Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/10/1993 03:00 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
           HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES                         
                       STANDING COMMITTEE                                      
                         March 10, 1993                                        
                            3:00 p.m.                                          
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
  Rep. Cynthia Toohey, Co-Chair                                                
  Rep. Con Bunde, Co-Chair                                                     
  Rep. Gary Davis, Vice Chair                                                  
  Rep. Al Vezey                                                                
  Rep. Pete Kott                                                               
  Rep. Harley Olberg                                                           
  Rep. Bettye Davis                                                            
  Rep. Irene Nicholia                                                          
  Rep. Tom Brice                                                               
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
  *HB 106:  "An Act establishing the Alaska education                          
            technology program; and providing for an effective                 
            HEARD AND HELD                                                     
  *HB 107:  "An Act providing for the issuance of general                      
            obligation bonds in the amount of $40,000,000 for                  
            the acquisition of classroom instructional                         
            equipment and materials and library computer                       
            automation and resource sharing systems; and                       
            providing for an effective date."                                  
            HEARD AND HELD                                                     
  Student presentation on computers in education.                              
  (* First public hearing.)                                                    
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
  REP. KAY BROWN                                                               
  Alaska State Legislature                                                     
  State Capitol, Room 517                                                      
  Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                         
  Phone:  (907) 465-4998                                                       
  Position Statement:  Sponsor of HB 106 and HB 107                            
  PAT HUNT                                                                     
  P.O. Box 888                                                                 
  Tok, Alaska 99780                                                            
  Phone:  (907) 883-5161                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified in favor of HB 106 and HB 107                 
  RICHARD M. SWARNER                                                           
  Executive Director, Business Management                                      
  Kenai Peninsula Borough School District                                      
  44955 Ptarmigan Place                                                        
  Soldotna, Alaska 99699                                                       
  Phone:  (907) 262-4056                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified in favor of HB 106 and HB 107                 
  BOB MEDINGER, Director                                                       
  Educational Technology and Distance Delivery                                 
  Lower Kuskokwim School District                                              
  P.O. Box 1063                                                                
  Bethel, Alaska 99559                                                         
  Phone:  (907) 543-4876                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified in favor of HB 106 and HB 107                 
  SHARON MACKLIN, Lobbyist                                                     
  Anchorage School District                                                    
  4600 DeBarr Road                                                             
  Anchorage, Alaska 99508-3195                                                 
  Phone:  (907) 269-2255                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified in favor of HB 106 and HB 107                 
  KAREN CRANE, Director                                                        
  Archives, Libraries, Museums                                                 
  Department of Education                                                      
  P.O. Box 110571                                                              
  Juneau, Alaska 99811-0571                                                    
  Phone:  (907) 465-2910                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified in favor of HB 106 and HB 107                 
  KAREN JORDAN, Technology Coordinator                                         
  Juneau Public Schools                                                        
  S.E. Alaska Representative                                                   
  Alaska Society for Technology in Education                                   
  11575 Mendenhall Loop Road                                                   
  Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                         
  Phone:  (907) 463-1967 work                                                  
  Phone:  (907) 789-1803 home                                                  
  Position Statement:  Testified in favor of HB 106 and HB 107                 
  JASON OHLER, Director                                                        
  Education and Technology Program                                             
  University of Alaska-Southeast                                               
  1120 Glacier Highway                                                         
  Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                         
  Phone:  (907) 789-4417 work                                                  
  Phone:  (907) 463-5685 home                                                  
  Position Statement:  Testified in favor of HB 106 and HB 107                 
  JIM KELLY                                                                    
  Research and Liaison Officer                                                 
  Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation                                            
  P.O. Box 25500                                                               
  Juneau, Alaska 99802-5500                                                    
  Phone:  (907) 465-2047                                                       
  Position Statement:  Introduced student presentation on                      
                       computers in education                                  
  JACK DETZEL                                                                  
  Delta/Greely School District                                                 
  Pouch 1                                                                      
  Delta Junction, Alaska 99737                                                 
  Phone:  (907) 895-4696 work                                                  
  Phone:  (907) 895-4939 home                                                  
  Position Statement:  Led student presentation on computers                   
                       in education                                            
  PAM RULE                                                                     
  Delta/Greely School District                                                 
  Pouch 597                                                                    
  Delta Junction, Alaska 99737                                                 
  Phone:  (907) 895-4657 work                                                  
  Phone:  (907) 895-4766 home                                                  
  Position Statement:  Assisted in student presentation on                     
                       computers in education                                  
  CHRISTOPHER JARMAN                                                           
  JEREMY FLOYD                                                                 
  CANDICE ROGERS                                                               
  JOSH MESCH                                                                   
  Delta High School                                                            
  Delta Junction, Alaska 99737                                                 
  Position statement:  Gave presentation on uses of computers                  
                       in education                                            
  PREVIOUS ACTION                                                              
  BILL:  HB 106                                                                
  SHORT TITLE: EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM                                    
  BILL VERSION:                                                                
  SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S)BROWN,Ulmer,Davidson,Bunde,                     
  TITLE: "An Act establishing the Alaska education technology                  
  program; and providing for an effective date."                               
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  01/29/93       180    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  01/29/93       180    (H)   HES, FINANCE                                     
  03/10/93              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                      
  BILL:  HB 107                                                                
  BILL VERSION:                                                                
  SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S)BROWN,Ulmer,Davidson,Bunde,                     
  TITLE: "An Act providing for the issuance of general                         
  obligation bonds in the amount of $40,000,000 for the                        
  acquisition of classroom instructional equipment and                         
  materials and library computer automation and resource                       
  sharing systems; and providing for an effective date."                       
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  01/29/93       180    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  01/29/93       180    (H)   HES, FINANCE                                     
  03/10/93              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                      
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
  TAPE 93-32, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE called the meeting to order at 3:09 p.m., noted                  
  members present, announced the calendar, and announced that                  
  the meeting was being teleconferenced to Anchorage, Barrow,                  
  Soldotna, and Tok.  He brought HB 106 to the table and                       
  invited Rep. Kay Brown to testify.                                           
  (Rep. Nicholia arrived at 3:10 p.m.)                                         
  HB 106 - EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY FOUNDATION                                   
  HB 107 - APPROP: EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY FOUNDATION                             
  Number 030                                                                   
  REP. KAY BROWN testified as PRIME SPONSOR of HB 106 and                      
  HB 107.  She said most Alaska students do not have access to                 
  computers in school because schools have had problems                        
  securing state funding for the equipment and training.  She                  
  and others have worked on the two bills to establish a way                   
  to fund computers in schools to help students learn more,                    
  she said.  Computers help underachieving students best and                   
  can help disseminate information and educational programs                    
  all across the state, she said.  Technology has not taken                    
  hold in schools because it is expensive, it is not                           
  integrated into the teaching process, and training is                        
  insufficient.  Rep. Brown noted that these problems are                      
  addressed by her bills.                                                      
  Number 146                                                                   
  REP. BROWN made several points about her bills contained in                  
  her sponsor statement, which is on file in the committee                     
  room.  The statement said that the bills would:  establish                   
  the Alaska Education Technology Program in the Department of                 
  Education to provide assistance, training and coordinating                   
  services; establish the Alaska Education Technology Fund to                  
  offer matching grants for computer purchases and training;                   
  establish an Education Technology Committee to develop                       
  guidelines for a five-year fund distribution plan; require                   
  reports on school use of technology; require a survey of                     
  educational technology in state schools and libraries; and                   
  make grant-writing seminars available throughout the state.                  
  Rep. Brown said the state cost of the program would be $50                   
  million over five years, $40 million from general obligation                 
  bonds to be considered by voters in 1994, and $10 million                    
  from the general fund.  She supported funding the bills                      
  through bonds because of public support for technology and                   
  because of the coming reduction in bonded indebtedness.  She                 
  said the fiscal notes call for about $200,000 to increase                    
  library support and in the Department of Education, which                    
  has less than one position dealing with technology.  She                     
  said the bills would pay off in the long-run by improving                    
  the ability of state students to compete in the world                        
  economy while remaining in Alaska.                                           
  Number 255                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE said he did not expect the committee to make a                    
  decision on the bills that day, as they had just then                        
  received new information on the bills.                                       
  Number 260                                                                   
  CHAIR TOOHEY asked Alaska's national ranking in the use of                   
  computers in schools.                                                        
  Number 272                                                                   
  REP. BROWN answered that she did not know, but rural schools                 
  were further ahead than urban schools.  She observed that                    
  the lack of information on computer usage in Alaska schools                  
  would be addressed by the bills' requirement for a statewide                 
  Number 280                                                                   
  REP. B. DAVIS said that most states have developed plans for                 
  use of computers in schools as a result of the America 2000                  
  plan.  She said Alaska was not as bad off or well off as                     
  other states and had been trying since before the America                    
  2000 program to improve the use of computers in schools.                     
  She said Alaska was behind other states in training, an                      
  important element in using computers already present in the                  
  Number 305                                                                   
  REP. BRICE said the state's older schools in the Fairbanks                   
  area did not have as many computers as the newer schools,                    
  some of which were equipped with computers through capital                   
  appropriations when built.  He said the bills would help                     
  address that disparity.                                                      
  REP. NICHOLIA said the Tanana School District had computers,                 
  and her niece in kindergarten would hurry through her                        
  homework so she could work with the computers.  She noted                    
  that the Yukon School district also had computers and a                      
  staffer to program them with educational material.  She said                 
  HB 106 and HB 107 would enhance those programs.                              
  (Rep. Kott arrived at 3:28 p.m.)                                             
  Number 337                                                                   
  PAT HUNT testified via teleconference from Tok in support of                 
  HB 106.  He said there was a need to have people who                         
  understood library conversion and educational technology in                  
  classrooms.  He said teachers would use their computers if                   
  they knew how.  He expressed concern about the makeup of the                 
  Education Technology Grant Committee and whether it would                    
  represent vocational education as well as academic                           
  education.  He asked if the state would make the many                        
  existing educational databases available through the                         
  University of Alaska Computer Network (UACN).                                
  REP. BROWN answered that the bill directed the Department of                 
  Education to recommend training methods.  She said the                       
  Education Technology Grant Committee would be appointed by                   
  the governor, and she detailed the membership requirements                   
  in the bill.  She said the bill would facilitate                             
  establishment of networked data bases.                                       
  Number 396                                                                   
  testified via teleconference from Soldotna in support of                     
  HB 106 and HB 107.  He encouraged the legislature to improve                 
  educational efficiency through technology by making a                        
  capital investment in computers.  He approved the matching                   
  funding requirement, but said he believed the local                          
  contribution should be no greater than 30 percent.                           
  Number 424                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE asked if Mr. Swarner would consider technical                     
  limits on education computers to ensure they could not be                    
  used for playing games.                                                      
  MR. SWARNER said his district's business office would share                  
  its expertise with other districts and that technology could                 
  improve educational efficiency.  He said his business                        
  staffers do not play games on their computers.                               
  Number 445                                                                   
  and CHAIR OF THE DISTANCE DELIVERY CONSORTIUM, testified via                 
  teleconference from Bethel in support of HB 106 and HB 107.                  
  He said the bill had been revised several times and they                     
  were solid bills addressing many implementation concerns.                    
  He said they would help Bush schools, which have aging                       
  computers, but lack funds for training and upgrading.  He                    
  said many rural school sites do not have access to statewide                 
  networks, satellite systems and other distance delivery                      
  systems, and he hoped the bills would address those needs.                   
  Number 475                                                                   
  REP. BROWN said those needs were addressed, though those                     
  elements might be made more explicit.                                        
  Number 500                                                                   
  testified in Juneau in support of HB 106 and HB 107.  She                    
  said the district supported the bills in 1992 and supported                  
  them now.  She said the WISE (Winning With Stronger                          
  Education) program, an area-wide study of the Anchorage                      
  school district, recommended spending $1,000 per student on                  
  technology.  A 1992 poll of residents showed 66 percent                      
  supported a $7 million bond package for technology for                       
  REP. BUNDE asked what level of match the district would feel                 
  comfortable with.                                                            
  Number 530                                                                   
  MS. MACKLIN said the district had not decided on what                        
  percentage it would support, but it did believe in the need                  
  for local contributions for computers and construction                       
  funds.  The district believes it needs $20 million to $25                    
  million in technology funding for computers, training and                    
  software in the next few years, she said.                                    
  REP. BUNDE asked if the $25 million represented the total                    
  investment, or just the district's matching share.                           
  MS. MACKLIN indicated she meant the $25 million was the                      
  total amount needed, not just the district's share.                          
  Number 541                                                                   
  DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, testified in Juneau supporting                      
  HB 106.  She said she was glad the bill had been changed                     
  since 1992 to include public libraries, as some small                        
  village libraries doubled as school libraries.  She said the                 
  library network would help the Department of Education                       
  achieve its goal of disseminating information throughout the                 
  Number 558                                                                   
  FOR TECHNOLOGY IN EDUCATION, testified in Juneau supporting                  
  HB 106 and HB 107.  She said the bills were necessary if the                 
  school system wanted to emulate the improved efficiency                      
  brought by computers in business.  She noted that technology                 
  in Alaska schools had heretofore been funded through capital                 
  improvements, and some schools have none.  Urban schools are                 
  worse off than rural schools and have different needs, she                   
  said.  Rural teachers deal with distance education, teach                    
  subjects in which they are not specialists, and teach                        
  students in many different grades, tasks that can be made                    
  easier through technology, she said.  Technical support in                   
  education is good, but the Department of Education has only                  
  half a position for technological support.  She encouraged                   
  the committee not to change the bills much, as they had gone                 
  through much work and revision in 1992.  She expressed                       
  support for matching funding, for training, and for                          
  accountability.  She said there was a need for networks and                  
  systems instead of stand-alone computers, and                                
  interconnectivity was becoming more and more important.                      
  TAPE 93-32, SIDE B                                                           
  Number 028                                                                   
  PROGRAM AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA-SOUTHEAST, testified in                  
  support of HB 106.  He said providing computers to                           
  schoolchildren today is analogous to providing them pencils                  
  in the past - an advance in technology to which resistance                   
  is understandable, if short-sighted.  Without government                     
  guidance, public schools cannot fully prepare students for                   
  the challenges they will face, he said.  He stated technical                 
  proficiency is the best preparation for children, and there                  
  is a need, especially in rural areas, for electronic                         
  highways and networks to allow connectivity of computerized                  
  Number 087                                                                   
  REP. G. DAVIS asked if computer networks listed on page 3 of                 
  HB 106 already existed.                                                      
  REP. BROWN replied that they did.                                            
  Number 138                                                                   
  REP. NICHOLIA asked how a computerized network funded by the                 
  bill would interact with an existing University of Alaska                    
  Rural Education program providing classes via                                
  REP. BROWN said she could not answer the question                            
  specifically, but a network would coordinate many isolated                   
  Number 160                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE called a brief at-ease at 4:00 p.m. and called                    
  the meeting back to order at 4:07 p.m.  He invited the                       
  students from Delta High School to make their presentation                   
  on the use of computers in education.                                        
  Number 175                                                                   
  PERMANENT FUND CORPORATION, said the corporation has                         
  agreements with students at Delta High School in Delta                       
  Junction and West High School in Anchorage to convert the                    
  corporation's print-based public education materials into                    
  computer-based material.  He suggested the presentation as a                 
  demonstration of the benefits of integrating technology into                 
  schools, as had been discussed earlier in the meeting during                 
  consideration of HB 106 and HB 107.  He introduced students                  
  from Delta High School, who were to complete by the end of                   
  the 1993 school year a CD-ROM (compact disc-read-only                        
  memory) computer system that the corporation would use to                    
  teach students at other schools about the Permanent Fund                     
  Corporation.  He introduced JACK DETZEL, A TEACHER AT DELTA                  
  HIGH SCHOOL who advised and assisted the students in their                   
  Number 202                                                                   
  JACK DETZEL introduced the four students accompanying him.                   
  He described the $11,000 CD-ROM computer system on which the                 
  students had developed their software.  He described the                     
  benefits of computers in education, but said the schools                     
  need more computers to satisfy the demands of students at                    
  all grade levels, not just the juniors and seniors who have                  
  priority use of the scarce resource.  He said hardware                       
  shortages cause delays in teaching students about computers                  
  that can deny them the benefits of early exposure to the                     
  technology that could help them throughout their educational                 
  Number 362                                                                   
  The students described how they had transferred printed                      
  educational materials from the Alaska Permanent Fund                         
  Corporation into computerized form, combining CD-ROMs, video                 
  cameras and data bases to make the information educational,                  
  simple, and attractive to other students.                                    
  Number 375                                                                   
  CANDICE ROGERS, STUDENT, demonstrated how she had used an                    
  Apple Macintosh computer to program information contained in                 
  a printed study guide on the Permanent Fund Corporation into                 
  a computer for use as an instructional program.                              
  Number 430                                                                   
  JEREMY FLOYD, STUDENT, demonstrated how he had used a                        
  computer to create a program presenting information                          
  contained on a time-line of Alaska history.                                  
  Number 490                                                                   
  JOSH MESCH, STUDENT, demonstrated how he had used a computer                 
  to create a program displaying information on each                           
  investment property owned by the Permanent Fund Corporation,                 
  including video tape, digitally-scanned photographs, textual                 
  information, and recorded spoken words.                                      
  Number 500                                                                   
  said the students were doing a good job with the equipment                   
  they had, but Delta High School needed money for more                        
  computers.  She said there was no reason that students                       
  across the state could not duplicate the work of the                         
  students at her school, given the right equipment and                        
  REP. VEZEY asked whether it was possible to demonstrate                      
  whether the purchase of computer equipment for schools would                 
  provide a return on investment in terms of demonstrable                      
  increased value of education.  He noted that private                         
  businesses usually have to justify investment in computers                   
  with demonstrated improvements in efficiency.                                
  MR. DETZEL said that providing computers at a rudimentary                    
  level now would open up the educational system to vastly                     
  greater efficiency in delivery of education services in the                  
  next decade.                                                                 
  TAPE 93-33, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
  MR. DETZEL said public education did not have to demonstrate                 
  competitive advantages as did private industry, but was                      
  obligated to provide useful education to students.  He said                  
  computerized technology would raise the benefits of                          
  education and save personnel costs.  He expressed confidence                 
  that providing the computers would help the state's students                 
  become and remain competitive workers.                                       
  REP. VEZEY observed that education had become more labor                     
  intensive, not less over the last several decades, and asked                 
  what direct benefits computerizing schools would bring.  He                  
  asked whether computers would help allow an increase in the                  
  pupil-teacher ratios.                                                        
  MR. DETZEL stated that computer networks have enabled some                   
  states to reduce the cost of delivering education in pilot                   
  programs and have allowed some people to work at home.  He                   
  said establishing such computer networks would allow greater                 
  savings in the future.  He described how such networks could                 
  allow students to receive instruction from experts in a                      
  field, not just their teachers, and to learn at their own                    
  pace.  He said technology is definitely cost-effective.                      
  Number 060                                                                   
  MS. RULE stated that computers have helped school districts                  
  do more and better administrative work, and have improved                    
  worker morale and productivity.  She cited examples.                         
  Number 125                                                                   
  REP. VEZEY asked if it was possible to cut the cost of                       
  education to justify the cost of purchasing computers.                       
  MS. JORDAN responded that it would take a leap of faith to                   
  jump into the purchase of computers, but it would save money                 
  and eliminate excessive teaching effort for slow learners.                   
  Computers would help prepare efficient, productive                           
  employees, she said.  In five or ten years the computers                     
  will make a big difference and allow much more flexibility                   
  in education, she said.                                                      
  Number 168                                                                   
  REP. VEZEY noted that 85 percent of education costs are for                  
  personnel, and asked whether spending money for HB 106 and                   
  HB 107 would increase productivity or would merely be an                     
  additional cost.                                                             
  MS. JORDAN said that while it is hard to quantify the value                  
  of a good education, the additional computers would help                     
  give students a better education that would encourage public                 
  support for such technology in education.  She said some                     
  school districts are willing to accept more students per                     
  classroom if they also get more computers per classroom.                     
  Number 184                                                                   
  REP. VEZEY stated that such a trade-off would demonstrate a                  
  measurable increase in productivity for the investment.  He                  
  said bonding represents a long-term loan to provide                          
  services, and noted that it was the legislature's job to                     
  allocate resources carefully.                                                
  CHAIR TOOHEY asked what a computer costs, and whether the                    
  Delta/Greely school district allows students to use                          
  computers on weekends.                                                       
  MS. RULE answered yes, and added that the students use all                   
  of the computers every spare minute, including nights and                    
  Number 216                                                                   
  CANDICE ROGERS said that computers make learning fun and                     
  attractive for students of all achievement levels.                           
  MS. RULE said a MacIntosh computer costs about $900, while a                 
  top-of-the-line CD-ROM system, similar to the one used in                    
  the display, costs about $11,000 because of the amount of                    
  memory and software it has.                                                  
  Number 231                                                                   
  REP. BRICE said that introducing technology into the                         
  educational system was not so much a financial calculation                   
  as an assessment of whether the schools could educate                        
  students to compete throughout their lives in the global                     
  economy.  He said computers will be more and more important                  
  in the future in reading, writing, math and other subjects                   
  in education and in vocation.                                                
  REP. BUNDE reminded committee members that there would be                    
  ample opportunity to discuss the bill and present their                      
  ideas, and said he had another appointment at 5 p.m.                         
  REP. BROWN said that Rep. Vezey had asked a meaningful                       
  question concerning the value of investment into technology                  
  for education.  She stated experts in the field have said                    
  that the U.S. education system was stagnant and ineffective                  
  at preparing students.  She said her bill was a step toward                  
  addressing those problems.                                                   
  REP. BUNDE thanked Mr. Detzel and the students for their                     
  presentation, and ADJOURNED the meeting at 5:00 p.m.                         

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