Legislature(2013 - 2014)HOUSE FINANCE 519

03/18/2014 05:30 PM FINANCE

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05:31:22 PM Start
05:31:30 PM HB278
05:33:57 PM Public Testimony
08:17:17 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
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Heard & Held
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                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                      March 18, 2014                                                                                            
                         5:31 p.m.                                                                                              
5:31:22 PM                                                                                                                    
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Stoltze called the  House Finance Committee meeting                                                                    
to order at 5:31 p.m.                                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Alan Austerman, Co-Chair                                                                                         
Representative Bill Stoltze, Co-Chair                                                                                           
Representative Mark Neuman, Vice-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Mia Costello                                                                                                     
Representative Bryce Edgmon                                                                                                     
Representative Les Gara                                                                                                         
Representative David Guttenberg                                                                                                 
Representative Lindsey Holmes                                                                                                   
Representative Cathy Munoz                                                                                                      
Representative Steve Thompson                                                                                                   
Representative Tammie Wilson                                                                                                    
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
Representative Lynn  Gattis; Phyllis Carlson,  Juneau School                                                                    
District,  Juneau;   Pat  Olsen,  Teacher,   Kodiak;  Robert                                                                    
Whipple,   Lower   Yukon  Education   Association;   Tiffany                                                                    
Jackson,  Aleutians  East  Borough School  District;  Robert                                                                    
Claus,  Craig City  School District,  Craig; Lauren  Smoker,                                                                    
Self, Juneau.                                                                                                                   
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
Pearl  Brower,  Ilisagvik   College,  Barrow;  Kathy  Leary,                                                                    
Ilisagvik   College,   Barrow;  Kathleen   Rock,   Ilisagvik                                                                    
College,  Barrow;  Ben  Glover, Ilisagvik  College,  Barrow;                                                                    
Danny  Frazier,   Superintendent,  Dillingham   City  School                                                                    
District,  Dillingham;  Maria  Calhoun, Self,  Homer;  Karen                                                                    
Shemet, Self, Homer; Donna Girard,  Self, Anchor Point; Todd                                                                    
Hindman,   Anvil  City   Science   Academy,  Nome;   Stewart                                                                    
McDonald,  Kodiak Island  Borough  School District  (KIBSD),                                                                    
Kodiak;  Tim Parker,  National  Education Association  (NEA)                                                                    
Alaska, Fairbanks; Tracey  Martinson, NEA Alaska, Fairbanks;                                                                    
Fred  Villa, University  of Alaska,  Fairbanks; Pete  Lewis,                                                                    
Superintendent, Fairbanks  School District,  Fairbanks; Sean                                                                    
Genson,  Teacher,   Fairbanks;  Heather   Damario,  Teacher,                                                                    
Fairbanks; Richard  Benneville, Self, Nome;  Siobhan O'Hara,                                                                    
Teacher,  Anchorage; Sunny  Hilts,  Kenai Peninsula  Borough                                                                    
School District, Soldovia;  Dr. Lisa Parady, Superintendent,                                                                    
North  Slope   Borough  School  District,   Barrow;  Heather                                                                    
Handyside, Self,  Anchorage; James Parkin,  Teacher, Angoon;                                                                    
Lisa  Rieger,  Cook  Inlet  Tribal  Council,  Anchorage;  Ed                                                                    
Hayes,  Self, Haines;  Geoffrey Humphries,  Self, Anchorage;                                                                    
Joey  Eski,  Aquarian   Charter  School,  Anchorage;  Meghan                                                                    
Steenburgh,   Self,   Anchorage;   Robin   Wittrock,   Self,                                                                    
Anchorage;   Donna   VanFlein,    Charter   School   Parent,                                                                    
Anchorage; Pamela Samash, Self,  Nenana; Regan Brooks, Self,                                                                    
Anchorage;  Greg  Reynolds,   Southeast  Career  Consortium,                                                                    
Sitka; Lon  Garrison, Sitka  School Board  President, Sitka;                                                                    
Kari  Sagel, Self,  Sitka;  Wendy  Ranney, Parent,  Cordova;                                                                    
Joan Diamond, Self,  Anchorage; Michael Rehberg, Winterberry                                                                    
Charter   School,   Anchorage;   Vivienne   Murray,   Public                                                                    
Education, Anchorage; Alison  Arians, Self, Anchorage; Becca                                                                    
Bernard,  Self,  Anchorage;   Tam  Agosti-Gisler,  Anchorage                                                                    
School District, Anchorage;  Tina Bernoski, Self, Anchorage;                                                                    
Jessie  Menkins,  Self,  Anchorage;  Deena  Mitchell,  Self,                                                                    
Anchorage;   Daniel  Sullivan,   Teacher,  Petersburg;   Jon                                                                    
Dufendach,  Partners  for   Progress,  Delta;  Tim  Walters,                                                                    
Teacher,  Mat-Su;  Ernie  Kirby, Self,  Mat-Su;  Joe  Boyle,                                                                    
Matanuska  Susitna  Education  Association  (MSEA),  Mat-Su;                                                                    
Karen   Barnard,  Self,   Anchorage;   Celia  Rozen,   Self,                                                                    
Anchorage; David Nees, Self,  Anchorage; Lisa Paesani, Self,                                                                    
Anchorage; Rita Dexter, Self,  Anchorage; Lilian Worl, Self,                                                                    
Juneau;  Janel  Walton,  Self,  Anchorage;  Lorraine  Trask,                                                                    
Self,  Fairbanks;  Christopher  Benshoof,  Self,  Fairbanks;                                                                    
Steve  Atwater, Kenai  Peninsula  School District;  Charlene                                                                    
Arneson, Chugach  School District, Whittier;  Sarah Monkton,                                                                    
Self, Anchorage.                                                                                                                
HB 278    EDUCATION: FUNDING/TAX CREDITS/PROGRAMS                                                                               
          HB 278 was HEARD and HELD in committee for                                                                            
          further consideration.                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 278                                                                                                            
     "An Act increasing the base  student allocation used in                                                                    
     the  formula for  state  funding  of public  education;                                                                    
     repealing the secondary  student competency examination                                                                    
     and  related  requirements;  relating  to  high  school                                                                    
     course credit earned through  assessment; relating to a                                                                    
     college and  career readiness assessment  for secondary                                                                    
     students;  relating   to  charter   school  application                                                                    
     appeals  and program  budgets; relating  to residential                                                                    
     school   applications;  increasing   the  stipend   for                                                                    
     boarding   school   students;  extending   unemployment                                                                    
     contributions for  the Alaska technical  and vocational                                                                    
     education  program;  relating  to earning  high  school                                                                    
     credit for  completion of vocational  education courses                                                                    
     offered   by  institutions   receiving  technical   and                                                                    
     vocational  education  program   funding;  relating  to                                                                    
     education  tax credits;  making conforming  amendments;                                                                    
     and providing for an effective date."                                                                                      
5:31:30 PM                                                                                                                    
^PUBLIC TESTIMONY                                                                                                             
5:33:57 PM                                                                                                                    
PEARL    BROWER,    ILISAGVIK     COLLEGE,    BARROW    (via                                                                    
teleconference), testified  in support  of the  extension of                                                                    
the  Alaska Technical  Vocational  Education Program  (TVEP)                                                                    
through 2024 as  a regional training center  under the North                                                                    
Slope education  and training  cooperative. She  stated that                                                                    
Ilisagvik  College  requested  inclusion   in  the  list  of                                                                    
regional training  centers funded under TVEP  for 10 percent                                                                    
of the funds  or approximately 4.5 percent  of the college's                                                                    
entire budget.  She requested the  inclusion of  the college                                                                    
and  noted the  offering  of 247  classes  in the  2012/2013                                                                    
academic year, which served 1,877 students.                                                                                     
5:36:46 PM                                                                                                                    
KATHY LEARY, ILISAGVIK  COLLEGE, BARROW (via teleconference)                                                                    
commented  on the  funding request  provided by  Ms. Brower.                                                                    
She informed  the committee that the  college partnered with                                                                    
companies  in  the  oil,  gas,  construction,  maritime  and                                                                    
utilities  fields. She  noted that  the North  Slope Borough                                                                    
funded  two-thirds of  the college's  budget. She  discussed                                                                    
the partnership  with Highland Mountain  Correctional Center                                                                    
for  credits   and  education  for  inmates   to  facilitate                                                                    
successful reentry  to society.  She encouraged  support for                                                                    
the TVEP aspect of the bill.                                                                                                    
5:39:17 PM                                                                                                                    
KATHLEEN    ROCK,    ILISAGVIK    COLLEGE,    BARROW    (via                                                                    
teleconference)   testified  as   a  student   at  Ilisagvik                                                                    
College.  She  listed  many  of the  classes  that  she  was                                                                    
interested in  for career advancement.  She stated  that she                                                                    
worked with the  oil and gas industry, and  hoped to further                                                                    
her  training   for  career   advancement.  She   urged  the                                                                    
inclusion of the TVEP portion in the legislation.                                                                               
5:41:27 PM                                                                                                                    
BEN GLOVER,  ILISAGVIK COLLEGE, BARROW  (via teleconference)                                                                    
pointed  out   that  the  college  served   the  work  force                                                                    
development  needs in  the area.  He  noted that  operations                                                                    
existed to  serve Highland Mountain Correctional  Center for                                                                    
the  reduction  of recidivism  rates.  He  worked to  expand                                                                    
classes  in  Fairbanks  and Anchorage.  He  stated  that  he                                                                    
wished to cater  to the needs of the  community. The college                                                                    
required $1.7 million in state funding.                                                                                         
5:43:44 PM                                                                                                                    
DANNY  FRAZIER,   SUPERINTENDENT,  DILLINGHAM   CITY  SCHOOL                                                                    
DISTRICT,  DILLINGHAM  (via teleconference),  discussed  his                                                                    
school  district's successes.  He stated  that the  district                                                                    
required   funding  to   continue  the   school  system   in                                                                    
Dillingham.  He explained  that school  districts would  cut                                                                    
positions  without  requested  funding. He  highlighted  the                                                                    
need for increases for the district's preschool program.                                                                        
5:45:56 PM                                                                                                                    
MARIA  CALHOUN, SELF,  HOMER (via  teleconference) testified                                                                    
in favor of early education  tax credits through HB 278. She                                                                    
shared  that  the   program  evaluation  outcomes  indicated                                                                    
substantial   benefits   including   increases   in   family                                                                    
strength. She  stated that  families and  agencies struggled                                                                    
to  meet demands.  The tax  credits would  allow for  future                                                                    
sustainability of  the programs.  She added that  Parents as                                                                    
Teachers  increased  college  graduation rates.  Many  other                                                                    
early childhood  education programs  would benefit  from the                                                                    
5:48:26 PM                                                                                                                    
KAREN SHEMET, SELF, HOMER  (via teleconference) testified in                                                                    
support of  the legislation. She stated  that the investment                                                                    
allowed access  to the vital  services. She shared  that she                                                                    
understood the value of the  support personally and stressed                                                                    
that  funding   the  legislation  would  allow   Parents  as                                                                    
Teachers to thrive.                                                                                                             
5:50:09 PM                                                                                                                    
DONNA  GIRARD,  SELF,   ANCHOR  POINT  (via  teleconference)                                                                    
testified  in support  of funding  for Parents  as Teachers.                                                                    
She   mentioned  the   business  SPROUT   that  helped   her                                                                    
grandchildren  thrive.  She  stated that  her  grandchildren                                                                    
suffered  from  fetal alcohol  syndrome  and  she could  not                                                                    
raise the children without the service.                                                                                         
5:52:17 PM                                                                                                                    
TODD  HINDMAN,   ANVIL  CITY  SCIENCE  ACADEMY,   NOME  (via                                                                    
teleconference),  testified in  favor of  the implementation                                                                    
of  new charter  schools  and continued  operation of  well-                                                                    
established  charter schools.  He stated  that the  facility                                                                    
operated  solely on  state-generated  funding. He  explained                                                                    
that one-time appropriations did  not benefit the Anvil City                                                                    
Science  Academy. He  stressed that  state-generated funding                                                                    
was   essential.  He   wished  for   a  compromise   in  the                                                                    
5:53:39 PM                                                                                                                    
STEWART  MCDONALD,  KODIAK  ISLAND BOROUGH  SCHOOL  DISTRICT                                                                    
(KIBSD), KODIAK  (via teleconference), testified  in support                                                                    
of the bill, specifically  the Base Student Allocation (BSA)                                                                    
increase. He  stated that inevitable reductions  would occur                                                                    
without an  increase in funding. He  stated that opportunity                                                                    
grants allowed  choices in the  community. He  mentioned the                                                                    
project including  the language of the  opportunity grant to                                                                    
be included in the bill.                                                                                                        
5:56:11 PM                                                                                                                    
TIM  PARKER, NATIONAL  EDUCATION  ASSOCIATION (NEA)  ALASKA,                                                                    
FAIRBANKS (via  teleconference) testified as an  educator in                                                                    
support of  the bill. He  stated that the  delegate assembly                                                                    
affirmed  the  support.  He supported  student  learning  in                                                                    
public schools.  The current budget situation  placed public                                                                    
schools  in a  difficult  financial  situation. He  stressed                                                                    
that increased class size did  not improve student learning.                                                                    
He pointed  out that the challenging  directives allowed for                                                                    
the measurement of student growth.                                                                                              
5:59:20 PM                                                                                                                    
TRACEY    MARTINSON,    NEA     ALASKA,    FAIRBANKS    (via                                                                    
teleconference),  testified  in  support of  increasing  the                                                                    
BSA. She stated  that she wished to  improve her community's                                                                    
opportunity for  education. She informed the  committee that                                                                    
the class sizes  in Fairbanks were held at  a minimum, which                                                                    
benefitted  her  son.  She  spoke  about  the  decreases  in                                                                    
teaching staff.  She noted that  the increase in  class size                                                                    
was detrimental to children's education.                                                                                        
6:01:37 PM                                                                                                                    
FRED   VILLA,   UNIVERSITY   OF   ALASKA,   FAIRBANKS   (via                                                                    
teleconference) spoke in  support of the TVEP  portion of HB                                                                    
278. He explained that technical  education and vocation was                                                                    
his  focus. He  hoped for  an increase  in existing  funding                                                                    
rather than cutting the entire  funding. He stated that TVEP                                                                    
offered  more   than  100  industry-recognized   work  force                                                                    
6:03:51 PM                                                                                                                    
PETE  LEWIS,  SUPERINTENDENT,   FAIRBANKS  SCHOOL  DISTRICT,                                                                    
FAIRBANKS (via teleconference) supported  an increase to the                                                                    
BSA.  He  stressed  the importance  of  maintaining  quality                                                                    
programs  and  appropriate  class sizes.  He  discussed  the                                                                    
facility needs of charter schools.                                                                                              
6:06:09 PM                                                                                                                    
SEAN  GENSON,   TEACHER,  FAIRBANKS   (via  teleconference),                                                                    
testified  in support  of the  legislation.  He stated  that                                                                    
both parents  and teachers worked hard  to support children.                                                                    
He asked  the state to do  its part for the  team. He stated                                                                    
that  the BSA  maintained  schools.  Reasonable class  sizes                                                                    
allowed   students    to   receive    individual   attention                                                                    
emotionally and academically. He  noted that funding factors                                                                    
were critical  to quality education.  He noted that  the BSA                                                                    
fell behind inflation, which  discouraged the maintenance of                                                                    
6:08:05 PM                                                                                                                    
HEATHER  DAMARIO, TEACHER,  FAIRBANKS (via  teleconference),                                                                    
testified in support of education  funding. She testified as                                                                    
a mother  who wished to  keep class sizes small.  She wished                                                                    
for  an increase  in the  BSA.  She urged  the committee  to                                                                    
value education.                                                                                                                
6:09:35 PM                                                                                                                    
RICHARD   BENNEVILLE,   SELF,  NOME   (via   teleconference)                                                                    
testified as  an employee  of the public  school in  Nome in                                                                    
support of  the legislation. He mentioned  that the children                                                                    
were  a  large  part  of  the  equation  and  he  urged  the                                                                    
committee to give  them the highest priority.  He noted that                                                                    
the state and country's  constitution mandates the provision                                                                    
of public education.                                                                                                            
6:11:24 PM                                                                                                                    
PHYLLIS CARLSON,  JUNEAU SCHOOL DISTRICT,  JUNEAU, testified                                                                    
in support  of the legislation  and an increase to  the BSA.                                                                    
The resolution  passed by the  Juneau School Board  was sent                                                                    
to  the committee  last week.  She explained  that 100  jobs                                                                    
were  cut along  with  considerable administration  support.                                                                    
Students  would be  better  served if  the  energy spent  on                                                                    
budgets  was spent  in the  classroom. She  advocated for  a                                                                    
multi-year funding plan that addressed expanding costs.                                                                         
6:14:09 PM                                                                                                                    
PAT  OLSEN, TEACHER,  KODIAK, testified  in  support of  the                                                                    
legislation. She stated  that the borough was  forced to cut                                                                    
10 teaching  positions, which resulted  in program  cuts and                                                                    
increased  class sizes.  She stated  that large  class sizes                                                                    
allowed fewer  opportunities between students  and teachers.                                                                    
Students  that  felt  valued   had  better  attendance.  She                                                                    
requested an increase in the BSA.                                                                                               
6:15:48 PM                                                                                                                    
SIOBHAN  O'HARA,  TEACHER, ANCHORAGE  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
testified  in support  of the  legislation. She  stated that                                                                    
children  must be  educated.  She  shared difficult  stories                                                                    
about her students.                                                                                                             
6:18:15 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBERT   WHIPPLE,   LOWER   YUKON   EDUCATION   ASSOCIATION,                                                                    
testified  in support  of the  legislation.  He supported  a                                                                    
significant increase to the BSA.                                                                                                
6:19:05 PM                                                                                                                    
TIFFANY  JACKSON, ALEUTIANS  EAST  BOROUGH SCHOOL  DISTRICT,                                                                    
testified  in support  of an  increase to  the BSA.  She was                                                                    
involved  in the  budgeting process  in her  district, which                                                                    
was  increasingly difficult  with flat  funding. She  stated                                                                    
that  she  wished  to  provide  Common  Core  Standards  and                                                                    
Teacher  Evaluation   Requirements,  which   would  increase                                                                    
funding  needs.  The  estimated  cost  of  implementing  the                                                                    
programs  was  $300 thousand  for  her  district. She  spoke                                                                    
about her district's efforts to decrease costs.                                                                                 
6:21:15 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBERT CLAUS,  CRAIG CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT,  CRAIG, testified                                                                    
in support of  the legislation and a  reasonable increase to                                                                    
the  BSA. He  stated  that the  Craig  City school  district                                                                    
achieved good results by cutting  energy costs in all of the                                                                    
buildings. He  stated that utilizing  non-qualified teachers                                                                    
resulted from  the decreased funding. Increased  class sizes                                                                    
and  limited advisory  positions  were also  results of  the                                                                    
decreased funding.                                                                                                              
6:23:06 PM                                                                                                                    
LAUREN  SMOKER, SELF,  JUNEAU, testified  in support  of the                                                                    
legislation. She  pointed out her many  accomplishments as a                                                                    
parent. She  noted that  many teachers  helped her  son with                                                                    
less and less funding. She  advocated for an increase in the                                                                    
6:24:10 PM                                                                                                                    
SUNNY  HILTS,  KENAI  PENINSULA,  BOROUGH  SCHOOL  DISTRICT,                                                                    
SOLDOVIA (via  teleconference), testified in support  of the                                                                    
legislation.  She stated  that  progress was  slowed by  the                                                                    
flat-funded BSA. She stressed  that the vocational education                                                                    
program  was detrimental  to the  success of  some students.                                                                    
She encouraged  the public  school support.  Charter schools                                                                    
provided a wonderful service.                                                                                                   
6:26:28 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. LISA PARADY, SUPERINTENDENT,  NORTH SLOPE BOROUGH SCHOOL                                                                    
DISTRICT, BARROW (via  teleconference), testified in support                                                                    
of  an increase  in the  BSA to  assist with  the increasing                                                                    
costs  experienced by  her district.  She  commented on  the                                                                    
added costs associated with the  implemented cause of the No                                                                    
Child Left  Behind mandate.  The request  to adjust  the BSA                                                                    
allowed  quality   education  for  children.   The  proposed                                                                    
increases  in  HB 278  contained  less  than optimal  annual                                                                    
6:29:47 PM                                                                                                                    
HEATHER  HANDYSIDE,  SELF, ANCHORAGE  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
supported   a  BSA   increase  beyond   the  level   in  the                                                                    
legislation.  She  discussed  that the  issue  impacted  all                                                                    
Alaskans;  everyone  recognized  the importance  of  a  good                                                                    
education  system.  The  current   school  funding  was  not                                                                    
sufficient.  She reminded  the  committee that  prioritizing                                                                    
education  worked;   she  spoke  to  successes   of  funding                                                                    
increases and impacts on the  state's schools. She urged the                                                                    
committee to increase the BSA  by $400 to provide stable and                                                                    
predictable funding.                                                                                                            
6:32:14 PM                                                                                                                    
JAMES  PARKIN, TEACHER,  ANGOON (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in support of the  Southeast Career Consortium. He discussed                                                                    
the successes of the program over the years.                                                                                    
6:34:27 PM                                                                                                                    
LISA  RIEGER,  COOK  INLET TRIBAL  COUNCIL,  ANCHORAGE  (via                                                                    
teleconference),  spoke in  support of  the continuation  of                                                                    
educational  tax  credits  to  allow  programs  to  leverage                                                                    
funds. She was  supportive of changes to  the charter school                                                                    
legislation.  She  testified in  favor  of  funds for  pupil                                                                    
transportation.  She was  grateful  for the  funding of  the                                                                    
residential  stipend portion  of the  bill. She  thanked the                                                                    
committee for its focus on education.                                                                                           
6:35:55 PM                                                                                                                    
ED  HAYES, SELF,  HAINES (via  teleconference) testified  in                                                                    
support of an increase in  the BSA beyond the level proposed                                                                    
in  HB  278. He  supported  TVEP  and the  Southeast  Career                                                                    
Consortium. He  believed that  a partnership  approach would                                                                    
allow  fresh  ideas  and  resources  for  the  students  and                                                                    
6:36:45 PM                                                                                                                    
GEOFFREY  HUMPHRIES,  SELF, ANCHORAGE  (via  teleconference)                                                                    
spoke in support of assessments  for evaluation and tracking                                                                    
of school performance. He cautioned  the committee that that                                                                    
an  application of  programs vetted  in other  parts of  the                                                                    
country may not  have the same result  in Alaska. Additional                                                                    
time  was required  for evaluating  the  impact of  programs                                                                    
developed outside of the state.                                                                                                 
6:37:52 PM                                                                                                                    
JOEY   ESKI,  AQUARIAN   CHARTER   SCHOOL,  ANCHORAGE   (via                                                                    
teleconference), testified that  the state's charter schools                                                                    
remained at  a disadvantage  over other public  schools. The                                                                    
bill  failed to  address  funding equity  and only  entitled                                                                    
charter schools to funds through  the BSA formula. She spoke                                                                    
to facilities  expenses; the bill contained  no provision to                                                                    
help charter schools to pay  for facilities. She spoke about                                                                    
expensive lease  agreements for charter schools.  She stated                                                                    
that no  other public  school was  burdened by  the expense.                                                                    
She  asked the  committee to  include mandating  language to                                                                    
increase BSA formula.                                                                                                           
6:41:26 PM                                                                                                                    
MEGHAN  STEENBURGH,  SELF, ANCHORAGE  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
spoke about her daughter in  a charter school. She discussed                                                                    
that  charter  schools  had been  operating  with  half  the                                                                    
funding  of neighborhood  schools and  were required  to pay                                                                    
rent, maintenance, utilities and  insurance. She spoke about                                                                    
recent cuts  to the charter school's  programs. She stressed                                                                    
the frugality  of her  school. She  discussed high  rent and                                                                    
maintenance  costs. She  proposed  a state-funded  per-pupil                                                                    
facilities allowance,  which existed  as a  successful model                                                                    
in other  states. Many charter  schools were currently  at a                                                                    
breaking  point.  She  stressed that  charter  schools  were                                                                    
supported by both Democrats and Republicans.                                                                                    
6:43:55 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBIN WITTROCK, SELF,  ANCHORAGE (via teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in support of  increasing the BSA by a minimum  of $400. She                                                                    
spoke about  her children in the  Anchorage School District.                                                                    
She  was   happy  with  the  education   her  children  were                                                                    
currently receiving,  but she was  troubled over  funding to                                                                    
education in recent years. She  pointed to busy teachers and                                                                    
limited   resources  in   schools.  She   spoke  about   the                                                                    
dedication teachers had to their  students in the state. She                                                                    
stated  that teachers  would lose  their  class periods  and                                                                    
would  no longer  be  able  to run  after  school or  attend                                                                    
extracurricular activities.                                                                                                     
6:46:58 PM                                                                                                                    
DONNA  VANFLEIN,  CHARTER   SCHOOL  PARENT,  ANCHORAGE  (via                                                                    
teleconference),   spoke  in   support  of   charter  school                                                                    
funding.  She  pointed  to  a  statute  related  to  charter                                                                    
schools  with annual  program budgets.  She stated  that the                                                                    
amount generated by students enrolled  in the charter school                                                                    
ought to  be determined in  the same  manner as in  a public                                                                    
school. She  stated that charter  schools in  Anchorage were                                                                    
receiving  roughly  half   the  money  neighborhood  schools                                                                    
received. She  discussed funds used for  operating expenses.                                                                    
She spoke  to high facility  costs and costs  for janitorial                                                                    
services.  The  costs  should  be   covered  by  the  school                                                                    
district. She  stated that charter schools  were thriving in                                                                    
Alaska.  She encouraged  dedicated  facility funding.  Funds                                                                    
should be spent on education and not building costs.                                                                            
6:50:30 PM                                                                                                                    
PAMELA  SAMASH,  SELF,   NENANA  (via  teleconference),  was                                                                    
heartbroken  by  testimony  begging  for  state  money.  She                                                                    
mentioned  the  dedication  teachers   had  to  the  state's                                                                    
schools  and  students.  She  did   not  want  Common  Core,                                                                    
Obamacare, or No Child Left  Behind. She was saddened by the                                                                    
state of the education system.  She asked the legislature to                                                                    
make a stand  against the federal government.  She asked the                                                                    
legislature to have a heart.                                                                                                    
6:53:14 PM                                                                                                                    
REGAN  BROOKS, SELF,  ANCHORAGE (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in support of funding for  charter schools. She asked for an                                                                    
increase in  the BSA of  $400 or  more. She shared  that her                                                                    
decision  to remain  in the  state  was due  to the  state's                                                                    
education system.  She was concerned that  cuts to education                                                                    
jeopardized  the  system.  She  implored  the  committee  to                                                                    
consider an increase.                                                                                                           
6:54:59 PM                                                                                                                    
GREG  REYNOLDS,  SOUTHEAST  CAREER  CONSORTIUM,  SITKA  (via                                                                    
teleconference)  stated  that  TVEP   had  been  created  to                                                                    
support   education;  however   the  consortium   was  still                                                                    
underfunded. He  stressed that students in  Southeast Alaska                                                                    
deserved  the same  resources and  quality education  as the                                                                    
rest of  the state.  He shared that  the consortium  was the                                                                    
only  group in  the region  with  a plan  and had  extensive                                                                    
training experience with high schools and communities.                                                                          
6:57:12 PM                                                                                                                    
LON  GARRISON,  SITKA  SCHOOL BOARD  PRESIDENT,  SITKA  (via                                                                    
teleconference), asked the committee  to include funding for                                                                    
the  Digital Learning  Initiative.  He  communicated that  a                                                                    
digital learning  program would  make a large  difference to                                                                    
students in the district's  schools. He hoped for additional                                                                    
funding in  the BSA; it would  take a $500 increase  to make                                                                    
the  district whole.  He spoke  to the  ability to  plan and                                                                    
budget in the future. He  talked about costs that would come                                                                    
from the  operating budget of  the district. He  stated that                                                                    
the bill did not include sufficient funding increases.                                                                          
6:59:18 PM                                                                                                                    
KARI  SAGEL, SELF,  SITKA (via  teleconference) supported  a                                                                    
substantial increase to the BSA.                                                                                                
6:59:57 PM                                                                                                                    
WENDY RANNEY,  PARENT, CORDOVA (via  teleconference), voiced                                                                    
support for  library funding in  the schools. She  asked the                                                                    
committee to  increase the  BSA to  a realistic  number. The                                                                    
investment  would be  directed to  children and  the state's                                                                    
future. She spoke to the  necessary multitasking of teachers                                                                    
given  the  current  lack  of funds.  She  stated  that  the                                                                    
children were suffering because of  budget cuts. She did not                                                                    
want  to  see  increased  classroom   sizes  or  a  loss  of                                                                    
7:02:20 PM                                                                                                                    
JOAN  DIAMOND, SELF,  ANCHORAGE  (via teleconference)  asked                                                                    
for an increase in the BSA by  a minimum of $400. If a child                                                                    
could not learn to read by  the third grade it was difficult                                                                    
for  them to  catch up.  She shared  a story  about bringing                                                                    
students to  the appropriate grade level;  some students did                                                                    
not have support at home.                                                                                                       
7:05:25 PM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL REHBERG, WINTERBERRY  CHARTER SCHOOL, ANCHORAGE (via                                                                    
teleconference),  testified   in  support  of   funding  for                                                                    
charter  schools.  He asked  for  an  increase in  the  BSA.                                                                    
Charter school  budgets were  typically small.  He requested                                                                    
an  annual  increase that  would  allow  charter schools  to                                                                    
plan.  He spoke  to the  small size  of the  school; it  had                                                                    
relatively small staff levels.  He hoped the committee would                                                                    
consider a BSA increase.                                                                                                        
7:07:23 PM                                                                                                                    
VIVIENNE   MURRAY,   PUBLIC    EDUCATION,   ANCHORAGE   (via                                                                    
teleconference), spoke  in support of public  education. She                                                                    
stated  that public  schools provided  her  children with  a                                                                    
good  education.  She  was  nervous  about  the  cutting  of                                                                    
operating  funds  or  stagnant   funding  that  was  causing                                                                    
schools to  make cuts. She  spoke to a scholarship  cut from                                                                    
the  prior  year. She  did  not  believe  it was  right  for                                                                    
children   to   miss    life-changing   opportunities.   The                                                                    
communities  had an  obligation  to help  the children.  She                                                                    
encouraged the committee to fund education through HB 278.                                                                      
7:09:56 PM                                                                                                                    
ALISON ARIANS,  SELF, ANCHORAGE (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in support  of an increase of  the BSA at a  minimum of $400                                                                    
and for forward-funding  by at least three  years. She spoke                                                                    
to estimates for high classroom  sizes. She was not alone in                                                                    
her  concerns. She  was unhappy  with cuts  to teachers  and                                                                    
counselors.  She testified  that  all  types of  individuals                                                                    
were upset  by the cuts.  She spoke to  parents' involvement                                                                    
in  the issue.  She  spoke to  different  ways parents  were                                                                    
working to be involved. Education  was the primary issue for                                                                    
many voters in the current year.                                                                                                
7:12:30 PM                                                                                                                    
BECCA BERNARD,  SELF, ANCHORAGE (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in support  of an increase of  the BSA at a  minimum of $400                                                                    
and for forward-funding by at  least three years. She stated                                                                    
that there  had not  been an  increase in  education funding                                                                    
since  2011.  The  trend  was  dangerous.  She  stated  that                                                                    
graduation rates  had risen from  66 percent to  79 percent.                                                                    
She stressed  the importance  of maintaining  the successes.                                                                    
She spoke about  her son who attended a  charter school. She                                                                    
discussed  the   low  staff  levels   at  the   school.  She                                                                    
emphasized that  it was  hard to imagine  what would  be cut                                                                    
without  an increase  to  the  BSA. She  spoke  about a  new                                                                    
coalition supporting education.                                                                                                 
7:15:01 PM                                                                                                                    
TAM  AGOSTI-GISLER,  ANCHORAGE  SCHOOL  DISTRICT,  ANCHORAGE                                                                    
(via  teleconference),  testified  in support  of  increased                                                                    
funds to  the school  district. The district  was struggling                                                                    
to  keep   teachers  in  the  current   year;  140  teaching                                                                    
positions had  been cut. She  spoke to  a lack of  funds and                                                                    
cuts across the board at the  district. Some of the cuts had                                                                    
increased  efficiency;  however,  some areas  were  cut  too                                                                    
much.  She  questioned the  impacts  on  teachers. The  cuts                                                                    
would  have an  impact on  increased graduation  and reduced                                                                    
dropout rates. She  supported a BSA increase of  $400 in the                                                                    
current  year. The  district had  been  innovative with  tax                                                                    
funding. She asked for a three-year increase in the BSA.                                                                        
7:18:30 PM                                                                                                                    
TINA   BERNOSKI,  SELF,   ANCHORAGE  (via   teleconference),                                                                    
appreciated the  governor's bill; however, the  proposed BSA                                                                    
increase was  not sufficient. She believed  it made economic                                                                    
sense  to invest  in the  state's children.  She appreciated                                                                    
the opportunity to speak. She  urged the committee to make a                                                                    
significant increase to the BSA by at least $400.                                                                               
7:21:07 PM                                                                                                                    
JESSIE   MENKINS,  SELF,   ANCHORAGE  (via   teleconference)                                                                    
testified in  support of public  education. She  spoke about                                                                    
her  personal experience  in education.  She understood  the                                                                    
state's unique  challenges related to various  interests and                                                                    
the  vast  landscape. She  testified  in  support of  public                                                                    
schools   including    charter,   vocational,   neighborhood                                                                    
schools. She believed legislators  all cared about the state                                                                    
and  its future.  She stressed  that  the state  was on  the                                                                    
precipice  of  many  exciting  plans.  The  state  needed  a                                                                    
vibrant workforce to  put the plans in  action. She believed                                                                    
the governor's proposal fell short.  She spoke in support of                                                                    
a BSA increase  of $400 or more. She urged  the committee to                                                                    
prioritize and forward-fund education.                                                                                          
7:24:48 PM                                                                                                                    
DEENA  MITCHELL,   SELF,  ANCHORAGE   (via  teleconference),                                                                    
stressed funding  for public education. She  relayed that if                                                                    
children were not educated, the  state's future would not be                                                                    
successful. She  spoke from the  perspective of  an involved                                                                    
parent.  She stressed  that schools  were  not failing.  She                                                                    
provided  statistics showing  significant improvement.  Some                                                                    
of the  progress had stagnated due  to a lack of  funds. She                                                                    
stated that  paid teachers  and support  staff needed  to be                                                                    
maintained   for  schools   to  succeed.   She  pointed   to                                                                    
significant cuts in recent years.                                                                                               
7:27:56 PM                                                                                                                    
DANIEL SULLIVAN,  TEACHER, PETERSBURG  (via teleconference),                                                                    
spoke  to sections  18  through 20  of  the legislation.  He                                                                    
spoke in  support of  a BSA  increase of  $400 or  more. The                                                                    
increased  level   of  funding   would  allow   for  teacher                                                                    
retention.  The current  bill failed  to meet  the goal.  He                                                                    
believed  in  every  child  and  that  they  deserved  every                                                                    
opportunity to succeed.                                                                                                         
7:29:57 PM                                                                                                                    
JON   DUFENDACH,   PARTNERS   FOR   PROGRESS,   DELTA   (via                                                                    
teleconference),  testified in  support of  the legislation.                                                                    
He spoke  in support of a  BSA increase of $400  or more. He                                                                    
appreciated the help.                                                                                                           
7:32:03 PM                                                                                                                    
TIM WALTERS, TEACHER, MAT-SU  (via teleconference), spoke in                                                                    
support of a  BSA increase of $400 or more.   He stated that                                                                    
flat  or minimal  funding increased  class sizes.  He stated                                                                    
that increases  in class size  compromised the  education of                                                                    
children.   He  stressed   that  children   were  the   best                                                                    
investment made by the society.                                                                                                 
7:33:50 PM                                                                                                                    
ERNIE  KIRBY, SELF,  MAT-SU (via  teleconference), spoke  in                                                                    
support of a  BSA increase of $400 or more.   He stated that                                                                    
the small  increases to the  BSA included in  the governor's                                                                    
budget were inadequate. Ideally the  BSA ought to be able to                                                                    
keep up with inflation.                                                                                                         
7:35:15 PM                                                                                                                    
JOE BOYLE,  MATANUSKA SUSITNA EDUCATION  ASSOCIATION (MSEA),                                                                    
MAT-SU  (via  teleconference), spoke  in  support  of a  BSA                                                                    
increase of  $400 or more.  He stated that  flat-funding the                                                                    
BSA  made it  difficult  for  people to  do  their jobs.  He                                                                    
stated that elementary teachers were  forced to take on many                                                                    
alternative duties  with the lack  of funding.  He suggested                                                                    
that the teaching careers were less appealing.                                                                                  
7:37:27 PM                                                                                                                    
KAREN   BARNARD,   SELF,  ANCHORAGE   (via   teleconference)                                                                    
testified  as a  product of  the Anchorage  School District.                                                                    
Her tension was exacerbated by  the lack of pre-k education.                                                                    
She stated  that she had  taken eight years of  higher math.                                                                    
She spoke in support of a  BSA increase of $400 or more. She                                                                    
spoke in  favor of smaller  class sizes and  the restoration                                                                    
of music and sewing classes in the schools.                                                                                     
7:41:22 PM                                                                                                                    
CELIA   ROZEN,   SELF,   ANCHORAGE   (via   teleconference),                                                                    
discussed  her experience  as a  PTA mother.  She noted  the                                                                    
operating expenses  taken by the  PTA. She spoke  in support                                                                    
of  a BSA  increase of  $400 or  more. She  stated that  she                                                                    
experienced a flat budget at  work. She stated that a budget                                                                    
that was unsustainable led to  loss of career counselors and                                                                    
teachers and scholarships.                                                                                                      
7:46:01 PM                                                                                                                    
DAVID NEES,  SELF, ANCHORAGE (via  teleconference) testified                                                                    
in  support   of  the  governor's  proposed   model  of  BSA                                                                    
increase.  He  suggested   targeting  funding  increases  to                                                                    
teachers.   He   opted   for  language   specifying   direct                                                                    
education, which  would allow a  higher percentage  of state                                                                    
money to be used by districts.                                                                                                  
7:48:05 PM                                                                                                                    
LISA   PAESANI,   SELF,  ANCHORAGE   (via   teleconference),                                                                    
addressed prior testimony regarding  the figures and effects                                                                    
of large class sizes provided  by Mr. Nees. She commented on                                                                    
the  increased  graduation  rates   resulting  from  a  past                                                                    
increase   of  the   BSA.  She   supported  the   bill,  but                                                                    
recommended further  increases in the  BSA to $400  or more.                                                                    
She urged the  committee to amend the bill to  allow the BSA                                                                    
to keep pace with inflation.                                                                                                    
7:51:37 PM                                                                                                                    
RITA DEXTER, SELF, ANCHORAGE  (via teleconference), spoke in                                                                    
support of  a BSA increase of  $400 or more.   She noted the                                                                    
importance  of test  preparation, which  was compromised  by                                                                    
the funding  cuts. She spoke about  her wonderful experience                                                                    
in high school.                                                                                                                 
7:53:01 PM                                                                                                                    
LILIAN  WORL, SELF,  JUNEAU (via  teleconference), spoke  in                                                                    
support of  a BSA increase of  $400 or more.   She supported                                                                    
the  maximum increase  to  stem the  cuts  in Alaska  school                                                                    
districts.  She mentioned  that 10  percent was  cut in  the                                                                    
Juneau School District.  She pointed out the  impacts of the                                                                    
cuts. She  spoke about increases in  graduation requirements                                                                    
and rates.                                                                                                                      
7:57:00 PM                                                                                                                    
JANEL  WALTON, SELF,  ANCHORAGE (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in support of a BSA increase  of $400 or more. She mentioned                                                                    
the  increases  of  utility  costs   among  the  state.  She                                                                    
questioned  the testimony  of David  Nees. She  testified in                                                                    
opposition  to  the bill  introduced  by  the governor.  She                                                                    
spoke about  the benefits of  increasing the BSA as  seen in                                                                    
the last few years. She wished to inflation-proof the BSA.                                                                      
7:59:42 PM                                                                                                                    
LORRAINE TRASK, SELF,  FAIRBANKS (via teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in support of  a BSA increase of $400 or  more. She spoke in                                                                    
favor of small class sizes.  She informed the committee that                                                                    
her daughter had 28 other children in her classrooms.                                                                           
8:01:17 PM                                                                                                                    
CHRISTOPHER BENSHOOF,  SELF, FAIRBANKS  (via teleconference)                                                                    
testified  in  support  of  the  legislation.  He  spoke  in                                                                    
support of a  BSA increase of $400 or more.   He spoke about                                                                    
the reasons that teachers leave the profession.                                                                                 
8:03:21 PM                                                                                                                    
STEVE  ATWATER,   SUPERINTENDENT,  KENAI   PENINSULA  SCHOOL                                                                    
DISTRICT  (via  teleconference),  commented  on  section  5,                                                                    
items (d), (e),  (f) and (g) that provided  a charter school                                                                    
a process to appeal a  local school board's decision to deny                                                                    
a  charter school  application. He  encouraged striking  the                                                                    
items from  the bill. He  commented on section  18 regarding                                                                    
the BSA. He  stated that his district faced  a large deficit                                                                    
and  had  cut  $1.5  million  already.  He  appreciated  the                                                                    
proposed  increase  to  the BSA,  but  recognized  that  the                                                                    
amount  was  not  sufficient  to   affect  the  deficit.  He                                                                    
proposed an increase to $5930  for next year, $6055 for FY16                                                                    
and $6180 for FY 17.                                                                                                            
8:05:24 PM                                                                                                                    
CHARLENE  ARNESON, CHUGACH  SCHOOL  DISTRICT, WHITTIER  (via                                                                    
teleconference),   testified   in  support   of   sustaining                                                                    
educational   services  for   students   with  the   limited                                                                    
resources available.  She expressed pride in  her staff. She                                                                    
spoke about the value of prioritizing education.                                                                                
8:07:58 PM                                                                                                                    
SARAH   MONKTON,   SELF,  ANCHORAGE   (via   teleconference)                                                                    
testified in support of the  education bill. She stated that                                                                    
she  volunteered in  the neighborhood  school  and was  very                                                                    
happy with the  small class sizes. She spoke  about her many                                                                    
duties as  a volunteer and spoke  about different children's                                                                    
learning styles. She  spoke in support of a  BSA increase of                                                                    
$400 or more.                                                                                                                   
8:12:03 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Stoltze  acknowledged the  time spent  by committee                                                                    
members allowing the testifiers the opportunity to speak.                                                                       
Co-Chair  Stoltze CLOSED  public  testimony. He  appreciated                                                                    
committee  members' suggestions  that David  Teal, Director,                                                                    
Legislative Finance Division present  figures related to the                                                                    
history of  education funding and  the rates of  funding and                                                                    
the impact on the increases of the budget growth. He                                                                            
believed that the information would be accurate and non-                                                                        
biased if coming from Mr. Teal.                                                                                                 
Representative Wilson asked about the historic difference                                                                       
between state and federal funding.                                                                                              
Co-Chair Stoltze asked members to direct their questions                                                                        
for Mr. Teal to his office.                                                                                                     
8:17:17 PM                                                                                                                    
The meeting was adjourned at 8:17 p.m.                                                                                          

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