Legislature(1999 - 2000)

04/27/1999 03:04 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
         HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL                                                                                     
            SERVICES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                         
                   April 27, 1999                                                                                               
                     3:04 p.m.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative Fred Dyson, Co-Chair                                                                                             
Representative John Coghill, Co-Chair                                                                                           
Representative Jim Whitaker                                                                                                     
Representative Joe Green                                                                                                        
Representative Carl Morgan                                                                                                      
Representative Tom Brice                                                                                                        
Representative Allen Kemplen                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 191                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to charter schools; and providing for an effective                                                             
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 191(HES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 195                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to school construction grants and to municipal                                                                 
school construction debt reimbursement."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HB 195 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 165                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to school crisis response planning."                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 165 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
* HOUSE BILL NO. 208                                                                                                            
"An Act relating to professional counselors; and providing for an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - WAIVED HB 208 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 175                                                                                                              
"An Act requiring the Department of Health and Social Services to                                                               
provide notice to a community council on receipt of an application                                                              
for a license to operate a certain kind of foster group home."                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 168                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to actions of the Department of Health and Social                                                              
Services regarding certain health facility payments."                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     - BILL HEARING POSTPONED                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
(* First public hearing)                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 191                                                                                                                    
SHORT TITLE: CHARTER SCHOOLS                                                                                                    
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) DYSON, Kohring                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 4/13/99       794     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 4/13/99       794     (H)  HES, FIN                                                                                            
 4/20/99               (H)  HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                         
 4/20/99               (H)  HEARD AND HELD                                                                                      
 4/20/99               (H)  MINUTE(HES)                                                                                         
 4/24/99               (H)  HES AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                         
 4/24/99               (H)  HEARD AND HELD                                                                                      
 4/27/99               (H)  HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 195                                                                                                                    
SHORT TITLE: SCHOOL GRANT/DEBT REIMBURSEMENT                                                                                    
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) DYSON                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 4/13/99       795     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 4/13/99       795     (H)  HES, FIN                                                                                            
 4/20/99               (H)  HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                         
 4/20/99               (H)  HEARD AND HELD                                                                                      
 4/20/99               (H)  MINUTE(HES)                                                                                         
 4/24/99               (H)  HES AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                         
 4/24/99               (H)  HEARD AND HELD                                                                                      
 4/27/99               (H)  HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 165                                                                                                                    
SHORT TITLE: SCHOOL SAFETY PLAN                                                                                                 
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) KAPSNER, Cissna, Davies, Dyson,                                                                  
Joule,                                                                                                                          
Kerttula, Morgan, Phillips, Smalley, Croft, Austerman, Coghill,                                                                 
Green,                                                                                                                          
Brice, Whitaker                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 3/29/99       602     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 3/29/99       602     (H)  MLV, HES, FIN                                                                                       
 4/13/99               (H)  MLV AT  5:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                         
 4/13/99               (H)  <BILL RESCHEDULED TO 4/20>                                                                          
 4/20/99               (H)  MLV AT  5:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                         
 4/20/99               (H)  MOVED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                              
 4/21/99       898     (H)  MLV RPT  6DP 2AM                                                                                    
 4/21/99       898     (H)  DP: CROFT, PHILLIPS, MURKOWSKI,                                                                     
                            COGHILL,                                                                                            
 4/21/99       898     (H)  FOSTER, CISSNA; AM: JAMES, KOTT                                                                     
 4/21/99       898     (H)  2 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (DOE, DMVA)                                                                     
 4/23/99       964     (H)  COSPONSOR(S): AUSTERMAN                                                                             
 4/27/99               (H)  HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
BRUCE JOHNSON, Director                                                                                                         
Teaching and Learning Support                                                                                                   
Department of Education                                                                                                         
801 West Tenth Street, Suite 200                                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 465-8689                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 191.                                                                            
                     Testified on HB 165.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
EDDY JEANS, Manager                                                                                                             
School Finance Section                                                                                                          
Department of Education                                                                                                         
801 West Tenth Street, Suite 200                                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 465-2891                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of changes to the                                                                     
                     program, but in opposition to changes to the                                                               
                     foundation formula.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
LARRY WIGET, Executive Director                                                                                                 
Public Affairs                                                                                                                  
Anchorage School District                                                                                                       
4600 DeBarr Road                                                                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska 99519                                                                                                         
Telephone:  (907) 259-2255                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 191.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
WES KELLER, Researcher                                                                                                          
     for Representative Dyson                                                                                                   
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 104                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 465-2199                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
KATHY GILLESPIE                                                                                                                 
Anchorage School Board                                                                                                          
4600 DeBarr Road                                                                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska 99519                                                                                                         
Telephone:  (907) 333-9561                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Discussed the charge back system in Anchorage.                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BETTYE DAVIS                                                                                                                    
2240 Foxhall Drive                                                                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska 99504                                                                                                         
Telephone:  Not provided.                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT:  Discussed concerns with HB 191.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
BRUCE CAMPBELL, Legislative Assistant                                                                                           
     for Senator Phillips                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 103                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 465-4949                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 195.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER                                                                                                          
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 424                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 465-4942                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as Sponsor of HB 165.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
JOHN ANGAIAK                                                                                                                    
Lower Kuskokwim School District Board                                                                                           
Alaska Association of School Boards                                                                                             
PO BOX 1233                                                                                                                     
Bethel, Alaska 99555                                                                                                            
Telephone:  (907) 543-3459                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported the concept of HB 165.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CARL ROSE, Executive Director                                                                                                   
Association of Alaska School Boards                                                                                             
316 West Eleventh Street                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                                                                            
Telephone:  (907) 586-1083                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported the proposed CSHB 165.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
JOHN CYR, President                                                                                                             
National Education Association-Alaska                                                                                           
114 Second Street                                                                                                               
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                                                                            
Telephone:  (907) 586-3090                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 165.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
DARROLL HARGRAVES, Executive Director                                                                                           
Alaska Council of School Administrators                                                                                         
326 Fourth Street                                                                                                               
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                                                                            
Telephone:  (907) 586-9702                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 165.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 99-45, SIDE A                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN COGHILL called the House Health, Education and Social                                                               
Services Standing Committee meeting to order at 3:04 p.m.  Members                                                              
present at the call to order were Representatives Dyson, Coghill,                                                               
Whitaker and Brice. Representatives Kemplen, Morgan and Green                                                                   
joined the meeting at 3:06 p.m., 3:07 p.m. and 3:18 p.m.                                                                        
respectively.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
HB 191 - CHARTER SCHOOLS                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN COGHILL announced the first order of business as House                                                              
Bill No. 191, "An Act relating to charter schools; and providing                                                                
for an effective date."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 0156                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BRUCE JOHNSON, Director, Teaching and Learning Support, Department                                                              
of Education, came forward to testify.  Mr. Johnson said that the                                                               
Alaska State Board of Education has indicated the need to expand                                                                
educational opportunities for students, including the expansion of                                                              
charter schools.  The only caveat of the department is to ensure                                                                
that any expansion that occurs does so with high program standards                                                              
and in the best interest of the students being served.  Mr. Johnson                                                             
noted that the department has prepared a fiscal note which totals                                                               
in the fiscal year (FY) 2000, $161,000.  The fiscal note ensures                                                                
that the department has the resources to guide and facilitate the                                                               
successful implementation of additional charter schools.  If HB 191                                                             
were to pass, the charter schools would move beyond the                                                                         
experimentation phase and become institutionalized in Alaska.  Upon                                                             
such, the department would expect to see a number of new charter                                                                
school applications and work required by the state board.  The goal                                                             
is to facilitate the expansion of charter schools.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON stated, in response to Co-Chairman Dyson, that would                                                                
amount to one program specialist and support staff.  The department                                                             
also believes that some on-site support involvement is important.                                                               
A variety of school districts have indicated that starting a                                                                    
charter school is a major effort and endeavor.  The department has                                                              
been unable to provide much help in that regard and therefore has                                                               
been left to the individual school districts.  Mr. Johnson was                                                                  
certain that in some cases, some good ideas never materialized                                                                  
because there was not enough time to address them.  If HB 191 and                                                               
the accompanying fiscal note were to pass, the department would be                                                              
able to provide a helping hand for districts and individuals                                                                    
starting charter schools.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE referred to page 2 of the fiscal note and                                                                  
asked if the one range 15 FTD grant administrator is $8,200.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON clarified that the $8,200 is for a part-time position.                                                              
Therefore, that grant administrator would only spend a small                                                                    
portion of their time dealing specifically with the charter school.                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said then it should be .15.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON indicated agreement.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0459                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
EDDY JEANS, Manager, School Finance Section, Department of                                                                      
Education, informed the committee that with the passage of SB 36                                                                
last year, the department has taken a position in opposition to any                                                             
changes in the funding formula at this time.  The reason for that                                                               
position is that there are some specific reports that the                                                                       
department must compile and report to the legislature in FY 2001.                                                               
One of the reports is a comparison between the old foundation                                                                   
formula, instructional units versus the new adjusted student.  The                                                              
department's position is that if amendments continue as time                                                                    
passes, the base from which the analysis is to be done is being                                                                 
lost.  As Mr. Johnson testified, the department is in support of                                                                
the change in the program while in opposition to the change in the                                                              
foundation formula.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 0575                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
LARRY WIGET, Executive Director, Public Affairs, Anchorage School                                                               
District, testified via teleconference from Anchorage.  Mr. Wiget                                                               
noted that a number of questions were raised regarding the                                                                      
Anchorage School District.  In conversations with the Anchorage                                                                 
Assistant Superintendent, Carol Comeau the questions regarding                                                                  
equity have not been clearly delineated for everyone.   Ms. Comeau                                                              
indicated that she would be willing to come to Juneau to work                                                                   
through these issues with the committee and the department.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN DYSON noted that since the Saturday meeting some of the                                                             
concerns have been addressed in some amendments to Section 4 which                                                              
would be faxed to Mr. Wiget.  Co-Chairman Dyson announced that                                                                  
after a few amendments, he intended to have the committee forward                                                               
HB 191 on to the House Finance Committee.  He offered to work with                                                              
Mr. Wiget and Ms. Comeau in order to clarify the language because                                                               
there is no intent to create an accounting nightmare.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 3:15 p.m. to 3:16 p.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN COGHILL requested that Co-Chairman Dyson explain his                                                                
proposed amendment.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN DYSON referred to page 3, line 13 which with his                                                                    
amendment would read as follows:  "The budget shall not be less                                                                 
than the aggregate, prorated amount generated by the students                                                                   
enrolled in the charter school relative to the educational services                                                             
selected by that school".  He explained that the intent is to                                                                   
clarify that all the funds that the student generates, whether                                                                  
state, local or federal grant monies, is prorated to the school.                                                                
He noted that the charter school does not take all the services                                                                 
that the school operates.  This amendment would allow, "That they                                                               
would get that share for those services that they utilize."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if that is what is meant by prorated,                                                                
but not as used in other forms by which all charter schools would                                                               
be reduced by the same amount.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN DYSON continued with the explanation of his proposed                                                                
amendment.  He  pointed out the following changes:                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, line 17                                                                                                            
     Delete "the",                                                                                                              
     Insert "all"                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, line 18                                                                                                            
     Delete the first "the"                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, line 18                                                                                                            
     Delete "school"                                                                                                            
     Insert "schools"                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, line 18                                                                                                            
     Delete "a"                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, line 19                                                                                                            
     Delete "student"                                                                                                           
     Insert "students"                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN DYSON noted, in reference to the language added on page                                                             
3, lines 13-14, that students bring different funding streams.                                                                  
Conversely, different schools avail themselves of different                                                                     
services.  Co-Chairman Dyson said that the intention is to be fair.                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 0997                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN DYSON moved his proposed amendments to Section 4 of                                                                 
HB 191.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE objected in order to determine if there is a                                                               
cleaner way to accomplish this.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE removed his objection.  Representative Brice                                                               
said that he did not oppose the concept.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN DYSON commented that his amendment is a conceptual                                                                  
amendment.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN COGHILL noted then that there being no objection, the                                                               
amendment was adopted.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN COGHILL referred to page 2, line 23, and asked if the                                                               
questions regarding the itemization of the cost of administrative                                                               
services based on a contract was addressed.  Further, how would                                                                 
that fit with the conceptual amendment.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
WES KELLER, Researcher for Representative Dyson, Alaska State                                                                   
Legislature, explained that the concern was that a different                                                                    
accounting system would be imposed.  Mr. Keller said that he                                                                    
discussed the issue with the drafter who indicated that the intent                                                              
with the itemization is similar to a bid for the cost of specific                                                               
educational services.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN COGHILL inquired as to whether "itemized" should be                                                                 
deleted and replaced with "including an estimated cost of                                                                       
administrative services".  This seemed to be appropriate with the                                                               
aggregate language in the adopted amendment.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN DYSON stated that in drafting HB 191, the intention is                                                              
for the district to provide the charter school with an itemized                                                                 
list of the cost options.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN COGHILL asked, "Then, if it was going to be the amount                                                              
of labor costs, for example, they would just say; if we're going to                                                             
spend anytime, it would be this much per hour rather than saying an                                                             
accumulation of time spent on facilitating things."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN DYSON said that he would guess that it would be both in                                                             
some categories.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1285                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
KATHY GILLESPIE, Anchorage School Board, informed the committee                                                                 
that it has already developed a system of charge backs for the                                                                  
charter schools.  This allows the charter school the option to                                                                  
contract out the services or contract with the district for                                                                     
services.  She believed Co-Chairman Dyson was correct.  The                                                                     
district is flexible in that the charter schools can take an entire                                                             
service or portions of a service if appropriate.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN COGHILL said that if statute will specify an itemized                                                               
list, the proper things should be identified whether it is the cost                                                             
of the service or the amount of the service.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. GILLESPIE commented that the district is already spending much                                                              
time developing billable hour processes and administrative cost                                                                 
processes for charter schools.  This has to be taken care of on an                                                              
individualized basis.  Therefore, Ms. Gillespie indicated support                                                               
of anything that would allow flexibility for individual charter                                                                 
schools.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN DYSON reiterated his intention to move HB 191 from                                                                  
committee and take care of any additional areas that need                                                                       
clarification in the House Finance Committee.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN recalled that the word "itemized" was of                                                                   
concern due to the detail and the cost associated with determining                                                              
costs.  Representative Green concurred with Ms. Gillespie.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN DYSON requested that Ms. Davis, who had a large part in                                                             
the passage of the original charter school legislation, come                                                                    
forward.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1430                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BETTYE DAVIS informed the committee that although she is with the                                                               
Anchorage School District and the Board of Education, she is not                                                                
speaking on behalf of either of those affiliations.  Although Ms.                                                               
Davis recognized that Co-Chairman Dyson was interested in passing                                                               
HB 191 out of committee today, she did not believe there is any                                                                 
urgency in passing it out without addressing some of the fiscal                                                                 
concerns.  With regard to the itemized list, Ms. Davis did not                                                                  
believe there is a need for it.  She agreed with Ms. Gillespie's                                                                
comments.  Ms. Davis recognized that the cap has been lifted, but                                                               
they have not reached 30 schools yet.  Ms. Davis indicated the need                                                             
to provide the charter schools with start-up money in order to                                                                  
avoid complications.  This is particularly important in Anchorage,                                                              
where there are local regulations to which the charter schools must                                                             
adhere.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN DYSON noted that the department has provided a $3.6                                                                 
million fiscal note.  He indicated that it would be very helpful if                                                             
that fiscal note could be forwarded to the House Finance Committee.                                                             
He noted that he has been in correspondence with the planning                                                                   
department in the Municipality of Anchorage in order to change the                                                              
fire safety codes in order to allow the charter schools to occupy                                                               
the same quality spaces that private schools are allowed to occupy.                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. DAVIS said that she appreciated the review of the charter                                                                   
schools, but noted that without the extra funding this cannot be                                                                
accomplished.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN COGHILL announced his intention to report HB 191 out of                                                             
committee with or without the itemization.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WHITAKER inquired as to the bottom line of HB 191.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN DYSON explained that this legislation would extend the                                                              
contract date due to the difficulties for some schools in obtaining                                                             
leases.  Furthermore, the upper limit is lifted.  Co-Chairman Dyson                                                             
said that the large fiscal note is the result of last year's SB 36                                                              
which placed the small schools, which is the case with most of                                                                  
these charter schools, in with the largest school in the district.                                                              
Therefore, these small schools have to deal with the administrative                                                             
and overhead cost of being a small school while falling under the                                                               
financial share of the largest school in the district. ?????  That                                                              
is what made the $3,000 difference in the amount of money received.                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 1681                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WHITAKER moved to report HB 191 as amended out of                                                                
committee with individual recommendations and the attached fiscal                                                               
note.  There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HB 195-SCHOOL GRANT/DEBT REIMBURSEMENT                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN COGHILL announced that the next order of business as                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 195, "An Act relating to school construction grants                                                              
and to municipal school construction debt reimbursement."                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
BRUCE CAMPBELL, Legislative Assistant for Senator Phillips, Alaska                                                              
State Legislature, noted that Representative Brice was going to                                                                 
refer to the Fairbanks School District regarding some questions.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE informed the committee that, upon discussions                                                              
with the Fairbanks School District, there is potential for impact                                                               
which would be covered in the increased funding provided by the                                                                 
state.  Therefore, the district did not have tremendous problems                                                                
one way or the other.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1789                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WHITAKER moved to report HB 195 out of committee                                                                 
with individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                  
There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HB 165-SCHOOL SAFETY PLAN                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN COGHILL announced that the next order of business as                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 165, "An Act relating to school crisis response                                                                  
planning."                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER, Sponsor of HB 165, Alaska State                                                                         
Legislature, read the sponsor statement as follows:                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     In February of 1997 gunfire exploded in the hallways of                                                                    
     the Bethel Regional High School, ending the lives of                                                                       
     principal Ron Edwards and promising athlete Josh                                                                           
     Palacios.  The actions that took place immediately                                                                         
     following this tragedy still haunt the residents of                                                                        
     Bethel with questions such as, "Should we...?" and "Why                                                                    
     didn't we...?"                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     I sincerely hope that no other school or community will                                                                    
     experience this type of trauma and the pain that                                                                           
     accompanies it.  If, however, a crisis which affects the                                                                   
     life, health and emotional well-being of students does                                                                     
     happen, schools must be prepared to respond.  Some                                                                         
     schools in Alaska have planned for such crises.  Others                                                                    
     have not.  House Bill 165 would make sure that every                                                                       
     school does so.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     House Bill 165 adds a new section to the education                                                                         
     statutes requiring each school to develop a site specific                                                                  
     crisis response plan.  The Department of Education would                                                                   
     provide the standards.  Each school district would                                                                         
     develop a template for use by their schools.  But the                                                                      
     real work would be done at each school, with the                                                                           
     involvement of those individuals at the school who will                                                                    
     respond to the tragedy.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     House Bill 165 has had valuable input from numerous                                                                        
     individuals and organizations involved in school safety                                                                    
     issues.  In fact, it became obvious early in my work on                                                                    
     this bill, that school safety is a multifaceted issue.                                                                     
     As communities and schools work on the wide range of                                                                       
     safety issues on an ongoing basis, HB 165 targets one                                                                      
     critical component:  It asks each school to engage in the                                                                  
     forethought and planning to be prepared to meet the needs                                                                  
     of students in times of tragedy and crisis.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1916                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE moved to adopt CSHB 165, Version LS0506\I,                                                                 
Ford, 4/22/99, as the working document before the committee.  There                                                             
being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN COGHILL requested that Representative Kapsner walk the                                                              
committee through the bill and the changes incorporated in the                                                                  
proposed committee substitute (CS).                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER referred to page 1, lines 7-13 which relates                                                             
to the crisis response team.  The proposed CS divides the                                                                       
membership of the committee into two components:  those who shall                                                               
serve and those who may serve.  Those who must be included are the                                                              
school principal or designee, one teacher, one classified employee,                                                             
and a parent of a child attending the school.  The team may also                                                                
include a member from the local school board or advisory committee,                                                             
one student if the school has grade 10 or higher, a school                                                                      
counselor, a member from the local law enforcement authorities,                                                                 
and any other members at the discretion of the governing body.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER said that the next major change in the                                                                   
proposed CS is on page 2, lines 7-8 which adds the language, "or                                                                
faculty".  This requires protocols for responding to immediate                                                                  
physical harm of students or faculty.  On page 2, line 9, paragraph                                                             
(5) was removed.  Page 2, lines 17-23 the proposed CS makes changes                                                             
and requirements for updating the plan.  The plan must be reviewed                                                              
annually and updated as appropriate.  The proposed CS, on page 2,                                                               
line 24, removes the specific time requirement for annual training                                                              
and crisis response.  With regard to the appropriate level of                                                                   
training for school crisis, she indicated the in-service training                                                               
has been varied such that initial training may be two days and                                                                  
subsequent training would require less time.  Representative                                                                    
Kapsner said that the goal of HB 165 is to engage every adult in                                                                
the decisions regarding how to respond to a crisis at a school                                                                  
site.   With the requirement that the plan be reviewed annually,                                                                
she hoped that this would be accomplished without a specific time                                                               
mandate.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN expressed concern with the zero fiscal note                                                                
when the development and training of a plan will certainly cost                                                                 
money.  Furthermore, he was concerned with the definition of                                                                    
"crisis" on page 2, lines 26-27.  The definition's reference to                                                                 
"hardship" could be interpreted to mean difficulty with finances to                                                             
get to school.  With regard to the definition's reference to                                                                    
"grief"; Representative Green asked if this legislation would cover                                                             
an aunt's death.  Representative Green expressed great concern that                                                             
someone could hold the school responsible if the plan was not                                                                   
followed to the letter of the law.  He suggested that a disclaimer                                                              
could be placed in the bill.  He also indicated the need for review                                                             
of this legislation in the House Judiciary Committee.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER deferred to the Department of Education with                                                             
regard to the zero fiscal note.  She believed that so many school                                                               
districts are in favor of this that they will find money to                                                                     
implement the plan and properly train everyone.  With regards to                                                                
litigation, she pointed out that those required to participate in                                                               
the plan are from the community.  With community involvement, there                                                             
should be less threat of litigation.  Representative Kapsner                                                                    
suggested that perhaps, some of the clean-up could occur in this                                                                
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 99-45, SIDE B                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if there is a plan and a tight budget;                                                               
from where do we take the money.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER said that someone from the department would                                                              
address the funding source.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE referred to page 2, line 8 and asked if                                                                    
"faculty" included support staff.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER said that she did have the staff included in                                                             
the "faculty", but she was amenable to include the language, "and                                                               
staff".                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 2185                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WHITAKER referred to page 2, line 14 and inquired as                                                             
to the meaning of "crisis policies for enforcing school discipline                                                              
and maintaining a safe and orderly environment."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER said that with her limited experience in                                                                 
Bethel, "crisis policies for enforcing school discipline" means                                                                 
ensuring the students, faculty and staff of the school are safe and                                                             
that total chaos does not occur.  She explained that subsection (b)                                                             
discusses the procedures the crisis response team follows after a                                                               
crisis.  The role of the team is defined and someone must be in                                                                 
charge.  In Bethel, the principal was down and no one was in                                                                    
charge.  Subsection (b) also identifies "the names of the crisis                                                                
response team members and their specific job functions relating to                                                              
a crisis" which means there is a delineation of who does what in a                                                              
crisis and when notifications occur.  She believed that paragraph                                                               
(4) which includes protocols for the time following a crisis is                                                                 
important.  The crisis is usually a short time frame while the                                                                  
trauma can last for years or a lifetime.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER informed the committee that paragraph (5)                                                                
mainly refers to natural disasters, but could include things like                                                               
suicide.  In a village of 300, the death of one person is extremely                                                             
traumatic.  Paragraph (6) would among other things develop a plan                                                               
for a lock down.  In Bethel, someone pulled the fire alarm                                                                      
scattering everyone which was not appropriate for that crisis.  She                                                             
explained that paragraph (7) hopes to keep the crisis from                                                                      
escalating.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 2031                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WHITAKER clarified then that subsection (b) only                                                                 
relates to policies during and after the crisis.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER replied yes.  She informed the committee                                                                 
that paragraph (7) was taken from the Department of Education's                                                                 
manual and its recommendations.  She indicated that the manual had                                                              
been provided to the committee for review.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN COGHILL suggested that the following language,                                                                      
"policies for enforcing school discipline and maintaining a safe                                                                
and orderly environment during a crisis" be utilized for paragraph                                                              
(7) on page 2.  The current language could be construed to mean                                                                 
that as the policy is being made, "a discipline for the fact" must                                                              
be created.  He felt that language needs to be clarified because                                                                
there will probably be disciplines that will be recommended before                                                              
the fact such as fire alarm training.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said that he apologized for misreading this.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER stated that this draft has evolved a lot                                                                 
since the initial legislation which was very broad.  She believed                                                               
this to be a good step in requiring communities to review the                                                                   
possibility of such a crisis as Bethel had.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1905                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN COGHILL commended Representative Kapsner for carrying                                                               
HB 165.  He referred to page 2, line 26 which is the definition of                                                              
"crisis".  Co-Chairman Coghill suggested that the language, "a                                                                  
traumatic event" be replaced by "an emergency condition" in order                                                               
to alleviate any question regarding the definitions of "hardship,                                                               
fear, or grief".                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER said that she believed that a crisis                                                                     
response team would be pivotal in defining crisis and which are                                                                 
applicable to this legislation.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN COGHILL stated the need to give the crisis response                                                                 
team the clearest direction possible.  Questions may arise with                                                                 
regard to the definition of a "hardship".                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KEMPLEN asked if any of the school districts had                                                                 
been asked how much time would be involved in the creation of these                                                             
site specific crisis response plans.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER noted that she made one presentation to an                                                               
assembly of superintendents from across Alaska as well as                                                                       
discussions with various school districts.  She indicated that the                                                              
Department of Education would create a template.  Furthermore, many                                                             
school districts, especially in Anchorage, have done much planning                                                              
in this area.  The time spent tailoring the template to a specific                                                              
school would be the most consuming.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN COGHILL commented that most school districts probably                                                               
have something in the works.  Also the department will share ideas                                                              
which may facilitate the development of a good plan.  Co-Chairman                                                               
Coghill noted that Fairbanks has a fairly good plan, but that it                                                                
has areas that still need to be addressed.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER said that Bruce Johnson would have the                                                                   
specifics, but she believed that 47 of 54 school districts have                                                                 
begun work in this area.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1734                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BRUCE JOHNSON, Director, Division of Teaching and Learning Support,                                                             
Department of Education, stated that the department is interested                                                               
in school districts providing the protection for students that                                                                  
result from proactive planning in each school community.  He noted                                                              
that the department has been working with Representative Kapsner on                                                             
this bill and on the companion bill in the Senate.  Mr. Johnson                                                                 
believed that the proposed CS allows for the latitude necessary for                                                             
the diversity within the state.  As Co-Chairman Coghill indicated,                                                              
many school districts already have natural disaster plans in place.                                                             
He said that this is being viewed on an incremental basis and                                                                   
components could be added easily.  It is important for each                                                                     
community to consider what to do in a disaster of this nature on a                                                              
school campus.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN COGHILL asked if it is necessary to deal with the                                                                   
amendments mentioned earlier.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON said that the department has two staff members which                                                                
are prepared to lend technical support and assistance to school                                                                 
districts and individual schools with this process.  As                                                                         
Representative Kapsner indicated, much of that can be accomplished                                                              
by providing a guide or template so that the department does not                                                                
have to go on site.  Mr. Johnson suspected that the greater the                                                                 
specificity of the bill the easier it will be for everyone to                                                                   
understand the intent.  He believed that the plans would look very                                                              
different from community to community which makes sense.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1546                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JOHN ANGAIAK, Lower Kuskokwim School District Board, Alaska                                                                     
Association of School Boards, said the tragedy in Colorado is a sad                                                             
reminder of what happened in Bethel.  Currently, there are 135,000                                                              
students in the 53 school districts in Alaska.  This legislation                                                                
would impact many.  He indicated the need to ensure the safety of                                                               
students in order that the students can pursue education and                                                                    
excellence.  Also this legislation would provide a better workplace                                                             
for its employees.  This legislation would have a positive effect                                                               
for all.  Mr. Angaiak indicated support of the concept encompassed                                                              
in the legislation.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN COGHILL said that he believed by doing this more                                                                    
stability and calmness would be brought to some communities.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 1421                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CARL ROSE, Executive Director, Association of Alaska School Boards                                                              
(AASB), said that his comments would be directed at the proposed                                                                
CS.  The AASB supports school safety.  He noted that Representative                                                             
Kapsner has worked with many groups in the various drafts of HB
165.  The initial draft created some concern regarding the                                                                      
diversity of the state in terms of the size and magnitude of issues                                                             
in small and large schools.  Mr. Rose believed that Representative                                                              
Kapsner attempted to give latitude in the bill.  The AASB supports                                                              
this effort and others to address school safety.  Mr. Rose                                                                      
indicated that the department will be relied upon with regard to                                                                
how regulations will be promulgated.  Mr. Rose said that the AASB                                                               
supports the bill.  Mr. Rose believed that if the efforts are                                                                   
directional and the details are provided through regulation, the                                                                
legislature would be released of the aforementioned litigation                                                                  
concerns.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said that it seemed that a school district                                                                 
would be less likely to be shown as negligent, if a crisis plan is                                                              
implemented.  The crisis plan would illustrate the intent of the                                                                
school district to be proactive.  Representative Brice indicated                                                                
that the framework of HB 165 would establish some insulating factor                                                             
to a school district.  He asked if Alaska school boards have faced                                                              
such lawsuits.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROSE replied no, but noted that it is an issue for the future.                                                              
This is a public policy issue.  There is concern across the state                                                               
and the nation and addressing it through Representative Kapsner's                                                               
bill is appropriate.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 1248                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JOHN CYR, President, National Education Association-Alaska                                                                      
(NEA-AK), stated that school safety is one of the number one                                                                    
concerns of NEA-AK.  Mr. Cyr said that NEA-AK supports HB 165.  He                                                              
appreciated Representative Kapsner working with all the different                                                               
constituencies to work through this issue.  He reminded the                                                                     
committee that this is a crisis response bill.  Therefore, before                                                               
this legislation goes into effect, there will have to be a crisis                                                               
in a school.  After which, a way to prevent some of those crisis                                                                
from happening.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 1171                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DARROLL HARGRAVES, Executive Director, Alaska Council of School                                                                 
Administrators, discussed a situation in Nome in 1974 in which the                                                              
Bering Sea came over the sea wall and residents were placed in the                                                              
school for safety.  One of the problems was food service for the                                                                
residents as well as those dealing with the safety needs such as                                                                
electricity.  Mr. Hargraves informed the committee that he broke                                                                
into the school kitchen and fed those folks USDA commodities.  They                                                             
survived the crisis, but it took many months to complete all the                                                                
necessary paperwork for allowing that food to be eaten.  After that                                                             
incident, the City of Nome and the school district developed a                                                                  
crisis plan.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARGRAVES commented that without the broad definition of                                                                    
"crisis" it would be difficult to deal with all the problems that                                                               
arise in schools.  For example, Mr. Hargraves informed the                                                                      
committee of an incident in which a student held a gun to a                                                                     
teacher's head as well as two suicides.  He believed that                                                                       
techniques for dealing with those type of situations can be                                                                     
incorporated.  He noted that most superintendents would have                                                                    
learned about this in a graduate school administration class.                                                                   
However, the truth may be that many school districts would have no                                                              
idea how to deal with such a crisis.  Mr. Hargraves supported the                                                               
proposed CS.  With regards to the liability, he pointed out that in                                                             
a couple of suits the plaintiff charged that the school did not                                                                 
have a plan addressing the problem.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE believed that passage of legislation such as                                                               
this would provide insulation rather than exposure to litigation.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 0884                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARGRAVES stated that development of a plan would take time and                                                             
a fiscal note could be attached to the legislation.  However, there                                                             
are many areas from which help can be derived.  For instance, the                                                               
Department of Education is developing a template for the plan.                                                                  
Furthermore, this will be an appendix to many community plans.  He                                                              
noted that the American Psychology Association (APA) does have good                                                             
protocols to put in place after such incidents.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN DYSON asked if Mr. Hargraves believed this would be an                                                              
unnecessary burden on the few districts which do not already have                                                               
a plan in place.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARGRAVES said that for some it will be a burden and will                                                                   
require some work.  There are willing workers who would have the                                                                
plan through the hearing process.  Although larger areas would face                                                             
a larger task, he suspected that those areas would have the                                                                     
rudiments in place.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN DYSON commented that he was impressed with his school                                                               
district in this regard.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if the smaller communities would face a                                                              
burden with the implementation of drills of the plan.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARGRAVES said he did not think so.  Currently, statute                                                                     
requires certain things and those may become part of this plan as                                                               
well.  There must be maps on the wall to direct folks out of a                                                                  
building and there must be nine fire drills a year.  If there are                                                               
some additional parts in this plan, Mr. Hargraves indicated those                                                               
additions would be appropriate in order to determine how to call on                                                             
expertise in the community.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE noted that Co-Chairman Coghill had mentioned                                                               
some technical amendments.  He asked if Co-Chairman Coghill was                                                                 
ready for motions on those technical amendments.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0561                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE moved that the committee adopt Amendment 1                                                                 
which reads as follows:                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 14                                                                                                            
     Delete "crisis"                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 15                                                                                                            
     After "environment";                                                                                                       
     Insert, "during a crisis"                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 26                                                                                                            
     After "or";                                                                                                                
     Insert "emergency"                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER indicated that she was amenable to those                                                                 
changes.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN COGHILL asked if there was any objection.  There being                                                              
no objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE moved that the committee adopt Amendment 2                                                                 
which would make paragraph (4) on page 2 read as follows:                                                                       
"protocols for responding to immediate physical harm of students,                                                               
faculty and staff".                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER said that she believed that clarification                                                                
made the bill better.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN COGHILL asked if there was any objection to Amendment                                                               
2.  There being no objection, Amendment 2 was adopted.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 0427                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE moved to report CSHB 165 as amended out of                                                                 
committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying zero                                                             
fiscal notes.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 4:28 p.m. to 4:29 p.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIRMAN COGHILL asked if there was any objection to the motion                                                              
to report CSHB 165 as amended out of committee.  There being no                                                                 
objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 329                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Health, Education & Social Services Standing Committee meeting was                                                              
adjourned at 4:30 p.m.                                                                                                          

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