
is no  obligation.   She said  what it  does do  for her  and the                                                               
other 20,000 volunteers  is to say that the  legislature does not                                                               
value this  program and  the state does  not value  this program.                                                               
She said the  association does not think the program  needs to be                                                               
described in  the state  statute.   She said  she does  not think                                                               
this bill is  necessary.  The budget process  is totally separate                                                               
from  this bill.   All  this bill  does is  repeal language  that                                                               
community schools exist and she  said she does not understand the                                                               
reason for that.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 2037                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
LARRY  WIGET,   Executive  Director,  Public   Affairs  Division,                                                               
Anchorage  School  District,   testified  via  teleconference  in                                                               
opposition  to HB  165.   He said  the Anchorage  School District                                                               
does not  support eliminating community  schools from  statute or                                                               
eliminating  community   schools  funding  as  proposed   in  the                                                               
governor's budget.   For 27  years the Municipality  of Anchorage                                                               
has  been  strengthened  through  strong  community  outreach  by                                                               
community   schools.     The   Anchorage   School  District   has                                                               
appreciated  stronger   support  by  community  members   in  the                                                               
educational efforts,  programs, and  services that  are committed                                                               
to providing  for students, parents,  and staff.  Mr.  Wiget told                                                               
the  committee  the  district  is  continually  striving  through                                                               
community schools  programs to more  closely align  its community                                                               
schools  offerings   to  assist  the  students   in  meeting  the                                                               
requirements of  the No Child  Left Behind Act and  the benchmark                                                               
exams.     The  Anchorage  School   District  does   not  support                                                               
eliminating  community schools  from statute  or eliminating  its                                                               
funding.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1968                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BARBARA  HAYR,   Coordinator,  Bear  Valley   Elementary  School,                                                               
testified  via   teleconference  as  a  long-time   supporter  of                                                               
community  schools.    She  shared  with  the  committee  that  a                                                               
community  schools program  she  works with  lost  its funding  a                                                               
couple of years ago  and they hung on.  She  said the funding was                                                               
restored this  year, but if  it had not  been, there would  be no                                                               
community schools program.  She  told the committee that with the                                                               
funding  they have  instituted tutoring  programs in  reading and                                                               
math,  and have  addressed the  need for  a school-age  childcare                                                               
program.  She said Bear Valley  has between 40 to 50 families who                                                               
need childcare, and the community  schools program is prepared to                                                               
institute  a  before-  and after-school  childcare  program  next                                                               
year.   Community schools has been  asked to help meet  the needs                                                               
of  meeting the  benchmark standards  and No  Child Left  Behind;                                                               
that includes  both children  and parents, and  is for  the whole                                                               
group.  State funding does not  fund the program entirely, but it                                                               
allows  her,  as a  coordinator,  to  work on  other  fundraising                                                               
efforts  to establish  partnerships and  to seek  out grants  and                                                               
donations from  private businesses.   She asked the  committee to                                                               
keep community  schools in the  statutes and to  continue funding                                                               
the programs.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO thanked Ms. Hayr and  told her that all their efforts                                                               
are appreciated.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1855                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JULIE  WILD-CURRY,  Community   After  School  Program  Director,                                                               
Fairbanks  North  Star  Borough School  District,  testified  via                                                               
teleconference in opposition  to HB 165.  She  told the committee                                                               
that many  of the points she  would make have been  touched on by                                                               
previous  speakers.   She  told  the  committee that  the  school                                                               
district has been successful in  leveraging "one to nine" funding                                                               
in terms  of bringing other funding  in.  They charge  user fees,                                                               
serve both  students and  adults, and work  to assist  in meeting                                                               
benchmarks.     Community  schools  help  families   in  learning                                                               
different ways to  take tests, to read, and to  study.  Community                                                               
schools also provides enrichment and a  safe place for kids to be                                                               
both after school and in the evening hours.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILD-CURRY told  the committee  if this  funding were  to go                                                               
away  along with  the law,  this program  would not  be available                                                               
with  the  school  district.    There would  not  be  a  staffing                                                               
position  that coordinates  all  of these  different events  that                                                               
take place in  Fairbanks.  Over 9,000 people were  served in this                                                               
program last year.   For a community the size  of Fairbanks, that                                                               
is a  great number of  people.  The  one special program  that is                                                               
offered in  the community  schools program  in Fairbanks  that is                                                               
offered nowhere else  in the state is a  driver education program                                                               
for teen drivers.   Other communities are looking  at this model.                                                               
This is a class  that used to be in the day  program, but when it                                                               
was  eliminated  from  state  funding,   it  was  taken  over  in                                                               
community  schools  because  it  was   a  definite  need  in  the                                                               
community with  the driving conditions  here.   Community schools                                                               
continues to  operate that program  and fees are charged  for it;                                                               
however,  this  grant helps  subsidize  those  fees, and  if  the                                                               
funding  were not  provided, the  program would  have the  charge                                                               
substantially higher rates.  She  urged the committee not to pass                                                               
this bill.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 1747                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO  asked if  the program  would disappear  if community                                                               
schools lost this funding.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.   WILD-CURRY  replied   that  it   would  likely   disappear.                                                               
Community  schools also  provide an  opportunities for  community                                                               
members, agencies, and businesses to  partner to see how they can                                                               
offer what  is needed  in the  community.   Through all  of these                                                               
processes, community schools  have lost a great  deal of funding,                                                               
and each time they community has  helped fund a larger portion of                                                               
it  by  increased  user  fees, donation,  or  fundraisers.    She                                                               
questioned how  far community schools  can go in asking  for this                                                               
leverage for these programs.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GATTO   replied  that  if   the  legislature   makes  this                                                               
reduction, it will be the last one made.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1654                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ROSE MARY REEDER, Kenai Peninsula  School District, testified via                                                               
teleconference in  opposition to HB  165.  She told  members that                                                               
she supports  the current level  of funding.   At this  time, the                                                               
Kenai Peninsula  School District gets  a little over  $32,000 per                                                               
year,  which is  spread over  three sites,  Soldotna, Homer,  and                                                               
Seward.  She  said they consider this basic  funding, charge user                                                               
fees,  apply for  grants, and  do fundraising  activities.   This                                                               
small amount of  money the Peninsula gets is  a representation of                                                               
[the  legislature's] support  [for the  program].   When applying                                                               
for grants or  asking corporations for donations  it is important                                                               
to show  some kind of local  and state support, and  this funding                                                               
has been very helpful.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. REEDER said all three sites  have no overhead.  [The program]                                                               
works out of the schools  and other municipal buildings, and that                                                               
saves a lot  of money.  She said [the  community schools program]                                                               
usually has  one staff person,  some short-time people,  and lots                                                               
of volunteers.   There is an effort to keep  the school buildings                                                               
open in the  evenings, the weekends, and in  the summertime, when                                                               
those buildings  would sit  vacant.  She  told the  committee Ms.                                                               
Kitka's comment  about the adult  programs funding  kids programs                                                               
is very  true in  their case.   For example,  she said  there are                                                               
basketball programs two nights per  week in the middle school for                                                               
gentlemen;  the $4  that  each one  pays  provides for  community                                                               
school  activities for  the Soldotna  Middle School  PE [physical                                                               
education]  program   during  the   day  and   community  schools                                                               
activities for kids on the weekends.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 1564                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. REEDER said that [the  community schools program] reaches out                                                               
to  the community,  and applies  for grants.   She  said she  has                                                               
written four  small grant  proposals in the  last month  that are                                                               
pending  for summer  programs.   She said  they try  to keep  the                                                               
school open  as often  as possible, when  they would  normally be                                                               
closed, and  in many  instances that  is up to  18 hours  per day                                                               
[counting the  school day].   Ms. Reeder  said that they  have an                                                               
excellent  working  relationship  with the  school  district  and                                                               
combine resources,  which provides  leverage to  do so  much more                                                               
than would normally  be possible.  The  community schools program                                                               
provides  cultural, educational,  and recreational  opportunities                                                               
for  all ages.    Classes  are even  offered  on the  legislative                                                               
process, which is very well attended.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  REEDER,  in response  to  the  question  of impacts  of  the                                                               
reduction  of funds  in the  Soldotna community  schools program,                                                               
said their program has already  done all those things recommended                                                               
to raised  funds.  Some of  the changes they have  made to adjust                                                               
to the reduction in funding  are raising fees, closing the school                                                               
one  night per  week, and  eliminating  programs.   One of  those                                                               
programs was a craft program for  families; they used to do three                                                               
per year and now do two  because the money for supplies is short.                                                               
Those are  the kind of impacts  seen as the funds  diminish.  She                                                               
told  the  committee that  [the  community  schools program]  has                                                               
appreciated the  legislature's support in  the past and  hopes it                                                               
can count on it in the future.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 1468                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GATTO  announced that  that  concludes  the testimony  for                                                               
HB 165.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 12:17 p.m. to 12:25 p.m.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1419                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  asked  Mr.  Jeans if,  by  repealing  the                                                               
statute on HB  165, communities lose some  authority for facility                                                               
use,  insurance,  or  any  other   aspect  of  community  schools                                                               
activities.   He asked about  the alternative of not  funding the                                                               
grants, but leaving community schools in statute.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 1350                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS replied  as that as far  as he knows, there  is no loss                                                               
in  ability   to  use  those  facilities   for  community  school                                                               
purposes.   The  community schools  program will  continue to  be                                                               
operated by the school districts for after-school activities.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  asked  if  there  is  somewhere  else  in                                                               
statute  that  authorizes  that  use  or  if  this  is  the  only                                                               
statutory authority for community schools.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS responded that this  part of the statute authorizes use                                                               
for this specific  purpose, but there is not a  statute that says                                                               
a  school district  cannot use  its  facilities for  after-school                                                               
activities.   He said  there is  no prohibition  for this  use in                                                               
statutes.  [HB 165 was held over.]                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
HB 171-REPEAL CHARTER SCHOOL GRANTS                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1335                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO  announced that the  next order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 171, "An  Act repealing the charter  school grant                                                               
program; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 1323                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
EDDY  JEANS,  Manager,  School Finance  and  Facilities  Section,                                                               
Education  Support Services,  Department of  Education and  Early                                                               
Development,  testified  in  support   of  HB  171  and  provided                                                               
background information about the bill.   He told the committee HB                                                               
171 would repeal the state  grant program that was implemented in                                                               
fiscal year  2002 (FY  02) that allocates  $500 per  ADM [average                                                               
daily membership]  to each new  charter school.  The  funding was                                                               
intended to  supplement the startup  grants for  charter schools.                                                               
The  state  Department  of Education  and  Early  Development  is                                                               
working very  closely with  the U.S.  Department of  Education to                                                               
increase  the  level  of  startup   grants  through  the  federal                                                               
program,   thereby,   eliminating   the  need   for   the   state                                                               
supplemental program.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS  said the state  would allocate to new  charter schools                                                               
$150,000 per year  for the first three years, and  $45,000 in the                                                               
fourth year,  for a  total of $495,000  in startup  funds through                                                               
the federal program.  He  pointed out that this legislation would                                                               
not take effect  until July 1, 2004.   The reason is  that in the                                                               
current year's budget  there is a request for $158,400.   That is                                                               
the additional money that is  due to the existing charter schools                                                               
under this  state program; [the department  is] recommending that                                                               
be funded in the current year's  budget, and that this section of                                                               
statute  be repealed  in the  subsequent year.   The  state would                                                               
then rely 100  percent on the federal grants.   Mr. Jeans pointed                                                               
out that  the startup grants  for the charter schools  that exist                                                               
right  now range  from approximately  $160,000  to $180,000,  and                                                               
that is  why there was  a need  for additional funding  under the                                                               
state program.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 1198                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GATTO asked,  if a  charter school  is in  the process  of                                                               
forming right  now and its  goal is to  get started prior  to the                                                               
deadline and  get full  funding, whether  it will  be able  to do                                                               
that before the effective date without finding some obstacles.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 1157                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JEANS replied  that the  Department of  Education and  Early                                                               
Development currently has four new  charter schools on its agenda                                                               
for the  state school board  next week.   It is  the department's                                                               
intent  that those  new schools  would  be funded  under the  new                                                               
federal program, not under the current state program.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON asked  what the  difference is  in funding                                                               
between the  new program, using  federal dollars, versus  the old                                                               
program, using state general fund dollars.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS replied that under  the old program the state allocated                                                               
$160,000  to  $180,000  of  federal  startup  grants  to  charter                                                               
schools.   In  addition, the  charter schools  could apply  for a                                                               
state  startup  grant  that  was   equal  to  $500  per  student.                                                               
Obviously, the  state allocation varied, depending  on the number                                                               
of students enrolled.  What  these charter schools were allocated                                                               
under the federal program was  reviewed, and the allocation under                                                               
the  state program  was added.   It  was found  that the  largest                                                               
single allocation  was to the  Family Partnership  Charter School                                                               
out  of  Anchorage,  which generated  between  the  two  programs                                                               
$478,000.   What the  department is suggesting  is that  with the                                                               
new  authorization  under  the federal  program,  the  department                                                               
would  be able  to fund  any new  charter school  at $495,000  in                                                               
startup funds.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 1072                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GATTO announced  as  a  point of  information  for the  30                                                               
individuals waiting  on line to testify  on HB 174 that  the time                                                               
is already  12:30 p.m.  and the meeting  will end at  1 p.m.   He                                                               
said  everyone is  welcome  to  continue to  listen  and to  give                                                               
testimony; however, it  is unlikely that everyone  will have time                                                               
to testify today.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 1019                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA asked  Mr. Jeans about just  amending the law                                                               
to say  that if adequate  federal funding is available,  then the                                                               
$500 state appropriation  will not be available,  but leaving the                                                               
law on  the books for  those schools and instances  where federal                                                               
funding  will not  be adequate.    He asked  why the  legislature                                                               
should repeal the law.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JEANS replied  that the  law was  adopted to  supplement the                                                               
level the  state was funding  school districts under  the federal                                                               
program.  The  department has been working very  closely with the                                                               
Director of Charter Schools at  the U.S. Department of Education,                                                               
Dean Kern,  and has forwarded  this proposal  to him.   Mr. Kerns                                                               
supports  [the department's]  proposal at  the level  of $150,000                                                               
per year  for the first three  years, plus $45,000 in  the fourth                                                               
year, and with  that support the administration does  not see the                                                               
need to leave the state statute on the books.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 0921                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA  said he  is  concerned  that while  startup                                                               
money  will be  available for  the next  few years,  there is  no                                                               
guarantee  it will  be available  in the  future.   He asked  Mr.                                                               
Jeans:   Why not leave  this program  in place that  allows state                                                               
money to  be used  in those  instances when  there is  not enough                                                               
federal money?  Why not come  up with a state formula that allows                                                               
state money to  kick in when there is not  enough federal funding                                                               
available?                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS responded that the  legislature could amend the statute                                                               
to  say that  if a  charter school  did not  receive $450,000  in                                                               
federal funds  that the  school would  qualify for  an additional                                                               
state grant.   That  is an  option the  legislature will  have to                                                               
decide.    The  Department  of Education  and  Early  Development                                                               
believes  that through  the federal  program there  will be  more                                                               
resources  available   for  startup  funds  than   are  currently                                                               
available under the  old federal program in  combination with the                                                               
state's startup grants.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 0820                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO  announced that testimony is  closed on HB 171.   [HB                                                               
171 was held over.]                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HB 174- CORRESPONDENCE STUDY                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO  announced that the  next order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 174,  "An Act relating  to the  state centralized                                                               
correspondence   study  program,   to  funding   for  educational                                                               
programs that  occur primarily outside school  facilities, and to                                                               
the duties of school boards  of borough and city school districts                                                               
and regional  educational attendance areas; and  providing for an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0727                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
EDDY  JEANS,  Manager,  School Finance  and  Facilities  Section,                                                               
Education  Support Services,  Department of  Education and  Early                                                               
Development,  testified  in support  of  HB  174.   He  told  the                                                               
committee Alyeska Central School (ACS)  was once the state's only                                                               
correspondence program offering  educational services to students                                                               
statewide.    The  school  began   operation  in  1939,  offering                                                               
programs to students who lived in  remote areas of the state with                                                               
no local schools.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS explained that currently  there are 12 school districts                                                               
offering statewide  correspondence programs to Alaska  school age                                                               
residents.     The  district-operated   statewide  correspondence                                                               
programs  have been  in operation  since  approximately 1997  and                                                               
offer  a  variety of  operational  delivery  methods.   Education                                                               
delivery  models  include  U.S.  Postal  Service,  Internet,  and                                                               
family-developed  programs  with  support  from  district  staff.                                                               
Eliminating ACS will be  eliminating duplicate services currently                                                               
being  offered  by  school  districts  enrolling  students  on  a                                                               
statewide basis.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0662                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JEANS  told the  committee  the  department has  two  fiscal                                                               
notes.  Fiscal note 1  eliminates the ACS budget component within                                                               
the Department  of Education  and Early  Development and  shows a                                                               
reduction  of $5.5  million.    The second  fiscal  note shows  a                                                               
reduction in  the foundation-funding program of  $1.17 million or                                                               
almost  $1.2  million.   This  reflects  the elimination  of  the                                                               
summer school funding that ACS currently enjoys.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0555                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS told  the committee the reason for two  fiscal notes is                                                               
that  in  this   proposal  ACS  will  no  longer   exist  in  the                                                               
department's budget,  so it  is necessary  to remove  that budget                                                               
component.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS addressed the second  piece to this, which is allocated                                                               
through the  foundation-funding program.  He  said the department                                                               
believes  the  students  who are  currently  served  through  the                                                               
Alyeska  Central School  will be  served through  other statewide                                                               
education programs,  so the only  real savings in  the foundation                                                               
program is that money which  is associated with the summer school                                                               
program.   Currently, Alyeska Central  School is the  only school                                                               
that is  eligible to  claim summer school  funding.   That summer                                                               
school  funding  represents  about   [$1.17  million].    Of  the                                                               
approximately 1,200  students that the  state funds ACS  for, 835                                                               
of those are enrolled in its regular program.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 0436                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS  told the committee  the department has  been contacted                                                               
by other  statewide correspondence  programs that  have indicated                                                               
that if  their schools  are not providing  what ACS  is currently                                                               
providing, they  would be prepared  to develop such  programs and                                                               
offer those services  to the students currently  enrolled in ACS.                                                               
The  department will  work with  those  families [whose  children                                                               
attend ACS] to identify programs that will fit their needs.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JEANS reviewed  the bill  by section.   Section  1 under  AS                                                               
14.07.020(a)(9) eliminates language that  the department offers a                                                               
statewide   correspondence  program.      Section   2  under   AS                                                               
14.14.090(2) amends the  duties of a school board  and allows for                                                               
school   districts   to   enroll    students   in   a   statewide                                                               
correspondence  program.     Section  3  under   AS  14.14.120(c)                                                               
requires  an  inoperative  school  district, in  other  words,  a                                                               
school district  that is getting  ready to close, to  provide the                                                               
families  with information  on correspondence  programs available                                                               
to  them throughout  the state.    Section 4  under AS  14.17.300                                                               
removes the  word ["centralized"] from  the funding account.   In                                                               
this section  of statute,  central correspondence  study referred                                                               
to the  state-run program, so  by eliminating  ["centralized"] it                                                               
just  refers to  correspondence  programs.   Section  5 under  AS                                                               
14.17.400(b)  removes the  word  ["centralized"]  and leaves  the                                                               
language open to all correspondence programs.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS  stated that Section 6  is an important change  that he                                                               
wants to bring to the committee's attention.  It read:                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Sec.  14.17.430.   State  funding   for  correspondence                                                                  
     study and  similar programs.   Except   as  provided in                                                                
     AS  14.17.400(b), funding  for  [THE STATE  CENTRALIZED                                                                    
     CORRESPONDENCE   STUDY    PROGRAM   OR]    a   district                                                                    
     correspondence  program,  including   a  district  that                                                                    
     offers a  statewide correspondence study program,  or a                                                                
     study program  that occurs  primarily outside  a school                                                                
     facility,  includes  an   allocation  from  the  public                                                                
     school account in an   amount calculated by multiplying                                                                    
     the ADM  of the correspondence  or study program  by 80                                                                
     percent.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JEANS  told  the  committee  this section  says  that  if  a                                                               
correspondence study  program in the  district or on  a statewide                                                               
level or if it  is a similar type of program,  that would mean it                                                               
is through [the  state's] charter school legislation.   The state                                                               
does  have charter  schools  that  provide educational  programs,                                                               
mainly   in  the   home.     In   other  words,   state-supported                                                               
homeschooling will  be funded  at 80  percent.   He said  this is                                                               
very important because  the state does have  some charter schools                                                               
that offer that type of program,  and nowhere in the statute does                                                               
the law specify what their funding  level will be.  This language                                                               
brings clarity to that issue.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 0067                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO asked if the funding has always been 80 percent.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS responded  that it has been 80 percent  all along.  The                                                               
department's regulatory process  has defined correspondence study                                                               
programs to  include those  programs that  are offered  by school                                                               
districts  that provide  support for  home-based programs.   What                                                               
this does is develop clarity in the statute.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 03-10, SIDE A                                                                                                            
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER asked Mr.  Jeans about a clear distinction                                                               
between charter schools and correspondence schools.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS  told the committee one  example of this is  the Family                                                               
Partnership Charter  School ("Family Partnership")  in Anchorage.                                                               
It is  operated as  a charter school  under the  Anchorage School                                                               
District.    It is  a  home-based  educational program.    Family                                                               
Partnership  will  tell   the  legislature  that  it   is  not  a                                                               
correspondence  program, but  a  home-support program.   What  it                                                               
does  not have  that community  schools  has is  a facility,  the                                                               
staff,  and  operational  and  maintenance  costs  to  operate  a                                                               
facility.  So under the foundation  program there are two sets of                                                               
funding:  that set of funding  that is provided for the operation                                                               
of   a  facility   to   staff,  maintain,   and   heat  it,   and                                                               
correspondence funding, which is for  all those programs that are                                                               
not housed in a facility.   What this amendment does is make that                                                               
very  clear.   There  are two  different  adjustments within  the                                                               
foundation formula.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 0151                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO  said that last  year the  Mat-Su [Matanuska-Susitna]                                                               
school  board  received  an   application  from  Horizon  Charter                                                               
School, which identified  itself as a group  of homeschoolers who                                                               
wanted to  be included in  this new charter  school.  He  said he                                                               
believed the board  approved its application after a  year, or in                                                               
the normal timeframe.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS  said the Horizon Charter  School is on the  agenda for                                                               
the  state  board of  education's  meeting  next week  for  state                                                               
approval.  Clarity in this area is very important.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JEANS  said under  Section  7,  AS 14.17.600(a)  amends  the                                                               
foundation account statute, which  repeals the section that deals                                                               
with ACS,  including the  provision that  allows that  program to                                                               
count   summer   school   students.     Under   Section   8,   AS                                                               
14.30.010(b)(10)   amends  the   compulsory   education  law   to                                                               
eliminate ACS and simply refers to  a child that is enrolled in a                                                               
state  correspondence  study  program.     Under  Section  9,  AS                                                               
14.30.350(8)  eliminates  the  reference  to the  ACS  under  the                                                               
definition   of  school   district.     Under   Section  10,   AS                                                               
39.25.110(7)  removes  ACS  teachers  from this  statute.    This                                                               
provision  currently exempts  teachers from  the personnel  rules                                                               
that apply for people that  are employed as classified employees.                                                               
This  is   a  cleanup  in   statutes.    Under  Section   11,  AS                                                               
39.25.160(e)(7)  removes  the  reference  to  the  Department  of                                                               
Education and  Early Development  correspondence teachers.   This                                                               
statute prohibits  these individuals  from being in  a management                                                               
position of a  political party.  It is statutory  cleanup.  Under                                                               
Section 12 is the effective date.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 0359                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DEANNA PATZ  testified in  opposition to HB  174.   She addressed                                                               
Representative   Kapsner's    comment   about    homeschool   and                                                               
correspondence  school  and  said  there is  a  large  difference                                                               
between the two.   A lot of families  homeschool without district                                                               
input.  She  said she would like to reread  an item from Governor                                                               
Murkowski's  letter that  was  read  by Mr.  Jeans.    In it  the                                                               
governor  says:     "However,  there  are   12  school  districts                                                               
currently offering statewide  correspondence services to Alaska's                                                               
school age  residents."   Ms. Patz  said in  reality those  12 or                                                               
more districts  are not  correspondence schools  in the  same way                                                               
that ACS  is.  They do  not provide schoolteachers.   They do not                                                               
provide  their own  curriculum.   They provide  money.   In large                                                               
areas  like  Anchorage,  Fairbanks,   and  Juneau,  they  provide                                                               
support groups.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 0557                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. PATZ  told the committee  that ACS is  unique.  She  told the                                                               
committee  that  she has  used  ACS  for  17  years and  has  six                                                               
children who have been successful  with this program.  The school                                                               
provides  individual care  and  consideration  for the  students'                                                               
needs  and teachers  who  are  there.   They  provide a  library,                                                               
supplies,  and curriculum.    Other schools  such  as Nenana  and                                                               
Galena only provide  funding; they are not duplicates.   She told                                                               
the committee she  is very opposed to having it  eliminated.  She                                                               
said ACS fulfilled all of the needs her family had.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GATTO announce  that  there would  be  another meeting  on                                                               
Thursday and  he will  make a  special effort  to hear  those who                                                               
have been waiting to testify today.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 0728                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HAYLIE  RUDDELL testified  via teleconference  from Anchorage  in                                                               
opposition to HB 174.  She told  the committee she is a junior at                                                               
ACS  and  found   the  ability  to  totally   focus  on  studying                                                               
important.  She said in  public schools students are subjected to                                                               
peer pressure and  violence.  Ms. Ruddell pointed  out that there                                                               
was  just  a shooting  at  East  High  School [in  Anchorage]  on                                                               
Friday.  She said ACS has  allowed her to focus on her education.                                                               
She said she just participated  in the academic decathlon and her                                                               
team placed  10th overall out of  30 schools.  She  said her team                                                               
only had  two months  to study  for it, and  one student  was the                                                               
second highest  scorer in the decathlon.   The fact that  ACS had                                                               
two months  preparation time when  all the other schools  had six                                                               
months, and that  they were able to do so  well, really shows how                                                               
successful ACS  is, she suggested.   She  said it would  be awful                                                               
for this to be eliminated, especially in rural areas.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 0915                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO asked  if this program disappeared, what  she and her                                                               
brother would do.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. RIDDELL said she does not know.   They would have to look for                                                               
another program.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO asked if she has looked at other schools.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. RIDDELL said  she looked at taking a course  at University of                                                               
Alaska Anchorage (UAA)  or possibly going back  to public school,                                                               
such   as  West   High,  and   is  still   looking  for   another                                                               
correspondence program.   The  other correspondence  programs are                                                               
not like ACS, which has been far better than she ever imagined.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 1085                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JOHN  PADEN, Counselor,  Alyeska Central  School; Representative,                                                               
Alyeska Central  School Association,  testified in  opposition to                                                               
HB 174.  He told the  committee there is a big difference between                                                               
ACS  and other  distance programs  available  in the  state.   He                                                               
shared an  experience he recently  encountered when a  family had                                                               
to move from Southeast Alaska to  the Interior of Alaska, and the                                                               
problem  facing their  child was  that there  still was  a little                                                               
more schooling  to be  done for  that school  year.   The parents                                                               
wanted to  know if ACS could  help.  The answer  was yes, because                                                               
at this time of  year the program is able to take  in kids.  That                                                               
child's  semester began  when the  child received  the materials,                                                               
and the schooling  can be completed, even though it  will go into                                                               
the summer.  This particular  student will finish her high school                                                               
career in  mid-July and  be able  to continue  on with  her plans                                                               
without having  to wait another  half a  school year in  order to                                                               
finish up.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. PADEN shared  another example of a parent  from rural Western                                                               
Alaska, who  called because  his daughter was  ill, and  had been                                                               
ill quite a bit in the past year  and missed a lot of school.  He                                                               
wanted to know  if it would be possible for  his daughter to come                                                               
into  ACS in  February and  finish  her eighth-grade  year.   The                                                               
answer is  yes.  She can  finish up by  August and be able  to go                                                               
back to  her local  school if  that is  what the  father chooses.                                                               
She would not have lost a full  year.  He told the committee that                                                               
he  gets  calls daily,  not  just  during open  enrollment,  from                                                               
parents who want to school  their children, and this program does                                                               
exactly  that.   It  is  not  relegated to  the  September-to-May                                                               
period of time.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 1313                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. PADEN said  two days ago a father called  from Western Alaska                                                               
asking  about  his eighth-grade  daughter.    In this  case,  the                                                               
answer was  no, ACS  could not take  his child in.   He  said the                                                               
question is  where these  kids are going  to go,  especially with                                                               
the question of No Child Left Behind.  [HB 174 was held over.]                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 1357                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Special  Committee on  Education  meeting was  adjourned at  1:00                                                               
p.m.                                                                                                                            

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