Legislature(2001 - 2002)

05/02/2001 01:59 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                        May 02, 2001                                                                                            
                          1:59 PM                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
TAPE HFC 01 - 111, Side A                                                                                                       
TAPE HFC 01 - 111, Side B                                                                                                       
TAPE HFC 01 - 112, Side A                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Williams called the House  Finance Committee meeting                                                                   
to order at 1:59 PM.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Eldon Mulder, Co-Chair                                                                                           
Representative Bill Williams, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Con Bunde, Vice-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Eric Croft                                                                                                       
Representative John Davies                                                                                                      
Representative Carl Moses                                                                                                       
Representative Richard Foster                                                                                                   
Representative John Harris                                                                                                      
Representative Bill Hudson                                                                                                      
Representative Ken Lancaster                                                                                                    
Representative Jim Whitaker                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
None                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative   John   Coghill;    Bruce   Johnson,   Deputy                                                                   
Commissioner, Department of Education  and Early Development;                                                                   
Richard  Monkman,  Parent,  Juneau;  Margo  Warring,  Parent,                                                                   
Juneau;  Gretchen  Kaiser,  Staff,  Representative  Kertulla;                                                                   
Veida Forrest,  Student, Juneau Douglas High  School, Juneau;                                                                   
Chris  Knauss,  Staff,  Senator  Pete  Kelly;  Jomo  Stewart,                                                                   
Staff,  Senator Donley;  Deb  Davidson,  Staff, Senator  Dave                                                                   
Donley; Dave  Steward, Division  of Personnel, Department  of                                                                   
Administration;    Bruce   Johnson,   Deputy    Commissioner,                                                                   
Department of Education and Early  Development; Randy Lorenz,                                                                   
Palmer.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
Matt Lovern, Anchorage; Debbie Ossiander, Member, Anchorage                                                                     
School Board; Jo Garrett, Supervisor, Gifted Programs,                                                                          
Anchorage School District; Barbara Weber, Anchorage School                                                                      
District; Tamea Isham, Teacher, Anchorage School District,                                                                      
Anchorage; Jody Viscardi, Teacher, Anchorage School                                                                             
District, Anchorage; Terri Semmler, Teacher, Anchorage                                                                          
School District, Anchorage; Merri K. VanderPloey, Teacher,                                                                      
Anchorage School District, Anchorage; Pamela Bickford,                                                                          
Anchorage; Jean Scuito, Teacher, Anchorage School District,                                                                     
Anchorage.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB 71     "An Act relating to the education of children with                                                                    
          disabilities  and of  gifted children; relating  to                                                                   
          the Governor's Council  on Disabilities and Special                                                                   
          Education;   making   conforming  amendments;   and                                                                   
          providing for an effective date."                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
          CSHB 71 (FIN) was REPORTED  out of Committee with a                                                                   
          "do  pass"  recommendation  and with  a  previously                                                                   
          published  zero fiscal  note by  the Department  of                                                                   
          Education and Early Development.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CSSB 65(FIN)                                                                                                                    
          "An Act  requiring a study regarding  equal pay for                                                                   
          equal work of certain state employees."                                                                               
          CSSB 65(FIN)  was REPORTED out of Committee  with a                                                                   
          "do  pass"   recommendation  and   with  previously                                                                   
          published  fiscal impact note  by the  Senate Rules                                                                   
          Committee for Department of Administration.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CSSB 86(FIN)                                                                                                                    
          "An  Act relating  to  employment  of teachers  who                                                                   
          have  subject-matter expertise;  and providing  for                                                                   
          an effective date."                                                                                                   
          CSSB 86(FIN)  was REPORTED out of Committee  with a                                                                   
          "do  pass"  recommendation  and with  a  previously                                                                   
          published  zero fiscal  note by  the Department  of                                                                   
          Education and Early Development.                                                                                      
HOUSE BILL NO. 71                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act  relating to  the  education of  children  with                                                                   
     disabilities  and of  gifted children;  relating to  the                                                                   
     Governor's   Council   on   Disabilities   and   Special                                                                   
     Education; making  conforming amendments;  and providing                                                                   
     for an effective date."                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRUCE JOHNSON,  DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT  OF EDUCATION                                                                   
AND  EARLY DEVELOPMENT  testified in  support of  HB 71.  The                                                                   
department  worked with  the  Governor's  Council on  Special                                                                   
Education  and Disabilities,  PARENTS,  Inc., the  Disability                                                                   
Law  Center, and  school district  representatives to  obtain                                                                   
their input  in drafting legislation governing  children with                                                                   
disabilities. The  department also solicited  information and                                                                   
feedback   from  parents  and   others  representing   gifted                                                                   
children.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Johnson noted  that HB 71 accomplishes  several important                                                                   
purposes for children with disabilities.  First and foremost,                                                                   
the HESS  CS for HB  71 updates  the state special  education                                                                   
statute in  accordance with the  federal statutes -  IDEA 97.                                                                   
The  HESS  CS for  HB  71  helps ensure  that  children  with                                                                   
disabilities   will    continue   to   receive    appropriate                                                                   
educational  services and  that  Alaska will  continue to  be                                                                   
eligible  for federal  special  education funds.  For FY  02,                                                                   
these  funds are  expected  to total  more  than $19  million                                                                   
dollars.  He noted  that  HB 71  in  its original  form  more                                                                   
clearly  differentiated the  federal  and state  requirements                                                                   
for   providing  educational   services   to  children   with                                                                   
disabilities  from  the  state   requirements  for  providing                                                                   
educational services to gifted children.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
The HESS  Committee  Substitute for  HB 71  is silent on  the                                                                   
education   of  gifted  students.   School  districts   would                                                                   
continue  to receive  funds to  provide  services for  gifted                                                                   
students   through  the   20%  "add-on"   provision  in   the                                                                   
foundation  formula.  The  20  percent  "add-on"  covers  the                                                                   
education  of children with  disabilities, gifted  education,                                                                   
vocational education and bilingual education.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Johnson  observed  that   the  department  applauds  the                                                                   
efforts of various committees  to help Alaska comply with the                                                                   
federal statutes  addressing children with  disabilities. The                                                                   
department  anticipates that with  the passage  of HB  71 the                                                                   
U.S.  Department  of  Education  would find  Alaska  in  full                                                                   
compliance with  federal requirements. He  encouraged members                                                                   
to consider an amendment that  would require gifted education                                                                   
programs  in all districts,  with details  determined  at the                                                                   
district level.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MATT  LOVERN,  ANCHORAGE  testified  via  teleconference.  He                                                                   
expressed concern with the deletion  of Article 3A: Education                                                                   
for Gifted  Children. Mr. Lovern  stressed the  importance of                                                                   
the  program  to  parents and  children.  He  emphasized  the                                                                   
importance  of  challenging gifted  children.  He  maintained                                                                   
that busing should be provided to the program.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
DEBBIE OSSIANDER,  MEMBER, ANCHORAGE  SCHOOL BOARD  testified                                                                   
via teleconference.  She  noted that  the Board is  concerned                                                                   
with the elimination  of the requirement for  gifted services                                                                   
and related busing.  She stressed that if these  needs aren't                                                                   
met  that there  would be  increased  dropout rates,  chronic                                                                   
underachievement   and   behavior  problems   [among   gifted                                                                   
children].  She  maintained  that the  right  to  independent                                                                   
evaluation,  challenges  to placement,  regular  families  of                                                                   
gifted  children  would use  reevaluation  of  needs and  the                                                                   
right   to    appeal   placement.   Anchorage    would   lose                                                                   
approximately  $220 thousand  dollars if  [busing for  gifted                                                                   
and talented students] is no longer  required. She added that                                                                   
they have concerns with the due  process hearing language and                                                                   
felt that  it would  drive up  the district's costs.  Special                                                                   
Education  costs  continue  to  escalate  independently.  She                                                                   
expressed concern  with the elimination of the  Department of                                                                   
Education and  Early Development's decision-making  regarding                                                                   
residential  placement out-of-state.  The legislation  has no                                                                   
mention of discipline,  which is one of the  Anchorage School                                                                   
Board's  major issues.  She maintained  that the  legislation                                                                   
lacks clarity  as to  how the  district can assess  Medicare.                                                                   
She urged that the legislation be retained in Committee.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Bunde  thought that  the legislation  only removed                                                                   
the state mandate for gifted and  talented programs. He asked                                                                   
if Anchorage would offer the program  if the state mandate is                                                                   
removed.  Ms. Ossiander  responded  that, as  a school  board                                                                   
member, she  would continue  to support  it. She stated  that                                                                   
without the mandate they would  lose reimbursement for busing                                                                   
and the  rights of  families to  appeal decisions outside  of                                                                   
the district.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Croft questioned if  the district  would lose                                                                   
state  or federal  reimbursement  for busing.  Ms.  Ossiander                                                                   
explained  that there  is no federal  funding. The  Anchorage                                                                   
school  district  would  lose  access to  state  funding  for                                                                   
transportation.  Representative   Croft  concluded  that  the                                                                   
programs would be viewed as optional.  Ms. Ossiander affirmed                                                                   
and  noted  that  the state  only  reimburses  for  essential                                                                   
transportation. Transportation  to school and  transportation                                                                   
for  special  education purposes  are  considered  essential.                                                                   
Under  the   legislation,  transportation   of  students   to                                                                   
participate in  gifted programs  would no longer  qualify for                                                                   
reimbursement.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
In  response  to  a question  by  Representative  Croft,  Ms.                                                                   
Ossiander  noted  concerns  with   the  due  process  hearing                                                                   
language contained in AS 14.30.193.  As outlined in the bill,                                                                   
hearing  officers  could  potentially  live  outside  of  the                                                                   
district, which  would result in significant  travel costs. A                                                                   
one-tiered  hearing  process  has  potential  for  escalating                                                                   
costs for districts because there  would be a potential to go                                                                   
to  Superior Court  more quickly.   She  maintained that  the                                                                   
legislation  could be  improved and offered  to send  written                                                                   
testimony.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
JO  GARRETT, SUPERVISOR,  GIFTED  PROGRAMS, ANCHORAGE  SCHOOL                                                                   
DISTRICT,   ANCHORAGE  testified   via  teleconference.   She                                                                   
expressed concern  with the issue  of equity. She  noted that                                                                   
children with disabilities were  addressed and emphasized the                                                                   
need of addressing  children with exceptionalities,  of which                                                                   
gifted  is one.  She  encouraged  legislators  to make  sound                                                                   
educational  decisions   based  on  what  is   best  for  the                                                                   
education  of  children and  not  [base their  decisions]  on                                                                   
financial issues.  She spoke against  the removal  of Article                                                                   
3A from  HB 71. There are  2,500 thousand gifted  students in                                                                   
Anchorage. She stressed that there  is a lack of regard for a                                                                   
population  that  includes gifted  students.  She  maintained                                                                   
that Districts  with one  or two  students would not  receive                                                                   
services. Services  in Anchorage  would be eliminated  due to                                                                   
the lack of  transportation reimbursement. She  stressed that                                                                   
helping gifted  students lifts  all students. She  urged that                                                                   
the bill be held.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BARBARA   WEBER,   ANCHORAGE   SCHOOL   DISTRICT,   ANCHORAGE                                                                   
testified  via  teleconference. She  used  the  analogy of  a                                                                   
winning dog team.  She stressed that gifted  children are the                                                                   
talent that will become our future leaders.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
TAMEA ISHAM,  TEACHER, ANCHORAGE  SCHOOL DISTRICT,  ANCHORAGE                                                                   
testified via  teleconference. She  urged that Article  3A be                                                                   
put back into the bill. She maintained  that gifted education                                                                   
needs  a  state  mandate  and   transportation  needs  to  be                                                                   
provided.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
JODY VISCARDI, TEACHER, ANCHORAGE  SCHOOL DISTRICT, ANCHORAGE                                                                   
testified via teleconference.  She noted that gifted children                                                                   
are  the most  at  risk  student  population for  suicide  or                                                                   
dropout.  Gifted  children  learn  the least  amount  of  new                                                                   
information in a school day of  all students. Gifted students                                                                   
need to be challenged to use their  abilities. She maintained                                                                   
that they  are handicapped by  the discrepancy  between their                                                                   
high  abilities  and the  instruction  level  in the  regular                                                                   
education classroom.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
TERRI SEMMLER, TEACHER, ANCHORAGE  SCHOOL DISTRICT, ANCHORAGE                                                                   
testified via teleconference in  support of including Article                                                                   
3A.  She maintained  that most  people do  not recognize  the                                                                   
intellectual,  emotional  and psychological  struggle  gifted                                                                   
children  have  on   a  daily  basis  while   waiting  for  a                                                                   
challenging education to be offered  to them. Gifted students                                                                   
are capable  of mastering  curriculum  far above their  grade                                                                   
level so  they wait  for their classmates  to catch  up. They                                                                   
have high  rates of alcohol and  drug consumption and  are at                                                                   
risk for suicide and dropout.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MERRI K.  VANDERPLOEY, EDUCATOR,  ANCHORAGE SCHOOL  DISTRICT,                                                                   
ANCHORAGE   testified  via   teleconference.  She   expressed                                                                   
concern with the elimination of  Article 3A. She stressed the                                                                   
efforts of Anchorage  teachers, parents and  other interested                                                                   
parties  in  keeping  gifted  education  within  the  special                                                                   
education  statutes. She noted  that a  decision was  made to                                                                   
keep both programs together on  a state level. She maintained                                                                   
that the financial responsibility  cannot be passed solely to                                                                   
the school district.  She observed that there is  a threat of                                                                   
tax caps and dissatisfaction with increased property taxes.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PAMELA BICKFORD, ANCHORAGE testified  via teleconference. She                                                                   
spoke in  support of eliminating  section 4, which  amends AS                                                                   
14.30.186(e).  This section provides  that parents  cannot be                                                                   
forced to  receive services  for home-schooled children.  She                                                                   
felt that parents would be forced  to home school children by                                                                   
the  school  district  if  the  district  could  not  provide                                                                   
services. She  maintained that  the provisions regarding  the                                                                   
right to appeal are unclear.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JEAN SCUITO,  TEACHER, ANCHORAGE  SCHOOL DISTRICT,  ANCHORAGE                                                                   
testified via teleconference.  She expressed concern with the                                                                   
elimination of Article 3A. She  noted that it is difficult to                                                                   
meet  the needs  of  kids  on the  high  end in  the  regular                                                                   
classrooms. She emphasized that  kids that don't fit into the                                                                   
regular classroom find a niche in the gifted classroom.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
RICHARD MONKMAN,  PARENT, JUNEAU testified in  support of the                                                                   
inclusion  of Article  3A. He stressed  that gifted  children                                                                   
have  special  needs, such  as  the  need to  be  challenged,                                                                   
stimulated and engaged. If they  are not engaged they will be                                                                   
disengaged. Many gifted children drop out.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hudson asked if  the services are  outside of                                                                   
the regular  classroom teaching.  Mr. Monkman explained  that                                                                   
the gifted program has its own  classroom. Children are taken                                                                   
from their regular classroom for a period of time.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MARGO WARRING,  PARENT,  JUNEAU testified  in support  of the                                                                   
reinsertion of Article 3A. The  state of Alaska has a 30-year                                                                   
history  of recognizing  the needs  of  gifted children.  She                                                                   
maintained  that school  districts with  the fewest  kids and                                                                   
the smallest resources would be dropped off first.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
GRETCHEN  KAISER,  STAFF,  REPRESENTATIVE  KERTULLA  provided                                                                   
testimony.  Currently, Alaska  statutes provide direction  to                                                                   
public school  districts to identify and provide  educational                                                                   
services  to  gifted  children.   About  5,000  Alaskan  kids                                                                   
throughout  the state  are identified  as  gifted because  of                                                                   
their outstanding  intellect and abilities. The  state has an                                                                   
obligation  to provide  educational leadership.  As a  policy                                                                   
matter;  the  state  has  recognized   the  needs  of  gifted                                                                   
children  for  30  years. All  Alaskan  children  deserve  an                                                                   
education  geared  to  their   abilities  so  that  they  can                                                                   
maximize  their potential.  The bar  needs to  be raised  for                                                                   
higher  ability  children. Without  an  educational  program,                                                                   
which  provides  adequate  stimulation,  these  children  are                                                                   
often bored  and not infrequently become  underachievers. She                                                                   
acknowledged  the   very  serious  needs  of   children  with                                                                   
disabilities,   but   urged  recognition   of   the   special                                                                   
educational needs of another group of Alaskan children.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
VEIDA FORREST,  STUDENT, JUNEAU  DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL,  JUNEAU                                                                   
testified  in  support of  gifted  programs.  She shared  her                                                                   
frustration at being in classes  below her achievement level.                                                                   
She felt that she would not have  been in the program without                                                                   
testing. She  noted that children  have dropped out  for lack                                                                   
of challenge. She spoke in support of retaining Article 3A.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Bunde  pointed out that the legislation  speaks to                                                                   
the  state  mandate.  He suggested  that  the  Juneau  School                                                                   
District  could continue  to test.  Ms. Forrest  acknowledged                                                                   
that the  Juneau School District  would continue  testing but                                                                   
felt that smaller schools would suffer.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
In  response to  a  question  by Representative  Hudson,  Ms.                                                                   
Forrest  discussed  her  participation  in the  program.  She                                                                   
observed  that, through  the  program, she  is  an intern  in                                                                   
Representative Kerttula's office.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Croft MOVED to  ADOPT Amendment 1. Amendment 1                                                                   
would add Article 3A back in to the bill.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
TAPE HFC 01 - 111, Side B                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                              
Mr.  Johnson acknowledged  the concern  of parents  regarding                                                                   
the inclusion of  Article 3A. Parents feel that  oversight is                                                                   
important  in   order  to   ensure  that  districts   provide                                                                   
services.  Parents also  want  to have  authority to  oversee                                                                   
districts   in  the  event   that  they   do  not   take  the                                                                   
exceptionality  seriously. These  concerns were addressed  in                                                                   
the original legislation. He observed  that the original bill                                                                   
contained Article 3A.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Bunde  felt  that gifted  and  talented  programs                                                                   
should be addressed in separate legislation.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Johnson noted  that the gifted community  felt that there                                                                   
needed  to be  oversight  of  the districts.  The  department                                                                   
estimated   that   oversight   of  the   program   would   be                                                                   
approximately  $103 thousand  dollars. This  would provide  a                                                                   
half-time position  in the Department of Education  and Early                                                                   
Development with some support  staff to look over the program                                                                   
and provide  some routine monitoring  visits to schools  on a                                                                   
contract basis.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative Croft  questioned if the fiscal  cost included                                                                   
oversight  of  the  children  with  disability  program.  Mr.                                                                   
Johnson clarified  that there is no oversight  of the state's                                                                   
disabled program included in the fiscal note.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative Croft  observed that testimony  indicated that                                                                   
the  state  would  not  pay  to  bus  [gifted  and  talented]                                                                   
students  and  that  the  cost to  Anchorage  would  be  $200                                                                   
thousand dollars. Mr. Johnson  acknowledged that Anchorage is                                                                   
the district most  engaged in transporting students  with the                                                                   
exceptionality.  He   maintained  that  districts   would  be                                                                   
eligible  for  reimbursement   through  the  related  service                                                                   
clause of the current legislation.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
In response  to a  question by  Co-Chair Mulder, Mr.  Johnson                                                                   
clarified  that  the  department supports  the  inclusion  of                                                                   
gifted and  talented services.  The department is  willing to                                                                   
seek middle  ground if the amendment  is not acceptable.   He                                                                   
stressed the importance  of services for gifted  students and                                                                   
noted  that the  state of  Alaska  has a  30-year history  of                                                                   
providing  services for  these  students. He  noted that  the                                                                   
department proposed  language in  the proceeding  year, which                                                                   
would   require    school   districts   to    recognize   the                                                                   
exceptionality and plan programs  for these students. Details                                                                   
would be the responsibility of  the separate school districts                                                                   
without  state  oversight.  Co-Chair Mulder  agreed  that  it                                                                   
should be a local option and responsibility.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hudson questioned  if the programs are offered                                                                   
universally  around the  state. Mr. Johnson  noted that  they                                                                   
are  offered universally  around  the  state,  but the  urban                                                                   
areas  have sufficient  numbers to  do more  than a pull  out                                                                   
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Bunde observed that  federal funds cannot be spent                                                                   
on gifted  and talented programs.  State funding  provides an                                                                   
additional  20 percent  for gifted and  talented and  special                                                                   
educational  students.  Mr.  Johnson  affirmed  that  the  20                                                                   
percent would remain. The 20 percent  "add-on" is for gifted,                                                                   
special,   vocational,    and   bilingual    education.   The                                                                   
legislation  would not  change  the foundation  formula.  The                                                                   
funds  are   non  categorical.  School  districts   have  the                                                                   
responsibility  and  authority  to  spend the  funds  in  any                                                                   
manner that they want.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHN  COGHILL,  MEMBER, HOUSE  EDUCATION  AND                                                                   
SOCIAL  SERVICES  COMMITTEE provided  information.  He  noted                                                                   
that the House Education and Social  Services Committee heard                                                                   
testimony on the  need for [gifted and special]  services. He                                                                   
observed  that  services are  disabled  students  is a  civil                                                                   
right. Gifted  and talented services  are not a  civil right.                                                                   
He  maintained  that  the issues  are  separate.  Gifted  and                                                                   
talented  programs   are  a  local  option   discussion.  The                                                                   
Individuals with Disabilities  Act is a national civil rights                                                                   
discussion.  He  asked  the  Committee  to  keep  the  issues                                                                   
separate and  stated that he is  committed to working  on the                                                                   
issue. He observed that the authority  still remains with the                                                                   
local school districts.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Representative  John  Davies questioned  why  the  discussion                                                                   
cannot occur within  the same piece of legislation.  He noted                                                                   
that the issues are related in a number of ways.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Coghill  acknowledged  that  there  are  some                                                                   
similarities  but pointed  out that one  calls for  inclusion                                                                   
and one  calls for exclusion. He  added that one calls  for a                                                                   
civil right  action that  is closely  monitored and  includes                                                                   
parents, while the other leaves  the debate open. He stressed                                                                   
that the  legislation brings the  state into conformity  with                                                                   
federal  authorization, which  brings money  into the  state.                                                                   
The  amount  the state  wants  to  put  into the  gifted  and                                                                   
talented program is an entirely different issue.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Croft  questioned if  additional  legislation                                                                   
has been  introduced. Representative  Coghill stated  that he                                                                   
had  not  introduced  separate   legislation.  Representative                                                                   
Croft  questioned why  it  makes sense  to  pursue one  issue                                                                   
without  the other.  Representative  Coghill  noted that  the                                                                   
intent  is to  clean up  statutes before  federal funding  is                                                                   
lost.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative  John  Davies questioned  if  the  legislation                                                                   
would  still  contain  the  necessary   cleanup  for  federal                                                                   
requirements of separation with  the adoption of Amendment 1.                                                                   
Mr. Johnson  affirmed that legislation  would still  meet the                                                                   
federal  requirement  with  the adoption  of  the  amendment.                                                                   
Representative  John Davies  argued that  the program  should                                                                   
remain in tack until the debate occurs.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Mulder argued  that  (school districts)  should  be                                                                   
allowed  to choose  how to  provide services.  Representative                                                                   
Hudson summarized  that funding could still  be provided, but                                                                   
that the mandate would be removed.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Whitaker  asked for  clarification  regarding                                                                   
funding for  gifted and  talented programs. Vice-Chair  Bunde                                                                   
noted that  there are two  funding streams: federal  funding,                                                                   
which cannot  be used for  gifted and talented  services, and                                                                   
state funding for  special needs, which is still  received by                                                                   
school districts.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Whitaker  observed  that  there would  be  no                                                                   
mandate  for  school  districts  to  use  funding  for  these                                                                   
programs.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Williams  observed that  Representative Coghill  has                                                                   
indicated that he would work on further legislation.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
In response  to a  question by  Representative Whitaker,  Mr.                                                                   
Johnson noted that there is no  recognized organized group at                                                                   
the  state  level   that  speaks  for  gifted   and  talented                                                                   
children.  There are  groups  at the  local  level. Some  are                                                                   
advisory  groups formed  by the local  school districts.  The                                                                   
makeup tends to  be associated teachers, parents,  and former                                                                   
students.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Johnson  observed that the  number of gifted  children is                                                                   
approximately 10  percent of the population and  is somewhere                                                                   
between 5,000 and 13,000 thousand students.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
In response to a question by Representative  John Davies, Mr.                                                                   
Johnson  clarified  that  federal   funding  has  never  been                                                                   
available  for  gifted  and  talented   programs.  Under  the                                                                   
instructional  unit formula,  funding  was  provided for  the                                                                   
support of identified students.  Under the current foundation                                                                   
formula,  there is  an  additional 20  percent  added on  for                                                                   
gifted, special,  vocational, and bilingual  education. Under                                                                   
both formulas  a local  school district  could use  the funds                                                                   
any way they feel is necessary.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Bunde   questioned  the  percentage   of  federal                                                                   
funding for special education.  Mr. Johnson answered that the                                                                   
state expects  approximately $19 million dollars  for special                                                                   
education  from a $700  million dollar  budget. He  clarified                                                                   
that  the  federal funds  have  never  been used  to  support                                                                   
gifted   and   talented  programs.   The   state   commingled                                                                   
responsibilities.  The   state  received  federal   funds  to                                                                   
provide  technical  assistance   and  monitoring  of  special                                                                   
education  programs around  the state.  The department  while                                                                   
doing  this business  also  did the  business  of gifted  and                                                                   
talented programs. The noncompliance  issue did not stem from                                                                   
inappropriate use of federal funds  by the districts, but the                                                                   
department's  use  of  funds  used  for  the  monitoring  and                                                                   
technical assistance of children with disabilities.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Bunde  summarized that  the legislation  would not                                                                   
take  funds  away  from gifted  and  talented  services.  Mr.                                                                   
Johnson  noted   that  questions  [relating  to   gifted  and                                                                   
talented services] asked of a  person being paid with federal                                                                   
special  education  funds would  be  deferred  to the  deputy                                                                   
director  of  Teaching  and Learning  Support.  There  is  no                                                                   
funding stream.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Whitaker   observed  that  policy   is  being                                                                   
changed  by the  removal of  the mandate  and questioned  the                                                                   
effect. Mr.  Johnson acknowledged that the  full ramification                                                                   
is unknown.  The department has  not had funds to  monitor or                                                                   
support the  program on  the local level  for the  past three                                                                   
years.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Whitaker observed  that  gifted and  talented                                                                   
programs exist in all school districts.  Mr. Johnson affirmed                                                                   
that every  school district  has provided  a planned  service                                                                   
for delivering educational services  to its identified gifted                                                                   
and  talented   population.  The   programs  differ   widely.                                                                   
Representative Whitaker  questioned what guarantees  exist to                                                                   
assure  that  these  children  would  receive  services.  Mr.                                                                   
Johnson  noted that  there would  be no  state oversight.  He                                                                   
reiterated  that a state  mandate could  be provided  without                                                                   
state oversight.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Whitaker  summarized   that  the  legislation                                                                   
would  present  a  policy  of   not  recognizing  gifted  and                                                                   
talented students. Mr. Johnson  noted that the responsibility                                                                   
would be  shifted to a  local level. Representative  Whitaker                                                                   
stated that there would be no local responsibility.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Williams  questioned how long it would  take for the                                                                   
programs  to  fall  apart  if the  mandate  is  removed.  Mr.                                                                   
Johnson stated  that it would differ community  by community.                                                                   
He noted that staffing decisions  for the next year have been                                                                   
identified and  felt that programs  would be retained  in the                                                                   
next year.  He did not think  that there was support  for the                                                                   
theory that programs  would fall apart in small  schools over                                                                   
larger schools.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Croft spoke in  support of the  amendment. He                                                                   
observed  that   gifted  and   talented  programs   would  be                                                                   
eliminated [without  the amendment] by the provision  on page                                                                   
15, section  40. He acknowledged  that programs  vary widely.                                                                   
The questioned is whether the  state mandates the service. He                                                                   
noted  that school  districts  could eliminate  programs.  He                                                                   
recounted personal  experiences with dyslexia and  boredom in                                                                   
the  classroom. He  did not  think  that there  was a  strong                                                                   
commitment to  pursue legislation  in the following  year and                                                                   
argued in support or retaining a state mandate.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR: Hudson, Moses, Whitaker, Croft, Davies,                                                                               
OPPOSED:  Harris, Lancaster, Bunde,  Foster, Williams, Mulder                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The MOTION FAILED (5-6).e felt                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative John Davies MOVED to ADOPT Amendment 2.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Programs  for gifted  children.   Every school  district                                                                   
     shall   establish   educational  services   for   gifted                                                                   
     children  that   provide  for  student   identification,                                                                   
     student   eligibility,  student   learning  plans,   and                                                                   
     parental   and  student   participation,  including   an                                                                   
     appropriate review process,  consistent with regulations                                                                   
     adopted by the department.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Davies  explained  that the  amendment  would                                                                   
require  school districts  to establish  programs for  gifted                                                                   
children, but allow them to decide  how the services would be                                                                   
provided.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Mulder MOVED to AMEND  Amendment 2 to change "shall"                                                                   
to "may".                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative  John Davies argued  against the amendment  to                                                                   
the amendment. He emphasized that  a portion of state support                                                                   
is for gifted and talented students.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Williams  spoke in support  of the amendment  to the                                                                   
amendment.  Representative   John  Davies  argued   that  the                                                                   
amendment to the amendment would gut the amendment.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
TAPE HFC 01 - 112, Side A                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Whitaker  argued  against the  amendment.  He                                                                   
emphasized  that   the  amendment  to  the   amendment  would                                                                   
establish the status quo until  there is a better idea of the                                                                   
affect of the change.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Mulder WITHDREW his amendment to Amendment 2.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hudson suggested the addition of "consider".                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative  John  Davies  stated that  the  change  would                                                                   
effectively gut the amendment.  He argued that every district                                                                   
is being provided  funding for the purpose.  He stressed that                                                                   
the change to  "consider" would take away the  parents' right                                                                   
to insist on services.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
There being NO OBJECTION, Amendment 2 was adopted.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative John  Davies observed that a  title change may                                                                   
be required with the adoption of Amendment 2.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Mulder noted that funding  is already provided and a                                                                   
fiscal note would not be needed.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Foster  MOVED to report  CSHB 71 (FIN)  out of                                                                   
Committee with  the accompanying fiscal note.  There being NO                                                                   
OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CSHB 71 (FIN) was REPORTED out  of Committee with a "do pass"                                                                   
recommendation  and with a  previously published  zero fiscal                                                                   
note by the Department of Education and Early Development.                                                                      
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 65(FIN)                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act requiring a study regarding equal pay for equal                                                                    
     work of certain state employees."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
JOMO STEWART,  STAFF, SENATOR DONLEY testified  in support of                                                                   
the legislation on  behalf of the sponsor. He  noted that the                                                                   
legislation  would  provide  for   a  pay  equity  study.  He                                                                   
observed that there  is evidence that there  is pay disparity                                                                   
between men and women working  in state government and in the                                                                   
state.  A 1997  study showed that women were  paid 35 percent                                                                   
less than men.  Women in state government made  73 percent of                                                                   
what  men  were  making.  Women   in  local  government  made                                                                   
approximately 76  - 77 percent of  a man's salary. It  is the                                                                   
sponsor's  intent that  the study  examines  the question  of                                                                   
equal  pay   for  equal  work   among  state   employees.  He                                                                   
emphasized that  the focus  should be on  equal pay  for same                                                                   
work, which  is defined in the  same manner as equal  pay for                                                                   
comparable  work: The principle  requires equal  compensation                                                                   
for jobs that  require substantially the same  skills, effort                                                                   
and responsibility  and are  performed under similar  working                                                                   
conditions.  A pay equity  study will  help determine  if and                                                                   
where inequities  exist and provide an opportunity  to comply                                                                   
with  state  and   federal  law.  Assuring  that   state  pay                                                                   
practices are not influenced by  gender is good public policy                                                                   
and will  promote fairness  in the  workplace. Voluntary  pay                                                                   
equity  is  more cost  effective  than  a court  ordered  pay                                                                   
equity  adjustment.  Discrimination  suits  tend to  be  very                                                                   
costly.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Stewart compared  pay equity  issues  in Washington  and                                                                   
Minnesota. Washington  State failed to act on  the inequities                                                                   
found in  their pay. Minnesota  phased in equity  adjustments                                                                   
through legislation  and arbitration.  It cost  approximately                                                                   
$41  million dollars  in  the state  of  Minnesota over  four                                                                   
years. Washington  state litigation costs  were approximately                                                                   
$106 million dollars.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Stewart observed that a study  in the February 1999 issue                                                                   
of Alaska Economic Trends entitled  The Gender Gap in Earning                                                                 
observed  the  difference  between  pay scales  but  did  not                                                                   
determine the cause of the inequities.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative Hudson questioned  if the courts are requiring                                                                   
action. Mr. Stewart did not know of any court order.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Foster   observed  that  minorities   receive                                                                   
inferior jobs and pay, especially minority women.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Stewart  acknowledged inequity  in pay to  minorities. He                                                                   
explained  that  the  legislation   would  pertain  to  state                                                                   
employees.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative  John  Davies  MOVED  to  ADOPT  a  conceptual                                                                   
amendment to include minorities in the study.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Stewart observed  that the House State  Affairs Committee                                                                   
decided not to  take up the issue in the  current legislation                                                                   
since it would raise the fiscal cost.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative  John Davies argued  that the greatest  fiscal                                                                   
cost would  be the collection  of data. He stressed  that the                                                                   
fiscal impact of the incremental  analysis to determine if it                                                                   
applies  to   minorities  would   be  relatively   small.  He                                                                   
maintained  that  it  would  be   relatively  simply  to  add                                                                   
minority status [to the legislation].                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DEB  DAVIDSON, STAFF,  SENATOR  DAVE DONLEY,  referenced  the                                                                   
discussion on the addition of  race to the legislation in the                                                                   
House  State Affairs  Committee.  The  study  under the  bill                                                                   
would look  at job  classifications and  identify those  that                                                                   
have a pay  disparity to determine why the  disparity exists.                                                                   
A larger study would need to be  completed if a difference is                                                                   
not determined.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  DAVE DONLEY,  SPONSOR  provided  information on  the                                                                   
legislation. He  asserted that multiple variables  would make                                                                   
the study  more complex.  He  noted that studies in  24 other                                                                   
states  were  limited  to  gender.   The  statutory  sections                                                                   
referenced in  the legislation  address gender not  race. The                                                                   
decision was  made in  the House  State Affairs Committee  to                                                                   
not include race.  The intent is to address the  issue in the                                                                   
most economic manner.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DAVE   STEWARD,   DIVISION  OF   PERSONNEL,   DEPARTMENT   OF                                                                   
ADMINISTRATION,  explained that the  fiscal note is  based on                                                                   
sampling  job classifications.  The inclusion  of race  would                                                                   
require an  expansion of the  sample collection,  which might                                                                   
impact the fiscal note.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Representative John Davies asked  what sampling would entail.                                                                   
Mr.  Steward  explained  that job  classifications  would  be                                                                   
reviewed  for gender  base.  The state's  job  classification                                                                   
system assigns  pay rates based on  the kind of work  that is                                                                   
done. Race or gender is not considered.  Descriptions of work                                                                   
and minimum qualifications  required would be  sampled from a                                                                   
variety  of  the  job families  that  the  state  classifies.                                                                   
There  are  no  parameters  to  look  at  whether  population                                                                   
density of  race and gender  mixtures influences the  rate of                                                                   
pay. The  gender base  population is  fairly even around  the                                                                   
state but race based population is not.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator Donley asserted that the  addition of minority status                                                                   
would complicate  the study. He  noted that research  for the                                                                   
legislation was based on gender studies in other states.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hudson  agreed  with the  prime  sponsor.  He                                                                   
acknowledged  that  it would  require  a far  more  expansive                                                                   
study.  He  observed  that  a  gender  base  study  would  be                                                                   
straightforward.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative  John  Davies  pointed  out  that  it  may  be                                                                   
necessary  to   correct  for  age  and  minority   status  to                                                                   
understand  the  gender issue.  He  questioned  if the  study                                                                   
could be done adequately on the limited basis.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator Donley noted that contact  with contractors for other                                                                   
state,  which  have  compiled   similar  studies  helped  the                                                                   
Department of  Administration to  develop their fiscal  note.                                                                   
He  commended work  by the  Department  of Administration  in                                                                   
minimizing the costs on the fiscal note.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative Croft  agreed that expansion would  affect the                                                                   
fiscal note.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Donley  spoke against  expanding  the  scope of  the                                                                   
legislation.  He  stressed that  expansion  [of  the bill  to                                                                   
include  race]  would require  a  great  amount of  work  and                                                                   
research.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Foster  spoke in  support  of  the study  and                                                                   
expressed his  hope that  "we are able  to do something  with                                                                   
the study.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was taken on the motion to include race.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR: Foster, Croft, Davies                                                                                                 
OPPOSED: Harris, Hudson, Lancaster, Moses, Bunde, Williams                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Mulder and Representative  Whitaker were absent from                                                                   
the vote.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
The MOTION FAILED (3-6).                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Davies   expressed   his  support   of   the                                                                   
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Foster MOVED  to report  CSSB 65(FIN)  out of                                                                   
Committee with  the accompanying fiscal note.  There being NO                                                                   
OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CSSB 65(FIN) was  REPORTED out of Committee with  a "do pass"                                                                   
recommendation  and with previously  published fiscal  impact                                                                   
note  by  the  Senate  Rules   Committee  for  Department  of                                                                   
Administration.                                                                                                                 
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 86(FIN)                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act relating to employment of teachers who have                                                                        
     subject-matter expertise; and providing for an                                                                             
     effective date."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHRIS KNAUSS ,STAFF, SENATOR PETE  KELLY, spoke in support of                                                                   
the  legislation on  behalf  of the  sponsor.  He noted  that                                                                   
there  are numerous  accounts  of  teacher shortages  in  the                                                                   
state  of Alaska.  Senate  Bill 86  would  put teachers  with                                                                   
subject matter  experience in the classroom.  He reviewed the                                                                   
process  of  how  a subject  matter  teacher  gets  into  the                                                                   
classroom and  becomes a certified  regular teacher. To  be a                                                                   
subject   matter   teacher   the  applicant   must   have   a                                                                   
baccalaureate degree and at least  five years work experience                                                                   
in  the subject  matter  to  be  taught. Once  employment  is                                                                   
gained, subject matter  teachers would be required  to take a                                                                   
competency  exam and submit  to fingerprints  for a  criminal                                                                   
background  check. They  would then  be required  to have  an                                                                   
experience teacher  supervise them  as a mentor.  During this                                                                   
time they would  have a limited certificate.  During the year                                                                   
they would  be required to enroll  in a curriculum to  gain a                                                                   
regular teaching  certificate. They  would have two  years to                                                                   
complete a regular teaching certificate.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
In response  to a  question by  Vice-Chair Bunde, Mr.  Knauss                                                                   
noted that the real need is in rural school districts.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative  John  Davies clarified  that  subject  matter                                                                   
teachers could  only remain  in this  category for  two years                                                                   
without becoming certified.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BRUCE JOHNSON,  DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT  OF EDUCATION                                                                   
AND   EARLY   DEVELOPMENT   provided   information   on   the                                                                   
legislation.  The department  supports  the  bill. There  are                                                                   
students  that take  advantage of  the MAT  (Master of  Arts)                                                                   
program.  A  prerequisite  degree  for  an MAT  degree  is  a                                                                   
bachelor  degree in  a  subject area.  He  observed that  MAT                                                                   
students are not paid; these people  would be paid while they                                                                   
are securing  their regular  Type A  certificate. He  thought                                                                   
that  [subject matter  teachers]  would generally  be at  the                                                                   
secondary level.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Davies  asked  if  there would  be  a  mentor                                                                   
teacher for both  of the years. Mr. Johnson noted  that it is                                                                   
required  for  the  first  year  and  added  that  there  are                                                                   
programs that should help support the mentor relationship.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Bunde observed  that  the candidate  must take  a                                                                   
competency examination,  and questioned  what the  test would                                                                   
look like. Mr.  Johnson agreed that the candidate  would have                                                                   
to pass the exam  and noted that it would be  administered at                                                                   
the  local level.  They would  also  have to  pass the  state                                                                   
competency test in a timely fashion.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Johnson  explained that  discussions with the  University                                                                   
of Alaska  envision a startup  summer program prior  to going                                                                   
on the  job. They would do  an audio conference  and distance                                                                   
delivered  course  during  the  year.  The  goal  is  not  to                                                                   
overburden  them so that  their studies  distract from  their                                                                   
capacity  to  be  successful in  the  classroom.  They  would                                                                   
resume studies  during the  summer. The department  envisions                                                                   
completions during two summers and an academic year.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
In  response to  a  question  by Representative  Hudson,  Mr.                                                                   
Johnson noted  that there are  shortages in math  and science                                                                   
classes.  He stated  that the  door  could be  opened to  all                                                                   
candidates  that meet  the requirements.  Limited  candidates                                                                   
have been a concern. Representative  Davies agreed that there                                                                   
is a shortage  of qualified teachers. He questioned  how many                                                                   
MAT   students   would   take  the   program.   Mr.   Johnson                                                                   
acknowledged that it would allow  MAT students to continue on                                                                   
a paid  basis. Representative  Davies thought that  there may                                                                   
be more demand for the program than envisioned.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
RANDY LORENZ, PALMER spoke in  support of the legislation. He                                                                   
observed  that his  wife  has a  master's  degree in  Library                                                                   
Sciences.  She  is  not  able   to  get  a  Type  A  teaching                                                                   
certificate  in Library  Sciences because  the University  of                                                                   
Alaska  does  not offer  a  Library  of Science  degree.  She                                                                   
cannot  get her certification  without  quitting her  job and                                                                   
going to  another state. There  are few qualified  librarians                                                                   
in the Mat-Su Valley. The legislation  would allow her to get                                                                   
a type  A teaching  certificate while  remaining in  her job.                                                                   
There are  three other persons  with Library Science  degrees                                                                   
in the Mat-Su. The legislation  would allow his wife to get a                                                                   
type A teaching certificate.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Foster  MOVED to report  CSSB 86 (FIN)  out of                                                                   
Committee with  the accompanying fiscal note.  There being NO                                                                   
OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CSSB 86(FIN) was  REPORTED out of Committee with  a "do pass"                                                                   
recommendation  and with a  previously published  zero fiscal                                                                   
note by the Department of Education and Early Development.                                                                      
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 4:20 p.m.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                

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