Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/22/1993 03:00 PM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES STANDING COMMITTEE March 22, 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. Tom Brice MEMBERS ABSENT Rep. Irene Nicholia COMMITTEE CALENDAR *HJR 30: Relating to epidemiological and quarantine services in ports of entry in the state. PASSED WITH INDIVIDUAL RECOMMENDATIONS *HB 235: "An Act relating to educational programs and services for children with disabilities and other exceptional children and to persons with a handicap; and providing for an effective date." PASSED WITH INDIVIDUAL RECOMMENDATIONS *HB 210: "An Act relating to employment of chief school administrators." HEARD AND HELD TO TIME CERTAIN *HB 174: "An Act relating to organization of the public school system; and providing for an effective date." NOT HEARD, HELD TO TIME CERTAIN (* First public hearing.) WITNESS REGISTER MEL KROGSENG Special Assistant Rep. Ramona Barnes Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 208 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 Phone: (907) 465-3438 Position Statement: Testified for sponsor of HJR 30 MYRA HOWE, Director Educational Program Support/ Special Education Programs Department of Education 801 W. 10th St. Suite 200 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1894 Phone: (907) 465-2971 Position Statement: Testified in favor of HB 235 STEPHEN T. MCPHETRES Executive Director Alaska Council of School Administrators 326 Fourth St. Suite 404 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1101 Phone: (907) 586-9702 Position Statement: Testified in favor of HB 235 DENNIS WETHERELL P.O. Box 876862 Wasilla, Alaska 99687 Phone: (907) 745-2007 Position Statement: Testified in opposition to HB 235 FRANK GARRITY P.O. Box 69 Barrow, Alaska 99723 Phone: (907) 852-5311 Position Statement: Testified in favor of HB 235 LARRY WIGET Legislative Liaison Anchorage School District 4600 DeBarr Road Anchorage, Alaska 99508-3195 Phone: (907) 269-2255 Position Statement: Testified in favor of HB 235 MARC GROBER P.O. Box 467 Nenana, Alaska, 99760 Phone: (907) 832-5227 Position Statement: Testified in opposition to HB 235 PAUL VERHAGEN P.O. Box 563 Nenana, Alaska 99760 Phone: (907) 832-5238 Position Statement: Testified in opposition to HB 235 REP. TERRY MARTIN Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 411 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Phone: (907) 465-3783 Position Statement: Prime sponsor of HB 210 REP. JERRY MACKIE Alaska State Legislature Courthouse, Room 602 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Phone: (907) 465-4925 Position Statement: Testified in opposition to HB 210 BOB WEINSTEIN, Superintendent Southeast Islands School District P.O. Box 8340 Ketchikan, Alaska 99901 Position Statement: Testified in opposition to HB 210 JOHN HOLST, Superintendent Craig City School District P.O. Box 800 Craig, Alaska 99921 Phone: (907) 826-3274 Position Statement: Testified in opposition to HB 210 ROGER STEPHAN, Research Analyst Department of Education 801 W. 10th St., Suite 200 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Phone: (907) 465-8682 Position Statement: Testified in opposition to HB 210 PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HJR 30 SHORT TITLE: QUARANTINE SERVICES AT PORTS OF ENTRY BILL VERSION: SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) BARNES,Toohey TITLE: Relating to epidemiological and quarantine services in ports of entry in the state. JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/22/93 409 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 02/22/93 410 (H) HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES 03/22/93 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 235 SHORT TITLE: SPECIAL EDUCATION & RELATED SERVICES BILL VERSION: SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) BUNDE,Grussendorf TITLE: "An Act relating to educational programs and services for children with disabilities and other exceptional children and to persons with a handicap; and providing for an effective date." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 03/17/93 684 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 03/17/93 684 (H) HES, FINANCE 03/22/93 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 210 SHORT TITLE: HIRING OF CHIEF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR BILL VERSION: SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MARTIN,Kott TITLE: "An Act relating to employment of chief school administrators." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 03/10/93 590 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 03/10/93 590 (H) HES, FINANCE 03/12/93 629 (H) COSPONSOR(S): KOTT 03/22/93 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 174 SHORT TITLE: CONSOLIDATION OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS BILL VERSION: SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MARTIN,Kott TITLE: "An Act relating to organization of the public school system; and providing for an effective date." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/24/93 434 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 02/24/93 434 (H) HES, FINANCE 03/12/93 628 (H) COSPONSOR(S): KOTT 03/22/93 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 93-41, SIDE A Number 000 CHAIR BUNDE called the meeting to order at 3:10 p.m., noted members present, announced members present, and announced that the meeting would be teleconferenced to Anchorage, Dillingham, Naknek, Klawock, Mat-Su, Valdez, Barrow, Tok, Nenana and Craig. HJR 30 - QUARANTINE SERVICES AT PORTS OF ENTRY MEL KROGSENG, LEGISLATIVE AIDE TO REP. RAMONA BARNES, testified on behalf of the prime sponsor of HB 174. She read a sponsor statement, which is on file in the committee room. In summary, the statement said that the resolution, introduced at the request of the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), was a reaction to the discontinuation of epidemiological and quarantine services at Ports of Entry into Alaska. The resolution asks the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide extra staff in Alaska to monitor potential outbreaks of communicable diseases carried into Alaska by travellers, especially those from Russia and the Far East. (Reps. Brice, Kott, Olberg and B. Davis arrived at approximately 3:15 p.m.) Number 065 CHAIR BUNDE asked why the resolution carried a zero fiscal note. MS. KROGSENG said that the federal government would pay for any health officers, and that there would therefore be no cost to the state. REP. VEZEY asked the location of Alaska's Ports of Entry. MS. KROGSENG answered that they were the international airports in Fairbanks and Anchorage. Number 090 REP. VEZEY recommended that it might be better to place such health officers in port communities like Valdez and Dutch Harbor. Number 095 REP. TOOHEY commented that more people from the Far East and Russia arrived in Alaska through the airports than through maritime shipping ports. Number 104 REP. VEZEY commented that he had contracted some of the hardest to cure diseases in his life in port cities. Number 106 CHAIR BUNDE quieted the resulting laughter with a reminder that the committee had much work to do and limited time. Number 110 REP. BRICE moved passage of HJR 30 with individual recommendations. CHAIR BUNDE asked for objections, and, hearing none, announced HJR 30 PASSED WITH INDIVIDUAL RECOMMENDATIONS. He brought HB 235 to the table. HB 235 - SPECIAL EDUCATION AND RELATED SERVICES Number 137 MYRA HOWE, DIRECTOR OF EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM SUPPORT/SPECIAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS IN THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, testified in Juneau in support of HB 235. She said Alaska needed to amend its state statutes concerning special educational services to comply with federal requirements, or else it would lose its conditional approval for FY92-FY94, and likewise some federal funding. She listed the sections that dealt with those conditions: Section 8 would allow school districts to take to a due process hearing parents who deny consent for initial evaluation or placement of their child into special education. Sections 9 and 11 deal with consent, she said. The federal Office of Education had asked the state to remodel its definition of consent and its stipulations concerning a parent's ability to withdraw consent to match federal definitions and stipulations. Section 21 would add rehabilitation services to the list of related services. That change was due to reauthorization of federal law which included additional services to children with disabilities. Section 23 adds two new categories of disabilities: autism and traumatic brain injury; and conforms state definition of educational records to federal definitions. Number 171 REP. G. DAVIS asked Ms. Howe to explain the CINA (Children in Need of AID) statute (Alaska statute, AS 47.10.010, which allows the state to take action on behalf of a child when a parent has knowingly failed to take action to provide treatment for the child). MS. HOWE said she knew that the statute had to do with having a guardian ad litem for the child. The Department of Education (DOE) did not use it in special education and, instead, appointed surrogate parents, she said. The Department of Health and Social Services occasionally used it, for example, if a parent was deemed not to be acting in their child's best interests. That was not within the special education process did not use it, but used surrogate parents, she said. Number 185 REP. G. DAVIS asked if the state could amend the statute to accommodate some of the inclusions in HB 235. MS. HOWE answered that she had not talked about that with the federal people. She said the indication she had gotten when she spoke that morning with her department was that the DOE needed to use the due process hearing because state statutes required it. Number 192 REP. B. DAVIS asked what elements in HB 235 would affect the state's talented and gifted (TAG) educational program. MS. HOWE answered that the bill would have only one effect on the TAG program, that of ending the requirement that each gifted student be reevaluated at least every three years. The department felt it was not necessary, as it cost the state for psychologists and district time, even though gifted students seldom lose their eligibility for such programs. She said there is no federal requirement for the three-year reevaluation, complete with IQ test. The schools would continue to perform annual progress evaluations on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), which would help determine goals and objectives for the year, she said. Number 225 REP. B. DAVIS asked if Ms. Howe had reviewed the changes in the TAG program with the Governor's Council on Education, and if so, what did they recommend. MS. HOWE answered yes, the DOE had made a presentation on February 19, 1993, to the governor's council. She said HB 235 had been redrafted since then, and a copy provided to the council along with a sectional analysis, but the DOE had not heard back from the council. Number 234 REP. B. DAVIS said, "Did I not hear you say that you are covered for FY94-5 as far as the waiver that you might have had to, conditional waiver is what you said." MS. HOWE answered that the state's conditional approval was good until July 1993. REP. B. DAVIS asked, "And then what happens?" MS. HOWE answered that the DOE stands to lose its federal money. REP. B. DAVIS asked if the DOE could put in for an additional conditional waiver. MS. HOWE said the department had received a hand-carried letter from the U.S. Department of Education that day indicating that the department could not get such an extension. She also noted that the state of New York had recently lost its federal funding due to failure to bring its state service plan into compliance with federal laws. Number 250 CHAIR BUNDE noted for the record the presence of Rep. Martin and Rep. Mackie in the audience, and said they would be welcome to join the committee at the table if there was room. Each declined. REP. VEZEY asked if $8.34 million represented the total amount of federal funds the state received for special education. MS. HOWE answered yes. Number 262 REP. VEZEY asked about the zero fiscal note for HB 235, and questioned whether it was realistic. MS. HOWE addressed the issue of the bill's low cost, saying that cutting the three-year reevaluation requirement for TAG students would save school districts money and free psychologists for other duties. The bill would add only a few new students under the autistic and brain injury categories who had been included under an "other health impaired" category. The bill was only putting common current practice into statute. Number 278 STEPHEN T. MCPHETRES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE ALASKA COUNCIL OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS, testified in Juneau in support of HB 235. He said the due process provisions were good; it protects parents; it assures school districts of some process to follow if they need to provide special services to children over their parents' objections; and the elimination of the three-year evaluation requirement would allow the district to devote time spent testing to teaching instead. REP. G. DAVIS asked who might be the impartial hearing officer referred to in section 8, page 3, of HB 235. Number 297 MS. HOWE answered that the hearing officer could be an attorney, a member of the community, or an external specialist in specialized children. REP. G. DAVIS asked whether the parents and school district would both have to agree on the selection of the hearing officer, who would not be a district employee. MS. HOWE answered that was correct. Number 306 DENNIS WETHERELL, PARENT OF A GIFTED CHILD, testified via teleconference from Wasilla in opposition to HB 235. He said elimination of the three-year evaluation would have the hidden result of exempting the school district from consulting with gifted childrens' parents on the child's progress, appropriateness of placement, and effectiveness of the program of study developed by the district. Such consultation is required in the bill only after reevaluation, or after a change in placement, he said. In the absence of a mandatory three-year reevaluation, if the DOE fails to mandate annual Individualized Education Program (IEP) consultations, then parents will have no input into how their gifted children are treated by the districts. He said HB 235 requires parents to prove that the districts' IEP is inappropriate, instead of requiring the district to prove to the parents that the plan is appropriate, as provided in current law. MR. WETHERELL said HB 235 excludes gifted students from provisions in section 17, guaranteeing that school districts must provide special education and related services to handicapped students schooled in private schools or at home. He said the bill leaves the definition of "gifted children" up to state regulations, but the current regulations are vague. He protested that the DOE does not have plans to change the definition, and that a more comprehensive definition be included. He also disputed that all of the bill's provisions were required to avert the loss of up to $7 million in federal grants. He said the required revisions did not need to affect gifted education. Number 360 REP. B. DAVIS asked Ms. Howe to address Mr. Wetherell's points. She asked if it was possible, as he had said, to exclude gifted children from mention in HB 235 and still retain the federal funds. MS. HOWE said the DOE could exclude from HB 235 all provisions affecting gifted students and retain federal funding. She said the IEP planning meeting and the three- year evaluation were different processes, and there was little testing that overlapped. She said the federal government has directed states not to require school districts to take parents to due process on some issues, but to allow such hearings if necessary. She said she would be willing, at the committee's pleasure, to include gifted students in home-school services. She said the DOE had received a formal complaint on the topic in this school year, and thereafter had required districts to provide such services to gifted students as a general practice. She said she had explained to Mr. Wetherell that the DOE lacked funds to convene a task force to develop a tighter definition of "gifted children," and her primary responsibility was to deal with children with disabilities, and the DOE depends on local districts to define gifted students for themselves. Number 405 FRANK GARRITY, SPECIAL SERVICES COORDINATOR FOR THE NORTH SLOPE BOROUGH SCHOOL DISTRICT, testified in favor of HB 235. He said he hoped that special education would get the same funding as the previous year, or more in FY94, as it was hard to provide related services to the Bush. Number 422 LARRY WIGET, LEGISLATIVE LIAISON FOR THE ANCHORAGE SCHOOL DISTRICT, testified via teleconference from Anchorage in support of HB 235, saying it would allow the state to comply with federal law and receive $8 million in federal funds, of which $1.19 million is earmarked for the Anchorage School District. He said eliminating the requirement for three- year evaluations of gifted students would allow more efficient use of psychologists personnel. Number 440 MARC GROBER testified via teleconference from Nenana in support of HB 82. He said school districts select hearing officers from a limited list compiled by DOE, according to statute, which he said meant officers favorably disposed to the school districts. He said Ms. Howe might be lying about DOE's use of the CINA statute. According to MR. GROBER, "We raised the China act issues last year. We also spoke to Barbara Rauch, who is the, a compliance officer who was with the state. Ms. Rauch clearly stated that she had never heard from the state of Alaska regarding CINA. In fact, there is no such process as Myra described in place now. At present time that is the reason that the federal government wanted to make sure that there was something in place. In point of fact, the CINA act specifically provides for recourse where there is neglect, including educational neglect. There are ample protections, and it is a very well thought out procedure, that provides counsel to the parents and to the child." He said the due process Ms. Howe discussed does not provide counsel to parents and was a "shadow process." MR. GROBER said he knew of several examples in which school districts have refused to provide services for gifted children. He said the three-year evaluations were not just for eligibility, but also for maintaining an understanding of the child's needs. He said IEP meetings included no assessment or evaluation. Number 472 CHAIR BUNDE interrupted to remind Mr. Grober that he had exceeded the testimony limit. Number 475 PAUL VERHAGEN, PARENT OF GIFTED CHILDREN, testified via teleconference from Nenana in support of HB 82. He expressed strong dissatisfaction with the amount of public notice of the hearing, and asked the committee not to pass HB 235. He said he did not disagree that changes were necessary, but had hoped for more public notice of any changes. Number 519 CHAIR BUNDE encouraged members of the public to send in written testimony to their representatives or to the next committee of referral, the House Finance Committee. Hearing no further requests to testify, he closed public testimony on HB 235 and asked for questions from the committee. REP. KOTT asked if the committee had a copy of the faxed letter Mr. Verhagen said he had sent in. CHAIR BUNDE told Mr. Verhagen the committee had not received the letter and encouraged him to resubmit it. MR. VERHAGEN said he would resend the letter. Number 538 REP. B. DAVIS asked about the letter to which Ms. Howe referred. She also asked whether Ms. Howe would object to the recommended changes concerning the inclusion of talented and gifted (TAG) under home schooling, under section 17. MS. HOWE said the DOE would not object to making that change. CHAIR BUNDE clarified the amendment to section 17, saying HB 235 as amended "would require school districts to provide special education and related services and gifted services even if the child is not at home, at a private school or in a hospital." Number 552 REP. B. DAVIS asked the reason for Chair Bunde's urgency in passing the bill from committee, and asked why the committee could not wait to hear from the Governor's Council on Education after the council reviewed the legislation. She also said she had heard the council had drafts of recommended legislation. She commented if the committee passed out HB 235, they would not have the chance to consider the council's input. Number 559 CHAIR BUNDE acknowledged her concerns, but said, as it was the 71st day of the session, he felt the need to move the bill along. He said it could be addressed in the House FInance Committee and on the House floor. Number 563 REP. B. DAVIS asked whether, in light of the urgency, Chair Bunde would be willing to delete the sections of HB 235 that were not required to continue receiving federal special education funds. She said some of the other elements could be dealt with through other bills. She said some had already been introduced, and some were in HB 85. She said she saw no need to deal with the bill so fast. CHAIR BUNDE said there was no assurance that HB 85, a very complex bill, would pass anytime soon. He said he would not want elements of HB 235 contingent on HB 85. Number 567 REP. G. DAVIS said he was involved in TAG programs, and knew that parents of such children were more involved than normal with education. He said Rep. B. Davis's points were valid, and that he would look forward to the input from the governor's council, which would help address the concerns of parents, students and the administration. He pointed out that HB 235 addressed points other than just those necessary to secure federal special education funding. He expressed hope for an opportunity to address the other points later. CHAIR BUNDE noted that, due to technical problems, Klawock could not transmit testimony, but only listen in. Number 588 REP. TOOHEY asked whether the loss of the federal funds would be permanent if the state failed to make the necessary changes in its special education laws by a certain deadline. Number 600 MS. HOWE stated that conversations that day with a federal official indicated that the date was July 1, 1993. "It is conceivable that a person could go beyond that, but the problem is that the federal money has a certain statute of limitations, so if we go beyond the date, then the money is gone. So, and that's the situation New York is finding itself in right now. We've had a conditional essentially for two years. Under our state plan we have a new one that's due for FY95, and so we can't go beyond, you know, we had promised them actually last July that we would have this all signed and delivered for them." TAPE 93-41, SIDE B Number 000 CHAIR BUNDE moved amending section 17, line 13, of HB 235, adding so that it would read, "requires a school district to provide special education, gifted, and related services available ..." etc. He asked for objections. Number 024 MS. HOWE suggested an alternative wording, amending line 10 by striking the words "of an exceptional child" and inserting "a child with exceptionalities" or "an exceptional child," both of which were commonly used terms that would encompass both gifted and disabled children. She said the term special education in Alaska was already construed to mean both gifted and disabled students. Number 030 CHAIR BUNDE asked whether she meant use the word "exceptionalities" instead of the word "disabilities" on line 11. MS. HOWE answered yes. Number 035 CHAIR BUNDE asked whether the term was politically correct. Number 037 MS. HOWE answered yes, in Alaska. Number 040 CHAIR BUNDE asked if the DOE would prefer such wording. MS. HOWE said it would be clearer usage and more consistent with the section. Number 044 CHAIR BUNDE withdrew his earlier motion, and moved instead an amendment to use the word "exceptionalities." Number 046 AN UNIDENTIFIED MALE VOICE ON TELECONFERENCE (possibly Marc Grober) asked if the chair would entertain additional public testimony. Number 050 CHAIR BUNDE said no, that public testimony had closed. He then restated the motion and asked for discussion or objections to it. Number 061 REP. OLBERG asked Chair Bunde to repeat his motion. CHAIR BUNDE repeated his motion. REP. OLBERG objected to the motion. CHAIR BUNDE invited him to speak to the motion. REP. OLBERG declined. CHAIR BUNDE called for a voice vote on the motion, and heard no nays. REP. OLBERG noted that a roll call vote was more usual. CHAIR BUNDE agreed to a roll call vote, but none was taken. Number 086 REP. B. DAVIS asked if the term "exceptionalities" were defined in statute, and said the objection might change if the term were defined. CHAIR BUNDE asked Ms. Howe for a definition of the term "exceptionalities." Number 097 REP. OLBERG asked if the motion meant that the legislature was mandating home instructional opportunities for any exceptional child, whether disabled, gifted or whatever. CHAIR BUNDE said he understood that was a proper reading; it currently applied to all special education children, and the motion would allow the inclusion of gifted children. He said he understood Rep. Olberg's reservation. Number 111 MS. HOWE read a definition of the term "exceptional children" found on page 6, line 6, paragraph (3). She suggested that the motion be amended to follow the wording in that paragraph. CHAIR BUNDE agreed that "exceptionalities" was an obtuse word. He asked Rep. Olberg if the change clarified his question. REP. OLBERG stated, "It clarifies without satisfying, whatever that means." CHAIR BUNDE commented that it sounded like a new product. Number 137 REP. OLBERG said the committee was creating a new educational product that would stretch the education budget yet again. CHAIR BUNDE disagreed, saying that the provision already existed in state statute. He said the DOE wanted to take gifted education out of the special education program, an effort that would be dealt with in the discussion of HB 85, scheduled for the following week. Number 145 REP. OLBERG asked whether the particular statute did or did not address gifted children at that time. CHAIR BUNDE said that gifted student programs were, at that time, funded through special education programs. Number 150 REP. OLBERG asked whether HB 235 was an effort to limit home instruction to children with disabilities. CHAIR BUNDE responded, "To exceptional children." REP. OLBERG clarified, "No, I mean, no, it reads `disabilities.'" CHAIR BUNDE said, "As it was originally worded it would not include gifted children. My understanding of the statute, as it was being crafted, it was to include gifted children. As you may have noticed, there's a good bit of concern about separating gifted children out from special ed." Number 159 REP. OLBERG stated, "I think we've gone full circle here, so let me try one more time. If this did not exist, would gifted children be entitled to home instruction?" CHAIR BUNDE replied, "Yes." REP. OLBERG said, "This then came along and eliminated the gifted children and limited it to disabled children." CHAIR BUNDE responded, "That's correct." REP. OLBERG stated, "And we're going to go back to where we started from, even though that might not have been a good place to be." Number 165 CHAIR BUNDE said, "Yes, we will discuss that issue in more detail in HB 85." REP. OLBERG stated, "Thank you." Number 173 REP. VEZEY said the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) did not deal with gifted people, but with disabled people. He said he was having difficulty reconciling a bill that dealt with gifted students with the ADA. He said the purpose of the statute, supposedly, was to remain in compliance with federal law, which he said it might do, but only after going through a lot of extraneous information. CHAIR BUNDE said he had asked that the bill be written to reflect current state policies, and later, when the committee got to HB 85, it could then separate funding for special education students and gifted students, which would then establish a new state policy to supercede the current state policy. Number 191 REP. VEZEY commented that the motivation behind HB 235 was the ADA. CHAIR BUNDE disagreed, saying HB 235 dealt only with federal funding of special education, not with the ADA. Number 197 REP. VEZEY said he thought that the purpose behind HB 235 was to have the state remain in compliance with the ADA. He said it was possible they were talking about two different acts. CHAIR BUNDE said that was correct; they were speaking of two different acts. REP. OLBERG said that the federal law with which the state was attempting to remain in compliance with through HB 235 was the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. He commented that, "We're trying to slice our interest groups into ever smaller pieces." Number 206 CHAIR BUNDE said he wanted to try again to achieve the amendment to page 10, line 5, which would read: "If a parent with an exceptional child enrolls the child ..."; striking the words "with" and "disabilities." REP. TOOHEY contested the wording. CHAIR BUNDE explained that she had forgotten an earlier amendment. REP. TOOHEY said she stood corrected. REP. OLBERG objected to the motion. CHAIR BUNDE invited him to speak to his objection. REP. OLBERG declined. CHAIR BUNDE called for a roll call vote on the amendment to amend line 10 to read, "If a parent of an exceptional child enrolls the child ... " The amendment deleted the words "with disabilities," he said. Those voting yea were Reps. G. Davis, Vezey, B. Davis, Toohey and Bunde. Those voting nay were Reps. Kott and Olberg. The MOTION PASSED 5-2. Number 243 CHAIR BUNDE moved passage of HB 235 with individual recommendations. REP. B. DAVIS objected, saying she supported the changes necessary for the DOE to come into compliance with federal laws, but she believed the House Finance Committee would not have the time to address the issues that should have been addressed in the HESS Committee. She said it was not a money issue. She opposed passage from the committee, saying that the bill could have had at least one additional hearing before the HESS Committee to address some elements of the bill to make it even better and more acceptable to parents as well as administrators. Number 256 REP. KOTT objected, saying his reasons were similar to those of Rep. B. Davis. He said much of the testimony represented disagreement on several issues, and it would be prudent to hold the bill over for a day or so to resolve some of the conflicts. CHAIR BUNDE called for a brief at-ease before the vote, at 4:09 p.m. He called the meeting back to order at 4:11 p.m. and repeated the motion to pass HB 235 from the HESS Committee with individual recommendations. Those voting yea were Reps. Vezey, Kott, Brice, Toohey, Bunde and G. Davis. Those voting nay were Reps. Olberg and B. Davis. The MOTION PASSED 6-2. CHAIR BUNDE then brought HB 210 to the table. HB 210 - HIRING OF SCHOOL CHIEF ADMINISTRATORS Number 282 REP. TERRY MARTIN spoke as PRIME SPONSOR of HB 210. He said the major purpose of the bill was to allow school districts more flexibility in using their money, not to take it away. He noted that, at statehood, most of Alaska's laws concerning education were modeled after California laws, and at that time, the state had a few large school districts and many smaller Bureau of Indian Affairs and military schools. He noted the movement toward local autonomy and single-site school districts over the years, but said the state did not realize the high administrative cost of such districts. He said the law requiring a superintendent at each school district was antiquated and expensive and needed to be eliminated. REP. MARTIN noted the St. Mary's school district, which was attempting to contract out administrative services to get out from under the high cost of on-site administration. He said districts in the Aleutian Islands got a special waiver allowing them to share a superintendent. He stated his bill required school districts to have at least 500 students, or 1,000 under an amendment he said he planned to offer, before they would be able to hire a superintendent. He said smaller districts could hire one superintendent in common. He noted the Yupiit school district, consisting of three villages, which now spends 65 percent of its budget for administrative costs. He said he receives many calls supporting individual superintendents, but single-site school districts are a problem because they cannot spread out their costs over many different schools. Number 355 REP. MARTIN continued, referring to legislative efforts in 1992 to make the Anchorage School District's superintendent reveal his contract to the public. When the contract was made public, it astounded the public with its generous provisions for the superintendent and his family. He encouraged the HESS Committee to use its powers of subpoena to make public the contracts for more school superintendents and demonstrate how their ability to negotiate high pay and benefits was impeding districts' ability to pay for teachers. REP. MARTIN noted one small district in Southeast Alaska that had among the lowest average teacher salaries in the state, but also the highest superintendent's salary. He said the state had an interest in seeing that state education funds went to serve children, not administrators. He said 17 of the state's 54 school districts are in Southeast Alaska, which has 11 percent of state enrollment. He asked why a single island needed four different school districts. He said Klawock was seven miles from Craig, and asked why the two districts could not share a superintendent. He said HB 210 would eliminate mandatory single-site superintendents and allow more flexibility. He stated the bill would cost the state no money. Number 386 CHAIR BUNDE referred to one superintendent whose contract included payment of expenses for an airplane. Number 394 REP. JERRY MACKIE testified against HB 210 as the representative of a district that includes many single-site school districts. He said the bill was incredibly arbitrary. He said the bill would apply to 40 of the state's 54 districts, and to all 12 of the school districts in his district. He stated he wanted a thorough study of the bill's effects before passage. Number 400 REP. MACKIE displayed maps of Southeast Alaska to demonstrate to committee members how school districts are scattered around a large area in communities that have little in common culturally. Before any change in the educational delivery system, he recommended a thorough study taking into account each district's individual nature, geographical location, composition of students, and funding effects of any organizational plan. He said the bill attacks non-urban school districts for only one factor, average daily membership. Number 420 REP. MACKIE said he did not want to see problems fixed without first identifying the problems. He commented there might be some cases in which there might be a possibility of consolidation of some services to save money, but mandating the elimination of superintendents for single-site school districts was inconceivable. He stated for the record that HB 210 was a bad bill. He said school districts needed someone in charge and the current system was good, and it needed some improvements. He said there was a need to cut spending, and some districts would have to do their part. Number 444 REP. TOOHEY disputed Rep. Mackie's assertion that Southeast Alaska communities were all unique enough to warrant their own different schools, saying that the Girdwood, Mountain View and Turnagain areas of Anchorage were different, but each was served adequately under a single Anchorage School District. She said the state needed to control its education expenses, not by cutting teacher salaries. She said that while no one liked change, it had to happen, and a school serving 200 children did not deserve its own superintendent at $82,000 per year. Number 450 REP. MACKIE commented, "That may be fine if it doesn't affect your district, but lately we're dealing with a lot of things that affect my district, and I take exception to that." REP. TOOHEY said she understood, but she asked Rep. Mackie how he could justify having four different schools on Prince of Wales Island, each served by its own superintendent. Number 458 REP. MACKIE answered that there were four different school districts on the island, and each needed its own superintendent. REP. BRICE asked Rep. Mackie how school districts would hire and fire superintendents if more than one community were served by a single school district. He asked how school boards would function, and how community input would be preserved. Number 474 REP. MACKIE answered that numbers taken out of context can lie. He said he wished he had more time to refute Rep. Martin's arguments. He expressed for the record his personal feeling, on behalf of those he represented, that HB 210 was bad legislation, and arbitrary, and that there was life outside of other areas. REP. MACKIE said, "These are real people, real children, real communities, with their own ideas, their own traditional history, and background in a lot of things. And anytime you say, `Oh, yeah, well the numbers say these superintendents are making too much money, let's stick 'em all together and we can save 'em all a bunch of money,' I assure there's a lot of things that, you know, we could take a look at numbers throughout all the state government and make that kind of a case, without any regard whatsoever for how the background and history and how the people in these communities feel." Number 480 CHAIR BUNDE said Rep. Mackie had a right, and indeed an obligation, to state his case. He said that he viewed HB 210 as a major change in the educational system, and that the bill was not on a fast track and would be discussed in detail. He said the committee would welcome Rep. Mackie's help in remaining at the meeting for a thorough discussion of the issues. REP. MACKIE thanked Chair Bunde and said he hoped that superintendents could testify on HB 210 to explain their sides of the issue. CHAIR BUNDE assured Rep. Bunde the bill would have a thorough investigation. REP. B. DAVIS asked if the committee planned to take action on HB 210. CHAIR BUNDE said the committee would continue to discuss the bill. REP. B. DAVIS said HB 210 addressed important issues that should be dealt with by a different bill. She said committees have studied the problems of single-site school districts. She noted the $100,000 that had been appropriated to encourage such districts to find ways to cooperate voluntarily and said the committee should wait for the report. She stated that the committee should take a long time during the interim to deal with the changes that everyone agreed needed to be made. Number 524 BOB WEINSTEIN, SUPERINTENDENT OF THE SOUTHEAST ISLANDS SCHOOL DISTRICT, testified in Juneau in opposition to HB 210. He said that since his district had been the subject of bills, debates, and Anchorage Times editorials, he decided to testify on HB 210. He said he had been with the district 19 years, 12 of them as superintendent, during which time he had seen many changes in the district, of which he was not frightened. He said he understood the need to reduce state spending. He displayed a map showing the boundaries of his district, encompassing many islands, which included 17 schools, eight of them not on Prince of Wales Island. He disputed facts asserted in the editorial concerning the district's use of an airplane. He said the district was not laying off English teachers. He asked committee members, if HB 210 passed, who would perform the duties that superintendents are trained and certified by the state to perform. He urged the legislature to perform a comprehensive study before making a misinformed decision on school district consolidation. Number 562 REP. TOOHEY asked if his district had 418 students. MR. WEINSTEIN said the district served 437 students, at 17 schools, with 418 in 1992. He said the student body population had reached 600 students in some years. REP. TOOHEY asked how many school buildings the district had and inquired as to their construction. MR. WEINSTEIN answered that some of the buildings were old trailers or converted cook houses, and there were schools in 17 separate communities. TAPE 93-42, SIDE A Number 000 CHAIR BUNDE asked how many districts would be on Prince of Wales Island if there were a 1,000 student minimum. Number 005 MR. WEINSTEIN said he did not know the exact enrollments of all the single-site school districts. He said there were three regional school districts in Southeast Alaska. CHAIR BUNDE said it was conceivable that all of the island's districts could be folded into a single district, and all of southern Southeast Alaska would be folded into a single district. REP. VEZEY offered the information that Craig and Klawock had about 160 or 190 students each, and Hydaburg had about 150 students, making a total of about 520 students. Number 030 REP. G. DAVIS asked Mr. Weinstein whether his district had a boarding program. MR. WEINSTEIN said there were several, including the Mt. Edgecumbe boarding high school in Sitka. He said there were programs allowing students from smaller communities to attend school in Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, Petersburg and Wrangell, in which boarding families are paid a small fee to cover the student's living expenses. He said his district participated on a limited basis in that program. Number 048 JOHN HOLST, SUPERINTENDENT OF THE CRAIG CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT, testified via teleconference from Craig in opposition to HB 210. He said he wanted to retain local accountability of school districts to their local boards of education and communities. He said Craig had 356 students, not 190. He stated his duties far exceed those of the superintendent of the Anchorage School District, but are typical of a small district superintendent's duties. They include teaching senior English, and managing curriculum development, special education, staff development, finance, and program development. He said cutting the superintendent's job in Craig would not necessarily save money, as the district would have to hire an additional site manager or principle. Number 093 CHAIR BUNDE asked a clarifying question about whether HB 210 would require Craig schools to have two principals. He asked the salary differential between a principal and a superintendent. MR. HOLST said that a principle was paid about $12,000 per year less than a superintendent. Number 110 STEPHEN T. MCPHETRES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ALASKA COUNCIL OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS, testified in Juneau in opposition to HB 210. He said that as long as there were separate school districts, there had to be chief administrators for those districts. He remarked it was not a single-site district issue. He listed the different responsibilities of rural school superintendents: recruiter and supervisor of staff, budget officer, bus transportation director, special education director, vocational education administrator, mandated reporting for DOE, report cards, PL874, enrollment, reports, audit reports, mandated in-services, physical plant maintenance, federal programs director, implementation of strategic plan, conduct long-range plans, curriculum supervisor, community relations, implementation of school board policy, classroom teaching, supervision of student activity, coaching, supervising capitol projects, supervising summer programs, and meet with parent advisory committees. He said it takes a well-trained professional educator to fulfill all these responsibilities. He stated he wanted to discuss the issue further. Number 145 CHAIR BUNDE commented that he might dispute whether it took a trained professional educator to fulfill those duties. He noted that the North Slope Borough (NSBSD), with 2,000 students, had a superintendent to fulfill those functions. MR. MCPHETRES interrupted to say that the NSBSD superintendent had supervisors, directors and assistant superintendents to help carry out those responsibilities. He said he knew, as he had been superintendent of the district for 10 years. CHAIR BUNDE asked at what point a district needed an assistant superintendent. He said the Anchorage School District had lots of officials to help the superintendent. MR. MCPHETRES answered that it depended on the mandated duties for the superintendent, which made it quite a subjective question. CHAIR BUNDE said he assumed that each district had the functions that Mr. McPhetres had earlier listed. Number 168 MR. MCPHETRES said that a superintendent would need an assistant in a district with 1,000 students, and a lone superintendent would be working at his capacity in a district with 500 students. Number 176 ROGER STEPHAN, RESEARCH ANALYST FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, testified in Juneau in favor of HB 210. He read a statement, which is on file in the committee room. In summary, the statement said that the DOE believed each school district, regardless of size, needed a superintendent or equivalent either directly or in cooperation with another district, such as was being accomplished in the Aleutian Region and Unalaska. He said HB 210 would affect 29 of Alaska's 54 school districts, and there would be no savings to the state because the foundation formula is based on students not employees. There is no guarantee money saved on superintendent's salary would not be spent on other administrative costs. CHAIR BUNDE asked whether the DOE's official position was to oppose HB 210 and support single-site school districts. MR. STEPHAN stated, "As it stands, yes." Number 200 CHAIR BUNDE said he believed in the need for superintendents, and while the bill supported the role of superintendents, the committee was deciding how many superintendents the state should support. He announced the committee would not get to HB 174 during that day's meeting and apologized to those who had come to the meeting to testify on HB 174. He said the committee would continue its discussion of HB 210, though it was likely not to finish discussing it, either. He asked Rep. Martin to make a summary statement, addressing some of the questions raised about his bill. Number 219 REP. MARTIN said that HB 210 was not meant to save money, and would not. But, he stated, it is clear more money is going for administrators, not children. He said he wanted HB 210 and HB 174 considered separately, noting that if the committee dealt with the issue of the number of superintendents this year, it could maximize the money used. He said school boards would not be straddled with superintendents. He noted that only two school districts had taken up the legislature's offer of $100,000 to try to learn to cooperate and consolidate with each other, and HB 210 would force districts to share superintendents. REP. MARTIN described the Yupiit school districts, which wanted to reduce its 65 percent administrative costs; and another district which he said was happy to have consolidated. He said the high level of state funding even for school districts would encourage the growth of more smaller districts. He noted that the legislature has made several efforts to address possible consolidation of school districts, but has been assailed with calls to go slowly. He said the issue deserved discussion but could not be delayed indefinitely. He stated he could not blame any member of the legislature from crying foul when consolidation cost his district money. REP. MARTIN again encouraged the committee to obtain copies of superintendent contracts around the state, which might reveal that the educational funding system was being misused. He encouraged passage of HB 210. He said DOE statistics showed the true enrollment in state districts, including the four school districts on Prince of Wales Island, handle 1,093 children. Number 280 CHAIR BUNDE said he would like to hold HB 210 until Thursday, April 1, 1993, and consider HB 174 on Tuesday, March 30, 1993, for discussion. REP. MARTIN offered information on how much revenue was available to small school districts, including information that showed that some small communities were very rich. CHAIR BUNDE said there was still much work to be done and noted that the session was in its 72nd day. He ADJOURNED the meeting at 4:55 p.m.