Legislature(1999 - 2000)
04/27/1999 03:04 PM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES STANDING COMMITTEE 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.