Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/18/1993 03:00 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
                                                                               
           HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES                         
                       STANDING COMMITTEE                                      
                        February 18, 1993                                      
                            3:00 p.m.                                          
                                                                               
                                                                               
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
                                                                               
  Rep. Cynthia Toohey, Co-Chair, arrived later                                 
  Rep. Con Bunde, Co-Chair                                                     
  Rep. Gary Davis, Vice Chair                                                  
  Rep. Al Vezey                                                                
  Rep. Pete Kott                                                               
  Rep. Harley Olberg                                                           
  Rep. Irene Nicholia                                                          
  Rep. Tom Brice                                                               
                                                                               
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
                                                                               
  Rep. Bettye Davis                                                            
                                                                               
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
                                                                               
  *HB 84:   "An Act implementing certain recommendations of                    
            Alaska 2000 to improve the state's education                       
            system; and providing for an effective date."                      
                                                                               
            HEARD AND HELD                                                     
                                                                               
  *HB 85:   "An Act relating to the public school foundation                   
            program; and providing for an effective date."                     
                                                                               
            NOT HEARD - HELD TO A TIME CERTAIN                                 
                                                                               
  (* First public hearing.)                                                    
                                                                               
                                                                               
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
                                                                               
  JERRY COVEY, Commissioner                                                    
  Alaska Department of Education                                               
  801 W. 10th St., Suite 200                                                   
  Juneau, Alaska  99801-1894                                                   
  Phone:  465-2800                                                             
  Position Statement:  Presented an overview of HB 84                          
                                                                               
  PATRICIA GAKIN                                                               
  P.O. Box 871304                                                              
  Wasilla, Alaska 99687                                                        
  Phone:  (907) 373-4717                                                       
  Position Statement:  Asked questions on HB 84                                
                       (Testified via teleconference)                          
                                                                               
  BILL MONROE                                                                  
  2950 Marianne                                                                
  Wasilla, Alaska 99687                                                        
  Phone:  (907) 376-4269                                                       
  Position Statement:  Asked questions on HB 84                                
                       (Testified via teleconference)                          
                                                                               
  DUANE GUILEY, Director                                                       
  Division of Education Finance and Support Services                           
  Department of Education                                                      
  801 W. 10th St.                                                              
  Juneau, Alaska 99801-1894                                                    
  Phone:  (907) 465-2891                                                       
  Position Statement:  Answered questions on HB 84                             
                                                                               
  MICHAEL MURPHY, Member                                                       
  Nome School Board                                                            
  P.O. Box 1062                                                                
  Nome, Alaska 99762                                                           
  Phone:  (907) 443-2043                                                       
  Position Statement:  Commented on HB 84, opposed current                     
                       tenure law                                              
                       (Testified via teleconference)                          
                                                                               
  MIKE LITMAN, Member                                                          
  Sitka School Board                                                           
  P.O. Box 1971                                                                
  Sitka, Alaska 99835                                                          
  Phone:  (907) 747-3660                                                       
  Position Statement:  Supported HB 84                                         
                       (Testified via teleconference)                          
                                                                               
  LARRY WIGET                                                                  
  Legislative Liaison                                                          
  Anchorage School District                                                    
  4600 DeBarr Road                                                             
  Anchorage, Alaska 99508-3195                                                 
  Phone:  (907) 269-2255                                                       
  Position Statement:  Supported HB 84, asked questions                        
                       (Testified via teleconference)                          
                                                                               
  REVA SHIRCEL, Education Director                                             
  Tanana Chiefs Conference                                                     
  122 First St.                                                                
  Fairbanks, Alaska 99701                                                      
  Phone:  (907) 452-8251                                                       
  Position Statement:  Asked questions on HB 84                                
                       (Testified via teleconference)                          
                                                                               
  CARL ROSE, Executive Director                                                
  Association of Alaska School Boards                                          
  316 W. 11th St.                                                              
  Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                         
  Phone:  (907) 586-1083                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified on HB 84                                      
                                                                               
  SUZANNE CYR                                                                  
  P.O. Box 873663                                                              
  Wasilla, Alaska 99687                                                        
  Phone:  (907) 376-1139                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified on HB 84                                      
                       (Testified via teleconference)                          
                                                                               
  ROSE SMITH                                                                   
  1140 Gail Drive                                                              
  Wasilla, Alaska 99687                                                        
  Phone:  (907) 376-2517                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified on HB 84                                      
                       (Testified via teleconference)                          
                                                                               
  ROBERT THOMPSON                                                              
  HC01 6875C                                                                   
  Palmer, Alaska 99645                                                         
  Phone:  (907) 745-2019                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 84                                           
                       (Testified via teleconference)                          
                                                                               
  CLAUDIA DOUGLAS, President                                                   
  National Education Association-Alaska                                        
  114 Second St.                                                               
  Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                         
  Phone:  (907) 586-3090                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified on HB 84                                      
                                                                               
  SHARON NORTON, President                                                     
  Ketchikan School District                                                    
  8302 S. Tongass Highway                                                      
  Ketchikan, Alaska 99901                                                      
  Phone:  (907) 225-2479                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 84                                           
                       (Testified via teleconference)                          
                                                                               
  PATSY AAMODT                                                                 
  North Slope Borough School District                                          
  P.O. Box 169                                                                 
  Barrow, Alaska 99723                                                         
  Phone:  (907) 852-5311                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 84                                           
                       (Testified via teleconference)                          
                                                                               
  ANDY ZAJAC, President                                                        
  Copper Valley Teachers Association                                           
  P.O. Box 208                                                                 
  Copper Center, Alaska 99573                                                  
  Phone:  (907) 822-3018                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 84                                           
                       (Testified via teleconference)                          
                                                                               
  PAM DARNALL                                                                  
  P.O. Box 55257                                                               
  Fairbanks, Alaska 99705                                                      
  Phone:  (907) 488-9703                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed SB 61                                           
                       (Testified via teleconference)                          
                                                                               
  CAROL EVANS                                                                  
  1212 Farmers Loop                                                            
  Fairbanks, Alaska 99705                                                      
  Phone:  (907) 479-5407                                                       
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 84                                           
                       (Testified via teleconference)                          
                                                                               
                                                                               
  PREVIOUS ACTION                                                              
                                                                               
  BILL:  HB  84                                                                
  SHORT TITLE: IMPLEMENT ALASKA 2000 RECOMMENDATIONS                           
  BILL VERSION:                                                                
  SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                 
  TITLE: "An Act implementing certain recommendations of                       
  Alaska 2000 to improve the state's education system; and                     
  providing for an effective date."                                            
                                                                               
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  01/22/93       135    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  01/22/93       135    (H)   HES, JUDICIARY, FINANCE                          
  01/22/93       135    (H)   -FISCAL NOTE  (DOE) 1/22/93                      
  01/22/93       136    (H)   GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER                    
  02/18/93              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                      
                                                                               
                                                                               
  BILL:  HB  85                                                                
  SHORT TITLE: PUBLIC SCHOOL FOUNDATION PROGRAM                                
  BILL VERSION:                                                                
  SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                 
  TITLE: "An Act relating to the public school foundation                      
  program; and providing for an effective date."                               
                                                                               
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  01/22/93       138    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  01/22/93       138    (H)   HES, FINANCE                                     
  01/22/93       138    (H)   -FISCAL NOTE  (DOE)  1/22/93                     
  01/22/93       138    (H)   GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER                    
  02/18/93              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                      
                                                                               
                                                                               
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
  TAPE 93-16, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE called the meeting to order at 3:07 p.m. and                     
  noted members present.  Rep. B. Davis was ill, and Rep. G.                   
  Davis was on-line via teleconference from Soldotna.  Chair                   
  Bunde announced that the meeting was being teleconferenced                   
  to Juneau, Anchorage, Barrow, Fairbanks, Glennallen, Mat-Su,                 
  Nome, Sitka, Soldotna, Tok and Valdez.  He announced the                     
  meeting calendar, and noted that the committee would hear                    
  testimony, but would not take action at this meeting.                        
                                                                               
  (Rep. B. Davis arrived at 3:01 p.m.)                                         
                                                                               
  HB 84:  IMPLEMENT ALASKA 2000 RECOMMENDATIONS                                
                                                                               
  Number 047                                                                   
                                                                               
  JERRY COVEY, COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION (DOE),                    
  began his overview presentation on HB 84, containing some of                 
  the ideas contained in the Alaska 2000 proposals.  He stated                 
  the changes should be placed in statute, not in regulation,                  
  and as such, require legislative action.  He proposed a                      
  brief presentation on the bill's five parts.  The first was                  
  to increase the school year to 200 days from 180 days by the                 
  year 2000.  Commissioner Covey said America rates behind                     
  other leading industrialized nations in terms of educational                 
  commitment, and only slightly less farther behind in                         
  students' science and math achievement.  He said no fiscal                   
  note was advanced with the bill, but the bill was important                  
  and needed societal commitment.                                              
                                                                               
  Number 100                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE interrupted and asked for preliminary questions.                 
                                                                               
  REP. NICHOLIA asked if the extended school year would bring                  
  more money.                                                                  
                                                                               
  Number 110                                                                   
                                                                               
  COMMISSIONER COVEY responded that the longer year would                      
  require expansion of the foundation formula funding.                         
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY asked if the 10 percent increase in school year                   
  would bring a 10 percent increase in funding.                                
                                                                               
  Number 120                                                                   
                                                                               
  COMMISSIONER COVEY answered that public schools cost $3                      
  million to operate each day, and there would be some                         
  increase in funding.  But instead of requiring a $60 million                 
  increase ($3 million multiplied by 20 days), it might be                     
  possible for some school districts to use the extra time in                  
  ways that might cost less than regular instruction, he said.                 
                                                                               
  Number 160                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY asked a clarifying question.                                      
                                                                               
  COMMISSIONER COVEY responded that some districts might spend                 
  less than usual on the extra days, and some might continue                   
  normal instruction at normal cost.                                           
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY asked whether there was public support for an                     
  extended school year, given the comfortable salaries already                 
  paid to teachers for nine-month school years.                                
                                                                               
  COMMISSIONER COVEY answered that public support would depend                 
  on the results produced.  He said he felt a responsibility                   
  not to merely add days and have business as usual, and to                    
  that end, the department was proposing many other                            
  simultaneous changes in addition to the extended school                      
  year, which he believed would help students get better                       
  educations, which would in turn bring greater public                         
  support.  The current system was not producing sufficient                    
  quality of education.                                                        
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY asked if other states were extending their school                 
  years.                                                                       
                                                                               
  COMMISSIONER COVEY answered that the 180-day school year is                  
  the national average.  He said some schools in Alaska were                   
  experimenting with extending their school years.  Some                       
  districts in the nation are going to 200-day years, or year                  
  round school.  Some states are proposing extensions of their                 
  school years.                                                                
                                                                               
  Number 218                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE noted that Ketchikan was on-line via                             
  teleconference.  He said he considered HB 84 and HB 85 bare                  
  bones proposals, and urged committee members, witnesses and                  
  others to submit specific suggestions and amendments for the                 
  committee's consideration.  He expressed the opinion that                    
  the longer school year would be an ideal time to allow                       
  smaller student-teacher ratios, and more instruction for                     
  both gifted and underachieving students.                                     
                                                                               
  Number 236                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BRICE asked for an example of how the extra 20 school                   
  days could be used, and asked how the current educational                    
  programs were deficient.                                                     
                                                                               
  COMMISSIONER COVEY said the deficiency is that the school                    
  system is educating 30 percent of students at best to world                  
  class standards.  He said the state does not propose                         
  dictating specific programmatic changes to local districts,                  
  but rather define expectations for students, teachers,                       
  parents and school boards, and make them make their own                      
  decisions.                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. KOTT asked for research demonstrating the benefits of                   
  extended school years.                                                       
                                                                               
  Number 260                                                                   
                                                                               
  COMMISSIONER COVEY said he would provide some research from                  
  the department on other states' experiences with longer                      
  school years.                                                                
                                                                               
  (Rep. Toohey arrived 3:24 p.m.)                                              
                                                                               
  Number 294                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. NICHOLIA asked if Commissioner Covey had considered how                 
  the extended school year would affect students and families                  
  practicing subsistence hunting or fishing.                                   
                                                                               
  COMMISSIONER COVEY responded that he had, and the special                    
  priorities and scheduling concerns of urban and rural areas                  
  were considered.  He said they would like to leave it to                     
  local districts to decide when to add the extra time.                        
                                                                               
  REP. NICHOLIA asked if Commissioner Covey would consider                     
  allowing classes in the middle of summer.                                    
                                                                               
  COMMISSIONER COVEY answered that such scheduling decisions                   
  would be up to the local districts.  He said some districts                  
  do start school in August, then close for a few weeks to                     
  allow fall subsistence activities.                                           
                                                                               
  Number 328                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE invited those on teleconference to ask their                     
  questions on the extended school year.                                       
                                                                               
  PATRICIA GAKIN, testifying from Mat-Su, asked how the                        
  Department of Education (DOE) would guarantee student                        
  attendance and learning during a 200-day school year.                        
                                                                               
  COMMISSIONER COVEY said local districts set attendance                       
  policies, though the state statutes requires attendance for                  
  students aged six to 16.  The average state attendance is 93                 
  percent, with districts ranging from a low of 83 percent to                  
  a high of 97 percent, he said.  He stated he could not                       
  guarantee learning, but said the other changes in Alaska                     
  2000 would set student performance standards.  He noted it                   
  is up to the public to ensure compliance with the standards.                 
                                                                               
  BILL MONROE, testifying from Mat-Su, said the district is                    
  underfunded now, and asked how the extra 20 days would be                    
  funded.                                                                      
                                                                               
  COMMISSIONER COVEY answered that the legislature, through                    
  the foundation formula, is ultimately responsible for                        
  funding the extra time.  He said that increasing the state's                 
  educational effort relative to other countries would require                 
  some sacrifice in other areas.                                               
                                                                               
  Number 385                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. GARY DAVIS, testifying from Soldotna, expressed pride                   
  in the Kenai Peninsula School District, and asked whether                    
  students statewide were a year and more advanced than                        
  students from other states.                                                  
                                                                               
  COMMISSIONER COVEY answered that students around the state                   
  are both ahead of and behind students in other states.                       
                                                                               
  Number 417                                                                   
                                                                               
  COMMISSIONER COVEY continued his presentation on HB 84,                      
  turning to funding grants for school improvement.  Interest                  
  earnings from the state's $125 million public education                      
  trust fund have been used to date to offset foundation                       
  formula program costs.  The state proposes to put half of                    
  those earnings into a fund for school improvement, and to                    
  give grants to school districts for research into classroom                  
  improvement.  The current funding system provides operating                  
  expenses, but not seed money for experimentation.  He said                   
  it was reasonable to provide $4.5 million for research, out                  
  of more than $700 million in annual education costs.                         
                                                                               
  Number 446                                                                   
                                                                               
  COMMISSIONER COVEY mentioned advisory school boards, similar                 
  to those now required by Rural Education Attendance Areas,                   
  as a way to answer parent interest in increased                              
  participation in local school activities.  The proposal                      
  would allow local school boards to designate existing                        
  groups, such as Parent-Teacher Associations, to serve as                     
  advisory boards.                                                             
                                                                               
  Number 460                                                                   
                                                                               
  COMMISSIONER COVEY discussed tenure review committees, an                    
  attempt to respond to concerns over the divisive issue by                    
  increasing attention on the tenure review process.  The                      
  proposal would establish a tenure review committee including                 
  teachers, parents, and one student at lest 16 years old, who                 
  would review teacher evaluations and make non-binding                        
  recommendations to the local school board.  Commissioner                     
  Covey said teachers have told him that undeserving teachers                  
  are winning tenure through insufficient attention to                         
  evaluations.                                                                 
                                                                               
  Number 483                                                                   
                                                                               
  COMMISSIONER COVEY mentioned charter schools.  He said the                   
  DOE proposes a three-year pilot charter school project,                      
  which could establish up to 40 charter schools in about 10                   
  percent of the state's existing schools.  He defined a                       
  charter school as an alternative education program, such as                  
  the alternative schools that already exist in some schools.                  
  They would operate entirely within the public education                      
  system, using public school resources, teachers, support                     
  staff, parents and students.  They would have to be                          
  inclusive and follow state and federal equity regulations.                   
  They would be outcome-based programs, with local authority                   
  to operate differently and expend resources differently.                     
  Such schools are under consideration or operating in other                   
  states.  He said fears over the concept are groundless, and                  
  the concept is an opportunity for new ideas and for parents                  
  teachers to come together.                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. TOOHEY asked if there is fear that charter schools will                 
  embrace religious teaching, and asked whether the school                     
  board has guidelines.                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 505                                                                   
                                                                               
  COMMISSIONER COVEY said the same state guidelines concerning                 
  teaching religion in regular public schools would also apply                 
  to charter schools.                                                          
                                                                               
  REP. NICHOLIA asked how regular local schools would be                       
  affected by charter schools.                                                 
                                                                               
  COMMISSIONER COVEY replied that charter schools, as public                   
  schools, would be funded through the same foundation formula                 
  that funds other schools.  It would be no loss to the other                  
  district, as the charter schools would represent a sharing                   
  of both resources and students with regular schools.  The                    
  district would receive and spend state money to educate                      
  students whether in a charter school or other school, he                     
  said.  He added, though, that charter schools could work                     
  with Native corporations or nonprofit organizations which                    
  might provide additional resources, which is an opportunity                  
  already available to existing schools.                                       
                                                                               
  Number 536                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE asked whether the charter schools, tenure review                 
  committee and school advisory boards would require a fiscal                  
  note.                                                                        
                                                                               
  COMMISSIONER COVEY answered that charter schools and the                     
  tenure review committee would not require fiscal notes,                      
  though the cost of school advisory boards would vary widely,                 
  depending on how each local district chose to create them.                   
                                                                               
  Number 550                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY asked whether a law passed by a previous                          
  legislature made it impossible to fire teachers hired since                  
  1991 or 1992 (he was not sure) if they had two or three                      
  years on the job, or whether such teachers could be hired if                 
  a district could not afford to pay them.                                     
                                                                               
  COMMISSIONER COVEY invited another department official to                    
  answer the question.                                                         
                                                                               
  Number 600                                                                   
                                                                               
  DUANE GUILEY, DIRECTOR OF THE DIVISION OF EDUCATION FINANCE                  
  AND SUPPORT SERVICES, responded by saying tenured teachers                   
  in Alaska can be released when there are too few students,                   
  but not when there is too little money.  They can also be                    
  fired for cause.  Under current law, in applicable cases, a                  
  teacher automatically wins tenure on the first day of the                    
  third school year.                                                           
                                                                               
  MICHAEL MURPHY, OF THE NOME SCHOOL BOARD, testified from                     
  Nome, saying that mandating school advisory boards for                       
  districts in which schools were closely placed would be                      
  redundant and slow school processes.                                         
                                                                               
  COMMISSIONER COVEY responded that the proposal would allow                   
  him to exempt such districts to avoid duplication.                           
                                                                               
  MR. MURPHY said giving tenure to teachers after two years on                 
  the job was too soon.  He stated it takes more time to prove                 
  worth.  He opposed the current tenure law.                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE voiced agreement that two years was not enough                   
  time to offer tenure, though tenure is worthwhile.                           
                                                                               
  Number 600                                                                   
                                                                               
  MIKE LITMAN, MEMBER OF THE SITKA SCHOOL BOARD, testified                     
  from Sitka, praising HB 84 as a comprehensive examination of                 
  the state school system, and urged the committee to support                  
  the bill.                                                                    
                                                                               
  TAPE 93-16, SIDE B                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
                                                                               
  LARRY WIGET, LEGISLATIVE LIAISON FOR THE ANCHORAGE SCHOOL                    
  DISTRICT (ASD), testified from Anchorage on HB 84.  He said                  
  the ASD supports giving districts the option of a 200-day                    
  school year, contingent on an increase in the foundation                     
  formula.  At the daily $1 million operating costs for the                    
  district, another 20 days would mean $20 million more.  The                  
  ASD prefers school advisory boards be called school site                     
  councils, to be "developed as schools voluntarily                            
  participate in shared decision making site-based                             
  management."  He said parent-teacher associations should                     
  serve as school site councils.                                               
                                                                               
  MR. WIGET asked why school boards, as teacher employers,                     
  could not serve as a local tenure review committee.  He                      
  expressed fears that dealing with up to 200 tenure requests                  
  might become too complex with too little benefit.  He said                   
  the district already works to ensure high standards before                   
  granting tenure.  Mr. Wiget said the ASD already offers                      
  alternative school programs and believes charter schools                     
  carry the concept further and raises questions.  He said the                 
  decision on allowing charter schools should be a local                       
  decision, and there is no requirement that a charter school                  
  board have bylaws.  He asked if teachers would be contract                   
  or district employees.  He asked how charter schools would                   
  be dealt with in capital budgets.                                            
                                                                               
  MR. WIGET said the ASD does not oppose HB 84, but does have                  
  questions about its provisions, and asked the chance to help                 
  flesh out the plans.                                                         
                                                                               
  Number 105                                                                   
                                                                               
  COMMISSIONER COVEY said he wanted to work with the ASD and                   
  other districts.  He also addressed some of the points Mr.                   
  Wiget raised.  Commissioner Covey said the State Board of                    
  Education could not grant charter waivers of local school                    
  district regulations.  School boards would be parties to                     
  contracts between charter schools and the state board, and                   
  so would not lose control.  Charter school teachers would be                 
  regular district teachers.  Charter schools would be                         
  included in a district's regular capital funding plan.                       
                                                                               
  Number 140                                                                   
                                                                               
  REVA SHIRCEL, DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION FOR THE TANANA CHIEFS                    
  CONFERENCE, testified from Fairbanks on HB 84.  She asked if                 
  there were any other bills dealing specifically with social                  
  and educational conditions in Alaska Native villages, and if                 
  not, why not.  She expressed concern over the integration of                 
  a longer school year with subsistence activities, over the                   
  lack of provisions in the advisory school board proposal to                  
  allow complete control of village schools by Natives, over                   
  the brief two-year employment period prior to tenure, over                   
  the integration of charter schools with public school                        
  facilities, and funding of both.  She said creation of more                  
  school bureaucracy was an effort to deny the inadequacy of                   
  public schools in villages and an effort to give                             
  responsibility for village schools to the villages, instead                  
  of keeping it with the state, where it belongs.                              
                                                                               
  Number 180                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE invited Ms. Shircel to submit her questions in                   
  writing so Commissioner Covey could provide more detailed                    
  answers.                                                                     
                                                                               
  COMMISSIONER COVEY offered a correction of an earlier                        
  statement regarding fiscal notes.  He said it would cost                     
  $6,000 to develop regulations for charter schools, advisory                  
  school councils, and the fund for school improvement.                        
                                                                               
  Number 235                                                                   
                                                                               
  CARL ROSE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, OF THE ASSOCIATION OF ALASKA                  
  SCHOOL BOARDS, said Alaska 2000 helps address the dire need                  
  for more focus on education in the state.  He said Alaska                    
  2000 is a good start, but falls short of providing world                     
  class education.  He referred to written recommendations on                  
  the bill, which are on file in the committee room, which                     
  contain seven components in which further improvement should                 
  be achieved to meet the Alaska 2000 project's goals.  Those                  
  areas are:  overall school environment, highest caliber                      
  professional staff, educational programs, school governance,                 
  funding, collaboration, and accountability.  In addition, he                 
  noted two other components that cannot be addressed by                       
  legislation:  parental responsibility, and the student's                     
  responsibility to work at learning.                                          
                                                                               
  MR. ROSE referred to recommendations concerning several                      
  major areas of HB 84.  Regarding increasing the school term,                 
  he said it is a good proposal for some settings, but the                     
  legislature should consider increasing funding of the                        
  foundation formula and lowering pupil-teacher ratios.                        
                                                                               
  On flexibility in funding school improvement grants, MR.                     
  ROSE said the association would want half of the grant money                 
  made available to teachers.                                                  
                                                                               
  On advisory school boards, MR. ROSE stated that while their                  
  aim is laudable, they may dim the enthusiasm of existing                     
  parent-teacher associations, and their identification as                     
  "boards" may raise confusion with the regular school boards.                 
  He said the association prefers "parent advisory                             
  committees."                                                                 
                                                                               
  On tenure review committees, MR. ROSE noted that the                         
  association is concerned that review documents would be made                 
  public.  He proposed issuing new teachers provisional                        
  teaching certificates good for two years, providing them                     
  with continuing education and mentoring, testing them at two                 
  years, then holding tenure review proceedings two years                      
  later.                                                                       
                                                                               
  On charter schools, MR. ROSE said they are a good way to                     
  include alternative educational ideas that involve teachers                  
  and parents, though local determination is critical.                         
                                                                               
  MR. ROSE added that the association wanted to suggest four                   
  other components to the Alaska 2000 proposals, which are to                  
  designate a special certification for master teachers; to                    
  require instruction and equipment to teach the use of                        
  technology; to promote greater collaboration between schools                 
  and social and medical agencies; and to require                              
  accountability for all new reforms.                                          
                                                                               
  Number 404                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE asked Mr. Rose's opinions of how school advisory                 
  boards would interact with school boards, and said he                        
  foresaw the potential of an adversarial relationship based                   
  on conflict over authority.                                                  
                                                                               
  Number 410                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. ROSE commented that he did not see the need for advisory                 
  boards in urban areas, though such boards are valuable in                    
  Rural Education Attendance Areas (REAAs).                                    
                                                                               
  Number 425                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY asked Mr. Rose the school board association's                     
  opinion of school vouchers.                                                  
                                                                               
  MR. ROSE responded that the association opposes vouchers                     
  because they would divert scarce money from the public                       
  school system.                                                               
                                                                               
  Number 434                                                                   
                                                                               
  SUZANNE CYR, A TEACHER IN THE MAT-SU SCHOOL DISTRICT,                        
  testified from the Mat-Su, questioning HB 84.  She said a                    
  200-day school year would hurt the subsistence lifestyle in                  
  rural villages.  She asked how the state would ensure                        
  attendance in a longer school year, asked who monitored and                  
  funded advisory school boards, and whether they had legal                    
  powers.                                                                      
                                                                               
  Number 459                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE asked Ms. Cyr whether rural students would be                    
  better prepared for college by taking time from schooling                    
  for subsistence activities.  He also asked whether holding                   
  school on weekends would pose problems in subsistence                        
  lifestyles.                                                                  
                                                                               
  MS. CYR said students now learn subsistence skills during                    
  the school year only on the weekends.                                        
                                                                               
  Number 475                                                                   
                                                                               
  ROSE SMITH, A CLASSIFIED EMPLOYEE OF THE MAT-SU SCHOOL                       
  DISTRICT, testifying from Mat-Su, asked whether the plan                     
  would help relieve class overcrowding that saw 32 students                   
  in some classes.  She questioned whether a longer school                     
  year would address that problem.                                             
                                                                               
  (Rep. Brice departed at 4:22 p.m.)                                           
                                                                               
  Number 480                                                                   
                                                                               
  ROBERT THOMPSON, A TEACHER IN THE MAT-SU SCHOOL DISTRICT,                    
  testified from Mat-Su in opposition to HB 84.  He expressed                  
  concerns about public willingness to fund a longer school                    
  year.  He said the bill seems to represent an                                
  inappropriately bureaucratic effort to encourage parental                    
  involvement.  He said the bill could cost the state an extra                 
  $100 million a year, which could be better spent for smaller                 
  classrooms, newer textbooks, newer facilities and                            
  maintenance.                                                                 
                                                                               
  (Rep. Brice returned at 4:25 p.m.)                                           
                                                                               
  Number 513                                                                   
                                                                               
  BILL MONROE testified from Mat-Su on HB 84.  He said it                      
  would be difficult to win public support for an extended                     
  school year, and suggested instead passing a state law                       
  requiring 90 percent attendance as a condition of                            
  graduation.  He said more emphasis on math and sciences                      
  would help Alaska schools improve to match those in other                    
  nations.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Number 525                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. MONROE said charter schools would disrupt state and                      
  local funding ratios, and would fractionalize community                      
  support for public schools.  He said good managers should be                 
  able to make decisions on tenure in a few months, and that                   
  untrained people cannot decide on tenure.  He also said the                  
  bill needed to be broken down further to facilitate closer                   
  and more deliberate attention.                                               
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE stated HB 84 was not on a fast track and he                      
  would be happy if the bill could be moved out this session.                  
                                                                               
  Number 549                                                                   
                                                                               
  CLAUDIA DOUGLAS, PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL EDUCATION                         
  ASSOCIATION (NEA)-ALASKA, testified in Juneau, asking                        
  questions on HB 84.  She said the NEA feels the bill falls                   
  short of its stated purpose, though she was glad an effort                   
  is being made to reform education.                                           
                                                                               
  (Rep. Brice departed at 4:30 p.m.)                                           
  (Rep. Olberg departed at 4:32 p.m.)                                          
                                                                               
  Number 565                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. DOUGLAS discussed the history of the Alaska 2000                         
  process, which began 18 months ago with the State Board of                   
  Education's approval for the idea, followed by                               
  recommendations from 20 people from around the state,                        
  including four school board members, one teacher and two                     
  superintendents.  A year ago the governor appointed 10                       
  committees involving 100 people, five of them teachers, and                  
  12 superintendents.                                                          
                                                                               
  Number 576                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. TOOHEY asked whether superintendents hold teaching                      
  certificates.                                                                
                                                                               
  MS. DOUGLAS answered no, and resumed her testimony.  She                     
  said the committees' final report of 100 recommendations                     
  resulted in public hearings on 49 recommendations.  A public                 
  newspaper survey drew 700 responses, followed by a two-day                   
  Alaska 2000 summit in September 1992.  She said the ideas                    
  repeated in public opinion gathered during this process was                  
  not reflected in HB 84, with an exception of the school                      
  improvement fund.  She said the recommendations are narrow                   
  and do not come from teachers or the public.                                 
                                                                               
  Number 587                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. DOUGLAS expressed concern about funding a longer school                  
  year, saying the costs could add $6 million to the school                    
  budget by the year 2000, not including inflation-proofing.                   
  She said the NEA estimated the extended school year could                    
  cost $75 million to $100 million.  She complained that there                 
  was no fiscal note or appropriations requests accompanying                   
  the bill.  She stated no state laws regulate attendance or                   
  truancy and questioned the average attendance figures                        
  Commissioner Covey cited.  She suggested new attendance laws                 
  should come before an extended school year.                                  
                                                                               
  TAPE 93-17, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
                                                                               
  (Rep. Brice returned at 4:37 p.m.)                                           
                                                                               
  MS. DOUGLAS said the demands for paperwork and                               
  administrative duties do not leave enough time to teach.                     
  She said NEA-Alaska would like to see districts given                        
  incentives for increasing school years and more                              
  opportunities for advanced classes.  She said NEA-Alaska                     
  supports the fund for school improvement, as long as                         
  districts know where the grants go.  She expressed concerns                  
  about advisory school boards, asking how members would be                    
  chosen and how they would affect PTA operations.  She                        
  mentioned current tensions between REAA advisory boards and                  
  district school boards, and asked if such problems might                     
  arise in other districts.                                                    
                                                                               
  Number 077                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE noted that the teleconference would be concluded                 
  by 5:00 p.m.                                                                 
                                                                               
  MS. DOUGLAS discussed tenure review boards as a significant                  
  change in teacher evaluation law, but one based on                           
  misconceptions about tenure.  She noted the NEA supports                     
  professional practices, and said current teacher evaluations                 
  are often done without care or resources.  She supports                      
  strict evaluation guidelines, but opposes giving                             
  nonprofessionals more power in making tenure decisions.  She                 
  questioned the proposed makeup of tenure review committees,                  
  whether tenure would be a popularity contest, whether                        
  principals' input would be considered in such decisions, and                 
  whether it would not open the door to parental reprisals                     
  against teachers.                                                            
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE said the committee would welcome Ms. Douglas                     
  back to the committee to testify on Alaska 2000.  He agreed                  
  that public school tenure review is a joke, but university                   
  level peer review at the university level is a much better                   
  procedure.  He asked for a copy of her written testimony.                    
  He anticipated receiving lots of comments from the general                   
  public and from constituencies, then holding a work session,                 
  during which the committee would consider amending the bill.                 
                                                                               
  Number 248                                                                   
                                                                               
  SHARON NORTON, PRESIDENT OF THE KETCHIKAN EDUCATION                          
  ASSOCIATION, testified from Ketchikan against HB 84.  She                    
  said the bill is a large mixed bag, and agreed it should be                  
  broken into smaller components.  She spoke in favor of funds                 
  for school performance research grants, but had misgivings                   
  on most of the rest of the bill, which she said she would                    
  detail in a letter to the committee.                                         
                                                                               
  Number 255                                                                   
                                                                               
  PATSY AAMODT, SUPERINTENDENT OF THE NORTH SLOPE BOROUGH                      
  SCHOOL DISTRICT, testified from Barrow.  She asked                           
  Commissioner Covey what states do not have teacher tenure                    
  laws and how their students perform.  She read resolution                    
  93-02 from the borough school board calling for revocation                   
  of certain state laws concerning teacher tenure (Alaska                      
  statutes 14.20.150 a) and b).                                                
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE promised that Commissioner Covey would respond                   
  to her questions.                                                            
                                                                               
  Number 265                                                                   
                                                                               
  ANDY ZAJAC, PRESIDENT OF THE COPPER VALLEY TEACHERS                          
  ASSOCIATION, testified from Glennallen against HB 84.  He                    
  said he opposed charter schools as competing with public                     
  schools and possible methods of circumventing employment                     
  contracts.  He added that charter schools would take up                      
  limited public school capital and financial resources.                       
                                                                               
  (Rep. Bunde departed at 4:51 p.m.)                                           
                                                                               
  MR. ZAJAC opposed longer school years as too costly, and                     
  stated that money could be better spent on early childhood                   
  education.  He opposed tenure review committees as                           
  unqualified to judge teacher fitness for tenure, as another                  
  layer of bureaucracy, and as a vehicle for political                         
  interference in education.  He opposed advisory school                       
  boards as an extra layer of bureaucracy that would delay                     
  decisions.                                                                   
                                                                               
  (Rep. Bunde returned at 4:53 p.m.)                                           
                                                                               
  MR. ZAJAC said the proposed cost of HB 84 could be better                    
  spent to lower class size, give administrators more                          
  disciplinary authority, give teachers more time on task, and                 
  provide more early childhood education.                                      
  CHAIR BUNDE announced that, as there was not enough time to                  
  hear HB 85, the bill would be held over until Tuesday,                       
  February 23, 1993, when the committee meeting would again be                 
  on teleconference.                                                           
  Number 317                                                                   
                                                                               
  PAM DARNALL testified from Fairbanks.  She stated she                        
  opposes SB 61 ("An Act implementing certain recommendations                  
  of Alaska 2000 to improve the state's education system; and                  
  providing for an effective date.")   She said the tenure                     
  review committee would make tenure a popularity contest, or                  
  a contest between teachers for limited tenure positions.                     
  She stated she was opposed to allowing nonprofessionals to                   
  grant or deny tenure, and said it would discourage teachers                  
  from working in Alaska.                                                      
                                                                               
  Number 330                                                                   
                                                                               
  CAROL EVANS, A TEACHER, testified from Fairbanks in                          
  opposition to HB 84.  She expressed pleasure with Alaska                     
  2000 as a reflection of increased concern for education, but                 
  expressed vehement opposition to all of the provisions it                    
  contained.  She asked the legislature to put every possible                  
  dollar to public education to provide every student with the                 
  means to provide for a productive future.                                    
                                                                               
  (Rep. Toohey departed at 5:00 p.m.)                                          
                                                                               
  REP. BRICE greeted Ms. Evans.                                                
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE asked Ms. Evans for a written copy of her                        
  testimony.  He thanked all those who testified, and                          
  ADJOURNED the meeting at 5:03 p.m.                                           

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