Legislature(2001 - 2002)

03/14/2002 03:03 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
          HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES                                                                         
                       STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                         March 14, 2002                                                                                         
                           3:03 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                              
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Fred Dyson, Chair                                                                                                
Representative Peggy Wilson, Vice Chair                                                                                         
Representative John Coghill                                                                                                     
Representative Gary Stevens                                                                                                     
Representative Vic Kohring                                                                                                      
Representative Sharon Cissna                                                                                                    
Representative Reggie Joule                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 451                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to municipal bond reimbursement for school                                                                     
construction; and providing for an effective date."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HB 451 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 416                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to reemployment of and benefits for retired                                                                    
teachers and principals who participated in retirement incentive                                                                
programs; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 416(HES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 464                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to statewide school district correspondence                                                                    
study programs."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 451                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:MUNICIPAL BOND REIMBURSEMENT                                                                                        
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S)JAMES                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
02/19/02     2310       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
                                   REFERRALS                                                                                    
02/19/02     2310       (H)        HES, FIN                                                                                     
03/06/02     2496       (H)        COSPONSOR(S): STEVENS                                                                        
03/14/02                (H)        HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 416                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:REEMPLOYMENT OF RETIRED TEACHERS                                                                                    
SPONSOR(S): EDUCATION                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
02/13/02     2242       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
                                   REFERRALS                                                                                    
02/13/02     2242       (H)        EDU, HES                                                                                     
02/20/02                (H)        EDU AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 120                                                                   
02/20/02                (H)        Heard & Held Subcommittee                                                                    
                                   Assigned                                                                                     
02/20/02                (H)        MINUTE(EDU)                                                                                  
02/27/02                (H)        EDU AT 8:00 AM HOUSE FINANCE                                                                 
                                   519                                                                                          
02/27/02                (H)        Moved CSHB 416(EDU) Out of                                                                   
                                   Committee                                                                                    
02/27/02                (H)        MINUTE(EDU)                                                                                  
03/01/02     2437       (H)        EDU RPT CS(EDU) 4DP                                                                          
03/01/02     2437       (H)        DP: PORTER, GREEN, STEVENS,                                                                  
                                   BUNDE                                                                                        
03/01/02     2437       (H)        FN1: ZERO(ADM)                                                                               
03/01/02     2437       (H)        FN2: ZERO(EED)                                                                               
03/14/02                (H)        HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 464                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:SCHOOL DISTRICT CORRESPONDENCE STUDY                                                                                
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S)JAMES                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
02/19/02     2313       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
                                   REFERRALS                                                                                    
02/19/02     2313       (H)        EDU, HES                                                                                     
02/19/02     2313       (H)        REFERRED TO EDUCATION                                                                        
02/22/02     2370       (H)        COSPONSOR(S): DYSON                                                                          
02/27/02     2416       (H)        REFERRALS CHANGED TO HES, EDU                                                                
02/27/02     2416       (H)        REFERRED TO HES                                                                              
03/07/02                (H)        HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                   
03/07/02                (H)        Heard & Held                                                                                 
03/07/02                (H)        MINUTE(HES)                                                                                  
03/13/02     2530       (H)        COSPONSOR(S): COGHILL,                                                                       
                                   KOHRING, GREEN,                                                                              
03/13/02     2530       (H)        FOSTER                                                                                       
03/14/02                (H)        HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
HEATH HILYARD, Staff                                                                                                            
to Representative Jeannette James                                                                                               
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 214                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HB 451 on behalf of                                                                              
Representative James, sponsor.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
EDDY JEANS, Manager                                                                                                             
School Finance and Facilities Section                                                                                           
Education Support Services                                                                                                      
Department of Education and Early Development (EED)                                                                             
801 West Tenth Street, Suite 200                                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska  99801-1894                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 451 and answered questions.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DEE HUBBARD, Member                                                                                                             
Bond Reimbursement and Grant Review Committee                                                                                   
P.O. Box 88                                                                                                                     
Sterling, Alaska  99672-0088                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 451.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE                                                                                                        
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 501                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented CSHB 416(EDU) as chair of the                                                                    
House Special Committee on Education, the bill's sponsor.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
KAREN McCARTHY, Staff                                                                                                           
to Representative Con Bunde                                                                                                     
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 501                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  As committee aide to the House Special                                                                     
Committee on Education, answered questions pertaining to CSHB                                                                   
416(EDU).                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
GUY BELL, Director                                                                                                              
Division of Retirement & Benefits                                                                                               
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
P.O. Box 110203                                                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska  99811-0203                                                                                                      
POSITION  STATEMENT:     During  hearing  on   HB  416,  answered                                                               
questions relating to the state's retirement system.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
RICHARD SCHMITZ, Staff                                                                                                          
to Representative Jeannette James                                                                                               
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 214                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
POSITION  STATEMENT:     During  hearing  on   HB  464,  answered                                                               
questions  on  behalf  of   Representative  James,  sponsor,  and                                                               
explained proposed amendments to Version O.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ED McLAIN, Ph.D., Deputy Commissioner of Education                                                                              
Office of the Commissioner                                                                                                      
Department of Education and Early Development (EED)                                                                             
801 West 10th Street, Suite 320                                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska  99801-1894                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on  HB 464; said EED didn't oppose                                                               
Amendments  1 or  2 to  Version O,  but needed  time to  consider                                                               
Amendment 3.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SHARYLEE ZACHARY                                                                                                                
P.O. Box 1531                                                                                                                   
Petersburg, Alaska  99833                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 464.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CAROL SIMPSON                                                                                                                   
448 Klondike Avenue                                                                                                             
Homer, Alaska  99603                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 464.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
TIM SCOTT                                                                                                                       
3339 Fairbanks Street                                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska  99503                                                                                                        
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on  HB 464; agreed with Amendments                                                               
1 and 2  to Version O, and  said he saw no  problem with proposed                                                               
Amendment 3 from his perspective.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
RUSS BOWDRE                                                                                                                     
P.O. Box 1048                                                                                                                   
Delta Junction, Alaska  99737                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 464.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTINE AXMAKER                                                                                                               
P.O. Box 301                                                                                                                    
Petersburg, Alaska  99833                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in favor of HB 464.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
JOAN DANGELI                                                                                                                    
P.O. Box 34711                                                                                                                  
Juneau, Alaska  99803                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  During hearing  on HB 464, offered suggested                                                               
change to proposed Amendment 3 and asked questions.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 02-22, SIDE A                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRED  DYSON called the  House Health, Education  and Social                                                               
Services  Standing  Committee  meeting  to  order  at  3:03  p.m.                                                               
Representatives  Dyson, Wilson,  Coghill,  Stevens, Kohring,  and                                                               
Cissna were present  at the call to order.   Representative Joule                                                               
arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON   announced  that  after  the   bill  hearings,  the                                                               
committee would  discuss a possible committee  bill pertaining to                                                               
putting   professional  counselors   and  [marital]   and  family                                                               
therapists under one board.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON asked if the  merger would be immediate, or                                                               
whether the starts would be staggered.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON read,  "The board  [of] professional  counselors and                                                               
the board of marital and family  counselors shall by July 1, 2003                                                               
become the board of professional counselors and therapists."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  explained that her reason  for asking this                                                               
is because one group has some outstanding [financial] bills.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HB 451-MUNICIPAL BOND REIMBURSEMENT                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 0241                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  announced the  first order  of business,  HOUSE BILL                                                               
NO. 451,  "An Act  relating to  municipal bond  reimbursement for                                                               
school construction; and providing for an effective date."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 0292                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HEATH HILYARD,  Staff to  Representative Jeannette  James, Alaska                                                               
State Legislature,  presented HB 451 on  behalf of Representative                                                               
James,  sponsor.   He referred  to the  sponsor statement  in the                                                               
committee  packet  and  offered his  understanding  that  current                                                               
statute  requires  for  grant   proposals  for  municipal  school                                                               
construction  that there  be a  preventative maintenance  plan in                                                               
place prior to the grant's being  funded.  The bill would clarify                                                               
statute  under the  bond reimbursement  for school  construction.                                                               
He  said it  is  simple:   all  it does  is  "clean up  statutory                                                               
differences between the two processes."                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON said this is also his understanding.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0333                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
EDDY  JEANS,  Manager,  School Finance  and  Facilities  Section,                                                               
Education  Support Services,  Department of  Education and  Early                                                               
Development (EED),  reminded members  that about three  years ago                                                               
the legislature  passed a requirement that  school districts have                                                               
a  five-part  preventative  maintenance   plan  in  place  as  an                                                               
eligibility  [requirement] for  school construction  grants; this                                                               
is  found  in   [AS]  14.11.    Also  in  this   statute  is  the                                                               
reimbursement program  [for school construction].   The provision                                                               
[for a  preventative maintenance  plan] was  not attached  to the                                                               
debt-reimbursement program.   Therefore, HB  451 places  the same                                                               
requirement  on the  debt-reimbursement  programs that  currently                                                               
exists under the grant program.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 0389                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  sought  confirmation that  in  order  for                                                               
schools to  be on the  capital improvement [project  (CIP) list],                                                               
they must have a preventative maintenance program in place.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS answered in the affirmative.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON said  some schools choose not to  be on the                                                               
[CIP list].   She added,  "And I could be  wrong in this,  so ...                                                               
I'm  going to  ask you  this:   some  schools go  ahead and  bond                                                               
without being on the list ...  and ... take care of it themselves                                                               
and then  ask for  reimbursement afterwards.   Are  those schools                                                               
required to be on the CIP?"                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JEANS  replied  that the  debt-reimbursement  process  is  a                                                               
separate process that  districts have to go  through.  Currently,                                                               
there  is  no  additional  debt  authorization  under  the  debt-                                                               
reimbursement program; the legislature would  have to pass a bill                                                               
authorizing  additional debt  for reimbursement  from the  state.                                                               
He said this  typically is allocated based on  community size; it                                                               
is up to  districts to submit projects to  [EED] for eligibility.                                                               
Right  now, the  projects  under  the debt-reimbursement  program                                                               
don't have to  have a preventative maintenance  program in place.                                                               
He  offered that  since the  legislation  of approximately  three                                                               
years ago,  [EED] has been reviewing  all districts' preventative                                                               
maintenance  plans,  even   those  under  the  debt-reimbursement                                                               
program.  He  said [EED] has been working with  districts to meet                                                               
those five categories [in the preventative maintenance plan].                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 0504                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   JOULE  inquired   about  feedback   from  school                                                               
districts affected by [HB 451] and whether they have plans.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS answered  that all districts have a plan  of some type.                                                               
These  plans might  not conform  to the  five required  parts [in                                                               
statute],  however,  and [EED]  has  been  working with  all  the                                                               
districts to  assist them in  conforming to  the law.   He added,                                                               
"Under   the  grant   program,  this   just  mirrors   that  same                                                               
requirement for the debt-reimbursement program."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0546                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS offered that  this is a reasonable request                                                               
of districts; it is a lot to  do, but any district should be able                                                               
to  have  a   preventative  maintenance  plan  if   it  plans  on                                                               
[facility]   renewal  and   replacement.     He  asked   if  this                                                               
preventative  maintenance is  beyond  any  district's ability  to                                                               
accomplish.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS  replied, "I  believe you're  correct."   He reiterated                                                               
that  [EED] is  working with  school districts  to meet  all five                                                               
requirements.   Tools such as a  renewal-and-replacement schedule                                                               
are available  on EED's web site  to assist districts.   He added                                                               
that  this bill  was  submitted by  Representative  James at  the                                                               
request of  the bond reimbursement  [and] grant  review committee                                                               
that  oversees  all  school construction  and  major  maintenance                                                               
regulations  in   the  state.    This   committee  supports  this                                                               
inclusion of  the debt reimbursement  under the  requirements for                                                               
the grant program.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 0627                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON referenced page 3, line  11, of the bill and asked if                                                               
"cardex" is a brand name.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS said he was unable to answer that question.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON offered his opinion that  it is.  He added, "And it's                                                               
no big  deal.   I think  [it] ...  probably communicates  what we                                                               
want; and if it  is a brand name, it's probably  not smart to put                                                               
it in state  law, but I don't think it's  something that ought to                                                               
hang us up."                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 0671                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE noted the  need for preventative maintenance                                                               
plans.  He recounted comments  he has heard from school districts                                                               
indicating  that the  many  maintenance requirements  necessitate                                                               
hiring  personnel  to do  the  paperwork;  so  much needs  to  be                                                               
reported  that  this takes  personnel  away  from performing  the                                                               
maintenance.    He  said these  [district]  budgets  are  already                                                               
constrained.  He asked about  the impact of the extra maintenance                                                               
personnel  costs on  the 70/30  ratio and  whether districts  are                                                               
granted waivers for this.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS  replied that  Representative Joule  had raised  a good                                                               
question.   School districts have  raised this issue  with [EED];                                                               
the  additional  expense incurred  under  this  provision of  law                                                               
works  against districts  in meeting  the 70  percent requirement                                                               
for instruction.  He said:                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     My only  response to that  is:  if  this is one  of the                                                                    
     contributing factors, then  the department will support                                                                    
     a waiver,  if that's  one of  the items  that's causing                                                                    
     them not  to meet the  70 percent on instruction.   But                                                                    
     ...  I would  suggest that  this isn't  the only  thing                                                                    
     that's going to  cause them not to meet  the 70 percent                                                                    
     instructional requirement.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE  pointed out  that if districts  are getting                                                               
close [to the  70 percent requirement], this might  cause them to                                                               
[go  below that].   He  affirmed that  all districts  are working                                                               
hard   to  [achieve   the  70/30   ratio   for  instruction   and                                                               
administration, respectively].                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
EDDY JEANS  concurred.  He  reiterated that [EED] will  take that                                                               
into consideration when reviewing a district's waiver request.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 0800                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  said part  of the  problem is  that the  70/30 ratio                                                               
reflects  good  intentions but  doesn't  work  really well.    He                                                               
suggested  that  in  smaller  schools,  particularly  those  with                                                               
unsophisticated  physical  plants,  this  may be  overkill.    He                                                               
added, "The  only thing  I would  add to the  contrary is,  as we                                                               
work more  ... on school safety  sorts of things -  alarm systems                                                               
and  sprinklers  ... -  [those]  have  some additional  reporting                                                               
requirements that ... make us need to work [at that]."                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 0860                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  pointed out that  schools need to  hire an                                                               
engineer  or some  other expert  to [put  these plans  in place].                                                               
Large  expenses  can be  incurred  by  districts in  rural  areas                                                               
because   of   transportation,   housing,  and   other   expenses                                                               
associated  with contracting  with these  experts.   If districts                                                               
are approaching the  70/30 ratio, they could easily  go over [the                                                               
30 percent administrative-cost allocation].                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 0904                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON  suggested  perhaps  the  70/30  [ratio]  should  be                                                               
revisited,  "and  put  some school  building  facility  size  and                                                               
remoteness caveats in there or something."                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS said  he has traveled to  visit schools in                                                               
varying  states of  repair and  disrepair.   He offered  that the                                                               
reason there  is such a problem  in some rural schools  is due to                                                               
the  lack of  renewal-and-replacement schedules.   He  emphasized                                                               
the necessity of requiring [preventative maintenance plans].                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 0958                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON  responded that  local  people  should take  on  the                                                               
responsibility to  [maintain facilities  of their  own volition];                                                               
it shouldn't require a law.   He offered his experience regarding                                                               
facility-and-machinery preventative maintenance,  that when money                                                               
gets tight, "guess what gets cut?"                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON agreed that  this maintenance must be done,                                                               
noting  that the  state has  over a  billion dollars  of deferred                                                               
maintenance currently.   She said  [the legislature]  expects the                                                               
school districts  that are short  of funds to  [properly maintain                                                               
facilities],  although legislators  have  not [provided  funding]                                                               
for the state's deferred maintenance.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1015                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON said, "Or at least  document that they have a plan to                                                               
take care  of it when  they go  for bonds or  bond reimbursement,                                                               
which is the subject we have at hand."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 1033                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DEE  HUBBARD,   Member,  Bond  Reimbursement  and   Grant  Review                                                               
Committee,  testified via  teleconference,  noting  that she  has                                                               
been a member of that  committee since its establishment in 1993.                                                               
She  said  in  1993  the   legislature  decided  to  establish  a                                                               
committee to  take all the  school construction  issues together,                                                               
to create a  fair statewide system.  She noted  that this is just                                                               
what the committee has done, and  it has a good record, according                                                               
to school districts.   Upon review of  regulations, the committee                                                               
discovered that the preventative  maintenance required by law did                                                               
not affect the projects being  considered for bond reimbursement;                                                               
this is the justification for proposing the bill, she said.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  HUBBARD  told  members  she   is  glad  the  [House  Health,                                                               
Education  and Social  Services  Standing Committee]  understands                                                               
the   problems   encountered   when   meeting   any   maintenance                                                               
requirement.   "It is the thing  that gets cut first,"  she said.                                                               
Anyone  who  has  lived  in Anchorage  has  witnessed  this,  she                                                               
offered.   [The legislature] has  determined that  districts must                                                               
create a maintenance program to  save money in [new] construction                                                               
costs by allowing  districts to spend money  to maintain schools,                                                               
she pointed  out.  The  review committee recommended  the program                                                               
to the [State  Board of Education and Early  Development] and the                                                               
commissioner,  and it  realized  that additional  costs would  be                                                               
incurred with this program by putting it into law.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. HUBBARD agreed with Mr.  Jeans' comments that [EED] similarly                                                               
recognizes  this  problem and  is  willing  to work  with  school                                                               
districts.    She  reported  that a  person  has  been  traveling                                                               
through the state to work  with [district] maintenance personnel;                                                               
this has helped districts find  simpler solutions [to maintenance                                                               
problems] so that  districts can qualify under the  program.  She                                                               
expressed  appreciation for  this committee's  hearing the  issue                                                               
and acknowledging the problems that  the 70/30 [funding ratio] is                                                               
causing.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1218                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON  stated  to  Representative   Joule  that  he  would                                                               
entertain,   pending   committee    approval,   some   meaningful                                                               
adjustments  to  the  70/30  ratio,  as a  committee  bill.    He                                                               
characterized  this as  a  heavy-handed  action that  legislators                                                               
tend to do in  attempts to "get everybody to shape  up and do the                                                               
right thing,  and it  often is  counterproductive."   He conveyed                                                               
his preference  for a better  law that neither forces  [EED] into                                                               
the  position of  entertaining  waivers  nor causes  well-meaning                                                               
people and  organizations to continue  to try to "cook  the books                                                               
... in the most favorable sort of  way - not to do something bad,                                                               
but  to  meet an  arbitrary  and  capricious guideline  that  was                                                               
somewhat thoughtlessly put in place."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  moved to  report HB  451 out  of committee                                                               
with individual recommendations and  the accompanying zero fiscal                                                               
note.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE  observed that some of  the best maintenance                                                               
plans he has  seen have been from some of  the smaller districts.                                                               
He  noted  that this  is  a  concern  for the  smaller  districts                                                               
because they are trying to meet the [70/30 ratio requirement].                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  related his impression that  [maintenance plans] are                                                               
almost entirely  dependent on  whether the  local people  who are                                                               
involved really care, not on whether a state law mandates them.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 1327                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON announced  that there being no objection,  HB 451 was                                                               
moved  out of  the House  Health, Education  and Social  Services                                                               
Standing Committee.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HB 416-REEMPLOYMENT OF RETIRED TEACHERS                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  announced that the  next order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL NO.  416, "An  Act  relating to  reemployment of  and                                                               
benefits for retired teachers and  principals who participated in                                                               
retirement  incentive programs;  and providing  for an  effective                                                               
date."  [Before the committee was CSHB 416(EDU).]                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 1369                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CON  BUNDE, Alaska State Legislature,  speaking as                                                               
the chair  of the House  Special Committee on  Education, sponsor                                                               
of the bill,  characterized CSHB 416(EDU) as another  tool in the                                                               
toolbox  that addresses  teacher  retention  and recruitment;  it                                                               
would  be  available  if  school   districts  chose  to  use  it.                                                               
Referring to  previous discussion of teacher  shortage issues, he                                                               
said  this bill  provides  [districts] an  opportunity to  rehire                                                               
teachers who  have retired under a  [Retirement Incentive Program                                                               
(RIP)].                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BUNDE explained  that current  law dictates  that                                                               
these [retired] teachers  who decide to return  to teaching repay                                                               
a substantial  bonus [to be  eligible for rehire];  CSHB 416(EDU)                                                               
allows  teachers  and  principals  to  be  rehired  without  that                                                               
penalty, but  the rehiring is at  an entry-level step.   This was                                                               
included to give districts as  much flexibility as possible while                                                               
preventing possible abuses.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE  reported that  this bill has  been endorsed                                                               
by the  [Matanuska-Susitna] and  Anchorage School  Districts, the                                                               
[Association  of   Alaska  School   Boards],  and   the  [Alaska]                                                               
Association  of Secondary  School  Principals.   He suggested  it                                                               
might be useful to look at  the effects in different districts if                                                               
[CSHB 416(EDU)  becomes law].   There are  457 teachers  who have                                                               
applied for  a retired teacher's teaching  certificate, he noted.                                                               
Referring  to a  document titled  "Comparison: Average  Salary at                                                               
Retirement vs.  Retirement Benefit + Returning  Salary Under CSHB                                                               
416(EDU)," he  pointed out that  in most cases,  retired teachers                                                               
would earn more  at a beginning teacher's  salary with retirement                                                               
benefits than if they had continued teaching [without retiring].                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BUNDE brought  attention  to  [Amendment 1],  22-                                                               
LS1472\F.3, Craver, 3/13/02, which read:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 2, following "programs":                                                                                    
          Insert "and to the employment as teachers of                                                                        
     members of the public  employees' retirement system who                                                                  
     participated in a retirement incentive program"                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 17:                                                                                                           
          Delete "a new subsection"                                                                                             
          Insert "new subsections"                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, following line 22:                                                                                                 
          Insert a new subsection to read:                                                                                      
          "(e)  A member of the public employees'                                                                               
     retirement  system  who  participated in  a  retirement                                                                    
     incentive program under  ch. 26, SLA 1986;  ch. 89, SLA                                                                    
     1989; ch. 65,  SLA 1996; ch. 4, FSSLA 1996;  or ch. 92,                                                                    
     SLA   1997,  who   subsequently  becomes   a  qualified                                                                    
     teacher,   may   become    an   active   member   under                                                                    
     AS 14.25.040  without   losing  the   incentive  credit                                                                    
     provided  under  the  applicable  retirement  incentive                                                                    
     plan  and is  not subject  to any  related reemployment                                                                    
     indebtedness."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 26, following "Act":                                                                                      
         Insert "; AS 14.25.043(e), added by sec. 3 of                                                                      
     this 2002 Act"                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BUNDE noted  that  Amendment  1 addresses  Public                                                               
Employees' [Retirement  System (PERS)] retirees who  apply [to be                                                               
rehired as teachers].                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1623                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE informed members  that he'd neglected to say                                                               
CSHB  416(EDU) has  no negative  actuarial  impact.   He said  he                                                               
would refer  questions about the  retirement system to  Guy Bell,                                                               
Director,  Division  of  Retirement  &  Benefits,  Department  of                                                               
Administration.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  offered his understanding that  Representative Bunde                                                               
had  said these  people  don't  have to  pay  back the  severance                                                               
bonus.  He asked where that is in the bill.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE said  that was the intent  in drafting [CSHB                                                               
416(EDU)].                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 1680                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
KAREN McCARTHY,  Staff to Representative Con  Bunde, Alaska State                                                               
Legislature,  speaking  as  the  committee  aide  for  the  House                                                               
Special Committee  on Education,  offered her  understanding from                                                               
Mr. Bell  that the answer to  Chair Dyson's question is  found on                                                               
page  2,  lines   13-16;  the  [exemption]  is   implied  by  the                                                               
information contained therein.   She offered that  Mr. Bell could                                                               
explain how it works.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  said that  section looks  as though  it is                                                               
being removed.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BUNDE answered  that by  dropping that  language,                                                               
the payback provision [is omitted].   He added that the amendment                                                               
was suggested by Mr. Bell.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 1750                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
GUY   BELL,  Director,   Division  of   Retirement  &   Benefits,                                                               
Department of Administration, explained  that the language in the                                                               
bill that  is being removed  [originated in] HB 242,  passed last                                                               
year [to  allow] Public Employees'  Retirement System  (PERS) and                                                               
Teachers' Retirement  System (TRS)  [non-RIP] retirees  to return                                                               
to public  employment, through filing a  waiver, while continuing                                                               
to receive a  retirement benefit.  He said this  was viewed as an                                                               
incentive to  bring retirees  back into  the workforce.   Several                                                               
things  were omitted  in [HB  242].   Therefore, [CSHB  416(EDU)]                                                               
seeks to make one correction  and one adjustment.  The correction                                                               
is in Section [1], where line  5 adds the Department of Education                                                               
and Early  Development (EED); this  allows EED to  rehire retired                                                               
teachers.  This was an inadvertent omission in HB 242.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON asked  if these  people were  professional staff  or                                                               
worked for Alyeska [Central School].                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BELL offered  his belief  that  these are  employees in  the                                                               
correspondence school, the  [Alaska Vocational Technical Center],                                                               
and  Mount  Edgecumbe High  School  -  any  job that  requires  a                                                               
teaching  certificate  within EED.    This  allows any  of  these                                                               
employers to declare a teacher  shortage.  Then the provisions of                                                               
the rehired-retiree  plan come  into effect  in Section  2, which                                                               
allows  organizations declaring  a shortage  to rehire  retirees;                                                               
these  retirees  are  allowed  to   file  a  waiver  that  waives                                                               
additional  coverage  in the  [retirement]  system.   In  return,                                                               
these  retirees can  keep their  retirement  benefits, but  don't                                                               
accrue  another   retirement  benefit  during  their   period  of                                                               
reemployment.   Mr. Bell noted that  lines 13-16, page 2  of CSHB                                                               
416(EDU), delete  language contained  in HB  242.   This language                                                               
prohibited retirees who retired  under the TRS-sponsored RIP from                                                               
participating in  the return provision.   Deleting  this language                                                               
allows people,  through a waiver,  to return to  teaching without                                                               
having to pay a penalty.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1900                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON inquired what "pay a penalty" means.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. BELL replied  that under the provisions of the  RIPs over the                                                               
years, there were penalty provisions:   a "RIP retiree" returning                                                               
to  teaching would  have  to  repay 110  percent  of the  benefit                                                               
received.  In  addition, the retiree would  forego any additional                                                               
credit received as a result of  the RIP.  If the retiree received                                                               
health benefits  that person wouldn't have  received otherwise, a                                                               
repayment would be  required.  There is a  significant penalty to                                                               
a RIP-retiree returning to employment,  he said; this law has not                                                               
changed.   By allowing  a person  to file  a waiver,  this waives                                                               
his/her coverage  so that the  penalty provision does  not apply.                                                               
He continued:                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     So by  deleting ... on  page 2, lines  13 to 16,  a RIP                                                                    
     person  is allowed  to come  back.   If the  RIP person                                                                    
     does  come back  and files  a waiver,  they are  not in                                                                    
     TRS-covered  employment,  and   therefore  penalty  ...                                                                    
     provisions  wouldn't  apply.   So  a  RIP person  could                                                                    
     return  to teaching  and not  pay the  penalty; at  the                                                                    
     same  time,  though,  that   person  would  not  accrue                                                                    
     additional retirement  credit, but they  would continue                                                                    
     to receive their retirement benefit.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BELL drew  attention to  Section 3  and explained  that this                                                               
provides for the retiree to be  rehired at the entry level of the                                                               
negotiated salary schedule.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON sought further clarification  on Section 2.  He asked                                                               
whether some  of the  incentives for  early retirement  were cash                                                               
benefits.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BELL  replied  that  some   school  districts  offered  cash                                                               
incentives,  but those  aren't  referred to  in [CSHB  416(EDU)].                                                               
Referred  to  in  the  bill   are  the  TRS-sponsored  retirement                                                               
incentive programs.   Those basically  gave a person up  to three                                                               
years of  service credit  if the employee  and the  employer paid                                                               
the actuarial cost.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON  offered  his   understanding  that  one  retirement                                                               
incentive  was  the  additional [years  of  service]  granted  to                                                               
retirees in the form of [up  to] a three-year "bonus" for someone                                                               
who had worked 17 years, for  example; the teacher had to make up                                                               
the [difference] in the payments.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. BELL concurred.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 2007                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON asked  if enhanced health insurance  was an incentive                                                               
offered to retirees.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. BELL  replied that it was  not enhanced health insurance.   A                                                               
retiree,  by buying  the three  years, received  health insurance                                                               
through the  retiree health plan at  the point of retirement.   A                                                               
teacher who  quit [after 17  years] would be ineligible  for this                                                               
health insurance [otherwise].                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 2024                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON offered his understanding  that the intention of [the                                                               
Division of  Retirement & Benefits]  was to guard  against giving                                                               
an incentive  for people to "pull  the pin" and retire,  and then                                                               
be   rehired  somewhere   and  be   "double-dipping";  therefore,                                                               
penalties were built in.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. BELL  said he  wasn't present [during  the RIP];  he surmised                                                               
that  there  were  public  policy  reasons at  that  time.    One                                                               
argument is that times have changed:   now there is a shortage of                                                               
teachers.   With  qualified people  available who  might wish  to                                                               
return to teaching, there is  no actuarial cost to the retirement                                                               
system; there  may, in  fact, be a  savings to  employers because                                                               
they are not paying TRS contributions.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 2065                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE  offered that  there was some  concern about                                                               
double  dipping.   However, anyone  who took  the retirement  and                                                               
went to  Oregon to teach could  receive a full salary  as well as                                                               
Alaska's  retirement.   He indicated  that Alaska's  not allowing                                                               
this to happen might be shortsighted.   He pointed out that there                                                               
is  a  sunset provision  in  the  bill  to allow  for  unforeseen                                                               
[circumstances].   It will sunset  in 2005.   This will  give the                                                               
legislature an opportunity for redress.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 2122                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS  pointed out  that he  was a  school board                                                               
member  when  the  RIP  was  offered;  substantial  savings  were                                                               
realized by  school districts when these  teachers retired early,                                                               
which  was important  at  the  time.   However,  teachers are  no                                                               
longer  readily  available.   He  concurred  with  Representative                                                               
Bunde's point about districts in  Oregon that don't care how much                                                               
a teacher is receiving in retirement.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 2175                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CAROL KANE,  Executive Director, Alaska Association  of Secondary                                                               
School Principals  (AASSP), testified via  teleconference, noting                                                               
that AASSP  represents K-12 administrators and  has approximately                                                               
255 members in  addition to 25 retired administrators.   She said                                                               
AASSP fully supports this legislation.   She'd just returned from                                                               
the  national   principal  associations  conference,   where  she                                                               
observed  that benefits  offered to  teachers and  administrators                                                               
include  housing  bonuses, signing  bonuses,  professional-growth                                                               
incentives, and early  contracts.  She conveyed  her concern that                                                               
Alaska's salaries  are in  the bottom  quartile when  compared to                                                               
the Lower 48.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. KANE  asked whether the  language [in  the title, page  1] on                                                               
line 1 -  "An Act relating to reemployment of  [and] benefits for                                                               
retired  teachers  and  principals" -  transfers  throughout  the                                                               
bill, or  whether the intention is  to change that.   She offered                                                               
her  association's support  for the  bill and  the amendments  as                                                               
presented today.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE  clarified the  intent that  the legislation                                                               
will apply to both teachers and principals throughout.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 2263                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. McCARTHY noted  that Mr. Bell had provided her  a copy of the                                                               
statutes  wherein  the  definition  of "teacher"  under  the  TRS                                                               
section means a  person eligible to participate in  the system, a                                                               
certificated full- or part-time  elementary or secondary teacher,                                                               
a school  nurse, [or] someone at  the University of Alaska.   She                                                               
sought further clarification from Mr. Bell.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. BELL said,  "A certificated person in a  position requiring a                                                               
teaching certificate as a condition of employment."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BUNDE  noted  that   all  principals  require  [a                                                               
certificate].                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 2293                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON offered, "The representation  is that anyone that ...                                                               
is a  certificated teacher would qualify  regardless [of] whether                                                               
they're   in  the   classroom  in   an  administrative   role  as                                                               
principal."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KANE explained  that there  are the  following certificates:                                                               
Type A  for teachers, and  Type B  for administrators.   Unless a                                                               
person  holds both  certificates, she  said, she  doesn't believe                                                               
that   person  would   meet  the   criteria   described  in   the                                                               
[definition] of  teacher.  She  asked for clarification  on this.                                                               
Some principals may not maintain  a current teaching certificate,                                                               
she added.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 2331                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BELL answered  that the  Division of  Retirement &  Benefits                                                               
does not differentiate  between a [Type] A and  B certificate; it                                                               
only looks at certification.  The  law indicates it is a position                                                               
requiring  certification.   He said,  "From  our perspective,  we                                                               
would just put  on the record ...  A or B; we would  look at that                                                               
as certification.  And ... the language as written covers that."                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 2350                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE  made a  distinction between  being employed                                                               
and qualifying for retirement.  He  said TRS covers anyone who is                                                               
certified.  He then returned attention to Amendment 1.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 02-22, SIDE B                                                                                                              
Number 2400                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  expressed his understanding that  Amendment 1 allows                                                               
a  PERS [retiree]  - who  has subsequently  become a  [certified]                                                               
teacher and wants to be employed - to not lose benefits.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 2350                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BUNDE acknowledged  that this  person might  have                                                               
been an  uncertificated teacher  aide and  therefore not  in TRS;                                                               
this person  would have been in  PERS.  The PERS  retirement of a                                                               
person who  has since obtained  a teaching certificate  would not                                                               
be forfeited.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 2336                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE asked:  If  a PERS-eligible employee retired                                                               
and then wanted  to enter the teaching system,  would this person                                                               
accrue retirement benefits under TRS?                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. BELL answered  that a PERS retiree who was  hired by a school                                                               
district  as a  certificated employee  would continue  to receive                                                               
the PERS  retirement.  That person  would be allowed to  accrue a                                                               
TRS benefit while employed as a  teacher.  They are two different                                                               
systems.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 2290                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS moved to  adopt Amendment 1 [text provided                                                               
previously].  There being no objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   STEVENS  moved   to  adopt   Amendment  2,   22-                                                               
LS1472\F.2, Craver, 3/13/02, which read:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, lines 17 - 22:                                                                                                     
          Delete all material.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Renumber the following bill sections accordingly.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, lines 25 - 26:                                                                                                     
          Delete "; AS 14.25.043(d), added by sec. 3 of                                                                     
     this 2002 Act"                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS remarked  that  this  discussion of  RIP-                                                               
retired teachers was  a learning process; it might  not result in                                                               
a  great  number   of  teachers  being  rehired,   but  could  be                                                               
important.  He  added that after the bill left  the House Special                                                               
Committee  on Education,  upon further  reflection, he'd  thought                                                               
[CSHB 416(EDU)]  might be a  bit punitive by requiring  a teacher                                                               
to return at  the lowest [salary] level possible.   He reiterated                                                               
that  other  states  are  not  concerned  about  the  benefits  a                                                               
prospective  teacher  may  already  be  earning  from  retirement                                                               
benefits.  [Alaska]  might be only harming itself  by saying that                                                               
people must  return at no more  than what they were  earning when                                                               
they left," he suggested.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS brought attention  to the comparison chart                                                               
showing  average salaries  at  retirement  and retired  teachers'                                                               
salaries including  TRS benefits.   He suggested [the  small jump                                                               
in  salary]  was  hardly  worth   going  through  the  retirement                                                               
process.   He pointed out the  need to look at  teachers who have                                                               
retired from  Alaska and  are then "snapped  up" by  districts in                                                               
other states.  He offered an example of someone he knows.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS  pointed  out that  Amendment  2  deletes                                                               
Section 3, which  provides for a teacher's being  rehired at only                                                               
the rate  of a  new teacher.   Amendment  2 leaves  that [salary]                                                               
decision up to  the school district; the school  district will be                                                               
paying this  teacher and must  determine how badly it  needs this                                                               
teacher.   It  will add  flexibility, and  there is  no actuarial                                                               
impact, as Mr. Bell has indicated.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS offered  his concern  that members  learn                                                               
from [EED]  the number of  teachers rehired under the  bill after                                                               
its implementation; EED does have  a report that will convey that                                                               
information.   He noted  that when this  reaches the  2005 sunset                                                               
date, the legislature  will know how many  teachers actually have                                                               
been affected  by this.   He concluded  that the main  purpose of                                                               
Amendment [2] is to allow  districts the flexibility to decide at                                                               
what level they want to rehire RIP teachers.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 2106                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE  offered that  this is  an issue  upon which                                                               
reasonable  people  disagree  in  part.    He  agreed  that  [the                                                               
legislature]  should   provide  as  much  local   flexibility  as                                                               
possible.  He said:                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     I could  see a possibility  of someone retiring  at 60-                                                                    
     plus, or  ... getting  their retirement and  going back                                                                    
     the  next  day  at   their  former  salary  of  60-plus                                                                    
     thousand  ... if  there was  some good-ole-boy  network                                                                    
     ...  in place.   Now,  I don't  expect that  this would                                                                    
     happen,  ...  but  we have  seen  some  malfeasance  in                                                                    
     school administrators in  the not-too-distant past, and                                                                    
     ... I  would suggest  that it's  wise to  not encourage                                                                    
     human weakness.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE  added that  some people might  be concerned                                                               
about allowing  people who, by  good fortune, had retired  with a                                                               
substantial early-retirement bonus to  return to teach and retain                                                               
their retirement.   He said,  "Don't lose  the good in  search of                                                               
the perfect.  I would be  concerned that there might be those who                                                               
would  be  disinclined to  support  the  bill  if there  was  any                                                               
possibility - no  matter how remote - that it  could be abused by                                                               
a school district somewhere in Alaska."                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 2037                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   WILSON   explained   why  she   didn't   support                                                               
[Amendment  2].   As written,  the  bill provides  leeway at  the                                                               
local level.   Districts are  not required to rehire  a candidate                                                               
at a  [the lowest salary  on the  salary schedule].   Rather, the                                                               
bill allows latitude in placement  on the salary schedule through                                                               
the  negotiated  agreement in  each  district.   In  some  areas,                                                               
districts  can  give  credit   [for  education  and  experience].                                                               
Furthermore,  the  present  language  addresses  the  problem  of                                                               
morale [if a  retired teacher could return at the  same salary as                                                               
for existing teachers].   Therefore, she would leave  the bill as                                                               
it is.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 1980                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BUNDE,  in response  to  Chair  Dyson, said  he'd                                                               
prefer that [Amendment 2] wasn't adopted.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 1962                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  asked about the impact  of [line 7 of  Amendment 2],                                                               
which read:                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Delete ";AS 14.25.043(d), added by sec. 3 of this 2002                                                                   
     Act"                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BUNDE expressed  his understanding  that this  is                                                               
the  language  that  requires districts  to  rehire  [RIP-retired                                                               
teachers] at the  beginning salary.  He  mentioned that beginning                                                               
salaries vary from  district to district; for  example, he thinks                                                               
Kotzebue  allows  people  to  bring in  six  years  [of  teaching                                                               
experience].                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON pointed out that [the  deletion of] lines 17 - 22 [on                                                               
page 2] in Amendment 2  [removes the requirement for districts to                                                               
rehire   RIP-retired  teachers   according   to  the   negotiated                                                               
agreement].  He asked Representative  Stevens about the impact of                                                               
[the deletion of] lines 25 -26 [on page 2].                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BUNDE  replied, "It  puts  it  in the  uncodified                                                               
section because it's going to sunset in 2005."                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 1925                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. McCARTHY  added that  Amendment 2, lines  6-7, takes  out the                                                               
reference of  Section 3 from  the uncodified section  of statute,                                                               
where temporary [laws] are placed.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 1907                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS thanked Ms.  McCarthy for her explanation.                                                               
He explained  that Amendment 2  removes Section 3 from  the bill;                                                               
line 7 of  [Amendment 2] removes the reference to  Section 3.  He                                                               
returned to [the potential for]  malfeasance and pointed out that                                                               
many teachers  might be going  to districts [other than  the ones                                                               
in which they had taught].                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS,  referring  to  Representative  Wilson's                                                               
comments, highlighted  line 21 [page  2 of CSHB  416(EDU)], which                                                               
addresses the rate of pay for  new teachers.  If this language is                                                               
left in, he said, a returning  RIP teacher would be paid the rate                                                               
for new  teachers on the  salary schedule.  He  expressed concern                                                               
that without [Amendment  2], there might not be  any RIP teachers                                                               
returning.   Drawing  attention  to Anchorage's  salaries on  the                                                               
comparison chart, he  said, "Would they really want  to come back                                                               
for  a thousand  dollars  more?   I don't  know."   He  requested                                                               
confirmation of  his understanding that substantial  savings will                                                               
be realized by districts regardless  of salary placement, because                                                               
districts will not be paying  for health insurance or retirement.                                                               
These costs  are covered  by the retirement  [system].   He asked                                                               
Mr.  Bell  to  clarify  for members  any  additional  savings  to                                                               
districts.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 1807                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. BELL  offered the division's interpretation  that the retiree                                                               
medical  plan  is  such  that  if  a  person  becomes  an  active                                                               
employee,   the  active-employee   health  insurance   becomes  a                                                               
person's primary insurance.   He said the  Division of Retirement                                                               
& Benefits anticipates  that districts will still  be required to                                                               
pay for  health insurance.   He added  that the major  savings to                                                               
the school  district would be  the employer contributions  to the                                                               
retirement system - 11 percent of salary.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS  indicated he thinks most  members believe                                                               
the local level is where education  decisions should be made.  He                                                               
said:                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     The goal here is not to  give a loophole for someone to                                                                    
     come back  and rip the system  off. ... If we  leave it                                                                    
     as  it is,  I'm afraid  there will  not be  much of  an                                                                    
     impact; there will be very  few ... RIP teachers coming                                                                    
     back  to Alaska.   If  we  change it,  it allows  local                                                                    
     option - it allows the  district to decide ... how much                                                                    
     ... to pay this person.   So it does put more option at                                                                    
     the local level.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1748                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE added that  teacher shortages exist in rural                                                               
and  urban areas  across the  country.   He offered  that drawing                                                               
teachers  to   rural  Alaska  might   be  even   more  difficult;                                                               
[Amendment 2]  allows school districts  more latitude  to attract                                                               
teachers to rural  districts.  He observed that  some, though not                                                               
many,  teachers live  in the  community and  become "part  of the                                                               
family."   He expressed  hope that some  of these  teachers would                                                               
[be rehired  under this  legislation].   He concluded  that rural                                                               
areas need to have this tool to attract teachers.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 1708                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  said,  "I   would  tend  to  agree  with                                                               
Representative  Bunde."   Teachers  will  receive the  retirement                                                               
base;  in addition  to this  is  the healthcare  benefit and  the                                                               
salary  [upon rehire].    He  offered his  opinion  that this  is                                                               
enough incentive,  and said the  benefits under  early retirement                                                               
were significant and  a "real benefit to those who  took it."  He                                                               
stated that there is still a  benefit for teachers to return even                                                               
without Amendment  2.  He turned  attention to the wisdom  of 20-                                                               
year retirements.  He said, "At  this point, I think that I would                                                               
rather just ... stay with the way the bill is written."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 1662                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  asked Ms.  McCarthy if the  bill's current                                                               
language provides  that a returning  teacher would be  rehired at                                                               
the rate of a new teacher who  had no experience, or if it allows                                                               
latitude for the local district to negotiate.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. McCARTHY replied  that the bill's current  language refers to                                                               
the negotiated  salary schedule that gives  credit for experience                                                               
and education  beyond a bachelor's  [degree].  She referred  to a                                                               
chart  in  the  committee  packet titled  "Examples  of  Possible                                                               
Salaries   for  Reemployed   Teachers  Who   Participated  in   a                                                               
Retirement Incentive  Program."  She  said the last  column shows                                                               
the  number of  years  of experience  each  listed district  will                                                               
allow a teacher  to bring in.   She noted that a  teacher with 20                                                               
years'  experience  being rehired  in  Kotzebue  would receive  6                                                               
years of  credit with a  bachelor's [degree]  and 8 years  with a                                                               
master's [degree].   Galena allows for 5 years to  be brought in,                                                               
or 6 years if a shortage exists in a specific teaching area.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 1583                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  said that gives "pretty  good latitude" to                                                               
the local areas, the way the bill is written.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. McCARTHY agreed.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 1570                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS  pointed out  that  a  teacher moving  to                                                               
Anchorage would receive no years  of experience credit.  He said,                                                               
"It  is up  to the  individual  districts ...  what their  salary                                                               
schedules are like."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. McCARTHY agreed,  adding that it would  be the responsibility                                                               
of the individual  to decide whether it would  be an advantageous                                                               
move.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1532                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON noted  his  agreement  with Representative  Coghill,                                                               
saying, "We  see lots of  unintended consequences of  the 20-year                                                               
retirement system  ... across a lot  of different areas.   And we                                                               
do  them all  with good  intentions, and  they end  up presenting                                                               
real problems for us downstream."  He continued:                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Personally,  somebody  that  will move  to  Oregon  for                                                                    
     $30,000,  I  say good  riddance.  ...  What I  want  to                                                                    
     represent  ...  is the  people  that  are committed  to                                                                    
     living  in Alaska  whatever it  costs, and  money isn't                                                                    
     the issue.  They love  this country and its people, and                                                                    
     they're  here forever.   But  I  realize everybody  ...                                                                    
     [doesn't] march to the same  drummer as I do, and money                                                                    
     is an  issue.  And  I can't  imagine how much  money it                                                                    
     would take to get me to live somewhere else.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON also noted his  agreement with Representative Stevens                                                               
that  flexibility needs  to  be  given to  local  people.   "Yes,                                                               
they'll misuse  it, and yes, I  want to trust them  and give them                                                               
that flexibility," he  said.  "My own vote will  be to accept the                                                               
amendment."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
A  roll call  vote  was taken.    Representatives Dyson,  Cissna,                                                               
Joule,  and  Stevens  voted for  Amendment  2.    Representatives                                                               
Kohring,  Wilson,  and  Coghill  voted against  it.    Therefore,                                                               
Amendment 2 was adopted by a vote of 4-3.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  remarked that  if the  bill had  been left                                                               
the way  it was, schools that  are able to recruit  teachers more                                                               
easily wouldn't have had to  raise [salaries] as much; this would                                                               
have enabled  more teachers to be  hired in areas that  have more                                                               
difficulty in recruiting teachers.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 1436                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOHRING  commented that  he was troubled  that the                                                               
legislature  initially passed  the  RIP provision  and created  a                                                               
situation  that necessitated  this  legislation.   He said,  "I'm                                                               
just  troubled that  we're continuing  to provide  more and  more                                                               
benefits for  a profession ... that  you just don't see  in other                                                               
professions.   I recognize  the intent of  the sponsor,  ... that                                                               
he's  trying to  get the  good,  qualified teachers  back in  the                                                               
system [and  that] there's  a shortage."   He relayed  his belief                                                               
that over the  years the legislature has  been extremely generous                                                               
to the teaching profession with  tenure, retirement packages, and                                                               
salaries.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOHRING  returned attention  to the  salary chart.                                                               
He said the Anchorage salary  of [$62,889] divided by nine months                                                               
is nearly $7,000  a month; there are three months  off during the                                                               
year as well.  He said,  "I'm not putting teachers down; I'm just                                                               
saying that they've been rewarded  very, very handsomely over the                                                               
years.  And  I'm just troubled with the fact  that we continue to                                                               
advance legislation that ... provides  them more and more benefit                                                               
and more gain."  He noted that  he would not object to moving the                                                               
bill out of committee, however.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 1343                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS  pointed out  that  the  bill as  amended                                                               
forces no district to hire anybody.   He offered his opinion that                                                               
teachers who were poor teachers would  never be rehired.  This is                                                               
a tool  that allows a district  to decide at the  local level how                                                               
badly it needs a  teacher in a time of shortage.   He offered his                                                               
belief that the  shortage will worsen over time,  and that Alaska                                                               
is in  a less competitive  situation and  will find it  even more                                                               
difficult to [hire] the necessary teachers.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1295                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON   reiterated,  "What  we  did   with  that                                                               
amendment ... is that we've  just given the school districts that                                                               
can  afford  to  pay a  real  good  salary  a  little bit  of  an                                                               
advantage  over the  ones  that  can't."   She  offered that  the                                                               
starting  salary  in  [Wrangell]  is  only  $27,000  because  the                                                               
district doesn't  have enough  money to pay  teachers more.   "We                                                               
have a  hard time getting  people to come  to our area  now," she                                                               
said.   "And that ... would've  helped just a little,  because it                                                               
would've kept  Anchorage at  not giving  them those  extra years,                                                               
and it would've maybe made people look at ... another area."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 1250                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS  responded  that  Anchorage  is  not  the                                                               
villain, that the  entire country is facing a  shortage, and that                                                               
Anchorage needs teachers as badly as Wrangell or Kodiak.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  said he couldn't support  the bill, since                                                               
the scope had been narrowed.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 1209                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA moved to report  CSHB 416(EDU), as amended,                                                               
out  of   committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  the                                                               
accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL objected.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
A  roll call  vote  was taken.    Representatives Dyson,  Cissna,                                                               
Joule, Wilson, Stevens, and Kohring  voted to move CSHB 416(EDU),                                                               
as  amended,  out of  committee.    Representative Coghill  voted                                                               
against it.  Therefore, CSHB 416(HES)  was moved out of the House                                                               
Health,  Education and  Social Services  Standing Committee  by a                                                               
vote of 6-1.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HB 464-SCHOOL DISTRICT CORRESPONDENCE STUDY                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON announced  that the  committee would  consider HOUSE                                                               
BILL  NO. 464,  "An  Act relating  to  statewide school  district                                                               
correspondence study  programs."  [Before the  committee, adopted                                                               
as  a work  draft on  3/7/02, was  Version O,  22-LS1494\O, Ford,                                                               
3/4/02.]                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 02-23, SIDE A                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
RICHARD SCHMITZ, Staff to  Representative Jeannette James, Alaska                                                               
State  Legislature,  on  behalf of  Representative  James,  prime                                                               
sponsor  of  HB 464,  noted  that  he  had three  amendments  for                                                               
consideration that  had been drafted  in response to  some issues                                                               
people with  the bill.   He  explained that  Representative James                                                               
was  comfortable  with  all  three   amendments,  which  work  in                                                               
concert.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCHMITZ  informed members that  Amendment 1 would  change the                                                               
title [which  for Version O  read, "An Act relating  to statewide                                                               
school  district correspondence  study and  state supported  home                                                               
schooling  programs."]   Amendment  1,  which  would delete  "and                                                               
state supported home schooling programs", read:                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Title change to:                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
         "An act relating to statewide school district                                                                          
     correspondence study programs."                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCHMITZ  explained that  it ties in  with Amendment  2, which                                                               
read:                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Delete (b)                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Add:                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     (b)  In   this  section,  "statewide   school  district                                                                    
     correspondence study programs" do  not apply to charter                                                                    
     schools, Alyeska Central School,  or to school district                                                                    
     correspondence   study   programs  that   enroll   only                                                                    
     students within its district of residence.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 0338                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCHMITZ expressed his understanding,  based on a conversation                                                               
with  Department   of  Education  and  Early   Development  (EED)                                                               
personnel,  that  four types  of  public  schools are  considered                                                               
correspondence schools.  One is  Alyeska Central School, a state-                                                               
operated school  that distributes curriculum for  home schoolers;                                                               
the  program offers  few  curricular options.    The second  type                                                               
includes  charter  schools  that  offer  correspondence;  one  in                                                               
Anchorage provides  some correspondence.   He  remarked, "Charter                                                               
schools are  their own  animal."  He  offered that  these schools                                                               
have worked  on regulations  for a number  of years  to fine-tune                                                               
[the  programs].   In  conversations  with  people involved  with                                                               
charter schools, Mr.  Schmitz said he was made  aware of concerns                                                               
about  unintended consequences  for  charter  schools that  would                                                               
occur as a  result of HB 464.  He  indicated that charter schools                                                               
would be excluded [from HB 464 by adoption of Amendment 2].                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCHMITZ  explained that correspondence programs  exist within                                                               
a district;  these programs serve  only students  within district                                                               
boundaries.    The  remaining  type of  home  school  program  is                                                               
statewide  correspondence  programs,  the   subject  of  HB  464.                                                               
CyberLynx,  Interior Distance  Education  of  Alaska (IDEA),  and                                                               
others are  among the approximately ten  statewide correspondence                                                               
programs.   These are, by statute,  correspondence-study programs                                                               
that are  open to students  anywhere in  the state, offered  by a                                                               
school district.  He added that  certain rules apply to how these                                                               
programs  enroll students.   In  order  to clarify  HB 464,  this                                                               
language was  developed by a  "sort of committee" to  ensure that                                                               
the  language applies  only  to  [these statewide  correspondence                                                               
schools] and  to allow  other programs  to operate  without undue                                                               
controls.   He said the  title change  also goes along  with this                                                               
premise.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SCHMITZ   turned  attention  to  Amendment   3,  which  read                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Delete:   (3)                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
      Add:       (3) must provide that the school district                                                                      
                conducting  the correspondence  program  has                                                                    
                the   duty   and  authority   to   establish                                                                    
                procedures    for     the    purchase     of                                                                    
                correspondence curriculum materials,  and to                                                                    
                establish   procedures  for   approving   or                                                                    
                disapproving individual education  plans and                                                                    
                home designed courses.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCHMITZ  indicated this  pertains to  paragraph (3),  page 2,                                                               
lines  2-4,   and  refers  to  the   purchase  of  correspondence                                                               
curriculum materials.   The schools  in question do not  want the                                                               
approval or disapproval of these  materials within their purview;                                                               
this is  the job of the  parents, he stated.   However, districts                                                               
do want  control over  the purchase of  materials to  ensure that                                                               
state law is  followed.  Amendment 3  also establishes procedures                                                               
for approving or disapproving individual education plans.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCHMITZ indicated these plans  are established by parents and                                                               
district personnel  in concert.   He noted that the  inclusion of                                                               
home-designed courses  had been added  at the suggestion  of Joan                                                               
Dangeli.   A home-designed course  might be a  physical education                                                               
course  that  includes  hiking,  for  example;  if  the  district                                                               
approves it,  then it  is allowable.   This  might also  apply to                                                               
music lessons.  The purpose is  to give these schools and parents                                                               
who teach  their children at  home the greatest  possible freedom                                                               
to continue the success achieved up until now, he concluded.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ED  McLAIN, Ph.D.,  Deputy Commissioner  of Education,  Office of                                                               
the Commissioner, Department of  Education and Early Development,                                                               
in response  to Chair  Dyson, said Amendment  1 wasn't  a problem                                                               
for EED.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   DYSON  moved   to  adopt   Amendment  1   [text  provided                                                               
previously] and  asked whether  there was  any objection.   There                                                               
being no objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR.  McLAIN, in  response  to  Chair Dyson,  said  he would  have                                                               
suggested  language   similar  to  Amendment  2,   and  that  the                                                               
department had no objection to Amendment 2.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   DYSON  moved   to  adopt   Amendment  2   [text  provided                                                               
previously] and  asked if there  was any objection.   There being                                                               
no objection, Amendment 2 was adopted.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 0680                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DR. McLAIN,  in response to Chair  Dyson, said he wanted  time to                                                               
review [Amendment 3].  However,  he conveyed his initial reaction                                                               
that  it may  cause problems,  may conflict  with a  statute that                                                               
addresses  the responsibility  of school  boards in  general, may                                                               
cause  problems with  accreditation  efforts of  the programs  in                                                               
question,   and  may   have   implications   for  acceptance   of                                                               
transcripts from those courses.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  asked that  these amendments  be distributed  to the                                                               
Legislative Information  Offices (LIOs)  as quickly  as possible.                                                               
He announced that  the committee would not adopt  Amendment 3 [at                                                               
this time] and would take public testimony.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 0774                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SCHMITZ, in  response  to  Representative Wilson,  explained                                                               
that  HB  464  originated  because   of  concern  about  proposed                                                               
regulations  for statewide  correspondence study  programs.   The                                                               
regulations  were  reviewed  and  conversations  were  held  with                                                               
concerned parties; a  bill was drafted to  address these concerns                                                               
while protecting  the state's interests  and allowing  for things                                                               
to  run smoothly.   He  said [statewide  correspondence programs]                                                               
are government programs that are  popular with the people who use                                                               
them; these  programs seem  to work and  have a  good reputation.                                                               
Parents who educate  their children at home are  happy with these                                                               
programs and  fear that [proposed] regulatory  changes will limit                                                               
the  programs'  ability  to  work effectively.    He  noted  that                                                               
Section  1,  [paragraph] (1),  calls  for  these programs  to  be                                                               
approved every ten years.   The [proposed] regulations called for                                                               
this  approval  every year,  which  creates,  from the  programs'                                                               
perspective, a paperwork burden.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0856                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON inquired,  "So if  they change  things, it                                                               
might  be nine  more years  before somebody's  going to  check on                                                               
it?"                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCHMITZ replied that the  ten-year review is based on charter                                                               
school  requirements for  approval.   He  pointed  to the  second                                                               
provision  in  Section  1,  [paragraph]  (1),  which  requires  a                                                               
program deemed  "deficient" or  "in crisis"  under statute  to be                                                               
[reviewed more frequently than every ten years].                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0900                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  offered that part of  the genesis of the  bill was a                                                               
reaction to concerns about [proposed]  regulations.  The approval                                                               
is  every  ten  years,  but  HB  464  makes  the  monitoring  and                                                               
oversight a  district responsibility  as opposed to  a department                                                               
responsibility.   This responsibility is  a major issue  that the                                                               
bill addresses.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SCHMITZ  added   that  the  bill  gives   the  district  the                                                               
responsibility  to   monitor  students  as  the   district  deems                                                               
appropriate; this  issue was raised  by many parents.   A student                                                               
enrolled in the  program might be the child of  a new home school                                                               
parent who  might require more  frequent contact with  a district                                                               
teacher than  is required by  a more veteran home  school parent.                                                               
The  bill  allows  the district  to  determine  [the  appropriate                                                               
amount of  contact] and  to establish  procedures to  do so.   It                                                               
allows  the greatest  amount of  freedom while  still having  the                                                               
accountability  of  passing  statewide   exams,  he  said.    The                                                               
proposed regulations would have been much more rigid.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 0988                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  noted that some concern  has existed about                                                               
the  number  of  [correspondence   school]  students  taking  the                                                               
Benchmark and  [High School  Graduation Qualifying  Exam (HSGQE)]                                                               
tests.     Some  districts  had   many  students  who   were  not                                                               
participating in these tests, she pointed out.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SCHMITZ  replied  that  this  bill  does  not  address  that                                                               
concern, but does  hold the schools up to a  standard of passage.                                                               
It would  be in the  programs' best interest  to have as  many of                                                               
their  students  as  possible  take  the  exams.    In  addition,                                                               
students cannot graduate without passing the [HSGQE].                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1109                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SHARYLEE ZACHARY  testified via  teleconference.   She referenced                                                               
written testimony from her husband,  noting that both his and her                                                               
testimony had been faxed.  She told members:                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     The  building-based   schools  have  been  set   up  to                                                                    
     accommodate a  large number of children  with teachers,                                                                    
     supplies,  programs, et  cetera, to  reach the  goal of                                                                    
     education.  Certain procedures and  rules do need to be                                                                    
     applied in  order to  work with so  many children  in a                                                                    
     controlled and  effective way.   But  this is  only one                                                                    
     method of schooling that can  be used to reach the goal                                                                    
     of education.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Home schooling  is an entirely  different, yet  just as                                                                    
     effective, way  of educating our  children.   It looks,                                                                    
     feels,  and functions  differently  because  it can  be                                                                    
     designed  according  to  the   child  and  the  family.                                                                    
     During  the  schooling  years,   children  will  be  at                                                                    
     different  levels in  different areas.   Yet  when they                                                                    
     graduate,  the  same  goal  is met  as  in  the  public                                                                    
     school.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Because of  IDEA, our family  has been able  to educate                                                                    
     our  children   with  resources   that  we   never  had                                                                    
     available to  us before.   And you might ask,  "Why did                                                                    
     you  not  put  your   children  in  the  public  school                                                                    
     system?"  While we do agree  with a lot of things being                                                                    
     taught  in the  school system,  we see  areas that  are                                                                    
     being taught  that we feel  are very dangerous  for our                                                                    
     children to be  exposed to.  I ... won't  go into them,                                                                    
     but those  areas tear down the  character building that                                                                    
     we are trying to do in our children.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     If we send our children  into the public school system,                                                                    
     we are  sending them into  an area that will  lead them                                                                    
     to make  extremely unwise choices  in their lives.   We                                                                    
     teach  our children  to treat  all people  with respect                                                                    
     and  kindness, and  they do.   But  that does  not mean                                                                    
     that they need to believe  that what certain people are                                                                    
     doing at certain times is okay.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. ZACHARY, in response to  Chair Dyson, offered her belief that                                                               
the bill  says because she  wants to teach certain  principles to                                                               
her children at  home through a Christian  curriculum, her family                                                               
cannot  receive funds  from the  state.   She added  that if  her                                                               
family's children  are enrolled  in the [regular]  school system,                                                               
they can  be educated in areas  her family finds dangerous.   Her                                                               
family is  penalized when trying  to home school  with curriculum                                                               
that will only build the children's character, she suggested.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 1276                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   DYSON   offered   his   impression   that   Ms.   Zachary                                                               
misunderstood  the   intent  of   the  bill,  which   limits  the                                                               
department's regulations that could  have included some censoring                                                               
of materials.   It also  puts oversight  of the program  into the                                                               
purview of the  [administering] district.  He  indicated that Ms.                                                               
Zachary ought to have more  influence over the district [than the                                                               
department], and  that the district  would be more  responsive to                                                               
her  needs.   He  offered  his  understanding that  according  to                                                               
[EED], any program receiving [state]  money is not precluded from                                                               
purchasing materials from any publisher;  the only restriction is                                                               
that state law prohibits the  use of state money for promulgating                                                               
or  advocating a  particular religious  perspective.   He  stated                                                               
that  she is  free to  purchase materials  in addition  to state-                                                               
funded materials.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS.  ZACHARY thanked  Chair Dyson  for this  clarification.   She                                                               
said she and others have been very concerned about that.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1363                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CAROL SIMPSON testified  via teleconference.  She  said she works                                                               
for the  IDEA program,  and she  is also  a longtime  home school                                                               
parent.   She told members  [IDEA] is in  favor of this  bill and                                                               
appreciates   that   it    eliminates   the   cumbersome   yearly                                                               
applications.  She offered that  these applications are routinely                                                               
denied  each  year;  every year,  the  previous  year's  approved                                                               
application  is resubmitted  and subsequently  denied.   She said                                                               
Section  2 allows  the  programs  to base  its  monitoring on  [a                                                               
family's needs]; Section 3 promulgates  local district control of                                                               
the  materials  being  used and  what  educational  concepts  are                                                               
covered.    She  added  her  belief that  this  is  aligned  with                                                               
legislative intent and statutes already in place.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 1387                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  expressed his perception  that Ms. Simpson  has been                                                               
actively assisting  the bill's sponsor  and his office  with this                                                               
bill.   He noted his appreciation  for her efforts.   He asked if                                                               
she  had  seen  the  amendments  before  the  committee  and  was                                                               
comfortable with them.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SIMPSON  replied that  she  had  a  question about  why  the                                                               
proposed regulations and  the wording [in HB  464] say "statewide                                                               
correspondence  programs"   and  therefore   exclude  in-district                                                               
correspondence  programs.     Noting  her  curiosity   about  the                                                               
department's distinction  between the two types  of programs, she                                                               
asked:    what  perceived  problem  prompted  greater  [proposed]                                                               
regulation of the statewide programs?                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON responded that he had  the same question and that the                                                               
committee would seek an answer to it.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1439                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
TIM  SCOTT  testified  via  teleconference.    He  indicated  his                                                               
agreement with Amendments 1 and 2,  and told members that much of                                                               
what he  wanted to  say had  already been said.   In  response to                                                               
Chair  Dyson,  he said  that  from  his  perspective, he  saw  no                                                               
problem with Amendment 3.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 1472                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
RUSS BOWDRE  testified via  teleconference.   He said  his family                                                               
has home schooled for over 20 years;  he is in favor of the bill.                                                               
He  indicated he  had  a  question about  an  amendment that  had                                                               
already  been   addressed.    He   noted  his   appreciation  for                                                               
Representative  James's and  others'  efforts to  push this  bill                                                               
forward.    There  is  no  need to  change  the  regulations,  he                                                               
offered; if  a need exists,  this bill addresses the  concerns of                                                               
home schoolers.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 1535                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTINE AXMAKER  testified via  teleconference.  A  home school                                                               
parent of three  children, she has been home  schooling for about                                                               
nine years.   She noted that  she had faxed written  testimony to                                                               
the committee.   Returning  attention to  Representative Wilson's                                                               
comment about a  lack of accountability, Ms.  Axmaker pointed out                                                               
that parents  are accountable  to the IDEA  program on  a regular                                                               
basis through  reports and  annual tests.   She offered  that her                                                               
children  are "accelerated"  and  have scored  well  into the  90                                                               
percentile on all their tests.   She asked, "Why are they messing                                                               
with such a good program?"   She concluded, "We want this bill to                                                               
pass because we feel it will  protect our rights; it will make it                                                               
easier for us to continue doing what we do."                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 1589                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JOAN  DANGELI came  forward  to  testify, noting  that  she is  a                                                               
Juneau home school parent with  the CyberLynx program.  She asked                                                               
if  the committee  might consider  inserting  the word  "grading"                                                               
following the words "individual  education plans" in Amendment 3.                                                               
In response to Chair Dyson, she  offered that the last line would                                                               
read, "disapproving individual education  plans, grading and home                                                               
designed courses."  She returned  to the subject of accreditation                                                               
and  noted   that  she  wonders   how  the  state   is  receiving                                                               
accreditation in  rural areas.   She expressed  her understanding                                                               
that rural parents home school their  children due to the lack of                                                               
educational options.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  offered to try  to get  that question answered.   He                                                               
related his  understanding that programs are  accredited and that                                                               
there is some way of assessing and monitoring the students.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  DANGELI said  her son  participates in  much more  strenuous                                                               
physical education  than he did  in [traditional  public] school;                                                               
he works very hard.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 1693                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS  asked Ms.  Dangeli if she  was requesting                                                               
in  her  proposed  change  to   Amendment  3  that  the  district                                                               
establish procedures  for grading,  or that  the district  do the                                                               
grading.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  DANGELI replied,  "That they  be  allowed to  set their  ...                                                               
procedures  for   grading."     She  referred  to   the  proposed                                                               
regulation,  [4 AAC  33.421(e)(2)],  which  references grades  or                                                               
standards met,  determined and assigned  by a  certified teacher.                                                               
She explained  that her home  school program allows  for [grading                                                               
by a] parent or [certified teacher].   She noted that she took on                                                               
the task of grading this  year because [program personnel] had so                                                               
much to do.  Grading  in the program is "pretty straightforward,"                                                               
she  said, and  is based  on  weekly assessments  in reading  and                                                               
math.    She  added,  "I  felt  if it  could  be  left  at  their                                                               
discretion, and  maybe kick in  something if a child  isn't doing                                                               
good for two  years in a row or something,  then the district can                                                               
have  the option  of saying,  'Okay, now  we're going  to do  the                                                               
grading....'"                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 1769                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON asked  Dr.  McLain how  long it  would  take him  to                                                               
research Amendment 3.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DR.  McLAIN stated  his desire  to check  with the  accreditation                                                               
association.  He  indicated that although he would be  gone for a                                                               
week, someone else could present it  on his behalf [on March 19].                                                               
He said  the department  will do  its best  to obtain  an answer.                                                               
This is a high priority for the department, he noted.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON  returned to  the  question  raised by  Ms.  Simpson                                                               
regarding  the  difference   between  in-district  and  statewide                                                               
correspondence programs.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
DR.  McLAIN explained  that one  key difference  between the  two                                                               
types of programs is that a  school district has, by statute, the                                                               
responsibility for  providing education  to children  residing in                                                               
its district.   He noted that  this statute is very  specific; he                                                               
didn't  have  the  exact  citation,  but said  it  was  a  matter                                                               
important to  [EED], he said.   There  is not a  legal obligation                                                               
for a  district to serve  students outside the district;  he said                                                               
when  Galena was  applying for  impact-aid reconsideration,  that                                                               
was  one of  the points  the district  raised.   He offered  that                                                               
[EED]  used a  lot of  material  from Galena  when preparing  the                                                               
[proposed] regulations.  "So this  is not about Galena," he said.                                                               
He stated  that Galena is  doing a good  job, and [EED]  wants to                                                               
support  that.   However, Galena  is not  required to  serve [the                                                               
students outside  its district boundaries].   He  indicated [EED]                                                               
does not  want to see  students left [outside  the responsibility                                                               
of a district].                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 1868                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  offered his understanding  that [EED] views  the two                                                               
type  of  programs  differently  because  a  district  has  legal                                                               
responsibility only for  the students within the  district.  When                                                               
school districts are [delivering  instruction to students outside                                                               
of district boundaries], the same obligation does not exist.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. McLAIN  replied that in  addition to that, there  are related                                                               
issues such  as representation.   The Galena district has  a very                                                               
active site  council; parents are able  to have input.   There is                                                               
no requirement for Galena to do  this.  Other programs may or may                                                               
not do that.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 1897                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS  asked Dr. McLain whether  he had concerns                                                               
about  the  language  in  the original  bill  wherein  Section  3                                                               
discusses the  approval or  disapproval of  curriculum materials,                                                               
or whether his concern was about the individual education plan.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
DR. McLAIN replied that there is  a statute that calls for school                                                               
boards  to approve  materials and  curriculum;  he expressed  his                                                               
desire to  find the  statute to gain  a precise  understanding of                                                               
it.   He said he  wants to discuss  this with [EED]  attorneys to                                                               
determine  how this  language  in the  bill  might conflict  with                                                               
statute.  Additionally,  accreditation is at issue.   When Galena                                                               
applied for accreditation, the issue  of grading came up.  Galena                                                               
specifically identified  the certified  teacher as  assigning the                                                               
grades when "push comes to  shove."  This application spoke "very                                                               
emphatically"   about  the   close   relationship  between   [the                                                               
certified teacher and a home school family], he said.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DR.  McLAIN  referenced  a  conversation  with  an  accreditation                                                               
representative  in which  the representative  indicated that  the                                                               
[grading issue] is a critical  [component of accreditation].  Dr.                                                               
McLain   noted   his   intention  to   ask   this   accreditation                                                               
representative what impact  "this sort of piece might  have."  He                                                               
again referenced  Galena's application for  accreditation wherein                                                               
Galena  was asked,  "Do you  do  things very  differently?"   The                                                               
response from  Galena was that  its students are held  to exactly                                                               
the same sort of standards and requirements.  He said:                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     This would seem  to be ... very much of  a moving away.                                                                    
     And  so  I  don't  want  to see  us  -  with  all  good                                                                    
     intentions - walking  into a place where  the school is                                                                    
     not accredited.   As the  last speaker brought  up, the                                                                    
     issue of  accreditation is  of interest,  especially to                                                                    
     those parents whose children may  be intending to go to                                                                    
     a postsecondary  [institution] ... or to  transfer into                                                                    
     a traditional school.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DR. McLAIN  offered that credits are  automatically accepted from                                                               
accredited  programs.   As Galena  is accredited,  he noted,  its                                                               
students  can [more  readily  move into  other  programs]; it  is                                                               
value-added to  be accredited.   He noted  that he would  hate to                                                               
see  a  program lose  accreditation  and  consequently have  less                                                               
worth.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 1995                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON asked Dr. McLain for  his impression of the impact of                                                               
the proposed inclusion of the word "grading" in Amendment 3.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. McLAIN replied, "I think I'm  going to be told that that will                                                               
become  ... problematic  for the  accreditation.   But, again,  I                                                               
don't want to speak for them."                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  said the bill  would be scheduled for  the following                                                               
Tuesday  if possible.   He  asked Dr.  McLain to  have department                                                               
personnel relay the aforementioned information to the committee.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 2034                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE  asked Dr.  McLain if [Section  1, paragraph                                                               
(1)]  would add  a financial  burden to  districts.   If so,  how                                                               
should this be dealt with?                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DR. McLAIN replied, "I wouldn't be  able to answer how that might                                                               
impact ... the district.  I  think that would depend upon how the                                                               
[district] did  that internal review  and updating."   He offered                                                               
his  belief  that  some  of these  programs  have  been  actively                                                               
"trying  to keep  themselves up  and going;"  he speculated  that                                                               
these programs probably  would not incur additional  expense.  He                                                               
pointed out  that [EED]  is, based on  comments it  has received,                                                               
looking at changing the proposed  regulations to call for a five-                                                               
year review.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 2074                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   DYSON   expressed   appreciation    for   the   work   of                                                               
Representative James,  her staff, and  others.  [HB 464  was held                                                               
over.]                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON noted  that he had two further items  of business for                                                               
the  committee.   First,  he  pointed out  that  all members  but                                                               
himself had  signed the sheet to  waive out of committee  HB 211,                                                               
which adds  a cost-of-living increase  to the  Foundation Formula                                                               
every year.   He  noted that it  could be argued  that this  is a                                                               
finance committee  matter.   He said that  if members  had signed                                                               
the  waiver with  the  impression  that the  chair  was eager  to                                                               
dispense with  it, they  now had an  opportunity to  change their                                                               
minds.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  also noted that  the Joint Committee  on Legislative                                                               
Budget  and   Audit  had  recommended  that   the  House  Health,                                                               
Education  and Social  Services  Standing  Committee combine  the                                                               
board of  professional counselors  and the  board of  marital and                                                               
family  therapy into  a single  oversight board.   Noting  that a                                                               
bill had  been drafted,  he asked whether  members would  like to                                                               
sponsor it as a committee bill.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 2150                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON recalled  that Representative Murkowski had                                                               
spoken about something similar on the House floor recently.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON said  he would  find out.   Pending  that, he  asked                                                               
whether  anyone  objected to  "putting  this  in the  hopper  and                                                               
starting on it";  if it turned out to be  a duplication, it would                                                               
be discarded.  [There was  no objection stated to the committee's                                                               
sponsoring  a   bill  to  combine  the   boards  of  professional                                                               
counselors and marital and family therapy.]                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 2168                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL noted  that he'd signed the  [waiver of HB                                                               
211]  under the  impression  that  [it was  the  chair's goal  to                                                               
dispense with it].   He said he would withdraw  his name from the                                                               
waiver.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Health, Education and Social Services Standing Committee meeting                                                                
was adjourned at 5:07 p.m.                                                                                                      

Document Name Date/Time Subjects