Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/29/1995 03:10 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
           HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES                           
                       STANDING COMMITTEE                                      
                     WORK SESSION ON HB 217                                    
                         March 29, 1995                                        
                           3:10 p.m.                                           
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
 Representative Cynthia Toohey, Co-Chairman                                    
 Representative Con Bunde, Co-Chairman                                         
 Representative Tom Brice                                                      
 Representative Gary Davis                                                     
 Representative Caren Robinson                                                 
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                
 Representative Al Vezey                                                       
 Representative Norman Rokeberg                                                
 WORK SESSION CALENDAR                                                         
 HB 217:"An Act relating to teacher tenure, teacher layoff and                
 rehire rights, public access to information on public                         
 school collective bargaining, and to the right of tenured                     
 teachers to judicial review of decisions of non-retention                     
 or dismissal; and relating to retirement for certain                          
 employees of school districts, regional resource centers,                     
 the state boarding school, and regional educational                           
 attendance areas."                                                            
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
 Tom Wright, Legislative Assistant                                             
 to Representative Ivan Ivan                                                   
 Room 503                                                                      
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-4942                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on HB 217                                      
 Carl Rose                                                                     
 Association of Alaska School Boards                                           
 319 West 11th Street                                                          
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 586-1083                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on HB 217                                      
 Claudia Douglas                                                               
 National Education Association - Alaska                                       
 114 Second Street                                                             
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 586-3090                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on HB 217                                      
 Shirley Holloway                                                              
 Commissioner of Education                                                     
 801 W 10th Street, Suite 200                                                  
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1894                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-2800                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on HB 217                                      
 Steve McPhetres                                                               
 Alaska Council of School Administrators                                       
 326 4th Street, Number 404                                                    
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (909) 586-9702                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on HB 217                                      
 Vernon Marshall                                                               
 National Education Association - Alaska                                       
 114 Second Street                                                             
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (909) 586-3090                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on HB 217                                      
 Robert Gottstein                                                              
 Alaska State Board of Education                                               
 630 West Fourth Avenue, Suite 300                                             
 Anchorage, Alaska  99501                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 278-1370                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on HB 217                                      
 Ed Gilley                                                                     
 Adak Superintendent of Schools                                                
 Address Unavailable                                                           
 Telephone:  (907) 277-9498                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on HB 217                                      
 Sheila Peterson                                                               
 Department of Education                                                       
 Special Assistant to the Commissioner                                         
 801 W 10th Street, Suite 200                                                  
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1894                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-2800                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on HB 217                                      
 Heather Flynn                                                                 
 918 "R" Street                                                                
 Anchorage, Alaska  99501                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 272-5392                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on HB 217                                      
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
 BILL:  HB 217                                                               
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) IVAN                                            
 JRN-DATE    JRN-PG      ACTION                                                
 03/01/95       531    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 03/01/95       531    (H)   HES, JUDICIARY                                    
 03/07/95              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 03/07/95              (H)   MINUTE(HES)                                       
 03/29/95              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
 TAPE 95-30, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
 CO-CHAIRMAN CON BUNDE called the work session to order by asking              
 all participants to identify themselves when speaking for the ease            
 of the committee secretary.  Members present at the call to order             
 were Representatives Toohey, Bunde, Davis, Brice and Robinson.                
 Members absent were Representatives Vezey and Rokeberg.                       
 Number 087                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE then asked that all persons present introduce                  
 themselves including all representatives, witnesses and observers.            
 Number 166                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE requested that Representative Ivan's staff person,             
 Tom Wright, outline the framework of the meeting regarding HB 217,            
 including any title changes to it with the chance for input to                
 Number 200                                                                    
 TOM WRIGHT, Legislative Assistant to REPRESENTATIVE IVAN IVAN                 
 offered that the title of HB 217 would have to be tightened up.               
 Representative Ivan felt as though it was too open.  Mr. Wright               
 also referred to a hand-out received from Representative Hanley and           
 the Anchorage PTA (Parent Teacher Association) regarding the                  
 negotiation process.  Mr. Wright solicited suggestions for an                 
 amendment which would outline public negotiations between employer            
 and employee.                                                                 
 Number 267                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked whether or not Representative Ivan had any               
 suggestions for a title change and Mr. Wright confirmed that Ivan             
 did want to wait until after the work session in order to help with           
 taking any direction one way or another.                                      
 Number 310                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE recognized a new participant.                                  
 MARY ANN LITINGER with the State Board of Education introduced                
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE then asked for suggestions on how the work session             
 should be conducted.                                                          
 Number 365                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE TOM BRICE suggested that they go through the bill              
 section by section.  It was so decided.  Also Co-Chair Bunde                  
 recognized another new participant, Mike Williams.                            
 Number 427                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE summarized Section 1 of the bill.  Initially, he               
 pointed out that the original language in Section 1 deals with                
 raising tenure from two to five years.  With that he offered up the           
 opportunity for discussion.                                                   
 Number 444                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE suggested as background to this section, there           
 should be discussion about why tenure exists.   Co-chair Bunde                
 agreed and asked that Mr. Wright state why he thought that tenure             
 should be increased from two to five years.  He also asked that Mr.           
 Rose and Mr. Marshall outline the purposes of tenure.  Mr. Wright             
 deferred to Mr. Rose as an AASB (Alaska Association of School                 
 Boards) representative, since he felt as though both their                    
 statements would probably be very similar.                                    
 Number 520                                                                    
 CARL ROSE, Association of Alaska School Boards, stated that the               
 AASB was not in favor of repealing tenure.  He agreed that the                
 tenure laws, as they currently exist, are not manageable for school           
 districts, therefore, the bill should be amended.  Two years is an            
 inadequate period of time to assess whether a young person entering           
 the teaching profession is given enough time to show satisfactory             
 improvement before a decision is made about their career.  Mr. Rose           
 added that any amount of time in excess of two years is critical,             
 the more time a new teacher has on the job training and                       
 professional in-service training improves their ability to perform            
 in the classroom.  Mr. Rose agreed that five years for tenure is an           
 upper limit that the AASB would be comfortable with.                          
 Number 679                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asserted that there was a lot of concern about           
 how much paperwork an administrator is required to submit in                  
 conjunction with new teacher assessments, much less having two                
 years to process it and for them to get to the classrooms for                 
 proper observations.  Representative Brice suggested discussing               
 these extra burdens as part of the work session objectives.  He               
 also noted that in years past two years for assessment would have             
 been adequate, but he could easily understand how with the increase           
 in paperwork, this turn around time is no longer adequate.  He                
 asked what they could do on the state level to reduce that                    
 Number 790                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE pointed out that there are a lot of federal mandates           
 which limit how much the state can do in regards to this issue.               
 Representative Bunde reiterated the tenure issue as two fold:                 
 first, the need to give the administrators more time to do their              
 job and second, the need to give more time to the teacher in order            
 to develop their expertise and meet the requirements of                       
 certification and tenure.                                                     
 Number 819                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE pointed out that these issues were fairly                
 complex and to hammer out a consensus in two hours seemed very                
 Number 843                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE offered additional background information related to           
 some of these issues.  He noted there had been a movement to change           
 teacher training to help enable more on the job experience before             
 they become full fledged teachers.                                            
 Number 872                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked how training differed from district to             
 Number 885                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE explained that training can vary from school to                
 school.  For example, at the University of Southeast they                     
 essentially have their new teacher candidates working as substitute           
 teachers.  He further stated that he hoped this was a goal the                
 state could work towards as a kind of an apprentice year, which               
 would help to expand an on the job training concept required by               
 Number 927                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE CAREN ROBINSON felt as though five years is too long           
 and wondered who determines how much training a teacher will get in           
 their first two years.                                                        
 Number 950                                                                    
 MR. ROSE informed the committee that a lot of the training is                 
 mandated.  There is some latitude, but normally it's decided at the           
 local level and many times the types of service is dependent on the           
 type of curriculum being offered.  Many times the training is                 
 decided by the teaching staff.                                                
 Number 969                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON then addressed the issue of supervision.              
 Unfortunately, due to the changes of student numbers it seemed                
 supervision of teachers is lacking.  She asked if there was                   
 anything in the tenure law that spells out exactly how many times             
 a teacher should be evaluated before a decision is made on whether            
 or not they qualify for tenure?                                               
 Number 1009                                                                   
 CLAUDIA DOUGLAS, National Education Association - Alaska,                     
 offered to address this question.  In regulation, a non-tenured               
 teacher is evaluated two times and there's a deadline as to when              
 those evaluations are suppose to take place.  There is a lot of               
 control at each district's level relating to these procedures and             
 each district has their own evaluation tools.  Tenured teachers are           
 evaluated each year.                                                          
 Number 1040                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said that it was her understanding teachers           
 are not getting the supervision or the evaluations on time required           
 by the tenure program.  She asked if that perception is true or               
 Number 1050                                                                   
 MS. DOUGLAS replied that there didn't seem to be a consistent                 
 evaluation program in place.  Typically, when an administrator                
 plans to visit a classroom, regardless of how the lesson turns out,           
 there doesn't seem to be any follow up.  If there was a system in             
 place, when it came time to determine whether a teacher in question           
 after two years should qualify for tenure, then maybe a plan of               
 improvement could be implemented.  Ms. Douglas alluded to the fact            
 that a lot of suggestions have been made over the years to improve            
 this procedure.                                                               
 Number 1103                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON then asked if this would be an area that              
 needs a regulation.                                                           
 Number 1115                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE offered that in Anchorage there's a program called             
 "Focused," which allows that some teachers are given more focused             
 attention and evaluation, including tenured teachers.  He wanted to           
 stipulate that administrators have a lot to do and it's difficult             
 for them to get into the classroom.  The question then becomes if             
 they're too busy in two years, will they have time to evaluate                
 after three, four or five years.  He seemed to think that the odds            
 are better with the more time that's allowed.  Regardless of how              
 many evaluations are conducted, the number of times does not                  
 guarantee quality, although a snap shot approach would definitely             
 not be indicative of how potentially qualified a teacher is.                  
 Number 1173                                                                   
 SHIRLEY HOLLOWAY, Commissioner, Department of Education testified             
 that the department tries to differentiate between evaluation and             
 supervision in education. Evaluation is a process of determining              
 whether a person will continue with their job and supervision is a            
 process that's being used across the nation in schools to improve             
 teaching.  She pointed out that sometimes programs for evaluations            
 and supervision are implemented by master teachers rather than                
 administrators, so it's not an issue of administrators falling                
 short, it's having a staff available and the funding to implement             
 a program.                                                                    
 Number 1220                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked what happens to a teacher who is not granted            
 tenure.  Do they just go from school to school and what happens to            
 the emotional health of that teacher?  Do they just give up and not           
 try again?                                                                    
 Number 1261                                                                   
 MR. ROSE responded by saying that, yes, some people have been hired           
 and not granted tenure.  The question is why?  Many times for some            
 school districts it becomes an issue of restricted revenue.  Unless           
 a teacher has expertise in a certain area they may not be retained            
 because of the lack of funding.  The latitude then becomes that of            
 a tenured teacher.                                                            
 Number 1300                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE reiterated the two reasons why someone would not be            
 granted tenure: One, because the lack of funding; and two, because            
 of incompetence.                                                              
 Number 1312                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if the rejection of tenure follows an                   
 individual seeking employment.                                                
 Number 1340                                                                   
 STEVE MCPHETRES, Alaska Council of School Boards, noted that when             
 a person interviews for a position and their employment record                
 reflects a moving around every two years, then that does usually              
 raise a red flag.  Because there are only 52 school districts in              
 Alaska, it is not uncommon just to get on the phone in order to               
 obtain specific information from a superintendent about an                    
 individual.  Mr. McPhetres did note that with the downsizing of               
 school funds, more school districts are referring non-tenured                 
 teachers to possible vacancies in other school districts, as well             
 as taking advantage of active recruitments when a vacancy exists.             
 Number 1425                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE wanted to stipulate that tenure is a valid idea and            
 the question was raised how tenure differed with the EEO (Equal               
 Employment Opportunity) incentives which are common in all work               
 places.  Co-chair Bunde pointed out that Section 3 of HB 217 dealt            
 with the loss of tenure rights, but he thought it was reasonably              
 accepted that tenure is a valid principle in education.  How long             
 do school systems in Alaska need to accomplish the purpose of                 
 tenure and how long are teachers required to be probationary, a               
 period which allows them to prove their worthiness, but doesn't               
 unfairly penalize them?                                                       
 Number 1511                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE pointed out that if they do extend tenure from           
 two years to five years, what are they doing for consistency in               
 evaluation for teachers who do bounce around from district to                 
 Number 1534                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE cautioned that they didn't want to micro-manage too            
 much how a district decides to adopt their evaluation procedure.              
 Number 1546                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON also noted that sometimes a good teacher              
 doesn't get tenure.  She understood that after two years it was               
 automatic that teachers qualify for tenure.  Who determines who               
 gets tenure?                                                                  
 Number 1570                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked that the participants think about a reasonable           
 probationary period of time between the existing two years and the            
 requested five years to obtain tenure.                                        
 Number 1596                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS responded with the suggestion of four years              
 for tenure because after last year's debate, probation was set at             
 the first day of the fourth year and he said that maybe now they              
 should move it to the first day of the fifth year.                            
 Number 1617                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR CYNTHIA TOOHEY suggested five years for tenure.  Having              
 worked in private enterprize, she didn't think that anyone could              
 train a person in two years and evaluate them fairly.                         
 Number 1637                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON pointed out that not all people would need            
 training when hired by a school district.  They might already have            
 been teaching school for a number of years before coming to Alaska.           
 Maybe some people who are fresh out of school might need more                 
 supervision, training and evaluation than someone who has already             
 been tenured out of the state and someone who has a good record.              
 Number 1665                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE GARY DAVIS added that two years is hardly enough               
 time for  a person to feel comfortable with their job, much less be           
 evaluated.  He felt as though four years was a good generic time              
 frame on a bell curve.                                                        
 Number 1714                                                                   
 MS. DOUGLAS prefaced her statement about probation by saying that             
 this bill was so encompassing, it addresses among other things the            
 quality of education and the desire to have the best teachers                 
 teaching our kids.  Is it about getting rid of tenured teachers in            
 light of limited finances?                                                    
 Number 1743                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE addressed Ms. Douglas' concerns by stating that the            
 bill is about giving school districts flexibility in light of less            
 Number 1754                                                                   
 MS. DOUGLAS went on to add that the requirements for a new teacher            
 are becoming more strenuous in terms of the number of hours student           
 teachers are required to be in schools.  This she supports. She               
 would even support a fifth year education program for people.  If             
 it's a good program they would already have been in a classroom for           
 at least two years of training before they'd be in a classroom as             
 a new hire.  After two years if it's someone that the district                
 wants to invest in, then a third year can be added as a probation             
 requirement with a year of improvement built in.  Ms. Douglas                 
 pointed out that if it's a question of funding, she had a problem             
 with that because a new teacher is hoping to establish themselves             
 as a part of a community.  If they're bounced around from one place           
 to the next for a four year period and they move again, is it fair            
 to expect that person to go through another five years of                     
 Number 1944                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE made the point that a five year tenure could become            
 a vehicle for avoiding payment to a teacher who has acquired                  
 experience and is at a higher pay scale.  Theoretically, a person             
 could be fired before they'd met their tenure requirements and a              
 new hire could then be recruited.  This would save money for the              
 district.  While the teacher is in a probationary status it is much           
 easier to get rid of them, than if they were already tenured.                 
 Number 1950                                                                   
 they were dealing with an economic issue when considering HB 217.             
 He's often said that this bill is an issue of economy rather than             
 an issue of professionalism.  He suggested that maybe the issue is            
 more about funding education, rather than the debate of laying off            
 a teacher because of the economy.  If schools had more money, the             
 issue of tenure becomes less of a problem in the future.  There is            
 a need to fund programs regardless of tenure to meet the demands of           
 an ever changing classroom.  Mr. Marshall also added that there               
 needs to be emphasis placed on preparation programs for new                   
 teachers and that maybe a fifth year curriculum needs to be                   
 Number 2033                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE reiterated that it's a given there won't be any                
 additional money slated for education in the foreseeable future and           
 that this bill will not take on teacher re-certification.  Mr.                
 Bunde then asked for particular information such as, how many one             
 and two year teachers are let go in Alaska per year and how many              
 have been let go in the last five years.   He asked if there was              
 any way to find out if a teacher's termination was due to lack of             
 Number 2063                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY again pointed out that this is not an issue of                
 teacher qualification, but is more about Alaska going into an                 
 economic slump.  She added that more fiscal control is needed in              
 order to pay for Alaska's schools, to have the best education for             
 the money available.                                                          
 Number 2092                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked about standards for administrators as a            
 comparison when it comes to evaluating teacher performance for                
 tenure.  What about administrators?  He alluded to them as being no           
 better than cockroaches.                                                      
 Number 2135                                                                   
 MR. MCPHETRES responded to Representative Brice's concerns.  He               
 made some comments concerning liquidation of assets to accommodate            
 other districts to help make up for limited funding.  He continued            
 to address the issue of tenure for administrators by pointing out             
 that if an administrator has a type A and B certificate, they are             
 subject to the tenure clause just as much as a teacher is.  If an             
 administrator has only a type B certificate they have zero tenure,            
 which means they are more at risk than a teacher.                             
 Number 2194                                                                   
 ROBERT GOTTSTEIN, Alaska State Board of Education, took issue with            
 the notion that the state of Alaska doesn't have enough money to              
 provide the best education for their children.  He asked how they             
 could make education worthy enough, worth contributing to, so that            
 there are enough dollars to fund it.  The use of the rationale that           
 oil revenues are declining does not necessarily mean that there are           
 no resources in the state to make sure all our children have an               
 opportunity for an adequate education.  He made the point that we             
 need to make education worthy enough to get more funding.                     
 Number 2253                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS said he felt that if this bill had been                  
 created because of a lack in funding, the discussion about tenure             
 should be dismissed.  If the bill was created to make up for a lack           
 of money, it could be perceived that the intent of the bill is to             
 break tenure to save money.  Representative Davis agreed with the             
 suggestion that providing a good education is priority, rather than           
 looking at it from a money point of view.  The legislature provides           
 money to school districts, but it doesn't have the authority to               
 tell the schools how to run their programs from a budget                      
 perspective.  He also addressed the issue of a new hire trying to             
 make tenure within a particular school district and seemed to be              
 cautioning against treating them any differently than a nurse or a            
 city manager trying to cement themselves in a community.                      
 TAPE 95-30, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 049                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE stated that he's received many faxes from school               
 districts throughout the state that say because money is becoming             
 increasingly short that everyone needs to be more flexible and                
 that's why they support HB 217.  This is an indication that many              
 Alaskans see this bill as an economic issue.  He also asked the               
 people present, whether or not a time period of three to five years           
 was an acceptable requirement for tenure.   He pointed out that a             
 three to five year period allows the administrator more time to               
 make an assessment and allows the teacher more time to prove                  
 Number 129                                                                    
 MS. DOUGLAS accepted this conclusion as long as there would be                
 changes in the way evaluations are done.  She also responded to               
 some of Representative Davis' comments regarding how teachers are             
 given a different status than other professionals when trying to              
 acquire tenure in a particular community, but she noted that if the           
 state of Alaska values it's children and if they want the very best           
 teachers, then they should provide more security for new hires who            
 move to a new community.  Ms. Douglas felt as though the first                
 question people ask about in a perspective community is, "how good            
 are the schools?"  She believed there is a correlation between                
 economics and good schools.  She suggested that maybe this                    
 constitutes creating a different standard when accessing turn over            
 of newly hired teachers as compared to other professionals.  Ms.              
 Douglas summed up her comments by saying that the National                    
 Education Association of Alaska had asked Mike Bradner to give his            
 historical perspective on tenure and that this statement was                  
 included in their packet.                                                     
 Number 260                                                                    
 MR. MARSHALL referred to a position which had already established             
 in regards to tenure some time back.  It provided for evaluations             
 after the first and second year within a three time frame overall             
 for tenure.  He felt as though there are career teachers who are              
 not "dead wood," and doing a great job.  He added that these                  
 tenured teachers can be valuable mentors to teachers in the first             
 and second year.  He added that to set a limit on the amount of               
 years for tenure does not necessarily guarantee whether a teacher             
 is going to do a good job or not.  He  suggested that teachers                
 should be granted tenure after two years.  If after the first year            
 or two of mentoring and after evaluations from administrators, if             
 a person needs a third year in order to achieve success then the              
 professional side has been served.  On the economic side he                   
 believed districts would continue to pink slip people in the first            
 and second year.  Mr. Marshall also used the example of teachers in           
 the bush community who could theoretically move around from one               
 community to the next without becoming tenured.  He believed there            
 is value though in fostering stability in the school force.                   
 Number 510                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE added that the basic issue of educational                
 funding is that if the state of Alaska doesn't fund the schools,              
 then they won't have a bright future in Alaska.  He said his                  
 biggest concern about increasing tenure from two to five year is              
 that it could create a risk of fostering arbitrary personal                   
 decisions about particular teachers.                                          
 Number 587                                                                    
 MS. HOLLOWAY asked how the state could possibly deal with the best            
 interest of children in the face of declining revenues, if in fact            
 that happens.  She said that it's counterproductive to pit                    
 different parts of the educational system against one another.                
 Principals and superintendents are teachers too and they have the             
 best interests of children at heart just as teachers do.  She hoped           
 that everyone could keep their remarks to the topic at hand.                  
 Number 630                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY made the point that everyone cares about the                  
 children, but she feels as though someone needs to worry about the            
 teachers and the communities that are paying these bills.  There              
 needs to be more input from the people who are paying for these               
 children services.  She added that this is just part of a big                 
 Number 665                                                                    
 MS. HOLLOWAY clarified that it's not the principals or the                    
 superintendents that are bad people.  She pointed out that it's               
 allocation of money they're talking about and there shouldn't be              
 any name calling going on.                                                    
 Number 781                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked that the committee move onto Section 3.                  
 The perception from the general public is that tenure means a                 
 lifetime, but there are ways for a teacher to loose it.  He pointed           
 out that Section 4 indicates the traditional ways to loose tenure.            
 The new language proposed to this section reads, "A teacher on lay-           
 off status doesn't loose tenure rights during lay-off period."                
 This legislation attempts to secure tenure even if someone is laid            
 off.  Co-chair Bunde said he was not comfortable with how this                
 section reads.  Once again he used the example of a tenured teacher           
 being laid off because they would cost more to keep.  He proposed             
 starting with lay-offs of people who don't have seniority.  Under             
 this scenario a re-hire would have to be spelled out very clearly.            
 Number 935                                                                    
 MR. WRIGHT pointed out that the reason this language was left in              
 the regulation was because DOE was not sure how to address it                 
 Number 957                                                                    
 MR. ROSE pointed out that Sections 3 and 4 are in reverse.  He                
 pointed out that if someone is a felon or if someone is immoral               
 decisive action can be taken, as well as, when someone is not                 
 complying or incompetent.  He further stated, that because of                 
 declining enrollment, it's not fair to treat a professional as you            
 would a felon.  Mr. Rose thought that it was appropriate to change            
 the law to establish three criteria areas when dealing with non-              
 retainment: Incompetence, substantial non-compliance and                      
 immorality.   Mr. Rose added that when program needs are assessed,            
 a department should promulgate regulations which deal with subject            
 area endorsements.  He did point out that subject area endorsements           
 will be a problem in rural Alaska until a body of qualified talent            
 is established.  Mr. Rose felt as though secondary endorsements               
 alone are too low of a standard to use for secondary instruction.             
 He used the example of when a district is faced with hiring back a            
 gym teacher to teach math just because they have seniority.  The              
 bill was intended to address financial downturn in a fair way.  He            
 noted that if a district has to lay people off they should                    
 recognize re-hire rights and protect earned tenure rights.  He                
 summed up his comments by stating that teachers should be re-hired            
 based on qualifications first and then by seniority.                          
 Number 1125                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY agreed with Mr. Rose and felt as though his                   
 approach as outlined would eliminate a lot of tenure problems.  Her           
 primary concern with getting rid of tenure or elongating it is from           
 a financial perspective.  When a tenured teacher is rehired, is the           
 district required to pay them their same wage?                                
 Number 1176                                                                   
 MR. ROSE said he doesn't envision the bill as doing that.  He                 
 thinks that there is a threshold of what the citizens of Alaska               
 will tolerate.                                                                
 Number 1192                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE offered his perspective regarding this question. If            
 a tenured teacher is re-hired back into the school district, this             
 person should be paid the same wage as when they were laid-off.               
 Co-chair Bunde then recognized some new participants to the work              
 session, Ed Gilley, the superintendent of schools in Adak and also            
 Corky Caldwell who was a former commander in Adak.                            
 Number 1283                                                                   
 MR. MARSHALL offered that the application of Section 4 hinges on              
 what is done in Section 5.  He then proceeded to apply it to a                
 worse case scenario with the example of an in-place health teacher            
 within a district that decides they want to hire a math teacher               
 instead.  In practice, the health teacher can be fired, regardless            
 of tenure.  Mr. Marshall felt as though this section is far too               
 broad.  He noted that if this bill was to pass and all the                    
 provisions were applied, in essence, there would be no teacher                
 tenure.  He added that under this scenario the teacher is not                 
 insubordinate, nor immoral and not incompetent.  He cautioned                 
 against creating rules that can be arbitrarily applied.                       
 Number 1419                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE  moved to item one, Section 5 (1), which dealt with            
 teacher lay-offs in lieu of decreased attendance or school revenue.           
 He asked if anyone would disagree with the premise that because of            
 decreased enrollment in schools, teachers should be laid off.                 
 Number 1446                                                                   
 ED GILLEY, SUPERINTENDENT spoke to this issue.  He had just laid              
 off some teachers and had let some students go too.  Through                  
 attrition some of the teachers took other jobs, but he stressed               
 that if a program is to be maintained, the quality of teachers                
 hinges on specialization in subjects.                                         
 Number 1557                                                                   
 MR. ROSE pointed out that it used to be that if enrollment was                
 down, revenue was lost and now the law is not clear on this point             
 Number 1562                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE threw out the following example, what if a school              
 had the same amount of students, but half the amount of money?  Is            
 that justification for letting some teachers go?                              
 Number 1589                                                                   
 MR. MARSHALL responded to this example by stating that he didn't              
 have any problem with the conditions as outlined in the previous              
 discussions, but what does declining revenue really mean?  Is the             
 revenue budgeted or actual? Should teachers be laid off in advance            
 of budget cuts which are slated to take place in the next school              
 Number 1622                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE agreed that declining revenue would have to be                 
 defined more, but at what point should teachers be laid off?  How             
 much does the budget decline before lay offs take place?                      
 Number 1710                                                                   
 SHEILA PETERSON, Special Assistant to the Commissioner, Department            
 of Education responded to the language outlined in item (b) under             
 Section 5 of HB 217, where the department adopts regulations to               
 establish procedures for lay-off, length of time, etcetera.  As far           
 of any of the details outlined in this section, Ms. Peterson said             
 the DOE (Department of Education) had not had a chance to analyze             
 it.  The DOE had discussed before the state board how difficult the           
 task of deciding a fair amount of time to lay off teachers and                
 rehire would be.  This section would probably be thrown in at the             
 very last and would have to be handled cautiously.  Public input              
 would be necessary.                                                           
 Number 1749                                                                   
 ED GILLEY, Adak Superintendent of Schools, said it was crucial to             
 keep teachers informed as to what changes would be taking place               
 under budget constraints for morale purposes.  He gave a detailed             
 account as to how he handled budget cuts and lay offs in Adak when            
 he was forced to.                                                             
 Number 1872                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE voiced his concern that too much focus is                
 given to teachers under budget constraints rather than looking at             
 other positions in a school district that might be affected.                  
 Number 1945                                                                   
 MR. MARSHALL referred to Section 3, line 10 of HB 217 which deals             
 with tenure rights.  His organization is concerned with what                  
 defines a lay-off.  If an interruption in service takes place with            
 a tenured teacher, as the bill reads now they might not be                    
 considered a tenured teacher anymore.                                         
 Number 1999                                                                   
 MR. ROSE asked that the performance of school board members be                
 scrutinized more closely.                                                     
 Number 2053                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE moved to section six of HB 217 and asked if everyone           
 understood the definition of a de novo trial.  Co-chair Bunde                 
 outlined the precepts of such a trial and stated that the school              
 districts hate it.  It costs a lot of money.  Co-chair Bunde                  
 offered the suggestion that in lieu of a de novo trial, maybe the             
 process of arbitration could be instituted, and if this was not               
 sufficient, then either party could take the case to court.                   
 Number 2138                                                                   
 HEATHER FLYNN pointed out that usually a teacher uses a de novo               
 trial when they've been fired.  How is a firing arbitrated?                   
 Number 2168                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE answered by saying that the teacher has some level             
 of appeal.  If they're fired because of incompetency then that can            
 be disputed.  Then Bunde used a worse case scenario where a school            
 board member is out to get a teacher for personal reasons and the             
 teacher is fired because of incompetency.  Would this be a                    
 situation where arbitration would be helpful?                                 
 TAPE 95-31, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON replied to this hypothetical situation.               
 She noted that if arbitration is looked at as a money saver, it's             
 not realistic.  In the long run, if the parties go to court, there            
 are arbitration costs on top of trial costs.                                  
 Number 088                                                                    
 MR. ROSE clarified that in a de novo situation there are not really           
 two trials, the first session is a hearing with evidence introduced           
 and a hearing officer renders a decision.  If the decision is not             
 favorable to the teacher, they have a right to go to superior                 
 court.  Under the de novo law the next hearing is like a new trial.           
 Anything established in the previous hearing cannot be referred to.           
 In the case of any other state employee in superior court, the                
 previous record is examined to see if their due process rights have           
 been abridged.  The record in this instance can be reviewed.  The             
 atmosphere and circumstances surrounding the non-retention in a de            
 novo situation has to be recreated.  This increases the possibility           
 that the teacher will be re-instated at tremendous expense because            
 it's difficult to re-create the initial circumstances of a firing.            
 Sometimes a problem like this will not be resolved for four or five           
 Number 380                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked what percentage of non-retention                   
 situations go to a de novo trial.                                             
 Number 390                                                                    
 MR MARSHALL responded by saying that in one small Alaska community            
 they spent $100,000.  Thirty-six percent of that money had been               
 spent on NEA member defense.  The bulk of their litigation was                
 spent on action of local unions against districts on labor issues.            
 A total of $36,000 was spent on member defense, which includes                
 hearings before school boards, costs for retaining an attorney or             
 on superior court litigation.                                                 
 Number 487                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked for additional feedback from all the                     
 participants regarding HB 217 and adjourned the meeting at 4:48               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects