Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/16/1995 02:00 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 16, 1995 2:00 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Cynthia Toohey, Co-Chair Representative Con Bunde, Co-Chair Representative Al Vezey Representative Gary Davis Representative Norman Rokeberg Representative Caren Robinson Representative Tom Brice MEMBERS ABSENT None COMMITTEE CALENDAR * HB 230: "An Act making appropriations to the Department of Education for support of kindergarten, primary, and secondary education and for community schools programs for fiscal year 1996 and fiscal year 1997; making appropriations from the constitutional budget reserve fund under art. IX, sec. 17(c), Constitution of the State of Alaska; and providing for an effective date." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE HB 125: "An Act relating to disclosures to school officials of information about certain minors." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE HB 168: "An Act relating to temporary permits for certain optometrists." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE * HB 171: "An Act providing that the commissioner of education serves at the pleasure of the Board of Education; and providing for an effective date." HEARD AND HELD HHES - 03/16/95 HB 228: "An Act reducing payment levels for the program of aid to families with dependent children and the adult public assistance program." SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD (* First public hearing) WITNESS REGISTER CARL ROSE, Executive Director Association of Alaska School Boards 316 W. 11th Street Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 586-1083 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 230. BECKY RICHARDS, Parent Sitka School District 713 Sirstad Street Sitka, AK 99835 Telephone: (907) 747-6850 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 230. MIKE McHONE, Superintendent, High School Principal Cordova School District P.O. Box 140 Cordova, AK 99574 Telephone: (907) 424-3265 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 230. CAROLYN EVANS, Vice-president Sitka School Board P.O. Box 902 Sitka, AK 99835 Telephone: (907) 747-8707 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 230. BRUCE BACHEN, President Sitka School Board 713 Sirstad Street Sitka, AK 99835 Telephone: (907) 747-6850 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 230. WENDY CWIKLINKSI, Parent 2981 Glacierwood Ct. Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 790-3472 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 230. DEBRA GERRISH, Parent 9202 Emily Way Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 789-3236 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 230. STEVE McPHETRES, Executive Director Alaska Council of School Administrators 326 4th Street, #404 Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 586-9702 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 230. BECKY TURNER-BOGREN, President Fairbanks Council of PTAs P.O. Box 342 Fairbanks, AK 99725 Telephone: (907) 474-0235 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 230. LARRY WIGET, Director of Government Relations Anchorage School Board 4600 DeBarr Road Anchorage, AK 99510 Telephone: (907) 262-2255 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 230. KAREN DOXEY, Parent Representative Glacier Valley Site Council P.O. Box 32234 Juneau, AK 99803 Telephone: (907) 789-9762 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 230. KIMBERLY HOMME', Teacher Gruening Middle School 2903 West 29th Avenue Anchorage, AK 99517 Telephone: (907) 248-9980 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 230. KRISTINE HARDER, Chair Gastineau Parents Advisory Committee 1016 Wee Burn Drive Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 586-6179 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 230. CATHY CONNOR, Parent 745 Fifth Street Douglas, AK 99824 Telephone: (907) 364-3772 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 230. NANCY DeCHERNEY, Parent P.O. Box 210573 Auke Bay, AK 99821 Telephone: (907) 789-5031 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 230. JUNE HALL, Parent 8393 North Douglas Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 586-6790 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 230. MARTY LASTER, Superintendent Craig School District P.O. Box 800 Craig, AK 99921 Telephone: (907) 826-3271 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 230. MICHAEL ALLEN, Member, Gastineau School Site Council; Adjunct faculty member, University of Alaska Southeast; Member of Juneau Business Community P.O. Box 240641 Douglas, AK 99824 Telephone: (907) 463-4835 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 230. JACK KREINHEDER, Policy Analyst Office of Management and Budget Office of the Governor P.O. Box 110020 Juneau, AK 99811 Telephone: (907) 465-4676 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 230. LIZ JOHNSON, Parent 4004 Ridgeway Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 780-4357 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 230. CATHERINE FRITZ, Parent 4120 Birch Lane Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 789-1825 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 230. SALLY RUE, Parent 7083 Hendrickson Road Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 789-5516 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 230. CLAUDIA DOUGLAS, President National Education Association - Alaska 114 Seward Street Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 586-3090 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 230. DUANE GUILEY, Director of School Finance Department of Education Goldbelt Building 801 W. 10th Street, Second Floor Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-8679 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 230. JOHN HOLST, Superintendent Sitka School District P.O. Box 179 Sitka, AK 99835 Telephone: (907) 747-8622 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 230. KATE YOUNG, Parent P.O. Box 33122 Juneau, AK 99803 Telephone: (907) 780-6052 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 230. DON SCHULZ, Retired teacher 4101 Abbott Road Anchorage, AK 99507 Telephone: (907) 344-4929 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 230. DON FANCHER, Executive Director, AVCP Housing Authority; Former School Board President, Lower Kuskokwim School District; Former member, State Board of Education P.O. Box 2027 Bethel, AK 99559 Telephone: (907) 543-5946 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 230. REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN Alaska State Legislature Room 24, State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-4931 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided the sponsor statement for HB 125. MELINDA GRUENING, Administrative Assistant Representative Joe Green's Office Room 24, State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-4931 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 125. ELMER LINDSTROM, Special Assistant to the Commissioner Department of Health and Social Services Alaska Office Building 350 Main Street, Room 317 Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-3347 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 125. TOM ANDERSON, Legislative Assistant Representative Terry Martin's Office Room 502, State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-3783 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided sponsor statement for HB 171. PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 230 SHORT TITLE: APPROP: FY 96 & FY 97 EDUCATION PROGRAMS SPONSOR(S): HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 03/03/95 566 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 03/03/95 566 (H) HES, FINANCE 03/14/95 (H) HES AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/14/95 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/16/95 (H) HES AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 125 SHORT TITLE: JUVENILE CRIMINAL RECORDS TO SCHOOLS SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) GREEN,Toohey,Bunde JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/26/95 143 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/26/95 143 (H) HES, JUD 02/23/95 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 02/23/95 (H) MINUTE(HES) 02/23/95 (H) MINUTE(HES) 02/23/95 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/16/95 (H) HES AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 168 SHORT TITLE: PERMITS FOR NONRESIDENT OPTOMETRISTS SPONSOR(S): HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/08/95 273 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/08/95 273 (H) HES, L&C 03/07/95 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/07/95 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/16/95 (H) HES AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 171 SHORT TITLE: COMMR OF EDUCATION SERVES AT BDS PLEASURE SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MARTIN JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/10/95 301 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/10/95 301 (H) HES, FINANCE 03/16/95 (H) HES AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 228 SHORT TITLE: REDUCTION IN PUBLIC ASSISTANCE PAYMENTS SPONSOR(S): HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 03/03/95 565 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 03/03/95 565 (H) HES, FINANCE 03/14/95 (H) HES AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/14/95 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/16/95 (H) HES AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 106 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 95-22, SIDE A Number 000 CO-CHAIR CON BUNDE called the meeting of the House Health, Education and Social Services standing committee to order at 2:00 p.m. Present at the call to order were Representatives Bunde, Toohey, Davis and Vezey. Co-Chair Bunde announced that a quorum was present to conduct business, read the calendar, and announced that the meeting was on teleconference. Co-Chair Bunde requested that testimony be limited to two minutes because of the large number of people wishing to testify. HHES - 03/16/95 HB 230 - APPROP: FY 96 & FY 97 EDUCATION PROGRAMS CARL ROSE, Executive Director, Association of Alaska School Boards (AASB) stated that his association is opposed to HB 230 for many reasons. First, the AASB has a system it is dealing with that was created in a period of wealth. Now that there is a revenue downturn, no one is addressing that system. The AASB feels it has a responsibility for the oversight and accountability of the educational system. Number 171 MR. ROSE explained a sheet he had passed out to the HESS Committee members. This sheet contained what Mr. Rose views as some of the "pillars of public policy." Within the framework of legislation, statutes and regulations, negotiated agreements, foundation funding, and "interpretations" are the framework of public policy. Those factors comprise state policy. MR. ROSE said those policies, regulations, etc., require an amount of money to function. HB 230 would affect the revenue side of the equation without addressing the impact that will be created. Mr. Rose has great concern on behalf of the AASB because no one is asking the policy question. He asked, "What is the public policy of the state going to be?" Number 230 MR. ROSE said basically, cutting revenue is the easy part of the job, although the legislators may not think so. The hard part of the job is to redefine what the state's policy is going to be. Mr. Rose asked about the state's responsibility to children's education in grades kindergarten through 12 (K-12). Under the Constitution, the state is supposed to provide free public education to all school-age children. MR. ROSE continued that the statutes and regulations that define state policy require funding. School districts are required to provide retirement systems, provide medical coverage, honor labor relations, adhere to tenure regulations, etc. All of those bills have represented state policy. To cut an amount of money leaves educators no ability to manage the system. MR. ROSE felt it was irresponsible on the part of the legislature to take the revenue away without addressing the need of redefining the educational system. Number 296 CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted if a person represents a group or organization, he or she may have three minutes to testify. MR. ROSE said he is concerned about the state's policy. He wanted to know what will be the policy of education in the state of Alaska. He asked, "What is it that we want to do with our children? What are we going to fund, and what do we value?" Mr. Rose said educators need some assistance in prioritizing to reduce the funding at the state level and leave it to local control to decide how an education is going to be provided under all the state's constraints. MR. ROSE said it is impossible to do this. The state is reducing funding while not giving educators the latitude to manage school districts. Mr. Rose felt issues of improvement in the quality of education are critical. Currently, those kinds of issues cannot be addressed. Number 358 MR. ROSE added that educators are bound by the framework of the state. Mr. Rose asked legislators to also add to the previously discussed framework issues of legislation, regulation, court decisions, foundation funding and negotiation. He asked them to also add the issues of fairness and equity. That puts considerable constraints on the K-12 system. If educators were relieved of some of those constraints, the fall could be cushioned. MR. ROSE stressed that educators need the money to continue to function. If educators cannot get the money, they need the latitude. Number 390 CO-CHAIR BUNDE assured Mr. Rose that HESS Committee members understand more latitude is needed, and there is some movement in that direction. MR. ROSE said more money is also needed. CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced that Representative Robinson arrived at 3:06 p.m. CO-CHAIR CYNTHIA TOOHEY agreed with Mr. Rose. However, there is no money. Therefore, the other answer to the problem is cuts in other areas to make budgets. Co-Chair Toohey said the money is not there, and it is not going to be there. If people think the cuts are bad now, cuts are going to be even worse in the next ten years. Everyone knows that. Spending, therefore, must be redirected. If the legislature is mandating that education money be spent on benefits, salaries, etc., that is where changes must be made. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY continued that changes must be made with no striking. Everything will have to change. Number 472 MR. ROSE added that there are two scenarios. There is a fiscal gap, and if that is going to be addressed and validated based on revenue minus expenses, yes there is a fiscal gap if the state is trying to get on a revenue cycle. But in terms of wealth and expenses, Alaska is a very wealthy state. The issue is a judgement call. Is the state talking about revenue cycles and expenses, or is the state talking about the wealth of Alaska and the responsibility to K-12 education. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said that the state is looking at revenue cycles. Number 530 BECKY RICHARDS, Parent, Sitka School District (SSD), said she came to Juneau to testify because she has worked on the budget committees for the last ten years in Sitka. Ten years ago, when the foundation formula went into effect, the SSD cut $927,000 from its budget. Every year since then, it has cut another six-digit figure. The SSD is at the point now where it has reached the cap, and there is no way to get around that cap. HB 230 puts even more of a strangle-hold on the district. MS. RICHARDS continued that as a parent, she resents the fact that she has to struggle for her child's education in this respect. The state needs to do more for its children. The state is concerned with cutting money from social services, etc. But the state must realize that if it continues to cut money from education, there is no other place for these children to go but on the social services lists and welfare rolls. MS. RICHARDS said there is a wall in Sitka where people on public assistance sit because they cannot get a decent job because they are not properly educated. They cannot get the attention they need. Number 597 MS. RICHARDS asked and begged HESS Committee members to reconsider HB 230. She understands there is no money. But her district has done a very fine job. It has cut out custodial services, recontracted the lunch program, cut speech pathologists, cut a swimming program and has cut numerous teachers. The high school had 29 teachers, and now there are 21. The pupil ratio is maintaining. MS. RICHARDS said the SSD is being punished because it has been frugal. She again asked HESS Committee members to reconsider. Number 655 MIKE McHONE, Superintendent and High School Principal, Cordova School District, testified via teleconference that he had listened to the testimony given on March 14, 1995, on HB 230 and felt he needed to respond. MR. McHONE said he has some great concerns. He heard a comment last week that stated that 65 percent of the people in the state do not have children. He has since found out that corresponds only to the population of Anchorage. He turned that around to say that 45 percent of the people in Anchorage do have children. Mr. McHone asked if there is a group of people in Anchorage, or anywhere else for that matter, that, due to a higher percentage of the population, the state or municipality is obligated to provide a service for them. Mr. McHone does not believe there is. MR. McHONE asked how educators can be expected to finance an education system with less money than was available ten years ago. He looks at the school district budget in Cordova that he is responsible for. When he compares operating budgets from 1995 to 1985, he sees that the budget has gone up 35 percent. The student population has increased 40 percent. Number 725 MR. McHONE continued by saying the starting teacher salary has increased only 19 percent. The cost of a textbook has increased anywhere from 100 to 150 percent during the last 10 years. In 1982, Cordova Junior/Senior High had 208 students, 23 certified staff members and 3 custodians. This year, there are 220 students, 17.5 certified staff members and 1.5 custodians. MR. McHONE has not included the cost increases in fuel, insurance, electricity, etc., but he is willing to bet that the increases are all above 35 percent. He said the legislators are asking him to run a school district with less than he had in 1985. Any student he has enrolled in the personal finance class can tell the legislators the reality of being able to do that is near impossible. Number 777 MR. McHONE said if the HESS Committee members want educators to tell them where to cut the budget, they should look at where the government is spending money in areas that are either not mandated by the Constitution or which serves something other than an essential service. He asked in what state does an individual pay less taxes than in Alaska. He asked what other state in the Union gives every resident a personal check every year. He asked what state does these things and then cuts its constitutional responsibility to 20 percent of the population. That is how many people are enrolled in the public schools in Alaska right now. Number 820 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said 65 percent of the people in Anchorage do not have children in the public schools. They may have children, but they do not have them in the public schools. In addition, the legislators are looking at non-mandated entitlements. Co-Chair Bunde assured Mr. McHone that everyone feels as strongly has he. Co-Chair Bunde announced that Representatives Brice and Rokeberg joined the meeting at 3:15 p.m. Number 850 CAROLYN EVANS, Vice president, Sitka School Board, testified via teleconference that she is in her third year as vice president. She currently has four children in the district. She has also been working on the district's budget committee for the last 10 to 12 years. She pleaded with the HESS Committee members not to cut the unit values. The district cannot absorb any more cuts. The district is currently looking at 17.8 percent dropout rate in the last 4 years. MS. EVANS said that something needs to be done about the dropout rate. Since 1987-88, the number of teachers has gone from 29 to 21, yet there is going to be an increase of 133 to 156 children going into the high school in the coming school year. However, there are less teachers than was present in 1987. Number 908 MS. EVANS stressed to HESS Committee members that these children in grades K-12 are the leaders of tomorrow. They will be sitting where the legislators are, but they will not be if they do not have an education. She asked HESS Committee members to please reconsider HB 230. She asked them to look at other areas to help out the educators. BRUCE BACHEN, President, Sitka School Board, summarized a few remarks. HB 230 would cut the Sitka School District's funding from the state about $200,000 to $300,000. The continued erosion of state support coupled with a local cap will destroy the quality of education that the district has worked so hard to create. In a very real sense, the local school board and assembly are losing local control over education simply because they lack the means to determine the financial future. Number 973 MR. BACHEN said there are a few options. One relates to the priority that the state places on education. Information from the Alaska-Parent Teacher Association (PTA) suggests that 45 out of 50 states put a higher percentage toward education than Alaska does. The second option relates to Alaska being ranked as the number one tax haven by Money magazine. Therefore, there is no excuse to cut the quality of education. MR. BACHEN urged HESS Committee members to amend the bill to allow education to be funded. Educators are counting on them to do so. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said Mr. Bachen's concern about the local cap is being considered. Number 1026 WENDY CWIKLINSKI, parent, said she moved to Juneau in August from Virginia. Her husband is stationed in Juneau with the Coast Guard. He is a Navy chaplain. Her family will be stationed in Juneau approximately three to four years. In her life in the military, her family must move from school district to school district. It is an accepted fact that families have to deal with the disparities between the districts. MS. CWIKLINSKI said that the situation in Juneau, however, has been overwhelming. She has seen her children come from a wonderful school district to Juneau where they are barely surviving. She has listened to the teachers and she has listened to the special services people, and they are all frustrated from a lack of time. MS. CWIKLINSKI said that lack of time comes from a lack of personnel, and that is a result of a lack of funding. In Juneau, the negotiations for the new teacher contract are at a standstill. Ms. Cwiklinski sees the issue from both sides. The teachers are going to ask for more money because the state is not giving them the money for the supplies they need to teach. Number 1090 MS. CWIKLINSKI understood that there must be cuts someplace, but cutting the education of children is "cutting our nose to spite our face." It is just not worth it, especially when the cuts are at the elementary level. Legislators cannot make these cuts and expect these children to know the basics. The teachers do not have enough time to prepare. They do not have enough time to really teach the children the way they should be taught. MS. CWIKLINSKI said HESS Committee members cannot expect these children to become responsible, tax-paying citizens in the future. This is the reason public education is in existence, to make children responsible citizens who are able to make their own way in the world. Number 1150 DEBRA GERRISH, Parent, said she has two children in the school district. One is a junior, and one is a third grader. She is very upset because she sees her third grader getting much less of an education than her junior. She is very happy her junior will be coming out of the school system next year. She asked HESS Committee members to look at a sheet sent out by the Department of Education (DOE). It showed the cuts that will occur across the state if HB 230 passes. MS. GERRISH provided an example. Anchorage will lose $4.1 million next year (1996). In 1997, Anchorage will lose $9 million. In Fairbanks, next year they will lose $1.4 million, and in 1997 they will lose $3.2 million. Ms. Gerrish was referring to fiscal school years. She said that Juneau will lose $500,000 this year, and $1 million in FY 97. Kenai, which is also up against the cap, is facing a loss of $1 million this year, and a loss of $2.2 million next year. Number 1208 MS. GERRISH said HESS Committee members have heard the parents talk. Ms. Gerrish's daughter in high school has books that are ragged. They are falling apart. There is not enough money in the Juneau School District to buy the books kids need. There was a child this year who went without a book for six weeks at the beginning of the high school year. These students deserve better than that. MS. GERRISH said children are in crowded classes. There was an editorial in the newspaper this week about how classroom size does not make a difference. Ms. Gerrish read the HESS Committee members an article from Parade magazine, January 8 edition, that states class size does make a difference. MS. GERRISH read the report from Bill Moyers, "In New York City, I visited Landmark High, and the Coalition School for Social Change. Two experimental high schools based on the notion that small is better. Enrollments are limited to fewer than 300 students to prevent the violence that results from sheer overcrowding; and teachers quickly summon parents if conflicts break out among students." Number 1257 MS. GERRISH knows that Juneau already has more than 300 students in its schools. However, they do not have to be overcrowded. There are already problems with violence in this state. Those problems do not need to be added to. Ms. Gerrish said there used to be a wonderful school tax when she came to Alaska 20 years ago. That needs to be reinstated. In addition, the income tax needs to be reinstated. MS. GERRISH said, "Be brave, be the leaders that you were elected to be, and pass the money that we need to run this state and give our kids an education." Number 1287 STEVE McPHETRES, Executive Director, Alaska Council of School Administrators (ACSA), said his association has submitted written testimony. The ACSA is in opposition to this legislation. It believes the maintenance of the services and the offerings to the young people of Alaska is extremely important. MR. McPHETRES said he would like to take another position. Last weekend he had the opportunity to work very closely with a dozen high school students from across Southeast Alaska, Anchorage, and Kotzebue in a leadership program that his organization plus the University of Alaska Southeast co-conducted. MR. McPHETRES was very encouraged by the quality of these young folks and their futures. He escorted the group to Camelot, a play in Juneau. As the group left the theatre, the members raved about the quality of the production and the confidence of the players. In addition, many students participated in the production, which was wholesome, constructive and educational. Number 1340 MR. McPHETRES said he had a very special kindergarten teacher (his daughter) arrive home one night last week very excited because she was doing assessments on her kindergarten students. She asked one boy a problem: If she had 15 guppies, and she wanted to put 3 into a container, how many containers would she need? The young boy quickly said, "five." She asked how he figured that out, and he said, "Three, six, nine, twelve, fifteen. Five." MR. McPHETRES said HESS Committee members need to consider accomplishments such as these as budget cuts are addressed, and the state looks at the maintenance of the opportunities for young people in the coming years. MR. McPHETRES said in the end, it will make Alaska a stronger place, and a better place to live. The ACSB hopes HESS Committee members will reconsider this bill. Number 1386 BECKY TURNER-BOGREN, President, Fairbanks Council of PTAs, testified via teleconference against HB 230. The Fairbanks PTA and PTAs statewide favor adequate and equitable funding for education. While forward funding sounds attractive, it only meets the first two criteria. It is adequate and equitable. However the largest concern is that future years are being funded at current levels. MS. TURNER-BOGREN said in Fairbanks, as throughout the state, there has been steady growth. Certainly, there will be many other issues concerning growth. Fort Knox gold mine will be opening, and the district has had several calls just this week from families who were concerned about the effect of Fort Greeley shutting down. They wanted to know how many families will be moving up to Fairbanks. Number 1452 MS. TURNER-BOGREN stressed that the growth issues are huge unknowns. There is also potential for growth in other areas. This is not a good time to be freezing funding for education. The net effect is much lower funds per student. She has heard a lot of testimony from around the state, and she has not heard anybody say this is a good idea. In Fairbanks, there has been much effort put into protecting the student-teacher ratio, and keeping class sizes down to an adequate level. MS. TURNER-BOGREN said this has been at the expense of significant and important programs. They have to decide what to cut. This is not a good time to propose further cuts. As class sizes increase, and programs that meet educational needs are cut because of funding, the quality of education will decrease. MS. TURNER-BOGREN said the timing of this bill is unfortunate. Educators in Fairbanks are on spring break. There are many people who would be extremely interested in this issue who are out of town or who are away from their houses. She has worked hard to contact people, but she wanted to stress that a lack of public testimony reflects a lack of public interest. It reflects a lack of public knowledge about this issue. Number 1526 MS. TURNER-BOGREN has talked to many people who also believe it is time the state began thinking about a constitutional amendment to start funding education through a tax or through the permanent fund dividend. When times are tight, education funding should not be getting the same kind of review and cuts. MS. TURNER-BOGREN supports responsible spending. However, to cut education just because everyone is being cut, is wrong. Education has a significant impact on the future of Alaska's economy and society. Alaska as a society must say that it will educate its young, and educate them well. Number 1570 CO-CHAIR BUNDE assured Ms. Turner-Bogren that the bill was not timed to hit spring break. Teachers are not on spring break in Juneau, as is obvious by the large attendance at this meeting. The hearing was noticed at least a week ago. If folks want to be in Hawaii this time of year, that is their choice. However, this bill was not scheduled in a sneaky manner. MS. TURNER-BOGREN did not mean to say there was underhanded activity. She meant to say that many people would be very interested in communicating their concerns, and a lack of testimony does not mean there is a lack of concern. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he knows it is spring break because his wife, who is a teacher, is able to visit him in Juneau this week. Number 1604 CO-CHAIR BUNDE assured all those testifying that the HESS Committee is not the last stop for this bill. After the HESS Committee, the bill will travel to the Finance Committee, and then it may go to the floor. He knows there will be a great deal of debate in that case as well. If people have not had an ability to communicate with HESS Committee members this afternoon, there will be other opportunities. MS. TURNER-BOGREN said that school starts up next week, and she will be busy letting folks know. Number 1640 LARRY WIGET, Director of Government Relations, Anchorage School District, said for the record that according to the Anchorage mayor's statistics there are 248,296 people in the Anchorage bowl, and 47,609 are enrolled in the Anchorage School District (ASD). It is believed this is the highest pupil-to-adult ratio of any population of anywhere in the country. MR. WIGET said the ASD opposes passage of HB 230 and supports full funding of education at the $61,000 level. The statistics that were passed out by the DOE shows that the ASD would lose $4.1 million this year, and lose an additional $9 million next year. MR. WIGET said education is a people-intensive business. For example, ASD school buses drive 2.5 million miles yearly, and comprise the largest transportation system in the state. The ASD serves over 3 million lunches and 199,000 breakfasts annually, which makes the ASD food service the largest restaurant in the state. Number 1681 MR. WIGET said next year and the following year enrollment in the ASD is expected to rise by approximately 400 students each year. But the ASD is not satisfied with what is going on in the school district. The district is restructuring and it has put money into next year's budget to expand the middle school program and for schools for students at risk. This is all within the confines of the $61,000 instructional unit (IU). This has not risen since 1992. MR. WIGET noted that the average SAT scores in the ASD is 920, while the national average is 902. About 55 percent of ASD students take the test, and in some areas where the scores have been higher, many less students take the tests. The average ACT score in the ASD is 22.6, and the national average is 20.8. However, the ASD is not satisfied and they want to see that higher. This bill will make that difficult. MR. WIGET added that paper costs have increased 45 percent, therefore he would not provide his testimony on paper, but rather simply read it. The ASD has cut, over the past years, millions of dollars from its budgets. This past year, the ASD has increased its pupil-teacher ratio an average of one in the elementary schools and two in the secondary. Number 1730 MR. WIGET said the ASD has all but eliminated library aides, restructured the elementary music program, eliminated aide positions, cut a million dollars in technology funds and has been unable to keep up with instructional technology in the schools. MR. WIGET added that the ASD has delayed the purchase of new buses. In essence, this cut would be, at this point in time, a tremendous blow. The ASD has trimmed the fat from the budget, they are into the meat. It is the students that will suffer. Number 1756 KAREN DOXEY, Parent representative, Glacier Valley Site Council, said parents are interested, and they are involved, they just often don't know when to leap into the legislative process to testify. She gets most of her contact with parents at school meetings, soccer games, etc. Therefore, she has a fair idea of what a lot of parents are thinking. MS. DOXEY said schools in Juneau and in the state have had their funding cut and cut again. Some positive things have come from that. Like a family, in hard economic times districts have come together, decided what is important, and have become flexible and resourceful. However, no matter how flexible and resourceful they are, districts still need the basic resources to function. MS. DOXEY wished she could take HESS Committee members into Glacier Valley School for one day to see how those resources are spread around. There is a part-time reading specialist that travels from class to class. There is also a half-time counselor who spends his lunch time with children hoping he can open the door to them. The children can look at his schedule and see when he will be there. Number 1804 MS. DOXEY said there is a half-time music teacher, who miraculously gets concerts put on. Some children get the opportunity to feel special. She wishes that could be for all children. HB 230 would raise class sizes again. The schools are already way above the district recommendations. On paper, children are only numbers. However, if one could imagine his or her kindergarten student sitting in a class with 27 other children trying to feel special and understand what is going on, that is where it becomes real. MS. DOXEY said HESS Committee members may think parents do not want to pay for education. They want education but they do not want to pay for it. She has heard time and time again from parents that they want the state income tax reinstated. They did not mind paying it, and they don't know why it went away. Let's do it again. MS. DOXEY said those are things that have to be looked at. The foundation formula, the education budget and the federal restrictions all have to be addressed. However, that is not a reason to penalize the students this year. Therefore, she asked that HB 230 be abandoned, and support be given to HB 101 which provides for maintenance funding for the current year. Number 1860 KIMBERLY HOMME', teacher, Gruening Middle School, said she is in Juneau on spring break on her own money, and she wanted to say that maintaining the funding for the next two years would be detrimental to education in Anchorage, particularly in urban areas. Therefore, there is no way the AD will make it with less considering that projected enrollments are increasing. MS. HOMME' is concerned that the large number of students in the classrooms make it an unsafe environment. The education environment is more of a crowd control issue than a fun place to learn new things. Ms. Homme' has a classroom that is not really a classroom. It is a converted rifle range. It has cement floors, no windows and hanging fluorescent lights. It is not a traditional classroom, and the reason it is there is because the physical education (PE) classes are too crowded at 122 percent of capacity. Therefore, students need to come to her classroom for a quarter to be without PE to take a class in study skills. MS. HOMME' said the students survive her class, but they are not in PE with their friends. The point is, in other areas of the school, the eighth grade classes are at 35 and more students. This makes learning difficult. The violence in those classrooms increases. There is more detention and suspension. MS. HOMME' worked on an after-school discipline committee with other teachers on their own time in an attempt to figure out what to do about this new wave of violence in the classroom and in the school. The teachers are working on this, but they cannot do it alone. She urged HESS Committee members to amend HB 230 to reflect more of the Governor's proposal of an increase with an additional $18 million to reduce the class sizes so teachers can educate the students of Alaska more efficiently. Number 1942 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he would like nothing better than to do what Ms. Homme' asked, if he could. Several people have said that parents are being united by these problems. Co-Chair Bunde heard from an Anchorage parent that day who was very resentful that money is not being well-spent because some schools have a language- immersion program, polar school, all-day kindergarten. The schools have nice things, unfortunately, the time has come when only the necessary is possible. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said the rifle range is a nice idea. He said if it had been constructed on a necessary basis, it would have been a classroom. Co-Chair Bunde said his wife started teaching kindergarten with 30 children. When Co-Chair Bunde began teaching in the district the educational fad was classrooms with no walls. Last year the state funded the last walls for those wall-less classrooms. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Ms. Homme' to understand the frustration of the public. Money has not solved many of the problems. Number 1990 REPRESENTATIVE GARY DAVIS said he knows Ms. Homme' and he knows how hard she works. She puts a lot of dedication into her job. Representative Davis used to work with her at the city of Soldotna. He asked her to not feel alone as someone who is still in the line of fire. Everyone feels the same. REPRESENTATIVE NORMAN ROKEBERG asked if Gruening Middle School was in the Eagle River/Chugiak area on the Capital Improvement Planning request for the city of Anchorage. MS. HOMME' answered that there is a school that is going to built in South Anchorage that she is aware of. It is on line for two or three years from now. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked about Eagle River. MS. HOMME' said that two schools were going in, one in South Anchorage and one in Eagle River. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said his colleagues from around the state are looking into this squeeze problem. Number 2023 REPRESENTATIVE CAREN ROBINSON appreciated the testimony from Ms. Homme'. Ms. Homme' brought up the fact that Governor Knowles has been able to find a way to provide money. Everyone sitting at the HESS Committee meeting is saying the state does not have the money and it cannot be done. Representative Robinson wanted to know how Governor Knowles found a way to put $18 million into schools while leaving the IU at $61,000. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said when committee members say funding cannot happen, they are forgetting that it has happened in the budget that has been presented to the legislature. CO-CHAIR BUNDE thanked Ms. Homme' for testifying in Juneau and spending her own money to do so. She said her husband works in Juneau. Number 2045 REPRESENTATIVE TOM BRICE suggested that if Co-Chair Bunde's parent in Anchorage does have those concerns that she address the school board with those concerns because that is where those decisions are made. The school boards need to have the adequate funding. KRISTINE HARDER, Chair, Gastineau Parents Advisory Committee, said she represents all of Douglas Island. She asked her principal if she was sure she really wanted Ms. Harder to testify at the HESS Committee meeting. There may be people in her school who would not agree with what she is about to say. MS. HARDER said she is in the very fortunate position of being able to be a full-time parent. Therefore, she volunteers in the schools twice a week. She thinks she has a very good grasp of what is going on concerning the cuts that have taken place. It all comes down to the fact that these cuts are not going to affect her children. And it is not going to affect the children who are in the upper 25 percent of their classes. Number 2100 MS. HARDER said her school's jurisdiction contains two housing projects. There are children who have been sexually abused and who are suffering fetal alcohol effects, and whose parents drink to excess. There is really a sad state of affairs and the counseling position had to be cut to half-time. This means the teacher is trying to deal with those children as well as the children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), as well as the regular children, like Ms. Harder's, who may only be a cut-up part of the time. MS. HARDER explained that the teacher therefore must deal with all this. Both of the teachers Ms. Harder works with are excellent. One of them, Nina Massey, should be teacher of the year. When Ms. Harder is in the classroom helping students with math, there are some children who simply cannot grasp how to carry numbers. They just do not get it. MS. HARDER said therefore, it is the children whose parents would not come to testify, the kids whose parents do not help with their homework, that are going to be going on the welfare rolls. She said it is her concern that this a way of adding to the disintegration of our society. MS. HARDER announced that her principal would probably not want her to say these next statements. However, she asked HESS Committee members to table HB 230 and help the schools deal with tenure before the cuts come along. The district's hands are tied. Number 2140 MS. HARDER is from a union town, but this is the way she feels. She is happy to pay income tax and give up her permanent fund. However, she does not know how the schools can handle the cuts from this bill unless the districts are provided with some other way to deal with the cuts. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said Ms. Harder touched on a very important point. Some parents do not help their kids with homework, and the state cannot spend enough money to buy personal responsibility. Number 2172 CATHY CONNOR, Parent, commented on how she knows schools must carry a large burden these days. Teachers have to be parents and moral counselors, and they must feed everyone. They are asked to do a lot more than in the past. However, if they don't do it, it will not get done, society is at that point. Anyway parents can help the state, they will do it. MS. CONNOR's young son, Colin, sat on her lap as she testified. She patted him and said, "This is why we are all here." She asked HESS Committee members to remember that. Number 2215 NANCY DeCHERNEY, Parent, said she used to be on the site council at Auke Bay last year for the cuts. The outcome of the cuts was pretty dramatic. Now, for example, there is a half-time librarian who is also a gym teacher. Ms. DeCherney supports HESS Committee members in trying to cut costs and trying to contain costs. It has also been mentioned that this does not leave the schools with many ways to deal with expenses and situations. MS. DeCHERNEY said the schools cannot lay off tenured teachers, but there is the problem of how those teachers are going to be paid. That is something that needs to be addressed. Tenure is a pretty touchy issue, and Ms. DeCherney understands both sides of it. MS. DeCHERNEY said Auke Bay is out of white construction paper. There are 29 seven-year-olds in a room the size of the HESS Committee room. It is really difficult there. Ms. DeCherney spends a lot of her time volunteering at the school, and right now, parents are raising money for playground equipment. There would not be playground equipment at Auke Bay School if there had not been fund raisers. Number 2260 MS. DeCHERNEY said the quality of education in a community is what attracts people. As a state, there is a high level of educated people and a high level of education. She asked that the level not be dropped. It is an important investment in the state's future. Education is an economic necessity. Number 2277 MS. DeCHERNEY participated in the "Look to a Book" program fund raiser, and she had no problem getting people to give money to education. It is across the board, people are willing to fund projects that will increase the educational level of children. The money may not be in the budget, but people are willing to pay for it. She asked legislators to look for places to cut. MS. DeCHERNEY said Auke Bay school operates on a paper and glue fund that is less than a state agency of 45 people. There are 568 children making snow flakes on less paper than a state agency uses. Ms. DeCherney asked the state to look at the operating budget at Auke Bay more closely. She thought education needs to be funded, and educators need the tools to work with. She wished the HESS Committee members good luck. TAPE 95-22, SIDE B Number 000 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked Ms. DeCherney if the librarian/PE teacher also gets no break. MS. DeCHERNEY said the only break that teacher gets is running in between classes. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said tenure seems to also be an issue because of the serious cuts schools are having to take. The bottom line is that most people believe teachers are doing a good job. She asked if Ms. DeCherney felt teachers have also become a victim of funding loss. MS. DeCHERNEY said that everyone will experience "trauma" from the cuts. This is for both the kids and teachers. Ms. DeCherney challenged anyone in the HESS Committee room to spend a day with a class full of children. Number 074 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said that the people most critical of education have never spent a day in the classroom. CO-CHAIR BUNDE mentioned that Representative Davis has a bill that addresses her concern. The bill will reduce the state's use of paper. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said the fiscal note on Representative Davis's bill is zero, therefore she does not think the state will get much money from it. Number 143 JUNE HALL, Parent, said she has two children in the Juneau School District. A lot of good points have been brought up in the meeting, however, Ms. Hall sees that parents want their children to be well-educated and safe. They want this more than anything because that is their future. It is the responsibility of the state to help with that goal. If it takes reorganization or new taxes or whatever, that is more important than cutting the funding for education. MS. HALL said it seems that Alaska is in a unique position. Even though the state is far removed from the Lower 48, it is not behind the times and trends. Actually, Alaska is in a good position to see the future, because what has happened in the Lower 48 will eventually happen in Alaska. MS. HALL said Alaskans can see the results of lack of funding for education in the Lower 48. Therefore, Alaska is well-positioned to prevent a lot of things that have happened Outside from happening here. Cutting funding for education will bring Alaska a host of unwanted problems. Number 259 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY handed out a sheet showing the level and composition of school revenue from 1991. Alaska is the third highest in the nation, following New York and New Jersey. Alaska is very high in terms of funding. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said the sheet does not take into account certain extremely rural districts that have a very high cost-per- student. Whereas, when looking at Anchorage and Fairbanks, the average cost per student drops to $5,000 to $6,000. This chart does not take into account the extreme circumstances that exist in Alaska. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he remembers the cost-per-student is over $7,000 in Anchorage. However, Representative Brice's point is well-taken. At Mt. Edgecumbe, the cost per student is $15,000. In the Bristol Bay area, it is over $30,000 per student. Co-Chair Bunde has a list of communities over three pages long that pay zero local support to their public schools. There are 21 schools in the state that have 12 or fewer students. Each of these schools costs $160,000 a year to run. CO-CHAIR BUNDE, if allowed, would close all those schools and put the money where the majority of students are. It is not against the law to close those schools. The Molly Hootch decision was not a law, it was an agreement that ran out two years ago. It was an agreement to spend state money. Number 437 MARTY LASTER, Superintendent, Craig School District, knew the HESS Committee members were expecting him to advocate schools. However, he is also a parent and a taxpayer. Mr. Laster hoped to bring a different perspective to the testimony. People have spoken eloquently, and he knows HESS Committee members are concerned about the reductions. MR. LASTER spoke in terms of a pledge school districts have made to taxpayers. The legislature has moved ahead the commitment to an improved educational system and to raising standards. Legislators correctly want districts to be more accountable. They want districts to take responsibility for their students. The communities want the same thing. The district staff wants to do the same thing. Number 519 MR. LASTER believes schools are responding in good faith. The community demands no less. Mr. Laster respects the comments of Co- Chair Bunde. All people in the state are in this together. This is a statewide issue. Mr. Laster has been involved in education for about 17 years. It sometimes gets dangerous when people talk about a librarian here versus the cost of education there versus basketball costs here. MR. LASTER stressed that each district is very different, and local choices must be made. Mr. Laster said his school is small. There are currently 400 students. He came from an assistant superintendent position in Mat-Su, where there was closer to 12,000 students. However, the growth in Craig is probably the greatest in the state. They went from 141 students in 1984 to 400 currently. MR. LASTER said Craig would benefit from a lower PTR (pupil-teacher ratio) in the first through third grades. However, they would not want to have this at the expense of other schools. Teachers are working extremely hard. They are taking that pledge in terms of the work they do each day. In addition, they are working to raise the expectations in each of the content areas. They are outlining performance-based assessments so people can come into the schools and see how well students communicate. Number 657 MR. LASTER said people can see the kinds of operations that students perform in his school. His staff works extremely hard. They are honoring the investment that legislators make in the schools. He echoed a former speaker. While he fully supports full funding, he would rather see late, adequate funding. He appreciates the sincere struggle legislators have with the public trust for Alaska's youth. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said Mr. Laster's point on the local options and local applications is well-taken. The state is providing the money, therefore there will be strings. In Tanana, the district charters airplanes to send the basketball teams back and forth to play neighboring areas. In the meantime, in Sitka they had to give up their speech therapist. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said the challenge faced is an awesome one. While he supports local control, when the state signs the check there must be local involvement as well. Number 723 MR. LASTER suggested that the infrastructure across the state is different, and therefore it makes it difficult to compare having access through different means like the ferry versus roads versus air. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asserted that there must be priorities, such as speech therapists and the A B Cs. Somewhere down the line is basketball. MR. LASTER said he appreciates that and thanked the committee. Number 781 MICHAEL ALLEN, Member of the Gastineau School Site Council, adjunct faculty member at the University of Alaska Southeast and member of the Juneau business community, said he has listened to the litany of whines, complaints, fears and legitimate issues that everyone faces regarding education funding in Alaska. He does not want to add to the eloquently stated issues. He wanted to challenge the Governor and the legislature to prove to parents that education has a top priority in this state. MR. ALLEN said for the legislature to sit and say there is no money, and nothing can be done, is wrong. It is a reflection that education has been a low priority. Education needs to be placed in the number one, top priority. There is no single investment the state can make that will provide Alaska with a better short and long-term return on the money. Number 840 MR. ALLEN said he went through a gruesome process of budget cutting in Gastineau last year. That did result in creative and flexible resource use in the school. However, there are incomplete computer stations and not enough books and papers. Teachers are spending thousands of dollars of their own money just to supply pencils and crayons in their classrooms. MR. ALLEN again challenged HESS Committee members, and he said he would keep challenging them. Parents will vote accordingly. He asked that education be made a priority, and that a way be found to fund it. He asked them to look at creative options and/or put in an income tax and/or take away the permanent fund. He asked them to have political courage and not worry about whether or not they are re-elected. MR. ALLEN said it is more important that Alaska's children get a good education. Number 899 CO-CHAIR BUNDE reminded Mr. Allen that the largest single expenditure in the state was education. Some people would call it political courage, and others would call it a dictatorship. Everyone must be involved to reach a consensus. JACK KREINHEDER, Policy Analyst, Office of Management and Budget OMB), said he was representing the OMB in his remarks. He wished to speak about a different aspect of the bill, which is the fund source. It is an appropriation from the constitutional budget reserve. To sum up, the Administration has serious concerns about the appropriation from the fund source. The Administration is not stating outright opposition to the bill, but would like to indicate concern. MR. KREINHEDER said the Administration felt the bill may be premature given those concerns. Perhaps it should not be passed at this point. Firstly, the bill would take a large amount of money, $1.4 billion, off the table and out of the state's largest source of reserve fund. The concern there is the reduction in the state's reserves and the ability to offset any unexpected decline in oil prices or production. MR. KREINHEDER said the second concern is that the Administration feels this bill preempts the fiscal commission that was just established by the legislature less than one month ago. Appropriating $1.4 billion from the budget reserve fund would take one of the major elements of any long-range fiscal or budget plan out of the commission's purview. If the legislature is serious about letting the commission work, it would be a good idea to hear what it has to say before that decision is made. Number 1018 MR. KREINHEDER continued that the Administration is concerned that this action of depleting the state's reserves by $1.4 billion could potentially jeopardize Alaska's bond rating. The Department of Revenue (DOR) has some concerns. It believes the bond rating agencies look at the balance of that budget reserve fund as one of the factors that gives them comfort that the state can pay its bonds. MR. KREINHEDER said that is a bit of an unknown, but it does raise concern. MR. KREINHEDER added that the fourth concern is one of the most serious problems. It is that appropriating $1.4 billion from the budget reserve may put Alaska in a cash flow deficit situation. In other words, even though the budget theoretically balances for FY 96 or FY 97, since so much of the state's money goes out in July of the fiscal year in all the various grants and construction monies, etc., if the balance of the budget reserve is brought down below a certain point, the state may actually run out of cash. MR. KREINHEDER said in such a case, the legislature will start hearing from a lot of state employees who are not getting their paychecks, among other things. Number 1088 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said there was $14 billion in the state savings account, and asked why the OMB was worried about the bond rating. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked, "What bonds?" CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked what the balance was in the budget reserve. MR. KREINHEDER said the balance at the end of this year, short of an appropriation such as this, would be about $1.6 billion. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY thinks it is important for people to know that this is a two year, forward funding budget for the schools. Certainly, this can be made a one-year appropriation, and then the legislature can take the chance that oil prices go down. In that case, the funding would even be less next year. People should realize that. Number 1130 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG is concerned about the reasons Mr. Kreinheder stated. He said he either does not understand them or does not find them troublesome at all. He is particularly not concerned about the last item. As was just mentioned, this is forward funding. In terms of cash flow, it can either be funded today or funded 12 months from now. Representative Rokeberg asked what the difference was. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said the idea here is to provide the school districts with some additional funding because, if he is not mistaken, the schools will receive the interest on that money for the following fiscal year. Therefore, there would be a cash flow increase to the district, not to the budget reserve fund. Representative Rokeberg said he did not understand Mr. Kreinheder's concerns. MR. KREINHEDER said he would be happy to have a representative of the Department of Revenue speak to that. LIZ JOHNSON, Parent, said her children attend Juneau-Douglas High School (JDHS). She can see that people are talking about public education, but education continues into adulthood also. She is alarmed at the intent of HB 230 to control state spending at the expense of students' education. She strongly requested that the funding at the very least be maintained at the current IU level of $61,000. MS. JOHNSON is aware that over the last few years salaries and benefits have increased for staff across the state. This is a problem that must surely be addressed, but not in such a manner that compromises educational quality. Number 1210 MS. JOHNSON said a reduction in the foundation formula will directly hit the average student, who are the majority in the schools. Many needs of special education students receive support from federal funds or grants. She speaks for many of the parents in the high school and locally, and they request that any increase that might be granted to the education budget or even a portion of those that are left be directly tied in with restrictions for their use. MS. JOHNSON said in this way, qualitative items such as curriculum development, lower PTRs, etc., are more effectively achieved. Perhaps instead of talking budgets, and who or what should get how much, the state should be discussing such issues as tenure laws, and whether members of the public, as teachers and parents, are meeting the future needs of the students. MS. JOHNSON asked about the methods available for evaluating what is going on in the schools. Number 1255 MS. JOHNSON continued that it is time to put the delivery of education at the top of the list. The children as individuals, not as crowded groups, should come first. In the end, these efforts will result in a more efficient and effective use for each dollar left. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said there will be a work session next week on a bill that would radically revise tenure and some other issues. Co- Chair Bunde said Ms. Johnson hit a very important point. The largest state expenditure is education, and somewhere between 82 percent and 87 percent of that goes to salary and benefits. It does not end up in the classroom. The bill will call for a lower PTR. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said the bill to which Co-Chair Bunde was referring was HB 217. Number 1295 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said Ms. Johnson hit an interesting point about how the state should be treating its children as individuals and not as crowded groups. However, then she related back to the need to repeal tenure laws. Representative Brice believes the repeal of tenure laws may result in the increase of the PTRs because many teachers have been cut. This may be done to a point where the state may be simply warehousing children. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said that is a concern tenure helps to address. It does provide some protection to teachers in that area. CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced that the working group on HB 217 would be on March 29 at 3 p.m. Number 1345 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON noticed that Co-Chair Toohey is putting the public school finance program out. Maybe after everyone else has testified, Duane Guiley, Director of School Finance, Department of Education, could come forward and compare Alaska with the Lower 48. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said she got that information from Mr. Guiley. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said it would still be helpful if he would come forward and go through those figures. Number 1375 CATHERINE FRITZ, Parent, said she has three children. Two of them are in the public school system and one is, very intentionally, in a private school this year. She said people have alluded to the fact that we are all trying to do more with less. Teachers work long hours, and they somehow manage to be gym teachers and librarians. Students work hard, both a school and at home. Parents are also working very hard. MS. FRITZ said personally, she has been very involved with bringing a private program, formerly a private education curriculum, into the public Juneau School District. This has been done very successfully this year. Part of the reason the program was able to be started is because 17 children were brought from the private sector to the public schools. This allowed an instructional unit to come into the public school system. MS. FRITZ said she is concerned that if the legislature starts cutting away at the already existing funding, the opportunity for bringing in alternative programs to provide choices to parents is going to be even more reduced and more difficult than it is now. Number 1428 MS. FRITZ said in order to even keep this program going this year, the parents and the 27 children in the classroom have raised over $11,000. Ms. Fritz personally gave a portion of her dividend check to Harborview school to be able to make this program work. There are many, many people who are doing that. MS. FRITZ thinks decreasing funding is going to make the situation worse in the long run. The state is at the point where many people are barely hanging in there with public schools. If the classrooms are made larger, the choices diminished, if more problems are given to a teacher in a classroom day, teachers are going to say they have had enough and leave. MS. FRITZ said she is fortunate enough to afford options. However, many people cannot. The state cannot get down to serving the basic education needed for Alaska's children if funding is continually diminished. She asked HESS Committee members to at least let the schools keep the status quo funding. MS. FRITZ said ideally, the schools need more money. She asked that funding be constantly addressed, that options be kept open so parents want their children in public schools. Number 1475 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said Ms. Fritz hit an important point, that the funding does provide options. Some want those options and some do not. SALLY RUE, Parent, said she has two children and she has been an involved parent ever since they started school in Anchorage. Since then, they have moved to Juneau. The quality of her children's education means more to her than keeping her permanent fund dividend high, or not paying income taxes, or not paying school tax. As a parent, she would be happy to pay those things because education is important for Alaska's children. MS. RUE said each child only goes through each grade one time. If the education is not right, you cannot go back and do it over again. MS. RUE also served on the Juneau Board of Education. She would like to present some information for the consideration of the HESS Committee members. She understands it is difficult, and legislators may feel they keep putting more money into education. From the view of the Board of Education, the district already feels like it has been tightening its belt for years. MS. RUE explained that over the last eight years, inflation has been around 24 percent. There has been a 1.6 percent increase in the foundation formula. That means for years, the Juneau School District has had to chip away at programs. It has gotten to the point where non-personnel costs are down to 8 percent of the budget. MS. RUE said everything that could be cut, has been cut. Last year, the district was forced to make a $2.5 million cut. This was out of what maintenance funding would be. The only way the district could come up with that amount of money, out of a $35 million budget, was to cut all nontenured teachers. This district has worked very hard to keep class size low. Last year, the district was forced to lay off all nontenured teachers because there was no way to deal with that kind of cut. Number 1576 MS. RUE said the district is looking at a $1.2 million cut this year, just to be able to balance the budget. This is on top of all the other cuts. That is also taking even funding into consideration--the funding that the Governor proposed. HB 230 would mean that the district would lose yet another $500,000 in state funding, plus lose $109,000 in local funding. MS. RUE said many things can be said about Juneau, but Juneau pays its fair share in education. This year, 36 percent of the district's budget comes from local funding. As the district is proposing a budget for next year, the local contribution will increase to 38 percent. Juneau is at the cap. If basic need is cut, it will take away the ability of the Juneau community to support education. HESS Committee members heard testimony that shows people are very supportive of education, and they are willing to help pay for it. Number 1622 MS. RUE thought that was the direction the state is trying to go. HB 230 means going backwards for Juneau in terms of local support. Some of the results of cutting the nontenured teachers last year was larger class sizes this year. This is tough on teachers, it is tough on children and parents also. The district is trying to deal with this in a number of ways. The district is looking at some very creative solutions. However, it cannot be expected that a service be provided when the funding goes down every year in real dollars. This is what is happening because of inflation. Number 1645 MS. RUE said that offerings at the high school had to be cut. Nurses, counselors and librarians had to be cut mostly back to half-time. Children need medicine, and receptionists and secretaries in the school offices are dispensing serious medications to students. They feel very uncomfortable about that. MS. RUE thinks the hardest thing is that the district is trying very hard to improve education, not just keep it status quo. When class sizes are going up, it is very difficult to ask teachers to perform more hands-on learning. Everyone knows kids learn better when they are doing things. There has been a lot of research to this effect. This is better than the old model of a teacher standing at the front of a classroom. MS. RUE said however, they have larger class sizes and less money, and that makes it harder to do those things. It is harder when there are less materials. When there is a lower nonpersonnel budget there are less materials for kids in a class and it is harder for teachers to do innovative things. That is one of the biggest binds. Ms. Rue invited all the HESS Committee members out to the Juneau schools to see the good things that are going on. Number 1700 MS. RUE said the Juneau district is trying very hard to do a better job in a lot of different ways. However, it is harder and harder with higher class sizes. She urged HESS Committee members to please keep the funding level. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said that people are talking about HB 215 regarding tenured teachers. Some people feel a bill such as this will solve the problem, and that Alaska can continue with this bill, maintain funding at the same level, not put any increase in PTRs, and just deal with the tenured teacher problem and that will solve the problem. Representative Robinson sought Ms. Rue's opinion on this, and if she thought it would help the Juneau school district. Number 1742 MS. RUE said she thought a bill concerning tenured teachers would not solve Juneau's problem because Juneau's problem lies in the fact that it does not have enough teachers in the classroom. MS. RUE said the Juneau district is looking at all sorts of ways to contain costs. As everyone is aware, the district is in the middle of negotiating contracts. The district is looking at all sorts of significant ways to keep providing quality education. MS. RUE thought, however, that one of the things a tenure-related bill would do would be to give the district some flexibility. It is not going to help to get rid of many teachers. However, what might help is to have more flexibility so the district can make priorities and hire the teachers needed to teach certain subjects, and to provide the programs necessary. MS. RUE felt it was not a good thing to have a teacher who has tenure shunted off teaching something they are not prepared to teach and do not want to teach. It is not good for them, and it is not good for children. Ms. Rue said therefore, tenure issues are not entirely the solution here. Number 1767 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he does not share the notion that getting rid of tenure will solve the problems in teaching. He is concerned that school boards will simply fire expensive teachers, and budget problems in those districts would be solved in that manner. However, that is a discussion that will take place this week. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON thought there is sometimes an assumption that the whole problem lies with tenured teachers instead of the fact that there is not enough funding. She is not saying that people sitting in the meeting felt that way, but sometimes there is a public perception to that effect. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said the problem lies with that 80-90 percent of revenue goes to salaries and benefits. It is a very challenging issue. Number 1800 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said if a district could hire 10 teachers for a certain sum of money, or 20 teachers for that same sum, the district would certainly hire 20. That is where everyone's hands are tied. There is no way to reasonably balance the money problem. That is where the changes must be made. MS. RUE said last year the district instituted a local retirement incentive program. Because of this program, the district was able to hire about eight more lower cost teachers. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked for the starting salary of a Juneau school teacher. MS. RUE believed it is between $31,000 and $32,000. It is right in the middle of the state range. This amount includes benefits. Number 1849 CLAUDIA DOUGLAS, President, National Education Association (NEA) - Alaska, said her organization is opposed to HB 230. NEA Alaska has attempted to present the case for funding of Alaska's public schools. Preparation of children for the challenges of the coming century is critical to the economic development of Alaska. The jobs of the future will demand that Alaska's people develop special technical and academic skills to master new challenges. Schools ar attempting to teach those skills today. MS. DOUGLAS said both parents and school employees recognize the problems concerning children in 1995, and they do not compare to the problems we experienced as children. The school of 1995 has a totally different set of challenges than the schools of 1975, 1965, or 1955. The reality is that the pressures and the expectations demanded of our public schools for the most part go unfunded. Number 1883 MS. DOUGLAS had some prepared remarks, but she wanted to go on record with only a few of them. For the ten-year period between 1983 and 1993, school enrollment in Alaska grew by more than 25,000 students. This is slightly less than 26 percent. Alaska has historically ranked in the top ten states nationally in the percentage of increase in student enrollment from one year to the next. MS. DOUGLAS said in 1983 Alaska ranked eighth nationally, and in 1993, Alaska ranked fourth in the percent change in public enrollment from the previous year. From 1984-1993, public schools in Alaska employed 762 new teachers to accommodate the growth and to address new instructional priorities such as special education, alternative programs and so forth. Even though districts hired more full-time equivalent of teachers, the PTR increased from 15.2 percent in 1983 to 17.1 percent in 1993. During that period, teachers had more children while at the same time they implemented new programs to address the needs of the changing student population. MS. DOUGLAS said teachers and staff were doing more with diminishing state support. At the same time, the Administration and the legislature sent ominous messages about the health and welfare of public education. Since 1986, public education has suffered severe financial setbacks. Correlated with the drop in oil prices, state support for public education was severely cut back. MS. DOUGLAS said between 1985-86 and 1986-87 school years, the level of state support dropped by 15 percent. During Alaska's first year as a state, the appropriation for supporting public education was 44 percent of the total operating budget. Number 1953 MS. DOUGLAS continued that ten years later, in 1970-71, that level of support had dropped to 35 percent. During the year of 1990-91, the total share for K-12 education was 17 percent of the operating budget. Even when local financial commitments are taken into consideration, the total Alaska level of funding for public education is poor. Again, this has not always been the case. During its first decade as a state, 30 to 38 percent of all the state and local operating expenditures went into public education. MS. DOUGLAS added that during the 1987-88 year, when the new funding formula was put into place, the IU value was at $60,000. This level, in itself was 8 percent lower than the rate of the state's support from the previous school year. The unit has been adjusted only one time. MS. DOUGLAS commented that children have not been the only ones to pay a price for inadequate funding. Number 1988 MS. DOUGLAS felt it was a misconception that Alaska's teachers have continued to get these great increases in salary. School employees, through cuts and freezes in compensations and benefits, have subsidized the cost of public education in many places. From 1983 to 1993, the national average for salaries increased by 62.9 percent. In comparison, the average salary for Alaska's teachers increased by 23.2 percent. MS. DOUGLAS said from 1992 to 1993, the percent change in the average salary for public school teachers was 1.2 percent. In comparison to what the total population has done, from 1982 to 1992 the percent of change in Alaska's per capita personal income was 30 percent. Again, this is compared to teacher's salaries going up 23 percent. Number 2020 MS. DOUGLAS made one final comment. The NEA urges the HESS Committee members to not cut the funding level for students that are currently in the schools and for students that are coming into the system. There is a going to be a large increase in enrollment in Alaska in the next ten years. MS. DOUGLAS said there has been wonderful testimony from parents and people from all over Alaska. She urged HESS Committee members to reconsider HB 230. Ms. Douglas said she would be providing a copy of the position paper for HESS Committee members. Number 2047 DUANE GUILEY, Director of School Finance, Department of Education (DOE), said the current Administration supports full and early funding for education. It recognizes the legislature is trying to deal with this funding issue early, and that is appreciated. However, HB 230 does fall short of making revenue available for growth in student population. MR. GUILEY said it has been currently estimated that in 1996 the need for full funding of the foundation formula will increase anywhere from $14 to $16 million. For FY 97, it may be as high as $23 to $24 million. Under current statute, this bill would require the Administration to prorate the IU value to schools throughout the state. This would be done after the DOE first gives credit for the increased student enrollment at those districts that are growing. Then the DOE would prorate the unit value to all districts. The estimated unit value of proration for FY 96 will be in the neighborhood of $59,000, and it will be down to $58,000 in FY 97. Number 2087 MR. GUILEY said the current Administration and the Governor have asked support for full and early funding for education. While Alaska used to enjoy the position statistically of having the highest adjusted expenditure per student in the nation. In fact, for the six years that ended 1988, Alaska was the highest in the nation. Alaska no longer enjoys that position. The level of spending per child in Alaska has decreased over the last four years with the lowest level of spending being the most recent year of 1992. MR. GUILEY said therefore, the trend for spending on education in Alaska has been declining on an adjusted basis. Again, Mr. Guiley asked HESS Committee members to support full funding for education including an increment for student growth. Number 2115 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY had asked her secretary to call Mr. Guiley to get the running total. The chart handed out to HESS Committee members is what was given to the secretary. Unfortunately, it is not up- to-date and Co-Chair Toohey apologized for handing it out. MR. GUILEY clarified that the chart in the handout is unadjusted expenditures. This is raw dollars that do not account for the effects of geographic differentials in spending. The chart is an accurate statement that in raw dollars for FY 90-91, Alaska expended approximately $9,057 per student. On an adjusted basis, using an area cost differential, most recently they are using approximately 1.30 for Alaska as compared to the national average. On an adjusted basis, Alaska has dropped below many other states. Currently, New York is spending the most per student on an adjusted basis. MR. GUILEY said therefore, there are two different comparisons. The chart shows raw, unadjusted dollars. Number 2157 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked where Alaska stands under raw dollars in 1995. MR. GUILEY answered that using raw dollars, the statewide average expenditure now is somewhere below $8,000 per student. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked where Mr. Guiley thought Alaska would stand within the nation. MR. GUILEY said the most recent data he has available on a national basis is for the period ending 1992. On an adjusted scale (adjusted based on area cost differentials) the national average is $5,452. Alaska was $6,298. Therefore, Alaska was still $800 above the national average. That compares to the time period of 1982-83, when the national average was in fact $4,178 on an adjusted basis. Alaska was spending $7,286, or almost $3,000 above the national average. Therefore, Alaska's position has declined significantly over the last ten years in relation to the nation. Number 2197 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked Mr. Guiley where the area cost differentials come from. He asked who makes these calculations. MR. GUILEY said the numbers he was quoting are from a recent report that was published by the education commission on the state entitled, "How much are schools spending." Mr. Guiley offered to make copies of that document for HESS Committee members. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if the commission and their consultants made that calculation as far as creating the integers for the Adjusted Cost Differential (ACD). MR. GUILEY said the state cost of living indexes were based upon a survey analysis of salary trends in 1990 published by a F. Howard Nelson in July 1990. Again Mr. Guiley offered to make copies for HESS Committee members. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG confirmed that the numbers are created in- house. Number 2224 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked what the impacts will be on property taxpayers if school districts are funded at FY 95 levels. His concern is that if school districts pick up the slack, are they going to have the room necessary to find other funds, and if they are, where are those funds coming from? TAPE 95-23, SIDE A Number 000 MR. GUILEY said under current statute, organized school districts such as city and borough school districts, are allowed to contribute an amount of local contribution in excess of basic need equal to 23 percent of adjusted basic need. Therefore, if HB 230 is to pass and the unit value were to be prorated, the local contribution limit would also be prorated downward. MR. GUILEY recalled previous testimony that said in Juneau, the district would absorb a reduction in state aid of a certain amount, and the district would also absorb a reduction in local aid because they are currently contributing at the maximum they can. Other districts in a similar situation would be Kenai and Ketchikan. MR. GUILEY said some other districts may also be affected. The DOE is in the process of making a calculation of that now, and he will present that to the committee with copies of Mr. Guiley's report so he can give HESS Committee members the actual numbers district by district. Number 075 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said that is part of a challenge this legislature will face, which is addressing that cap. There was an earlier briefing about the disparity funding and how the federal government ties the hands of the state. As Mr. Guiley pointed out, some districts are up to the cap, and those districts would be severely affected. Those districts may be very frustrated because they are willing to do more and the law does not allow them to do more. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said there are many others who are not near the cap and there are those who contribute zero. That is also a frustration for the legislators. Number 124 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE followed up on the previous comments to ask about increases in the foundation formula and the function of disparity test. He asked Mr. Guiley to clarify whether the 25 percent disparity between the districts is going to have a large effect on the school districts, and will it jeopardize the state? MR. GUILEY said the 25 percent disparity calculation is a measure of relative wealth based on the adjusted unit value comparing the most expensive unit value to the least costly unit value in the state. The DOE is able to eliminate the top and bottom 5 percent, and the comparison is made on the 90 percent remaining. The difference between the least expensive compared to the most expensive of that 90 percent cannot exceed 25 percent. That is controlled by federal law. MR. GUILEY said that relates the local contribution cap of 23 percent, but it does not track exactly the same. That has been changed recently, however, in the federal government. Number 219 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said there are some districts that are growing faster than others. Because of that growth and the fact that the state will be funding them at the same level in FY 96 as in FY 95, he would assume those districts are going to experience a decrease in unit funding. MR. GUILEY had stated earlier that the DOE first adjusts entitlement based upon actual enrollment. Therefore, districts that are experiencing a growth will actually get credit for that increased growth. Then, the DOE prorates all districts equally. As an example, in an extreme case, Mat-Su Borough School District is projecting that their state aid will grow by approximately $4.3 million from 1995 to 1996. Number 283 MR. GUILEY said therefore, their actual prorated entitlement will increase $3 million in FY 96 over 95. They will be down $1.2 million from their full entitlement. They will then have to absorb this large growth of students with less money than they would have under a full entitlement situation. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said therefore, for Mat-Su it would be a $4.2 million reduction. MR. GUILEY said that can be argued. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said discussion of the cap is another challenge that can be faced on another day. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked Mr. Guiley if he had an estimate of how much revenue a $100 school tax would generate. MR. GUILEY said he has that in his office from a year or two ago, but he does not have that information with him today. Number 350 CO-CHAIR BUNDE observed that it was not a significant amount of money, and the state faces the challenge that it cannot have designated revenues. Co-Chair Bunde feels that $100 is too low to make a significant difference. JOHN HOLST, Superintendent, Sitka School District, gave HESS Committee members a petition brought to Juneau by Becky Richards. The petition was signed by parents in Sitka. He said the overwhelming testimony opposing HB 230 has been very encouraging to him. He asked HESS Committee members to listen to what they are hearing. People, especially in Juneau and Sitka and places where the cap is affecting them, are up against the wall. MR. HOLST said what HB 230 is asking them to do is not just take the cut but to also take the cut the cap will put on top of that. Therefore, the legislators should add 23 percent to any cut being made. That is what the impact is going to be. MR. HOLST asked to be given some solutions for this problem. Mr. Holst thinks the solution lies in the statement earlier made by Bruce Bachen. Forty-five states in this country spend a larger percentage of their budget on education. Mr. Holst stressed that number, and the fact that puts Alaska almost dead last. Number 467 MR. HOLST said the answer to this is, get the funding of education to the right percentage of the total budget. That means the funding should be increasing. Everyone in the meeting today begged HESS Committee members to just decrease funding by 3 percent this year, and fund the $61,000 unit. Because that is, in essence, what legislators are doing if 3 percent is the cost of living and cost of doing business has gone up every year. MR. HOLST continued that every year, district representatives keep coming back to the legislature and everyone keeps talking about holding education harmless and giving the schools $61,000. But the legislature gives education a 3 percent cut every time it does that. MR. HOLST said those testifying are begging the HESS Committee members to give education a 3 percent cut. Not six or seven, or cumulative eight or nine or ten over the next several years. It is going to be a disaster in the schools across the state. Number 528 CO-CHAIR BUNDE observed that Alaska is statistically lower in terms of its educational funding as part of the state funding. However, he has heard from people every day who tell him that the Alaska state spending is three times higher than that of the nearest state per capita. Statistics are wonderful things depending on what they tell. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said according to the chart handed out, Alaska is ranked number four or five in the nation in percentage of budget contribution. Therefore, he thinks the last statistic is at odds with the chart. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked that statistics not be argued about. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON pointed out that the chart was from 1991. Number 580 KATE YOUNG, Parent, said she has three daughters. She is very involved in her children's education. She knows what they are learning and if they are meeting their goals. She is not, therefore, testifying so much on their behalf. She is testifying for the children she sees in schools when she volunteers. These children do not have parents who are involved in education. MS. YOUNG thinks it is so important that the message be sent to Alaska's children that education is a priority. Ms. Young said that those testifying previously had said many good things. However, up above the capitol building, in Capitol School, there are 27 children to a kindergarten class. That is probably as many people that were present at the hearing at that time. MS. YOUNG asked HESS Committee members to imagine being one teacher, trying to teach all those children. She has volunteered there, and she has seen many extremes. Some children go into school and they have basic skills and knowledge that they have been introduced to prior to school. There are other children, however, that have never even seen the A B Cs. There is a broad spectrum of levels that teachers are expected to deal with. Ms. Young said the knowledge base levels out in the subsequent grades for the most part, but in kindergarten there is a large disparity in knowledge. MS. YOUNG encouraged HESS Committee members to visit Capitol School and observe what a good job the teachers are doing with what they have. However, the people that are going to lose out are those children whose families are living in cars or who live in a small space with numerous family members. These children do not have a place to do their homework. Number 724 MS. YOUNG said that for some children, school is the only place they get a lunch. In Juneau they do not get a hot lunch, but they get a lunch. If cuts are made, it will be like taking the rug out from underneath those children. Ms. Young stressed that current funding is needed. With the increase in enrollment, even more funding is necessary. Alternatives must be studied. Number 755 MS. YOUNG said she has a second-grader and a fourth-grader. Both those children love school. Ms. Young also has a 16-year-old who has dropped out of school. Ms. Young said her daughter cannot stand 40 people in an algebra class. She cannot learn anything. MS. YOUNG said that is why she is here. She volunteers in the schools. She is helping children who don't have parents who are active in their education. It is really important that education be kept as a priority. CO-CHAIR BUNDE assured Ms. Young that he has been there. His wife teaches kindergarten, and he volunteers when he can. He understands that disparity. Some children are precocious, and some are still wetting their pants. Unfortunately, some parents look at school as daycare. MS. YOUNG said that Juneau is trying to train parents to work more with the school system. Number 850 DON SCHULZ, retired teacher, expressed concern about the overriding preoccupation with cutting funding instead of raising revenues. When Mr. Schulz came to Alaska in 1967, there did not exist the problem in educational funding that Alaska now has. Yet, there were no oil revenues. However, the people of Alaska supported education and their schools. MR. SCHULZ said Alaska has a few things to look forward to should HB 230 pass. The conditions of the school buildings will get worse. Subsequently, the maintenance costs will significantly increase. Already crowded classrooms will get more and more crowded. Not only will they get more crowded, but they will be crowded with children that have problems. MR. SCHULZ said that children with fetal alcohol effects and those with other learning problems will be in the classrooms. With the rise of increased teen-age pregnancies and the premature babies that come with that, one out of four of those children develop into a pupil with learning difficulties. MR. SCHULZ said therefore, reduced funding not only adds children to the classroom, it adds more children with more problems. It is not one more child. It may be one more child that needs the equivalent of three or four children in terms of attention. Number 948 MR. SCHULZ said that additional funds will not make it all better. But he guaranteed that things will get worse with less money available for education. They will get worse in a state that was once a state of great opportunity. Alaska was a pioneer state, and a leader. Mr. Schulz asked, what kind of educational system do we want, and what will be the future for Alaska's young people. Number 985 DON FANCHER, Executive Director, AVCP Housing Authority; former school board president, Lower Kuskokwim School District; and former member of the State Board of Education; said Mr. Guiley knows very well that many schools do not spend their money equally. Mr. Fancher applauds the desire of Co-Chair Bunde to make spending priorities equal. Mr. Fancher feels that general fund dollars should not be used to fly children to ball games if funds are needed elsewhere. MR. FANCHER remembered that Auke Bay school has ran out of paper, and he knows of teachers who buy their own paper. The children in his school district buy their own paper to help out the school. Mr. Fancher and his wife also help out at the school. A number of bathrooms in his school have had to be converted to classrooms due to space constraints. HESS Committee members know that keeping the money at the same amount means less money for districts. If there is no more money, the districts need less costs. MR. FANCHER said as the maintenance costs go up, so does deferred maintenance. Those costs are horrendous. The problems are going to go beyond control, and it puts children at risk. The bill says it is full funding for two years. Mr. Fancher says the bill is almost cruel. It may result in the HESS Committee being much more loaded with the needs of the Division of Family and Youth Services. Number 1130 MR. FANCHER's region is one of the poorest in the United States. There has been a lot of opposing testimony to HB 230. He implored HESS Committee members to heed that testimony. Mr. Fancher thanked HESS Committee members for studying this issue. The children of Alaska are held at the top, and they should be kept there because they deserve it. CO-CHAIR BUNDE closed public testimony on HB 230. Number 1181 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said in Sections 1 and 2, under "Additional District Support," in both areas which is line 8, page 2 in Section 1 and line 24, page 3 in Section 2, the FY 96 numbers are given from the Governor's DOE budget versus the FY 95 numbers. Representative Brice brought this up because the FY 96 numbers are lower than the FY 95 numbers. Representative Brice wanted to know if that was done on purpose or was that an oversight by the drafters of the bill. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said it was not an oversight. FY 96 numbers were chosen because that was the last level of state funding. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said the last amount FY 95 authorized was $3.6 million. In FY 96, the Governor's recommendation was roughly $3.2 million. Therefore, the last amount authorized would have been $3.6 million. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he would check on that fact. He asked for a five minute at-ease. The time was 3:55 p.m. CO-CHAIR BUNDE called the meeting back to order at 4:01 p.m. MR. GUILEY was asked to address Representative Brice's question. He said the difference between the two numbers is a one-time appropriation that was approved by the legislature last year for Sitka due to the closing of the mill in that community. That was a one-time appropriation that was included in the supplemental bill. That is the difference of the $447,000. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if it is FY 95, and felt if the HESS Committee members are going to run along the line of FY 95 appropriations it would be appropriate to keep that amount in, considering the fact that Representative Brice is sure there are other school districts that might be willing to use that money to buy the construction paper and other supplies that are lacking in schools. Representative Brice said it might have been a one-time appropriation for Sitka last year, but that money can be just as easily dispersed throughout the state this year. That amount then would truly reflect the FY 95 amount for schools from the DOE. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if that money could be used, and if the DOE would not be limited to put that other $447,000 back into Sitka. Number 1361 MR. GUILEY said that is correct. The DOE would not be obligated to give that money to Sitka. The additional district support is further allocated in Section B of the bill to named recipients. If it is not further allocated, the DOE would not be able to use it unless it were revised to another line item within the appropriation. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said in other words, to make that work, each one of those figures would have to be adjusted. MR. GUILEY added that another option would be to move that amount to another line item, such as to the foundation program. Number 1393 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked the Chair's intention. He asked if the HESS Committee was going to adjourn and take up the bill later. CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced that the bill was going to be voted on today. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE noted that if that was the case, he would like to make an amendment to HB 230. Representative Brice had the numbers for the bill, but said there was going to have to be some working of the numbers and the wording. He said the amendment could be discussed orally. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said his amendment was conceptual because it was going to require some adjusting. He moved conceptual amendment number one. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY objected to the movement. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said that on page 1, line 7, the words, "budget reserve fund (art. IX, sec. 17, Constitution of the State of Alaska)" would be struck and replaced with "general fund." The numbers, Representative Brice believed, were what was wanted. He then wanted Section 2 and Section 3 deleted. He asked that Section 4 be renumbered as Section 2, and that Section 5 be deleted. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said in other words, all he is doing is taking the bill out of the budget reserve fund and fully funding for FY 96. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said that amendment changed the bill 180 degrees. He asked if the HESS Committee members understood the amendment. Co-Chair Bunde noted that the major change was using general funds rather than the constitutional budget reserve. There would be impacts from this. A roll call vote was taken. Voting "yes" on the amendment were Representative Robinson and Representative Brice. Voting "no" were Co-Chair Bunde, Co-Chair Toohey, and Representatives Rokeberg and Davis. Representative Vezey was not present for the vote. The amendment failed to pass. Number 1555 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON had a question but she was not sure that any other committee members could respond. In the press release put out by the majority, it says a five-year plan for education is being proposed. This bill only takes care of the first and second years. Representative Robinson wanted to know what the plan was for the third, fourth and fifth years. CO-CHAIR BUNDE attempted to respond, and he asked Representative Robinson to realize that this was his perception and he was not necessarily speaking for the majority. He thought they said from a five-year spending plan for state spending, a portion of that was the two-year forward funding of education at a certain dollar amount. Co-Chair Bunde did not think the majority spoke to a five- year plan for education. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON noted that the press release reads of a five-year budget plan. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said they may be referring to a five-year budget plan for state spending, and education was only addressed for two years. Number 1599 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked if it was the opinion of the HESS Committee members that the press release on education was only supposed to be looked at for two years. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said that the plan in HB 230 only addresses education for two years. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said at this point, therefore, the HESS Committee members have no idea, if HB 230 is passed, what the plan will be for the following three years. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said that one legislature cannot bind the next. It would be his hope that money will be available to rewrite the foundation formula, make it equal and increase its significance. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said her hope is with Co-Chair Bunde. Number 1637 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked to propose one last conceptual amendment considering the fact that HB 230 funds education at FY 95 levels. Representative Brice thought it would be appropriate that the additional district support also reflect the FY 95 authorized level. He also requested that the $447,060 dollars that are the difference between the FY 96 level in the bill and the FY 95 level which was passed last year be evenly distributed among the single sites. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if he meant the single-sites or the sites listed. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said he meant the sites listed. He said that the amendment should take place in both Sections 1 and 2. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked to summarize the conceptual amendment, called amendment number two. Representative Brice was basically increasing funding $447,000. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said that the amendment would place amounts back to the FY 95 level of authorized education funding throughout the whole bill, versus whenever it is felt it is appropriate. Number 1704 CO-CHAIR BUNDE understood what the vehicle is, but asked for the bottom line. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said it was $447,060. He moved the amendment, and there was an objection. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked for discussion of the amendment. Number 1720 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said if education funding was going to be held at FY 95 authorized levels, it is important that it be done in all categories, including additional district support. To say that the legislature is going to cut additional district support by half a million dollars because that is a figure that Governor Knowles came up with that was lower than the FY 95 level is inappropriate. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE felt that if the bill is going to call for FY 95 funding straight through and hold funding constant for the next two years, that should be done at all levels of education funding. That includes additional district support. He asked that the committee remain consistent in the philosophy of funding at FY 95 levels. A roll call vote was taken. Voting "no" were Representatives Rokeberg, Toohey, Bunde and Davis. Voting "yes" were Representatives Brice and Robinson. Representative Vezey was absent for the vote. Co-Chair Bunde noted that he voted "no" reluctantly. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked for further discussion of HB 230. There was none, so he asked for the wishes of the committee. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE interjected that it should be held over. Number 1815 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG noted that he has met with a few of his constituents who were observing the proceedings of this afternoon. His constituents encouraged him to follow his heart and the reaction of about 3,000 constituents in his district. That is what he is going to do when he votes on HB 230. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said that considering his constituents do not like to have their property taxes go up because of unfunded state mandates, his vote will reflect their wishes as well. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS said one of the testifiers, a retired school teacher (Mr. Schulz), made an interesting comment about the 1960s. This is when Representative Davis was in school. It was indicated that the people supported education, and there did not seem to be a large question concerning support. There has been some pretty radical demands over the last number of years to cut the budget. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS felt there were statistics that show where the budget has been cut over the last couple years from the 25 percent general fund that is not encumbered by entitlements or formula programs. The public sentiment may be different. Representative Davis has heard it as different. If anything is going to clear the air as to where the public stands on education funding, this bill will do that. If there is any benefit from HB 230, it will be to discover where the public stands on education funding. Number 1888 CO-CHAIR BUNDE felt Representative Davis was correct. Legislators have been asked, at least for the three years Co-Chair Bunde has served, to cut state spending. He feels legislators will be continually asked to do that until the public feels it has been cut far enough. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said this was her first term. However, she has been around for a long time, and she feels that cuts have been made to the bone. She knows that her office has received, even on the hold harmless bill, more Personal Opinion Messages (POMs) than on anything else before, that said the public did not even want the legislature to cut the permanent fund dividends away from the poor. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON's office is beginning to get POMs that say not to cut education. Representative Robinson felt the bill was a bad thing, and education can be cut but the results will pop up elsewhere. When Alaska's children basically don't get a good education, and dropout rates continue, and as youth crime increases, those dollars are simply going to be transferred. The state is going to have to pick these kids up once they are put in jail. That is the wrong direction. Any study will show that money placed even into head start programs and education will result in a better outcome at the end of the continuum. Number 1946 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON stressed that however the issue is looked at, the state is going to pay for it in the end. She would just as soon pay for it now on education to make sure that Alaska's children get the appropriate education. Representative Robinson noted that her constituents did not mind taxing themselves, and they did also not mind paying an income tax. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said that a motion was made to move the bill from committee, and he would like to make a statement. Co-Chair Bunde did not agree, to some extent, with what Representative Robinson said because that is somewhat like blackmail. A child says, either you give me more money in the form of the programs I want in school or I will turn to crime. There may be some children that do that. However, that denies ambition and personal responsibility that the state has every right to expect of its children. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said a good many people he has talked to are not threatened by blackmail. CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted that in reference to the permanent fund dividend (PFD) hold harmless, his POMs say just the reverse. His POMs say, "Don't you dare take any of my PFD," and give it to those they consider undeserving. That is a value judgement, but Co-Chair Bunde wanted Representative Robinson to know that it is out there. Number 2002 CO-CHAIR BUNDE felt this was the most difficult vote he has taken during his short time as a legislator. He is an educator, and he still thinks he is, except now he cannot keep the grade book. He is not married to his PFD. When he first came to Alaska, people paid income taxes and he did not think it was onerous at that time. He still felt Alaska was a good place to live. CO-CHAIR BUNDE added that many people testified who said they wanted to convince HESS Committee members about education. However, they are "preaching to the choir." Those testifying do not need to convince Co-Chair Bunde and other members of the committee about the importance of education. They need to convince the general public. It is still a democracy and majority rules. The overwhelming requests that he gets are to cut state spending and not hold education harmless. CO-CHAIR BUNDE does not think this is the right way to go, and it is difficult for him to do. But his job is to do what the majority of the folks in his district ask him to do. Number 2050 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said HESS Committee members have been asked to exhibit leadership. One way to exhibit leadership is to do it "my way" and forget about the public. That might be fine for a cause like education. However, once Co-Chair Bunde begins down that slippery slope, many other people will ask for the same right, with less than good results. If the general public is not listened to, and the legislators do not have their confidence and support in both government in general and in the education system specifically, it will come back to haunt everyone. The public will be far more Draconian in their demands for revenge if nothing else. Number 2084 CO-CHAIR BUNDE continued that people are frustrated. It is not the schools' fault. People see the mall rats, the gangs, the drive-by shootings, and the semi-literate children. Co-Chair Bunde is very frustrated too because he thinks there is a great deal of parental responsibility that has not been addressed. The schools cannot fix everyone. Children spend 6 hours per day in school, and they spend 18 hours a day hopefully with their parents. Where does the greater responsibility lie? CO-CHAIR BUNDE also noted that in the average American household, the TV is on 8 to 12 hours a day. Co-Chair Bunde asked again where responsibility lies, and why some people feel they are not getting their money's worth. Co-Chair Bunde does not feel he has a choice in his vote, and he wishes he had. He thanked everyone who testified. CO-CHAIR BUNDE stressed that legislators are not the enemy. They are doing a job that, for many, is distasteful. However, it is necessary to do. They have seen their duty and they will do their duty. A roll call vote was taken. Voting "no" on the passage of HB 230 were Representatives Robinson and Brice. Voting "yes" were Representatives Toohey, Bunde, Vezey, Davis and Rokeberg. HB 230 passed from the HESS Committee. HHES - 03/16/95 HB 125 - JUVENILE CRIMINAL RECORDS TO SCHOOLS Number 2177 REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN presented the sponsor statement for his bill. He presented his staff member, Melinda Gruening, who would carry HESS Committee members through the various details. It has become apparent to Representative Green that there is a breakdown in the communication of information to Alaska's schools concerning students who, if they had been adjudicated adults on some crimes, they would have committed a felony. These students should be known to educators for the protection of the other students as well as for their own well-being. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said that knowing the cause of the adjudication or arrest for such heinous crimes could help the juvenile through the school system. MELINDA GRUENING, Administrative Assistant for Representative Green, asked HESS Committee members to recall that this bill was discussed along with HB 105. HB 105 was a general disclosure of juvenile records. Those bills were placed into a subcommittee. Bill sponsors were awaiting a ruling from Washington, D.C., concerning whether either or both bills would affect Title IV (e) funds, which is social security funding for foster care. MS. GRUENING said the ruling came back that a general public disclosure would jeopardize those funds. However, a limited disclosure to school officials would not. That is why HB 125 is being again presented to HESS Committee members. A meeting was held on Monday, March 13 over at the Division of Family and Youth Services (DFYS). A packet was put together. There were representatives from the DFYS, DOE, NEA Alaska, Alaska Association of School Administrators, AASB, the legislature and various staffers including HESS Committee aide Lynne Smith, the Department of Law, the Department of Public Safety, State Troopers and the Court System. MS. GRUENING said this was a positive step to facilitate communication to find out from the people representing administrators, school boards and school officials what information people feel they need that they are not getting. It became clear that those representing teachers, school districts and administrators felt information was not getting to them. They need to provide a safer school environment. MS. GRUENING said in addition, those groups feel they need more information in order to help the juvenile. The desire was also expressed to make disclosure of this information mandatory as opposed to discretionary. They want to be able to count on that information. TAPE 95-23, SIDE B Number 000 MS. GRUENING continued that ways were also discussed concerning how the disclosure could be made easier. The drafters of the bill have no intent to put more work on an already burdened system. It is fully recognized that DFYS is understaffed, and they have a very heavy workload. No one, therefore, is trying to place a larger workload on them. This was also discussed with the representative of the State Troopers. MS. GRUENING said it was a very interesting meeting. The group is going to meet again next week. Carl Rose of the AASB agreed to do a quick fax poll. He has contacted all 54 school districts in the state with a faxed questionnaire. The results have not yet been tallied. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked for the results when they come in. Number 082 MS. GRUENING added that Vern Marshall of NEA Alaska also is working on a fax poll to find out if administrators and school officials feel they are currently receiving enough information and disclosure. Conflicting reports are being heard as to whether disclosure is currently taking place. They are being asked if they are receiving disclosure currently, and what type of disclosure information they need. MS. GRUENING said the disclosure content will probably be the name of the juvenile, the offense and the date the offense was committed. This is not intended to be a disclosure of a lot of records. The re-disclosure is limited in this bill. There is a section that deals with that. The only additional disclosure those officials can perform is with teachers and staff. Therefore, the scope of disclosure is really very limited. MS. GRUENING said therefore, the results of the polls are being tallied, and the group will meet again on March 24 to discuss the results. Undoubtedly, there will be some information that comes up that will cause some changes to the bill. It is the desire of Representative Green to move the bill out of the HESS Committee. His staff, however, will continue to work with the various agency representatives and the law enforcement officials to continue work on the bill in the Judiciary Committee. Number 197 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked that questions or discussion be held in order to hear more public testimony on the bill. He asked for public testimony, and there was none. Public testimony was closed. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON thanked Representative Green and Ms. Gruening for organizing the meeting. That is exactly what she felt was the right thing to do. When all the agencies can work together for a common cause to settle conflicting information, it makes it easier to accomplish tasks. There may be more work to do, but Representative Robinson wanted to personally thank them for taking the time to bring all the groups together to make sure the legislation is going in the right direction. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if administrators can currently get this information in one way or another. He asked what the process may be. He has heard rumors that school administrators can access this information. He asked if someone from the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) could explain the process. Number 325 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said there was a partial fix last year which allowed the information to be made available. The problem is that the information has not been made available. This legislation seeks to make disclosure a "shall" instead of a "may." In the early part of this year there was still a fear that such disclosure by the DFYS would endanger Title IV funds. This was found to not be the case. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON clarified that the reason this bill will not endanger those funds is because the people who will receive this information have been narrowed. The disclosures will be to the people who need that information, such as the school district, and not just to the general public to chastise children. CO-CHAIR BUNDE was concerned that there might be administrators who, in their wisdom, might decide that they are not going to tell the teachers. Co-Chair Bunde asked if Representative Green would entertain the possibility of expanding the bill to say that disclosure information will go to school administrators and affected teachers. He said Representative Green could use whatever verbiage would make him comfortable. Number 430 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said he had no problem with that type of expansion. The concern he has, since he did not put in something to that affect, would be that the legislature would somehow become a micro-manager of the school system. He felt they, better than members of the legislature, would know best who should get the information. However, if there is not an objection voiced by the supplier of the information, certainly Representative Green would hope the information would ultimately get to the classroom teacher who has the perpetrator in class. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said that is exactly his point. Having worked in the schools, he has experienced a type of person he calls a "professional apologist." This is the person who always says the child was in trouble with the law because of some trivial problem, and he or she does not feel the teacher who works with the child every day should know pertinent information. The child could be violent, and the teacher works with the child every day. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said that type of administrator feels they do not want to "brand" the child. Number 485 CO-CHAIR BUNDE shared an experience he had at the college level. The people in Public Safety knew about one of Co-Chair Bunde's students, and they did not provide any information to Co-Chair Bunde. The student was enrolled in a speech class taught by Co- Chair Bunde. As part of one of his speeches, he told the class how he strangled his high school speech teacher to death because the teacher put too much pressure on him. CO-CHAIR BUNDE facetiously noted that he could have probably used that information. He may not have done anything differently, but he thinks perhaps he would. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said that was a classic example of the need for disclosure. CO-CHAIR BUNDE assured Representative Green that he shared his concern about micro-managing districts. But to be an effective teacher, a person should know as much about the child as possible without breaching privacy. A teacher does not need to know about their religion, but he or she does need to know background. Co- Chair Bunde thinks it should be guaranteed that the teacher is in the loop. CO-CHAIR BUNDE fears that some teachers, even if it is only 10 percent of the time or teachers, will not be included in the information disclosure. Number 580 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said it is very clear that the administration and the teacher associations want this legislation. She hopes that those groups will therefore take their education forums and make sure that the appropriate people get that information. However, she also asked if a letter of intent could be drafted to state that the drafters encourage a system be set up that would assist in making sure that the appropriate teacher is informed. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said unfortunately, letters of intent are often ignored. He told Representative Green that he would like to move the bill today, and but he would also like to hold it for a Committee Substitute. He asked if Representative Green had some strong concerns about including "classroom teacher" along with "school administrator" in the bill. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said he would welcome that, and he thinks the results of the survey will show that is the preponderance. Classroom teachers should know, but with limitations. Obviously, there needs to be limitations. The janitor and the part-time aide do not need to know. Number 688 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if wording concerning the teacher of the class that the child attends would be more appropriate. He hates to do this type of work in the HESS Committee meeting, but he realizes Representative Green wants to move the bill today. He asked if the next bill could be heard while wording is created to create a CS that would make everyone comfortable. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said he would certainly entertain that suggestion. CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted that the bill goes next to the Judiciary Committee, and both he and Representative Green are on that committee. He asked if that issue could be addressed instead in the Judiciary Committee. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said that would be fine, and the chair of the Judiciary Committee is not unfamiliar with comments and modification requests in that committee. Number 757 CO-CHAIR BUNDE encouraged Representative Green to simply have a blank CS. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said she does not want to hold the bill up either, but her preference would be to narrow the disclosure. She asked that the disclosure be through the principals or superintendents or whatever. She asked for that to be the policy in each district, instead of opening the disclosure information up so widely. In high school, a child may have 15 teachers. Some of these teachers may need this information, and some do not. That is her problem with widening the disclosure. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said she would have to put a no recommendation on the bill if it passes from committee because she does not know what the final outcome is going to be. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON she said she is also still hoping to hear from the DFYS about their comfort level. Representative Robinson is still also confused about who will receive information other than those already allowed for under the existing juvenile waiver bill. She does not want to pass another law if a law already exists which does the same things if the regulations are put on the table. Number 830 CO-CHAIR BUNDE observed that the juvenile waiver deals with very serious felonies such as kidnapping, murder, etc. HB 105 deals with children who have problems but have not yet gone to that level. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said she is not so sure that is true, and although she could be wrong, she would like to make sure. She was under the impression that the juvenile waiver only deals with more serious crimes. But when it came down to being able to give information out on children, it was allowing for more cases than just serious crimes. She again stated that she could be wrong, but it would be nice to hear more information before this bill is moved forward. She asked if Ms. Gruening had something to say to that effect, and said it would also be good to hear from the DHSS. Number 875 MS. GRUENING said the difference between the current status quo and HB 125 is that this bill deals with offenses that would be felonies were the juveniles adult. These are very serious offenses such as homicide, assault, reckless endangerment, kidnapping, sexual offenses, robbery, extortion, offenses against property, controlled substance offenses and possession or use of a deadly weapon. Those are the crimes being spoken of in HB 125. MS. GRUENING continued that if those juveniles were 16, they would automatically be waived up. They would be publicly disclosed. Number 923 CO-CHAIR BUNDE added that it is not an automatic waiver. If the child proves that he or she is amenable to rehabilitation, they are not tried as an adult. It is possible to have a youthful murderer in a classroom that has not been tried as an adult. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Representative Green to look at page 4, beginning on line 29. It says, "...shall notify the principal...". Co-Chair Bunde asked to add "and classroom teacher." He asked if that would solve the contention. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN saw no problem with that amendment. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if that addition would be asking the state and municipal law enforcement agency to notify the teacher also. CO-CHAIR BUNDE changed the amendment. On page 4, line 29, after the word "principal", the bill was amended to say, "who will notify the appropriate classroom teacher." Number 1014 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON felt that the amendment would have to say "teachers" because in many situations there would be more than one teacher. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said that "teachers" would be included instead of "teacher." He then asked for objections to the motion. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON objected because she feels it is better to just stick with the principals and let them set up the policy. A roll call vote was taken. Voting "yes" on the amendment were Representatives Toohey, Bunde, Davis and Rokeberg. Voting "no" was Representative Robinson. Representative Brice was not present for the vote. CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced that now before the HESS Committee was HB 125 as amended. Number 1068 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked to clarify a point. He asked if the legal review that was undertaken in Washington, D.C., was specifically in reference to HB 125, or all four bills that pertained to disclosure. MS. GRUENING answered that the decision referred to juvenile disclosure and what was and was not permissible. It was not addressing one particular bill. It was a broad statement on juvenile disclosure and what was allowable under the Title IV funds and what was not. She has copies of that decision if HESS Committee members would like to see it. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said the reason he asked is he wanted to make sure the amendment was not tampering with something that had already been approved by the federal government. Number 1104 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked if she could ask a question to the DHSS. CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted that the amendment is an attempt to address the sensitivities of the other HESS Committee members. He therefore wants to add the words "appropriate teachers" rather than just "teachers." ELMER LINDSTROM, Special Assistant to the Commissioner, DHSS, made himself available to answer the questions of HESS Committee members. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked how the DHSS now feels about the amended bill, and also if the bill accomplishes anything different than what is allowed for in existing law. She asked if this bill means there will be two sets of regulations. Number 1163 MR. LINDSTROM does not believe that any of the type of disclosures that have been discussed in the meeting are precluded under the existing law. The existing law to which he refers is the bill passed last year, the automatic waiver bill. The disclosure provisions have nothing to do with the automatic waiver. They simply made more permissive language that allowed the division to share their information with other parties, specifically school districts. MR. LINDSTROM believes that all the discussion that has gone on in the HESS Committee room concerning the kinds of information it is believed should be provided to a school district could be provided under existing law and regulations that will be developed by the department. MR. LINDSTROM said, however, this is clearly different in that while the existing language is permissive, HB 125 would require the department to provide information. However, Mr. Lindstrom believes the CS that is before HESS Committee members at the present time really speaks to the court providing information. Perhaps that is something that needs to be looked at in the Judiciary Committee. MR. LINDSTROM did not know if that was still the intent of the sponsor. If the department is providing the information under the bill, that is not the way the language is drafted at the present time. There is also language in the CS just adopted that HESS Committee members should be aware of. The language just amended refers to a municipal or law enforcement agency providing information to school districts, not the DFYS. Therefore, there are several things going on here. Number 1238 MR. LINDSTROM said he knew the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Law and the DHSS will be addressing those concerns in the Judiciary Committee. MR. LINDSTROM made a personal observation. He believed that what needs to happen is what started to happen earlier this week. When education representatives which include the school district administrators, the school board association and NEA Alaska representatives, the DHSS, the Department of Law, and the Department of Public Safety get together, what everyone wants is to make a system that gets the information to where it needs to go. This bill is not self-implementing. It will require additional regulations. MR. LINDSTROM thinks that everyone is heading in the same direction, and he appreciated the opportunity to work with Representative Green and others. MR. LINDSTROM said the DHSS believes that it can take the legislators where they want to go in terms of the provisions of this bill. Number 1293 CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted he supports the word "shall" instead of the word "may." He has grave concern about getting to the classroom teacher. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked to speak on two issues. She asked if it would make more sense to go back to the existing law instead of making it permissive, that the existing law be changed to "shall." REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON also asked who is going to draft the regulations. It is not going to be DHSS. She asked if it was going to be the courts or the police department. Number 1330 MR. LINDSTROM answered the first question. He thinks there will be at least one additional meeting of the working group that seems to be coalescing around this issue. Perhaps some thought can be given to what the language ought to be in the next committee of referral. MR. LINDSTROM said he cannot speak for another department, and he certainly cannot speak for another branch of government. But he is sure the court system is going to want to revisit the issue of who will be providing the information. Again, the draft before HESS Committee members really puts the onus on the court system, and Mr. Lindstrom knows that is not acceptable to them. MR. LINDSTROM said assuming that hurdle is overcome, he would further assume there would be regulations promulgated by DHSS by, he thinks, the Department of Public Safety. He does not know if the Department of Law would also promulgate regulations. CO-CHAIR BUNDE called for the vote, closing public testimony. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said she will not object to the bill, but she wants to strongly encourage the process that is going on. She does not personally think this legislation is needed, and she is hoping that before it ever gets to the floor of the House that there has been some sort of miracle solution. She does not object to the movement of the bill. Number 1400 MR. ROSE, AASB, said he could clarify some of the topics discussed. He said the discussion is trying to solve who is the most appropriate person to contact. Recognizing the disparity between school districts, the AASB has put out a survey. The AASB wants to identify the communications link, how we communicate, what type of information needs to be transmitted and who is the most appropriate person. From a school district point of view there is great exposure that will require school districts to address the policy issue of how this communication is transmitted. MR. ROSE thinks, to the degree that you want teachers involved, that has to be inclusive. But the issue of confidentiality must be recognized and how information is transferred. Mr. Rose would agree that departments will have to promulgate some sort of regulations and school districts will have to as well to protect their interests. Number 1443 CO-CHAIR BUNDE expressed a great deal of confidence in the sponsor of the bill to continue the bi-partisan and collaborative effort. There being no objection, CSHB 125(HES) was moved from the HESS Committee with individual recommendations. HHES - 03/16/95 HB 168 - PERMITS FOR NONRESIDENT OPTOMETRISTS. Number 1483 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY moved the CS for HB 168. It is 9LS0671-G. There were no objections. The reasoning behind the CS was that there was a problem in language that has since been approved by Dr. Roy Box, an optometrist in Juneau, and by Catherine Reardon of the Division of Occupational Licensing in the Department of Commerce. There is a zero fiscal note. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY explained that the new language requires that the training of the incoming optometrists be uniform. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said this is the locum tenus bill. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said there was a question concerning optometrists who come into Alaska from other parts of the country. The question regarded whether the new optometrist was licensed and had they been trained in using medications for the eye. This provision has been included in the bill. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked for and found no public testimony. Number 1537 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG moved that the CSHB 168 pass the HESS Committee with individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes. Hearing no objection, CSHB 168(HES) passed the committee. HHES - 03/16/95 HB 228 - REDUCTION IN PUBLIC ASSISTANCE PAYMENTS CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced that HB 228 would be held for further discussion and it would probably be heard in the coming week. HHES - 03/16/95 HB 171 - COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION SERVES AT BOARD'S PLEASURE Number 1580 TOM ANDERSON, Legislative Assistant for Representative Terry Martin, provided the sponsor statement for HB 171. He said Representative Martin was unable to attend due to a Legislative Budget and Audit meeting. MR. ANDERSON said basically, the bill addresses a recent occurrence regarding the commissioner of education. There was an article included in the bill packets from the newspaper which stated that Commissioner Covey was given an "early-out payoff" of about $120,000 because of a contractual agreement he had made due to AS 14.07.145 in the statutes. This basically allows a commissioner to serve a term of office of five years. This means a commissioner of Education and also the commissioner of Fish and Game can remain through one governor's term to another if there is a switch in Administrations. MR. ANDERSON continued that in essence, the current Governor of Alaska, in the hopes of getting rid of Commissioner Covey, had to essentially pay him off. Representative Martin feels this is wrong and should not occur. Therefore he drafted HB 171, which says the commissioner of Education serves at the pleasure of the Board of Education, and may not be appointed by the board for a term of office. MR. ANDERSON said therefore, that would exclude the five-year rule. The five-year rule was put in place to bridge continuity in Fish and Game for fish management issues and for education goals. But this is not necessary because currently the present commissioner is extremely qualified to serve and can continue those goals. Number 1678 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said that he was addressing "golden parachutes," and certainly the commissioner of Education is not the only person that has ever encountered a golden parachute. Co-Chair Bunde asked if Mr. Anderson had an amendment. Mr. Anderson did have an amendment, and Co-Chair Bunde moved it. An objection was raised for discussion purposes. MR. ANDERSON said the amendment continues the concept of the bill by prohibiting the use of state money for severance pay or other separation bonus for certain public officials. An example of the need for this amendment is the former executive director of the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) was in the job for about six months. He had a golden parachute of $60,000 as a severance payoff, as did the previous executive director. Mr. Anderson said this has happened at other levels, but he did not have any statistics handy at the moment. MR. ANDERSON said the amendment prevents that type of severance pay. Number 1731 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said the amendment was obviously expanding the bill, and it did not seem like it fit under the current bill title. MR. ANDERSON said there is going to be a title change should the amendment pass. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said therefore, there are two different issues. The first is the five-year term, and the second is the golden parachute. He asked the HESS Committee members if they understood the amendment and the thrust of the bill. A vote was called on amendment number one. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG interjected that he had concerns. In the course of dealing with employee and executive compensation and employment, in certain instances there might even be provisions for severance in a hiring contract as part of a bargaining basis. Representative Rokeberg asked if this bill would affect such aspects. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Mr. Anderson if he was right to assume that this would be not retroactive. It would only apply to future contracts. He was right. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said that was not his question. He asked if a term or element of a bargain for an employment contract was agreed upon with one of these stipulated officers, would HB 171 make that bargained-for provision illegal. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY answered yes. CO-CHAIR BUNDE thought Representative Rokeberg previously meant the bargain was part of a current contract. Number 1804 MR. ANDERSON said on page 2, lines 6 and 7 say that the bill does not affect an agreement entered into before a certain date. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said it is not uncommon, when an executive is approached to take a state job, that he or she will take a pay cut. There might be some consideration in the contract to do it up front. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said this bill would preclude the state negotiating a severance package. It is not right for a person to work for six months and then get $60,000 as a parachute when an education bill was just passed that was quite heavy-handed. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG pointed out that in the private sector, there are many activities like this that are preconditioned, pre- existing bargains and agreements. They have nothing to do with golden parachutes. CO-CHAIR BUNDE responded that the private sector is the private sector, and they can spend their money however they want. This is the state, and the people do not want their money spent on high- dollar individuals passing through. Number 1851 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said he does not want to restrict the recruitment of good people from some top level corporations. He suggested an amendment would help the bill further. He agrees with the concept, but HESS Committee members should be careful and not rush the bill through the committee. CO-CHAIR BUNDE felt that you either allow severance pay or you don't. If the bill was amended to allow severance pay, then there is no need for the bill. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said the bill says, "or other separation bonus." He has not had proper time to study the bill. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said the bill did not have to be moved that day. Number 1881 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS sees some corporations, even though they are under the Executive Budget Act, which are quasi-governmental organizations and as such, they need to operate as independently as they can at times without the government looking over their back before they make decisions. The ability to provide severance pay has a purpose, mostly in the private sector, but also in the public sector. Representative Davis said therefore, he would object to the amendment and would rather discuss the issue more in detail before it is voted on to possibly kill the amendment. CO-CHAIR BUNDE did not see an obligation of the state to make wealthy people wealthier. MR. ANDERSON added that generally, one can look at past occurrences such as the building that the AHFC was intending to construct but the legislature said "stop." That would perhaps be a retort to the statement that Representative Davis does not want to micro-manage the quasi-entities. Yet, situations like this can occur, in which there was no vote by the legislature and now they are constructing a building. That is going to be prevented. Number 1951 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said obviously, people need to study the issue more closely. A vote will not be called for on the amendment at this time. The bill and amendment will be heard at a later time. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG felt that the bill should be studied more closely. The money enables one to be able to remove his or her family and leave the state after his/her contract expired normally or he/she was terminated under a termination clause. This situation is very common, especially in jobs such as school superintendents and university presidents. The amendment clearly reads of a separation, but the amendment should be cleaned up. Representative Rokeberg does not want to restrict hiring practices. However, he agrees with Co-Chair Bunde conceptually about golden parachutes. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG felt, however, that if it was a pre-agreed bonus or provision going into employment, that is not the same thing. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY referred to Section 2 of the bill, which regarded severance pay. The bill states unless they qualify under a general law applicable to all qualified persons, "the following persons may not be paid severance pay or other separation bonuses...." CO-CHAIR TOOHEY noted that if that is the practice of the state to do that for all separations, then that is fine. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said that time will be more productively served after all HESS Committee members have studied the bill and the issue more thoroughly. He withdrew the motion to move amendment number one pending further discussion. ADJOURNMENT CO-CHAIR BUNDE adjourned the meeting at 5:08 p.m.