Legislature(1999 - 2000)

04/07/1999 03:20 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
    HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                 
                   April 7, 1999                                                                                                
                     3:20 p.m.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative Norman Rokeberg, Chairman                                                                                        
Representative Andrew Halcro, Vice Chairman                                                                                     
Representative Jerry Sanders                                                                                                    
Representative Lisa Murkowski                                                                                                   
Representative John Harris                                                                                                      
Representative Tom Brice                                                                                                        
Representative Sharon Cissna                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 129                                                                                                              
"An Act excluding school principals from collectively bargaining                                                                
under the Public Employment Relations Act."                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
* HOUSE BILL NO. 158                                                                                                            
"An Act relating to the annual report of the director of the                                                                    
division of insurance and to notice of cancellation of personal                                                                 
insurance."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
(* First public hearing)                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 129                                                                                                                    
SHORT TITLE: COLLECTIVE BARGAINING; PRINCIPALS                                                                                  
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) OGAN, Kohring                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 3/05/99       368     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 3/05/99       368     (H)  HES, L&C                                                                                            
 3/27/99               (H)  HES AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                         
 3/27/99               (H)  MOVED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                              
 3/27/99               (H)  MINUTE(HES)                                                                                         
 3/29/99       600     (H)  HES RPT  2DP 2NR                                                                                    
 3/29/99       600     (H)  DP: DYSON, COGHILL; NR: MORGAN,                                                                     
 3/29/99       600     (H)  WHITAKER                                                                                            
 3/29/99       600     (H)  ZERO FISCAL NOTE (ADM)                                                                              
 3/29/99       600     (H)  REFERRED TO L&C                                                                                     
 4/07/99               (H)  L&C AT  3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 158                                                                                                                    
SHORT TITLE: NOTICE OF INS. CANCELLATION TO ELDERLY                                                                             
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) ROKEBERG                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 3/24/99       556     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 3/24/99       556     (H)  L&C, JUD                                                                                            
 4/07/99               (H)  L&C AT  3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 128                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                                                                            
Telephone:  (907) 465-3878                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HB 129 as the bill sponsor.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DR. ROBERT LEHMAN, Superintendent                                                                                               
Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District                                                                                       
125 West Evergreen Avenue                                                                                                       
Palmer, Alaska 99645                                                                                                            
Telephone:  (907) 746-9255                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testimony read into the record which indicated                                                             
that passage of HB 129 would be a "landmark" in the efforts to stop                                                             
the decline of Alaska's educational system and improve the quality                                                              
of instruction.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
GREG DANIELS, Executive Director                                                                                                
Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals                                                                              
426 Rogers Road                                                                                                                 
Kenai, Alaska 99611                                                                                                             
Telephone:  (907) 283-7918                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Read a joint resolution from the Alaska                                                                    
Association of Secondary School Principals and Alaska Association                                                               
of Elementary School Principals in opposition to HB 129.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
ANDRE' LAYRAL, President                                                                                                        
Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals (AASSP);                                                                      
Principal, North Pole Middle School;                                                                                            
Alaska Council of School Administrators                                                                                         
300 E. 8th Ave.                                                                                                                 
North Pole, Alaska 99705                                                                                                        
Telephone:  (907) 488-2271                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 129 representing                                                             
the AASSP executive board.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
GLEN SYZMONIAK                                                                                                                  
Kenai Peninsula Administrative Association                                                                                      
Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals                                                                              
P.O. Box 1431                                                                                                                   
Homer, Alaska 99603                                                                                                             
Telephone:  (907) 235-2569                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 129.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
FRED GIDDINGS, Principal                                                                                                        
Bayshore Elementary School                                                                                                      
2056 Stanford Drive                                                                                                             
Anchorage, Alaska 99508                                                                                                         
Telephone:  (907) 258-6479                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 129.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ERIC HENDERSON, President                                                                                                       
Mat-Su Principals Association;                                                                                                  
Principal, Wasilla Middle School                                                                                                
P.O. Box 2501                                                                                                                   
Palmer, Alaska 99645                                                                                                            
Telephone:  (907) 376-7311                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 129.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
RICH TOYMIL, Principal                                                                                                          
Paul Banks Elementary School;                                                                                                   
Kenai Peninsula Administrative Association;                                                                                     
Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals                                                                              
P.O. Box 2168                                                                                                                   
Homer, Alaska 99603                                                                                                             
Telephone:  (907) 235-1478                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 129.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHERYL TURNER                                                                                                                   
PO Box 1567                                                                                                                     
Palmer, Alaska 99645                                                                                                            
Telephone:  (907) 745-7901                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 129.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SOPHIA MASEWICZ, President                                                                                                      
Anchorage Principals Association;                                                                                               
Principal, Romig Middle School                                                                                                  
2001 Shore Drive                                                                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska 99515                                                                                                         
Telephone:  (907) 344-3269                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 129.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MARY JOHNSTONE, President                                                                                                       
Alaska Association of Elementary School Principals;                                                                             
Principal, Susitna Elementary School                                                                                            
3210 Seawind Drive                                                                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska 99516                                                                                                         
Telephone:  (907) 344-3364                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 129.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
TODD SYVERSON, Principal                                                                                                        
Soldotna Middle School                                                                                                          
254 Katmai Avenue                                                                                                               
Soldotna, Alaska 99669                                                                                                          
Telephone:  (907) 262-4344                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 129.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DON GLAZE, Assistant Principal                                                                                                  
Nikiski Middle/High School                                                                                                      
PO Box 7354                                                                                                                     
Nikiski, Alaska 99635                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 776-3456                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Faxed testimony in opposition to HB 129.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
LEE YOUNG, Assistant Principal                                                                                                  
Soldotna Middle School                                                                                                          
P.O. Box 3494                                                                                                                   
Soldotna, Alaska 99669                                                                                                          
Telephone:  (907) 262-4344                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 129.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DON ETHERIDGE                                                                                                                   
District Council of Laborers                                                                                                    
710 West Ninth Street                                                                                                           
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                                                                            
Telephone:  (907) 586-3707                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on collective bargaining.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
DARROLL HARGRAVES, Executive Director                                                                                           
Alaska Council of School Administrators                                                                                         
326 Fourth Street, Suite 404                                                                                                    
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Discussed concerns with HB 129.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
JOHN CYR, President                                                                                                             
NEA-Alaska                                                                                                                      
114 Second Street                                                                                                               
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                                                                            
Telephone:  (907) 586-3090                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Expressed the need for the Mat-Su School                                                                   
District to work through it's own problems.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
VIVIAN DAILEY, President                                                                                                        
Fairbanks Principals Association                                                                                                
Principal, North Pole High School                                                                                               
1039 Fifth Avenue                                                                                                               
Fairbanks, Alaska 99701                                                                                                         
Telephone:  (907) 479-6388                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 129.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 99-33, SIDE A                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN NORMAN ROKEBERG called the House Labor and Commerce                                                                    
Standing Committee meeting to order at 3:20 p.m.  Members present                                                               
at the call to order were Representatives Rokeberg, Halcro, Sanders                                                             
and Harris.  Representatives Cissna, Brice and Murkowski arrived at                                                             
3:24 p.m., 3:25 p.m. and 3:28 p.m. respectively.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
HB 129 - COLLECTIVE BARGAINING; PRINCIPALS                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 0095                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced the committee's first order of business                                                             
is HB 129, "An Act excluding school principals from collectively                                                                
bargaining under the Public Employment Relations Act."                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 0107                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN, Alaska State Legislature, came forward                                                               
as the sponsor of HB 129.  He said that he would like to keep his                                                               
statements short in order to read a statement from the                                                                          
superintendent of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District.                                                                
Representative Ogan summarized that he believed principals should                                                               
be part of the management team, not part of the labor team.  He                                                                 
compared the school board to the legislature, the superintendent to                                                             
the governor, and the principals to the governor's commissioners;                                                               
therefore, he believed principals should serve at the pleasure of                                                               
the superintendent as commissioners serve at the pleasure of the                                                                
governor.  Principals need to be part of the management team which                                                              
is currently not the case.  Representative Ogan noted a case in the                                                             
Mat-Su Valley in which a superintendent's performance evaluation of                                                             
a principal lead to a grievance, and binding arbitration.                                                                       
Regardless of the outcome, Representative Ogan found it troubling                                                               
that a situation could exist such that a principal is not                                                                       
subordinate to a superintendent and the school board.  He believed                                                              
HB 129 puts the public back in public education by ensuring that                                                                
the policy of the school board is carried out by superintendents                                                                
and that principals are subordinate to superintendents and the                                                                  
school board.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 0309                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN read a March 24, 1999, letter into the record                                                               
from Dr. Robert A. Lehman, Superintendent, Matanuska-Susitna                                                                    
Borough School District.  Dr. Lehman's letter reads:                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Thank you for this opportunity to testify on House Bill                                                                    
     129.  I am sorry that due to prior commitment, I am                                                                        
     unable to deliver my comments in person. I appreciate                                                                      
     Representative Ogan reading this into the record on my                                                                     
     behalf.  I would like to recognize Scott Ogan for the                                                                      
     foresight and awareness that led to his introduction of                                                                    
     this bill, which would eliminate the unionization of                                                                       
     school principals.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     To be candid, when I first reviewed this legislation I                                                                     
     had mixed feelings about it.  This bill proposes a change                                                                  
     in the way that we do business as educators.  As both an                                                                   
     experienced superintendent and trainer of school                                                                           
     administrators, I felt an obligation to consider how this                                                                  
     legislation would affect the children of Alaska.  Several                                                                  
     hours of contemplating this and discussing it with                                                                         
     colleagues failed to generate one single reason that the                                                                   
     unionization of principals in any way enhances student                                                                     
     achievement.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     In order to validate my findings, I surveyed professional                                                                  
     research on principal unionization.  I found that the                                                                      
     elimination of principal unions and tenure is a national                                                                   
     issue.  Within the past few years several states,                                                                          
     including Georgia, Massachusetts, North Carolina,                                                                          
     Wisconsin and Oregon have eliminated the unionization of                                                                   
     school leaders.  New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania                                                                     
     are moving in this direction.  Is it coincidental that                                                                     
     these are some of the same states that have made the most                                                                  
     progress in moving toward standards based instruction and                                                                  
     accountability?  According to the National Association of                                                                  
     Secondary School Principals, only in 16 states, Alaska                                                                     
     included, do principals receive tenure or equivalent                                                                       
     rights to a continuing contract.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Why is the concept of collective bargaining for                                                                            
     principals on the endangered species list?  There are                                                                      
     several reasons to eliminate unionization at this level.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     The first has to do with the core of the principal's job.                                                                  
     Let's make no bones about the fact that schools fail                                                                       
     primarily because of poor teaching.  Textbooks may be                                                                      
     outdated or in short supply, teachers may be underpaid,                                                                    
     classes may be too large and parents may even be                                                                           
     neglectful, but new books, affluent teachers, smaller                                                                      
     classes and attentive parents alone do not insure student                                                                  
     learning.  We seem to have lost sight of the main reason                                                                   
     for principals.  They exist not to maintain the status                                                                     
     quo, but rather to lead the development of an effective                                                                    
     learning relationship between teachers and students.                                                                       
     Principals must be empowered to produce results in this                                                                    
     realm and then be held accountable for those results.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Another reason that principals should be released from                                                                     
     the constraints of unions has to do with the amount of                                                                     
     authority delegated to them.  They should have a great                                                                     
     deal of authority.  They need the freedom to organize                                                                      
     their schools in a way that makes the best use of                                                                          
     available resources for students.  It is up to us as                                                                       
     superintendents to foster the growth of principals and to                                                                  
     determine how much power to delegate to each at any given                                                                  
     time.  Principals will end up with real authority and                                                                      
     respect from the staff and community if they earn it                                                                       
     through their actions.  They cannot command it based on                                                                    
     a union agreement, which by its nature has a ceiling                                                                       
     defined by the limitations of the least qualified                                                                          
     members.  Rather than bargain collectively, they should                                                                    
     actively be set free to compete to the ultimate benefit                                                                    
     of excellence in schooling.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Additionally, most districts employ a management team                                                                      
     operation.  This provides a structure for administrators                                                                   
     to participate in management planning under the                                                                            
     leadership of the superintendent.  The elimination of                                                                      
     unions will allow principals to be included in the team                                                                    
     and to help shape the formulation of policy.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Educational policy has to do with the specific things                                                                      
     that make quality education happen.  School boards set                                                                     
     policy in terms of goals and purposes.  They approve                                                                       
     specific policies drawn by the administrative team.  In                                                                    
     this process, the first hand experience and perspective                                                                    
     of principals is essential to the making of sound                                                                          
     policies.  Good policy is designed from diverse                                                                            
     viewpoints, independent thinking, and objectivity.  It                                                                     
     also considers the minority viewpoint.  Unions foster                                                                      
     single points of view.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     The most compelling reason that principals should stay                                                                     
     out of unions is the fact that principals are management.                                                                  
     Success should be measured based on how well the job is                                                                    
     done in comparison to others in similar roles.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     We want principals to continue to have a great influence                                                                   
     on school systems in Alaska.  We need to empower                                                                           
     principals who unashamedly do the job better than anybody                                                                  
     else and who want a reward system based on performance.                                                                    
     These things are the bane and peril of unions.  They also                                                                  
     have little attraction for principals who are interested                                                                   
     only in keeping the lid on and avoiding change.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     The passage of this bill will be a landmark in your                                                                        
     efforts to stop the decline of our system and enable us                                                                    
     to improve the quality of instruction.  As Sitting Bull                                                                    
     said, "It is time to put our minds together and see what                                                                   
     we can do for our children."  The children of Alaska                                                                       
     deserve no less.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 0665                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked to briefly touch on Title 29, United                                                                  
States Code, Section 152, definitions.  He noted, "This is the                                                                  
labor management relations -- the national labor relations.  It                                                                 
defines a supervisor - means any individual having authority in the                                                             
interest of employer to hire, transfer, suspend, layoff, recall,                                                                
promote, discharge, assign, reward, or discipline other employees,                                                              
and a number of other things - and also talks about professional                                                                
employees:  any employee engaged in work predominately                                                                          
intellectual, varied in character as opposed to routine mental,                                                                 
manual, mechanical, physical work."  Representative Ogan said these                                                             
descriptions fit managers.  Principals are managers, and, with all                                                              
due respect to labor, principals should not be included in the                                                                  
collective bargaining process.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 0734                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS requested that Representative Ogan provide                                                                
the committee with some history regarding this concept and how this                                                             
issue was brought to his attention.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said that a number of incidents have occurred                                                               
over the last couple of years in his district.  One particular                                                                  
principal was violating school district policy and was asked to                                                                 
stop an activity which the principal refused to stop.                                                                           
Representative Ogan informed the committee that he was denied                                                                   
access to his son's school because it was campaign season, although                                                             
he had been invited by a teacher to speak to his son's class on a                                                               
non-campaign-related issue.  Representative Ogan commented that                                                                 
there was a lot of politics and ignoring of school district policy.                                                             
He noted that one principal told him to go through the proper                                                                   
channels of complaining to the school board and the superintendent.                                                             
Representative Ogan  said he complained to the borough, the borough                                                             
manager, the mayor, school board members, and the superintendent.                                                               
From those complaints, Representative Ogan received a letter from                                                               
a school board member on her attorney letterhead, although the                                                                  
letter  was signed as a school board member, threatening him with                                                               
litigation for making libelous statements.  He commented, "She was                                                              
in somewhat of violating policy when the policy was plain on its                                                                
face what it was, that they weren't supposed to engage in certain                                                               
activity."  This made him realize there was a real lack of control.                                                             
School boards should set the policy and the board's hired                                                                       
representative should translate that policy into the district.                                                                  
Furthermore, the principals need to be subordinate to the school                                                                
board, and in this case they were not.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 0888                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS asked if, in this case, a principal gave a                                                                
teacher direction not to allow Representative Ogan entrance into a                                                              
classroom.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said that he did not know exactly what had                                                                  
happened.  He clarified that he was met at the door by a teacher,                                                               
the same teacher who had invited him to speak, and told he could                                                                
not enter the classroom.  Representative Ogan clarified that is not                                                             
the reason he introduced the legislation.  Through a series of                                                                  
situations Representative Ogan came to realize that the principals                                                              
are in control of their district, not the school board or the                                                                   
superintendent.  As a public policy, Representative Ogan felt it to                                                             
be in the best interest of the children and education for the                                                                   
policy setters, the school board, to have the ability to control                                                                
the actions of its employees.  Recognizing the problem in that                                                                  
area, led to the introduction of HB 129.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA indicated her agreement that experiences such                                                             
as Representative Ogan's are not the way it needs to be.  She noted                                                             
the tendency of people to interpret things differently in various                                                               
situations and asked how this bill would make the situation                                                                     
Representative Ogan had different.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 1003                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN stressed that HB 129 was not necessarily                                                                    
introduced to make his situation different.  He reiterated that HB
129 was introduced in order to place the public back in public                                                                  
education.  The public should establish the policy for teaching                                                                 
methods, the curriculum, and the management of the school district.                                                             
He also reiterated that it is not in the best interest of the                                                                   
children to have principals "thumbing their nose at school district                                                             
policy" and filing grievances for disliked performance evaluations.                                                             
Representative Ogan stated that it would be more beneficial for                                                                 
parents to set policy through their elected representatives rather                                                              
than unionized principals.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO noted a letter of support in the bill packet                                                              
from the Association of Alaska School Boards.  He asked if this                                                                 
type of legislation has been introduced in the past and if so, did                                                              
the association support it?                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN stated that he was not aware of any such                                                                    
legislation introduced prior to this.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1116                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA related a discussion she had that day with a                                                              
principal for whom she has much respect.  This principal felt very                                                              
strongly that putting a union hat on principals undermined their                                                                
ability to serve the children which is the first and foremost                                                                   
concern.  This principal commented that he saw the caliber of the                                                               
principals and teachers in Alaska slowly declining due to                                                                       
decreasing wages.  Alaska used to have some of the highest wages in                                                             
the country.  She indicated that more qualified people can teach                                                                
children better.  She asked Representative Ogan to comment.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said that collective bargaining does not                                                                    
necessarily guarantee good caliber personnel.  He questioned how                                                                
standards could be raised or an outstanding principal rewarded, if                                                              
it is not possible to do a performance evaluation without an                                                                    
arbitrated grievance.  He indicated that such programs as bonus                                                                 
programs could not be done under collective bargaining.                                                                         
Representative Ogan mentioned that one principal had commented in                                                               
the House Health, Education and Social Services Standing Committee                                                              
that salaries tend to go up when collective bargaining is                                                                       
eliminated.  He noted maybe it will give school boards the ability                                                              
to attract quality people and eliminate those that are not.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1273                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI said, with regard to Representative Ogan's                                                             
comment that collective bargaining is broken and needs to be fixed,                                                             
that several principals in her district would disagree.  She                                                                    
informed the committee of the concern that has been expressed to                                                                
her about individual bargaining situations with future                                                                          
superintendents; where would principals be left without collective                                                              
bargaining?                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN reiterated that it leaves the responsibility to                                                             
the elected public-policy setters where it should be.  If the                                                                   
school district hires a superintendent with a prejudice, that                                                                   
superintendent should be disciplined and fired if the situation                                                                 
does not improve.  He indicated the same actions should be allowed                                                              
if there are problems with a principal.  Principals should serve at                                                             
the will of the school board; the school board should be able to                                                                
terminate or discipline principals without worrying about                                                                       
grievances and arbitration.  Representative Ogan said he is simply                                                              
asking that the hands of school boards and superintendents be                                                                   
untied.  He commented, "Right now, one thing the NEA [National                                                                  
Education Association] said on the record ....  'This is a major                                                                
shift of power from the collective bargaining agreement and power                                                               
abhors a vacuum; it's going to be consumed by someone.  That                                                                    
someone is likely to be the superintendent and board of                                                                         
education.'"  Representative Ogan emphasized that is exactly his                                                                
point.  The power should be with the people's elected                                                                           
representatives, the board of education, and the responsibility                                                                 
should ultimately stop there, not with the principals.                                                                          
[Representative Ogan's statement came from a handout provided to                                                                
the committee by the sponsor.  The handout excerpts testimony from                                                              
Mr. Marshall of NEA-Alaska to the House Health, Education & Social                                                              
Services Standing Committee.]                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 1417                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO referred to a 1996 law that made collective                                                               
bargaining agreements a very public process.  Therefore, since the                                                              
school board and the superintendent have the ability to                                                                         
collectively bargain with the principals, this process is open to                                                               
the public.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN agreed that there is a more open process, but                                                               
once the collective bargaining agreement is made the public is not                                                              
involved in the process nor are the superintendents and the school                                                              
board.  Representative Ogan reiterated the previously mentioned                                                                 
case in the Mat-Su Valley in which the principal did not like his                                                               
evaluation and requested binding arbitration.  Representative Ogan                                                              
stated, "You can't manage people when you're doing that.  ... These                                                             
people are management, they're not worker bees, these are the upper                                                             
(indisc.) management ...."                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked how principals would be protected from                                                               
arbitrary and pernicious acts by a superintendent, if principals                                                                
are taken out of the definition of public employees.                                                                            
Representative Brice posed a scenario in which a school principal                                                               
allowed the writing of letters to the legislature, governor, or                                                                 
government in general as part of a social studies class.   The                                                                  
legislator receiving the letters became upset with the contents of                                                              
the letters and demanded that the principal be fired.  That is a                                                                
real case scenario and the principal was protected from an                                                                      
arbitrary act on behalf of the superintendent due to the                                                                        
principals' right to bargain and coverage under collective                                                                      
bargaining.  Representative Brice asked, "How do you deal with                                                                  
those situations?"                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 1550                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN stated that is the risk managers take when                                                                  
deciding to become management.  He indicated that perhaps, he has                                                               
more faith in the public process and that the school board would                                                                
oversee the superintendent to make sure such arbitrary events do                                                                
not occur.  Representative Ogan believed the best government to be                                                              
local government, when people have access to it.  He hoped the                                                                  
system would work in those cases.  He mentioned it would certainly                                                              
violate ethics codes.  Furthermore, Representative Ogan believed                                                                
the school board provided a safety net.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG invited the sponsor to join the committee at the                                                              
table, noting the committee would proceed to teleconference                                                                     
testimony.  The chairman asked witnesses to limit testimony to                                                                  
three minutes and questions.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 1619                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
GREG DANIELS, Executive Director, Alaska Association of Elementary                                                              
School Principals (AAESP), testified via teleconference from Kenai                                                              
in opposition to HB 129.  He read a joint resolution by the Alaska                                                              
Association of Secondary School Principals and Alaska Association                                                               
of Elementary School Principals which follows:                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     The Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals and                                                                  
     the [Alaska] Association of Elementary School Principals:                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Whereas HB 129 adds 'principals' into the Alaska Statute                                                                   
     23.40.250[(6)] along with Superintendents which makes                                                                      
     collective bargaining unavailable to both groups of                                                                        
     administrators, and                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Whereas Alaska Statute 23.40.070[(1)], is the declaration                                                                  
     of policy recognizing the rights of public employees to                                                                    
     organize for the purpose of collective bargaining, and                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Whereas Alaska Statute 23.40.070[(2)] requires public                                                                      
     employees to negotiate with and enter into written                                                                         
     agreements with employee organizations on matters of                                                                       
     wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of                                                                            
     employment, and                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Whereas under HB 129 principals would lose their voice in                                                                  
     determining their conditions of work, paving the way for                                                                   
     arbitrary reassignment, removal from their positions                                                                       
     without just cause, and would have no formal means of                                                                      
     appeal or grievances and termination, nor representation,                                                                  
     and                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Whereas HB 129 will further restrict the ability of                                                                        
     school districts to recruit and retain qualified school                                                                    
     principals in a market which already predicts severe                                                                       
     shortages of principals in Alaska and the United States,                                                                   
     and                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Whereas the stability of schools and school districts                                                                      
     throughout Alaska often calls on the longevity and                                                                         
     commitment of dedicated principals when there is high                                                                      
     turnover of superintendents in Alaska, now                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Therefore be it resolved that the Alaska Association of                                                                    
     Secondary School Principals and the Alaska Association of                                                                  
     Elementary School Principals oppose HB 129 and would ask                                                                   
     that HB 129 be defeated.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG noted the presence of an e-mail message with                                                                  
other comments from Mr. Daniel in the committee packet.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 1768                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ANDRE' LAYRAL, President, Alaska Association of Secondary School                                                                
Principals (AASSP); Principal, North Pole Middle School; Alaska                                                                 
Council of School Administrators (ACSA), testified next via                                                                     
teleconference from Fairbanks in opposition to HB 129. He noted                                                                 
that he represents the executive board of the AASSP.  He informed                                                               
the committee that he has been a principal in Fairbanks for the                                                                 
past 7 years and that he has been an educator in Alaska for 25                                                                  
years of which 16 years were as an administrator.  Mr Layral, using                                                             
his written materials as the basis for his remarks, stated:                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     I've spoken to many principals in the last ten days and                                                                    
     none support this bill.  Many are offended by the                                                                          
     generalization that principals as professionals are based                                                                  
     on the sponsor's perception and personal experience that                                                                   
     is the catalyst for this bill.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Principals are not political appointees like                                                                               
     commissioners.  They are the front line leaders in                                                                         
     Alaska's schools.  They bridge the school districts and                                                                    
     their school communities, and they are charged with the                                                                    
     accountability to ensure that students achieve content                                                                     
     standards, teachers meet standards, schools meet                                                                           
     standards, and the parents and community work together.                                                                    
     Principals have a lot of autonomy.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     The school boards are the policy setters, and in the                                                                       
     absence of policies, principals are the policy makers for                                                                  
     their individual buildings.  I believe there is a public                                                                   
     process for the public to be involved in policy setting.                                                                   
     I'd also like to point out that school boards approve the                                                                  
     evaluation procedures for principals.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     HB 129 will deter teachers from going into administration                                                                  
     at a time when they will be called on to lead schools.                                                                     
     Becoming a principal is an awesome responsibility.                                                                         
     Principals are professionals, and as such, deserve the                                                                     
     same rights as other public employees to organize for a                                                                    
     voice in determining their working conditions.  Certainly                                                                  
     they should have protections equal to teachers and                                                                         
     superintendents.  Collective bargaining works to ensure                                                                    
     this fair treatment.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     The Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals'                                                                     
     executive board urges you to defeat this bill in                                                                           
     committee and allow principals to focus on more important                                                                  
     educational matters related to Chapter 31 and SB 36.                                                                       
     This bill is counter to the professional relationships                                                                     
     districts must have in today's schools.  There is nothing                                                                  
     landmark about this bill, and I thank you for your time.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 1864                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked if Mr. Layral believed principals should                                                              
have the right to strike and binding arbitration.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. LAYRAL replied in their district in the negotiated agreement                                                                
principals currently cannot strike.  He indicated that is addressed                                                             
through the collective bargaining process.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked about binding arbitration.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. LAYRAL answered, "I believe on those matters where working                                                                  
together you can't find a reasonable solution, if that's called for                                                             
in the negotiated contract, it is appropriate."  He did not believe                                                             
that has been an issue in his district and he felt good about the                                                               
principals' and school board's working relationship within his                                                                  
district.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if there were concerns regarding the loss                                                               
of employment benefits, or is the concern regarding the lack of                                                                 
grievance or job position protection through the collective                                                                     
bargaining process.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 1928                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. LAYRAL clarified that he believed principals should, as                                                                     
professionals, be afforded the same rights as other public                                                                      
employees which is what is specified in state law.  Long before                                                                 
principals were included under the Public Employment Relations Act                                                              
(PERA), principals had similar rights.  Mr. Layral indicated that                                                               
principals should have the same rights to collective bargaining as                                                              
fire chiefs, ferry captains, and police chiefs.  He pointed out                                                                 
that these officials are not political appointees and that they are                                                             
hired, fired, and have the same fair treatment as principals.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if principals could be fired at the will of                                                             
the school board or superintendent, or are principals subject to                                                                
the grievance procedures for which principals collectively bargain.                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. LAYRAL indicated that if principals, based on their                                                                         
performance, do not perform at the level expected, or if they do                                                                
not meet state standards they can be fired.  He noted that                                                                      
evaluation procedures fora district are approved by the school                                                                  
board.  If the principals violate aspects of their negotiated                                                                   
contract, they would be subject to discipline under the conditions                                                              
in that contract.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if there could be contract conditions which                                                             
were not collectively bargained.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. LAYRAL noted that school boards establish policies.  If it is                                                               
not contained in school board policy or the negotiated agreement,                                                               
he supposed that could be the case.  Mr. Layral commented that                                                                  
those kinds of issues are best settled by sitting down and                                                                      
conferring; he believed that everyone should work together when                                                                 
these things are not outlined.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked, for the committee's understanding, if                                                                  
principals' have a separate bargaining unit, or does it vary from                                                               
district to district or between the elementary and secondary                                                                    
levels.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 2020                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. LAYRAL answered that statewide most of the larger districts                                                                 
have a collective bargaining agreement.  There are a number of                                                                  
single site schools where the principal's negotiation is simply                                                                 
meeting with the superintendent and the school board to establish                                                               
the conditions of the principal's employment.  Mr. Layral suspected                                                             
the silence from those areas means that process works in those                                                                  
areas.  He noted that those areas are not in support of the bill.                                                               
For the larger districts which negotiate with 45 to 50 different                                                                
principals, there is the possibility of being arbitrary.  He                                                                    
further stated, "I believe that we have standards for principals.                                                               
They were passed as part of HB 165 and Chapter 31 now.  Those                                                                   
standards are very clear.  That's what we're evaluated on and I                                                                 
think that if you're meeting those standards you shouldn't be fired                                                             
without just cause."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 2070                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
GLEN SYZMONIAK, Kenai Peninsula Administrative Association, Alaska                                                              
Association of Elementary School Principals, testified via                                                                      
teleconference from Homer in opposition of HB 129.  He read the                                                                 
following testimony:                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     I am opposed to HB 129 and request that this bill not                                                                      
     proceed out of the Labor and Commerce Committee.  The                                                                      
     state is a public employer and principals are currently                                                                    
     public employees with all the rights and responsibilities                                                                  
     of public employees under PERA.  The key word in this act                                                                  
     is "relation."  Currently, and in the past, principals                                                                     
     have remained steadfast in maintaining a positive                                                                          
     partnership  type of relationship with the legislature,                                                                    
     the DOE, school boards, parents, voters and the                                                                            
     community.  Eliminating the opportunity to collectively                                                                    
     bargain removes the process and structure that allows                                                                      
     principals and school districts to define that                                                                             
     relationship.  Doing this unilaterally without the                                                                         
     principals' support goes beyond severing the current,                                                                      
     desirable ties and it establishes and institutes an                                                                        
     adversarial relationship based on threats and arbitrary                                                                    
     decisions.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 2127                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Representative Ogan gives grievance procedures and                                                                         
     arbitration, but what that grievance and arbitration                                                                       
     procedure does is assure fairness and a procedure for,                                                                     
     either getting a principal out of a position or keeping                                                                    
     a body from doing an arbitrary act like removing a                                                                         
     principal from his job without due cause.  So, those                                                                       
     things do need to be in the contract and they're actually                                                                  
     part a labor right that we do (indisc.) not just                                                                           
     principals, but any other employee.  When I saw this                                                                       
     bill, something didn't seem right, and then sitting here                                                                   
     listening, I think that was confirmed.  It looks like                                                                      
     Senator [Representative] Ogan had a pretty disdainful                                                                      
     incident whereby one act by one principal maybe wasn't                                                                     
     correct, and it sounds like it went through the                                                                            
     procedures, but I would really hate to see anybody use                                                                     
     this as their position of authority for any vindictive                                                                     
     act, and really what that does is draw in all the                                                                          
     principals in the state and it affects the relationship                                                                    
     that we have with our employers which we really                                                                            
     appreciate and like right now.  Thank you.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 2183                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG commented that the legislature does not                                                                 
allow vengeful acts.  He said that this is a topic that deserves                                                                
discussion.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN felt he was clear to point out in his testimony                                                             
this is not a vindictive act.  Furthermore, he resented it being                                                                
characterized as such.  He stated it is simply a matter of whether                                                              
or not it is good public policy to have our principals as managers,                                                             
as part of the management team or part of the collective bargaining                                                             
team.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 2222                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
FRED GIDDINGS, Principal, Bayshore Elementary School, testified                                                                 
next via teleconference from Anchorage.  Mr. Giddings was thankful                                                              
to hear thoughtful questions and discussion from the committee                                                                  
members.  He informed the committee that he had testified two weeks                                                             
prior in the Health, Education, and Social Services Committee and                                                               
was bewildered at the speed with which HB 129 moved out of the                                                                  
committee without much discussion.  He emphasized the importance of                                                             
understanding that this bill resulted from an unfortunate incident                                                              
in the Mat-Su Valley.  The solution to the problem, if there is one                                                             
in the Mat-Su Valley, is being broadcast to principals everywhere                                                               
in Alaska.  Mr. Giddings wanted to make it very clear that the                                                                  
problems besetting the Mat-Su Valley, if there are any, are not                                                                 
problems that Anchorage is experiencing.  With respect to                                                                       
Representative Ogan's comment that the principals are in control,                                                               
not the board or the superintendent, he stated, "At least as far as                                                             
the Anchorage School District is concerned, we enjoy our                                                                        
relationship with the superintendent, we have a board that is quite                                                             
literally in control and a superintendent that manages the business                                                             
of principal quite effectively and we don't need this solution                                                                  
imposed on us ... there's nothing broken here; there's really                                                                   
nothing that needs fixing here."  Much of the content in HB 129                                                                 
bothered Mr. Giddings.  He stated in his 21 years in the Anchorage                                                              
School District and 40 years in Alaska, he found that principals                                                                
are the constant in the administrative chain of command, but                                                                    
superintendents, each with their own philosophies and priorities,                                                               
come and go.  Principals need to have a seat at the table with the                                                              
superintendent and the school board.  Furthermore, principals need                                                              
to be able to discuss concerns and divergent views with the                                                                     
superintendent without fear of reprisal.  He felt HB 129 imposed a                                                              
nuclear solution to a problem that is localized in the Mat-Su                                                                   
Valley.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 2355                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked why the State School Board Association                                                                
supports HB 129 if the solution is nuclear.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. GIDDINGS said he could not answer that question and suggested                                                               
the question would be better directed to the State School Board                                                                 
Association.  He noted that he could only speak on behalf of the                                                                
Anchorage principals, the Elementary Principals Association and                                                                 
himself.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked whether the Anchorage School District is                                                                
able to insert additional conditions on a contract the district has                                                             
bargained with an individual principal or do they have to bargain                                                               
as a unit.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. GIDDINGS understood the process to entail developing an                                                                     
agreement with the director of labor relations, who is guided by                                                                
the school board and the superintendent.  The agreement is                                                                      
generalized to all principals in the Anchorage area.  There are not                                                             
separate conditions of employment for different principals.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG wondered if "middle, senior and elementary                                                                    
principals" in Anchorage are handled as a unit.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. GIDDINGS said they are handled as a unit for the purposes of                                                                
collective bargaining.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if a distinction in pay scales existed                                                                  
between the type of schools that principals head.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 2416                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR GIDDINGS indicated principals are placed on a pay scale based on                                                             
years of experience which is accrued from elementary through high                                                               
school.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if it was conceivable to have a "relatively                                                             
small elementary population and be paid more than a ... principal                                                               
at Service High School.  Is that correct?"                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. GIDDINGS stated, "Well, at the elementary level you could                                                                   
probably find principals who are paid higher at smaller schools."                                                               
He noted that school size is not the only consideration in terms of                                                             
what is required to manage a school.  The pay scales show that high                                                             
school principals are paid more than elementary school principals.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG inquired if Mr. Giddings testimony was "that they                                                             
didn't make a distinction, but, yet, a senior high school principal                                                             
... could be paid more or would be?"                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. GIDDINGS explained that high school principals get paid more                                                                
than elementary school principals because they have a longer school                                                             
year.  Both are paid roughly the same on a per diem basis, but high                                                             
school principals work more days.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
ERIC HENDERSON, President, Mat-Su Principals Association;                                                                       
Principal, Wasilla Middle School, testified via teleconference from                                                             
the Mat-Su Valley.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 99-33, SIDE B                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. HENDERSON relayed an incident in which a superintendent                                                                     
informed him he was going to fire a major high school principal                                                                 
because the principal had allegedly lied.  Mr. Henderson further                                                                
stated:                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     This was, at first, a surprise to me.  I was a                                                                             
     representative of the Principal's Association and we went                                                                  
     to bat for this principal.  After, about, 100,000 dollars                                                                  
     later, and with a lot of hearings, private                                                                                 
     investigations, a very active association for this                                                                         
     principal.  It was found the district was totally wrong                                                                    
     and he was hired back.  That individual that                                                                               
     Representative Ogan speaks of, of the evaluation process                                                                   
     and the arbitrations, that individual was one of our                                                                       
     point persons in this battle.  That person had 35 years                                                                    
     of educational experience; probably about 25 years as a                                                                    
     principal.  He was honored nationally in a variety of                                                                      
     different areas for his excellence as a principal.  He                                                                     
     received the poorest evaluation because of his                                                                             
     association activities that he ever received.  We went to                                                                  
     arbitrations with that.  An arbitrator was found that                                                                      
     the district was totally at fault and were prejudiced in                                                                   
     his evaluations.  All this has taken place over the last                                                                   
     two years.  Because in the collective bargaining                                                                           
     agreement, it's given the principals a protection to                                                                       
     question those types of activities that are misled by a                                                                    
     certain superintendent who, by the way, has resigned                                                                       
     recently.  I really take issue with some of the                                                                            
     comparisons that have been made.  Principals need to have                                                                  
     the protection that is only allowed at a collective                                                                        
     bargaining agreement to do the job to advocate for kids                                                                    
     to raise standards.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0090                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Representative Ogan talked about going to a high school                                                                    
     that he was turned down by the principal at the door.                                                                      
     You know, principals have an obligation to the children.                                                                   
     That obligation is outlined in school board policy.  The                                                                   
     principal was, in that case, was supporting school board                                                                   
     policy.  The school board still has control.  The                                                                          
     superintendent still has control.  Principals support                                                                      
     policy.  If they aren't, they can be removed and                                                                           
     principals have been removed ....   Principals are on a                                                                    
     one-year contract.  If they aren't to the liking of what                                                                   
     the school district wants, they can be removed and put                                                                     
     back into the classroom every year and that's stated                                                                       
     pretty much in contract.  They can't do it for capricious                                                                  
     reasons, but they can be removed and put back into the                                                                     
     classroom.  Principals are teachers first, principals                                                                      
     second.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 2454                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if the Mat-Su Principal's Association was                                                               
the actual bargaining unit.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. HENDERSON clarified that the Mat-Su Principal's Association is                                                              
a bargaining unit for the principals and is not associated with any                                                             
teacher's association or NEA.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked if Mr. Henderson could site the school                                                                
board policy the principal was enforcing when he kept                                                                           
Representative Ogan from entering the school.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. HENDERSON noted that he did not have the policy in front of                                                                 
him, but he believed the policy being enforced was "political                                                                   
activity cannot be carried on in the school."  He was not certain                                                               
of the particulars in Representative Ogan's case, but principals                                                                
have the right to prevent campaigning from occurring in schools                                                                 
during an election.  He noted there is a procedure to reprimand a                                                               
principal if a policy has been violated.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 0182                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked, "If you don't know particulars, then how                                                             
do you know that the principal was supporting school board policy,                                                              
as you say?"                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. HENDERSON indicated he was basing his response on what                                                                      
Representative Ogan said.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO remembered, last fall, hearing Mr. Henderson                                                              
on the radio supporting Representative Ogan's opponent.  He stated                                                              
Mr. Henderson identified himself as a principal and asked if there                                                              
was anything in the collective bargaining agreement prohibiting Mr.                                                             
Henderson from campaigning under the auspices of representing the                                                               
school.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. HENDERSON replied he was not campaigning under the auspices of                                                              
representing the school.  He said there was nothing in the                                                                      
collective bargaining agreement referring to campaigning.  He                                                                   
explained there are procedures the district can take if the                                                                     
district felt he had been in violation of professional practices.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO asked if any action had been taken because                                                                
Mr. Henderson had been "so out front in this campaign."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. HENDERSON replied no.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN stated for the record there was a school                                                                    
district policy that prohibits school district employees from                                                                   
engaging in partisan activities.  He indicated Mr. Henderson had                                                                
clearly identified himself as a school district employee; thereby                                                               
he represented the district.  There is also a state law which says                                                              
a person who engages in partisan activities as a part of their job                                                              
may not receive public funds.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 0284                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
RICH TOYMIL, Principal, Paul Banks Elementary School, Alaska                                                                    
Association of Elementary School Principals, Kenai Peninsula                                                                    
Administrators Association, testified next via teleconference from                                                              
Homer.  He informed the committee that he had been principal at the                                                             
Paul Banks Elementary School for the last year and a half.  Prior                                                               
to that, Mr. Toymil worked as an administrator in the Bering                                                                    
Straits School District before which he taught in Oregon for 10                                                                 
years.  He read the following testimony:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     I want to first and foremost ... I am an educator that                                                                     
     has focused on the need of children and the success of                                                                     
     children and their parents in the community.  I want to                                                                    
     speak for all the administrators out there, I know there                                                                   
     are a lot that I have met over my years in Alaska as a                                                                     
     teacher and an administrator who are focused on children.                                                                  
     I would like to say that the rhetoric surrounding this                                                                     
     potentially far-reaching bill assumes that principals                                                                      
     have too much power, that we're in too much control.  In                                                                   
     fact, we are managers who are part of a team.  We are                                                                      
     answerable to the public and subordinate, so to speak,                                                                     
     via the school board and to the district via the                                                                           
     superintendent and the director that we work for.  We are                                                                  
     part of the management team.  We have clearly outlined                                                                     
     expectations and responsibilities and due process                                                                          
     regarding this (indsic.) procedures if we are out of                                                                       
     line, so to speak.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 0332                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Regardless of the bargaining situation that in the                                                                         
     district we have, there are management processes to deal                                                                   
     with inappropriate actions by individuals in each                                                                          
     district.  Individual problems can be solved, first and                                                                    
     foremost, by crafting hiring processes that screen                                                                         
     candidates rigorously and evaluation processes that have                                                                   
     clear expectations that are formulated through a                                                                           
     collaborative effort of school board members, the                                                                          
     district's management team and the principals and                                                                          
     directors.  Legal guidance is always available as                                                                          
     necessary in every district.  As principals and state                                                                      
     employees, I believe we have the right to help formulate                                                                   
     our employment situation via collective bargaining unit                                                                    
     without the widespread annihilation of our employability                                                                   
     rights as represented by this bill and I urge its defeat.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 0381                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHERYL TURNER, Parent, informed the committee that she has worn                                                                 
several hats in the past.  She noted that she has been active in                                                                
the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and was the President for four                                                             
years at Pioneer Peak Elementary.  After that time, she became the                                                              
PTA Council President for the Mat-Su School District.  Later she                                                                
ran and was elected to the Mat-Su School Board.  Ms. Turner                                                                     
emphasized that she is not speaking on behalf of the Mat-Su School                                                              
Board.  She read the following testimony:                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     I am a school board member, and a parent.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Today I speak to you as a parent who has the additional                                                                    
     perspective of serving on an elected body created to                                                                       
     carry out school policy on behalf of the public.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     My focus, and I am sure your focus, as you consider this                                                                   
     legislation is to do what is best for children and their                                                                   
     education.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     In any organization, when management is overturned or is                                                                   
     not properly followed there is a lack of direction and                                                                     
     policy begins to flow in the wrong direction.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     In our education system when teachers, are joined by                                                                       
     administrators in collective application of policy, the                                                                    
     chain of management is severed between the public and our                                                                  
     schools.  Instead of public education we have union                                                                        
     education dictated to the public, the Boards, and the                                                                      
     Superintendent.  Instead of carrying out the directives                                                                    
     of the public via the District, we have as the NEA                                                                         
     desires [per written testimony], a policy set by a                                                                         
     collective, political group.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     When a Superintendent gives a negative evaluation of a                                                                     
     Principal, as his or her manager, they need to have                                                                        
     results in correcting the situation.  In Mat-Su one of                                                                     
     our Principals received such an evaluation only to file                                                                    
     a grievance and have the management finding overturned.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     If Principals are administrators, if they are part of the                                                                  
     management team, if they are an extension of the                                                                           
     Superintendent, Board and public, then they are not to be                                                                  
     collectively organized.  If we want to recognize                                                                           
     Principal unions then we must also be prepared for them                                                                    
     to go on strike, sick outs, push for binding arbitration,                                                                  
     and support not the District, but the NEA when there are                                                                   
     differences of opinion.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     I ask you as legislators, as supporters of the proper                                                                      
     role and balance between management and labor, to put the                                                                  
     public back in education.  Keep the balance in education.                                                                  
     Help our constituents restore public education to a                                                                        
     better place.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     People are wondering what is wrong with public education?                                                                  
     Why are so many people putting their children in other                                                                     
     alternative programs?  What will it take to restore                                                                        
     quality in our schools?                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     I submit to you that as the public has become                                                                              
     disenfranchised from public education their support for                                                                    
     it has waned.  As leaders you know the importance of                                                                       
     public involvement.  Unless we re-balance our management                                                                   
     team as HB 129 does, and put the public back into a                                                                        
     meaningful role as originators, not followers of                                                                           
     education policy we will continue to see the erosion of                                                                    
     public education in Alaska.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     HB 129 will not make those who feel they are in charge of                                                                  
     education happy.  It will not be popular with those who                                                                    
     seek collective protection as managers.  But it will                                                                       
     restore the balance we need to make management work for                                                                    
     our constituents.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 0566                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked how long Ms. Turner has been a member of                                                                
the Mat-Su School Board.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. TURNER replied she was elected in October of 1998.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if she has been there long enough to know                                                               
whether she feels the principals are implementing school board                                                                  
policy in her area.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. TURNER, speaking strictly as an individual school board member,                                                             
said she has been "put through the ringer by the Mat-Su Principals                                                              
Union."  She stated she was threatened with a lawsuit which she                                                                 
discovered while reading the local paper.  The results of the                                                                   
investigation were null and void, and the investigation was thrown                                                              
out with an expense to the district.  She was uncertain if there                                                                
was an expense to MSPA [Mat-Su Principals Association].  Ms. Turner                                                             
withdrew her children from the public school system and placed them                                                             
in a Christian school.  She was told she was a board member and not                                                             
a parent at the school.  The superintendent attempted to intervene                                                              
by setting up a meeting with the principal, herself, and her                                                                    
husband, but the superintendent was told to "butt out" or the                                                                   
principal would seek an attorney.  Ms. Turner said the                                                                          
superintendent advised her to remove her children from school.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 0636                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if this incident occurred after she was                                                                 
elected to the school board.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. TURNER said the incident occurred before she was elected, but                                                               
she withdrew her children from school after she became a board                                                                  
member.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN referred to Mr. Henderson's testimony and asked                                                             
Ms. Turner if a school board policy exists which prohibits                                                                      
principals or employees from participating in partisan activities.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 0670                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. TURNER replied yes.  There is a policy stating any employee is                                                              
allowed to campaign on their own time and with their own name, but                                                              
not with the school district's title.  She indicated Mr. Henderson                                                              
used his principal title and also recognized the building where he                                                              
is a principal.  No repercussions came from this incident because                                                               
the Mat-Su is in a tough situation.  The superintendent had strict                                                              
orders from the school board on his evaluation from last year to                                                                
mend the relationship with the principals.  This was the number one                                                             
item the school board requested of the superintendent.  Therefore,                                                              
she felt that was the reason there were no repercussions to Mr.                                                                 
Henderson.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO said he understood "the directive to mend                                                                 
fences and build good will, but when somebody violates policy,                                                                  
whether it's school board or local assembly or legislative ethic                                                                
policy, you know, you get in trouble."  He indicated he did not                                                                 
understand why nothing was done since a policy had been violated in                                                             
this case.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. TURNER replied she is only one member of the school board and                                                               
cannot respond to that.  She said she can give her opinion, but                                                                 
feels she may be crossing some lines.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 0755                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS said it sounds as if this is an isolated                                                                  
situation for the Mat-Su Valley.  He wondered if Ms. Turner had                                                                 
heard of a similar situation in other areas.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. TURNER informed the committee that she spoke with other school                                                              
board members at the Alaska State School Board Convention, of which                                                             
the Mat-Su School Board is no longer a member, last fall regarding                                                              
the activities with the radio ad.  She said she did not have a                                                                  
single conversation with anyone who accepted the behavior of the                                                                
union president.  She further commented that she did not believe                                                                
these types of situations are isolated to the Mat-Su area.  She                                                                 
believed there is a nationwide trend of these types of situations                                                               
which she attributed to the movement to the standard-based                                                                      
assessments.  She said "in order to do that, you have to have                                                                   
communication."  Such is achieved with HB 129 which supports                                                                    
communication from the administration, the school board, the                                                                    
superintendent and the principals.  She informed the committee that                                                             
currently, there are 16 states in the nation that have unionized                                                                
principals.  In Alaska, 14 out of 53 districts have unionized                                                                   
principals.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 0869                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI indicated that she wondered if this is                                                                 
something that needs to be fixed on a statewide basis or is it just                                                             
a problem in the Mat-Su Valley.  With regards to Ms. Turner's                                                                   
comment that educators would be happy with the passage of HB 129,                                                               
Representative Murkowski expressed concerned that there is already                                                              
a shortage of educators and an even more severe shortage with                                                                   
respect to administrators.  She stressed,  "If we just have an                                                                  
incident going on in one part of the state, and, in an attempt to                                                               
fix that, we throw out what might be working in the other 52 school                                                             
districts, and lose a lot of good educators in the state, which I'm                                                             
not convinced that we can afford to do."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. TURNER pointed out that change such as the Quality Schools                                                                  
Initiative enacted last year, standard-based assessment for the                                                                 
state of Alaska, and new superintendents, is not always                                                                         
well-received.  She believes anytime you step into the arena of                                                                 
change, there will be a lot of negative feedback.  She expressed                                                                
surprise at the tone of negativity regarding HB 129 which she felt                                                              
gets people more involved with administrative processes.  People                                                                
"want to be involved, they want to be able lobby, they want to be                                                               
able to do things, you know, with the administrators and with the                                                               
school board, and work together."  She further commented, "Now,                                                                 
when they're in disagreement with the direction that we're trying                                                               
to go in, we get grievanced."                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 1018                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG wondered if Ms. Turner meant that principals                                                                  
would file a grievance if a new policy was implemented.  He wanted                                                              
to know what would "trip the grievance against the board?"                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. TURNER said she is not sure what trips grievances.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked her to provide an example.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. TURNER described an incident in which a principal sent a                                                                    
newsletter to parents with information about the budget process and                                                             
who should be contacted during the budget process.  In the                                                                      
newsletter, the parents were instructed to call the "head shed"                                                                 
which resulted in three phone calls from parents in the community.                                                              
One parent asked Ms. Turner to give her a definition of the "head                                                               
shed".  Ms. Turner said she does not know what it means, but noted                                                              
it sounds drug-related.  She instructed the parent to address the                                                               
principal.  Ms. Turner requested the superintendent speak with the                                                              
principal regarding his use of the term "head shed", and asked the                                                              
superintendent to be low-key.  The superintendent spoke with the                                                                
principal, and they apparently had a good conversation.  The                                                                    
principal spoke with the Rights Chair of the union who subsequently                                                             
relayed to the superintendent that he was uncomfortable with him                                                                
interfering with school business.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 1141                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked Ms. Turner if her testimony is "principals                                                              
are empowered by their collective bargaining agreements to file                                                                 
grievances if they have certain problems with the superintendent or                                                             
with the board."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. TURNER agreed, but noted that she was not going on record to                                                                
say that a grievance was filed.  Instead, it was a notification                                                                 
from the Rights Chair to the superintendent that he acted                                                                       
improperly when addressing the principal.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO commented, with respect to Ms. Turner's                                                                   
statement regarding negative feedback, that the committee members                                                               
simply want to know.  Representative Halcro noted that he is a past                                                             
PTA president and he has never heard of this type of situation                                                                  
between the principals in the Anchorage School District and the                                                                 
school board.  Perhaps, the Mat-Su Valley is the exception versus                                                               
the rule.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. TURNER said she did not mean to interpret that the negative                                                                 
feedback is coming from the committee, but rather from the                                                                      
testimony.  She acknowledged Representative Murkowski's past PTA                                                                
experiences and commended the people that have a great relationship                                                             
with their principal because it is vitally important.  However Ms.                                                              
Turner commented, from her experience as the Mat-Su PTA President                                                               
and sitting as the Board Manager on the State PTA, that there are                                                               
some situations in Anchorage.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 1261                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO pointed out that no other school districts                                                                
had submitted letters of support.  He was surprised, especially if                                                              
these problems exist elsewhere, no one else is "jumping on the band                                                             
wagon."  He asked if AASB is speaking on behalf of the 53 school                                                                
districts.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. TURNER reiterated that the Mat-Su Valley is not a member of the                                                             
of AASB.  She said that she would share Representative Halcro's                                                                 
same concern.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN commented, "Maybe they don't want to get                                                                    
sideways with the principals' union."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1326                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SOPHIA MASEWICZ, President, Anchorage Principals Association,                                                                   
testified from Anchorage in opposition of HB 129.  She informed the                                                             
committee that the Anchorage Principals Association is the largest                                                              
organization of principals in the state, with 119 association                                                                   
members.  There are no principals in this district in support of HB
129.  She clarified that HB 129 was not supported because it would                                                              
be detrimental to the check and balance system that is critical in                                                              
a complex organization.  She noted the difficulty for the board and                                                             
the superintendents to negotiate individual salaries and benefits                                                               
for the 119 association members.  She stressed,  "Principals are in                                                             
a unique position of protecting the rights of parents and students.                                                             
Allowing principals to do the job that they need to do to be                                                                    
effective leaders, and to serve kids in the state.  I have sat in                                                               
many arbitrations with a number of union organizations where                                                                    
concessions may have been given if there had not been devoid of                                                                 
principals.  And principals cannot be in a position of being just                                                               
mimicked of an arm of the administration.  It is true that we                                                                   
follow policy and we are subordinate, but because we are able to                                                                
collective bargain, we are free to give reflections and earnest                                                                 
opinions about how policy and other matters of negotiation among                                                                
various unions will effect kids in our district.  So, I urge you,                                                               
please, do not support this bill because it is very detrimental to                                                              
kids."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 1474                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MARY JOHNSTONE, President, Alaska Association of Elementary School                                                              
Principals; Principal, Susitna Elementary School, read the                                                                      
following testimony:                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     I was born in Alaska and I've been in education here in                                                                    
     Anchorage as a teacher and administrator for nearly 25                                                                     
     years.  I appreciate the opportunity to speak against                                                                      
     this bill that I believe could have a real negative                                                                        
     impact on Alaska's students.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     The Executive Board of the Alaska Association of                                                                           
     Elementary School Principals strongly opposes it; as it                                                                    
     has been stated.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     While we know there are individuals, and we've heard from                                                                  
     some today, or groups who support this bill denying                                                                        
     school principals the right to collective bargaining, I                                                                    
     suggest that diminishing the role, influence and morale                                                                    
     of the principalship is not in the best interests of the                                                                   
     education of our children, and should not be in the best                                                                   
     interests of anyone.  Principals are rising to the                                                                         
     challenge of bringing our students into the twenty-first                                                                   
     century - with new standards, assessments and graduation                                                                   
     requirements.  We, as principals, are on the front line                                                                    
     in addressing issues of teacher training in effective                                                                      
     practices, in school change, diversity, school safety,                                                                     
     parent involvement, and the development of partnerships                                                                    
     in the community.  I invite anyone listening to spend a                                                                    
     day in my school to see first-hand the job of the                                                                          
     principal.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     With over half of our current principals likely to be                                                                      
     gone by 2002, it is incumbent on us that we be able to                                                                     
     recruit and retain the best and brightest school leaders.                                                                  
     HB 129, in my opinion, would seriously undermine the                                                                       
     ability of districts to staff our schools and accomplish                                                                   
     our rigorous goals for public education.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     HB 129 increases the power of top-down leadership,                                                                         
     running counter to current research, practices, and                                                                        
     common sense regarding the most effective way to run                                                                       
     schools - where involvement of stakeholders, shared                                                                        
     decision-making, and strong accountability are paramount.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     School quality is directly related to ongoing district                                                                     
     and site-based school improvement efforts, focusing on                                                                     
     world class content and performance standards, on high                                                                     
     quality professional staff delivering the best                                                                             
     instructional practices, on quality school organization,                                                                   
     and on parent and community involvement.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     We should be looking for ways to strengthen the role of                                                                    
     school principals, while at the same time providing                                                                        
     principals and schools the resources we need to                                                                            
     accomplish the goals the public has set for us.   Our                                                                      
     political leaders should not create instability and                                                                        
     uncertainty for principals, and with it some of our                                                                        
     motivation for implementing the continuous improvement of                                                                  
     education for the children of Alaska.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 1633                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if 14 out of 53 districts have unionized                                                                
principals.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. JOHNSTONE said she did not know.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 1656                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG called an at-ease at 4:44 p.m.  The committee                                                                 
came back to order in less than a minute.  He announced that HB 129                                                             
would be set aside for the moment in order to bring up HB 158.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
HB 158 - NOTICE OF INS. CANCELLATION TO ELDERLY                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 1676                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced the committee's next order of business                                                              
is HB 158, "An Act relating to the annual report of the director of                                                             
the division of insurance and to notice of cancellation of personal                                                             
insurance."  The chairman stated the legislation would be set aside                                                             
to be addressed at the committee's next meeting [April 9, 1999].                                                                
                                                                                                                                
HB 129 - COLLECTIVE BARGAINING; PRINCIPALS                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 1696                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced the committee would return to the                                                                   
public testimony on HB 129.  Chairman Rokeberg passed the gavel to                                                              
Vice-Chairman Halcro.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
TODD SYVERSON, Principal, Soldotna Middle School, testified next                                                                
via teleconference from Kenai in opposition of HB 129.  He read the                                                             
following testimony:                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     I would like to testify in opposition to HB 129 and I am                                                                   
     requesting that HB 129 does not make it out of committee.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Nine years ago I was a principal in the State of North                                                                     
     Dakota.  I left North Dakota to move to Alaska because of                                                                  
     low salaries and poor benefit packages in North Dakota.                                                                    
     I was very fortunate to be named a 1997 National Milken                                                                    
     Educator Award winner for the State of Alaska and I feel                                                                   
     that my move to Alaska was good for both my family and                                                                     
     for my educational career.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     In Alaska, I have enjoyed the privilege and the right to                                                                   
     belong to a union who has collectively bargained in good                                                                   
     faith with our school district.  The Kenai is currently                                                                    
     one of the lowest paid school districts in the state of                                                                    
     Alaska and we are currently having problems recruiting                                                                     
     principals because of those low salaries.  The loss of                                                                     
     the right to bargain would put the Kenai even further                                                                      
     behind in the recruitment of master principals who will                                                                    
     lead our schools and will focus on providing the very                                                                      
     best education for our students.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1801                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Principals are much like coaches.  The better the coach                                                                    
     the better the team.  The better the principal the better                                                                  
     the school.  Principals provide the leadership and                                                                         
     guidance needed to set high standards in the delivery of                                                                   
     curriculum, in the improvement of instruction and are                                                                      
     consistently assessing our schools to find new ways to                                                                     
     improve instruction which lead our schools in better                                                                       
     meeting the educational needs of our students.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     We need the best principals for our schools in Alaska.                                                                     
     Please allow us to continue the right to collective                                                                        
     bargaining in hopes that we can continue to provide the                                                                    
     packages needed to recruit and to keep the best possible                                                                   
     principals who will lead our schools in meeting the ever                                                                   
     changing needs of our students in the State of Alaska.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     We truly have a unique challenge in Alaska, please help                                                                    
     principals and school boards in meeting that challenge by                                                                  
     dropping HB 129.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1853                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
VICE-CHAIRMAN HALCRO asked Don Glaze to testify next via                                                                        
teleconference from Kenai.  The Kenai LIO indicated Mr. Glaze had                                                               
to leave before his name was called.  Mr. Glaze's faxed testimony                                                               
to the committee reads:                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Thank you for listening to my testimony.  My name is Don                                                                   
     Glaze.  I am the Assistant Principal at Nikiski                                                                            
     Middle/High School.  I have been an educator in Alaska                                                                     
     for 18 years.  I am also the President of the Kenai                                                                        
     Peninsula Administrators Association, and I would like to                                                                  
     speak as one of their representatives on behalf of all                                                                     
     the school administrators in our district.  We are very                                                                    
     much against HB 129.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     I would like to give two main reasons for opposition to                                                                    
     this bill:                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     (1) It is a big step backwards in the effort for the                                                                       
     KPBSD [Kenai Peninsula Borough School District] and for                                                                    
     Alaska to draw quality people to the field of education.                                                                   
     We can set all the standards that we want; we can come up                                                                  
     with higher expectations for students; we can create a                                                                     
     qualifying exam; but if we don't have good teachers and                                                                    
     good leaders in our schools, then neither Alaska school                                                                    
     goals nor national school goals are going to be met.  A                                                                    
     specific statistic was given in our local paper earlier                                                                    
     this week by our district's personnel director.  In the                                                                    
     past few years the number of teachers applying for each                                                                    
     job in our district has gone down from 125 to 50 for this                                                                  
     year.  For a principalship position the number of                                                                          
     applicants is much lower.  In fact the principal job at                                                                    
     Skyview High has reopened twice because there aren't                                                                       
     enough qualified applicants.  The position is currently                                                                    
     unassigned for next school year.  With HB 129 what                                                                         
     principal would want to come to Alaska to take a job                                                                       
     without the ability to have a say in salary and benefits.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     (2) With those who are currently in principal positions,                                                                   
     morale will a [sic] be dramatically affected because                                                                       
     principals will be lowered in bargaining ability below                                                                     
     anyone else in the system.  The principal is not just a                                                                    
     manager, but also the instructional leader in a school.                                                                    
     If leaders experience a low morale swing, the entire                                                                       
     educational process may be negatively affected through                                                                     
     the trickle down effect ... [sic] right down to our                                                                        
     students.  We building administrators have a right to                                                                      
     collective bargaining, and we need to keep that right.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     My questions are:  What is the real purpose of HB 129,                                                                     
     and what will the effects be?                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     My statement is:  Please do not allow HB 129 to move any                                                                   
     further through our legislative system.  Thank you for                                                                     
     your time.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 1877                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
LEE YOUNG, Assistant Principal, Soldotna Middle School, testified                                                               
next via teleconference from Kenai in opposition to HB 129.  He                                                                 
informed the committee that he moved from Washington State last                                                                 
summer because of legislation there.  He noted that he wanted to                                                                
further his professional career and feels he is an excellent                                                                    
administrator as evidenced by his receipt of the 1995 Washington                                                                
State Educator of the Year award.  Mr. Young said that he enjoyed                                                               
being in Washington, but because of "unfortunate legislation" he                                                                
moved to Alaska where the benefit package was more attractive.  He                                                              
felt that the passage of HB 129 would effect the kind of people                                                                 
attracted to Alaska.  Alaska's students deserve the best.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS inquired as to the legislation that drove Mr.                                                             
Young out of the State of Washington.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. YOUNG clarified that the particular legislation centered around                                                             
the retirement system which is one area that Alaska is holding onto                                                             
for the time being.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 2015                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DON ETHERIDGE, District Council of Laborers, came forward to                                                                    
testify on HB 129.  He noted that the District Council of Laborers                                                              
does not represent any principals, but he wanted to speak to the                                                                
process of collective bargaining.  Collective bargaining is a basic                                                             
right all people should have; to be able to bargain for working                                                                 
conditions and wages.  Based on the testimony today, it seems that                                                              
there is a problem in one school district where there has been a                                                                
poor job of collective bargaining and administering contracts.  He                                                              
stated,  "We have a grievance procedure and the grievance procedure                                                             
is set up only for violations of the collective bargaining                                                                      
agreement.  And if you start trying to grieve everything else under                                                             
the sun before arbitrators, they only will look at what's in the                                                                
bargaining agreement.  And that's what it's there for.  And if it's                                                             
not been bargained properly, then that's the fault of the school                                                                
board that sets those bargaining standards as to what they want to                                                              
see."  In response to an earlier question posed by Representative                                                               
Brice, Mr. Etheridge feels the only recourse, if no grievance                                                                   
procedure is available, is to go to court which "will cost the same                                                             
amount of money on either side, if not more, to have lawyers                                                                    
involved with work issues."  It seems to him that collective                                                                    
bargaining is being blamed for poor management in the Mat-Su                                                                    
Borough School District.  He does not believe the process should be                                                             
thrown out because one school district cannot handle the system.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 2187                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DARROLL HARGRAVES, Executive Director, Alaska Council of School                                                                 
Administrators, came forward to testify on HB 129.  He pointed out                                                              
that the committee had received the resolution from the elementary                                                              
and the secondary principals stating their position.  He noted that                                                             
the superintendents, part of the Alaska Council of School                                                                       
Administrators, recently met in Juneau and discussed HB 129.  "From                                                             
that discussion, there were numerous comments made by numerous                                                                  
superintendents and, as I recorded it, it was 100 percent opposed                                                               
to the bill.  Now, the group did end up not taking a position on                                                                
it, ... but the individual comments were very clear in those                                                                    
discussions."  He acknowledged that the committee has a letter of                                                               
support from the Superintendent of the Mat-Su Valley, Dr. Lehman.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARGRAVES expressed mixed feelings.  He informed the committee                                                              
that he has worked as a superintendent since 1974 in Alaska.                                                                    
During that time, he never had any problem and of all the problems                                                              
in school districts, principals were never the problem.  He was                                                                 
concerned that a lot of dirty laundry was thrown out before the                                                                 
public about the Mat-Su community and school district.  He regrets                                                              
this because last week he wrote a substantial property tax check to                                                             
the Mat-Su community.  If the situation is as dysfunctional as it                                                               
has been described, policies need to be made and enforced.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 2360                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARGRAVES commented that had Representative Ogan visited a                                                                  
school in his district he would have been welcomed with open arms.                                                              
"Had any of you come as a campaigner to the school district, you                                                                
would have been welcomed and put in a civics class, a government                                                                
class, and let speak to the kids, but the policy would have been                                                                
that anyone else could have come.  So, if the Democrat came, the                                                                
Republican could come in.  And I suppose that would open it up as                                                               
a public forum, at that point, so some other pedigrees could come                                                               
in.  Some unknowns."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 2418                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARGRAVES indicated that he may start reviewing the elected                                                                 
officials and the people running the school in the Mat-Su Valley.                                                               
He noted that he has grandchildren in the Mat-Su Borough School                                                                 
District and that his wife has visited one of the principals                                                                    
several times.  His wife has participated in the school and has                                                                 
commented about the fine principal of this school.  Mr. Hargraves                                                               
found it interesting to now hear his name mentioned today.  Mr.                                                                 
Hargraves stated, "I don't know what's happened up there, but it                                                                
almost looks dysfunctional to the point that I'd like to get a hold                                                             
of those policies and shake them up, and then put somebody in                                                                   
charge of administering them ..."  [TESTIMONY INTERRUPTED BY TAPE                                                               
CHANGE]                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
[Per the tape log notes Mr. Hargraves asked the following:  What                                                                
happens if you take these principals out of PERA?]                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 99-34, SIDE A                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARGRAVES continued,  "...[What happens to] Mt. Edgecumbe?                                                                  
What happens to the principals at the vocational technical schools?                                                             
These principals are being, they are part of a union, a statewide                                                               
union, and is it the public employees association? ... I just asked                                                             
that question because I think that you've got other equivalents in                                                              
state government that are represented by unions.  These principals                                                              
have this little meet and confer type of thing locally.  They have                                                              
no statewide organization.  When you hear these executive directors                                                             
say, 'I'm executive director of elementary principals.', they're                                                                
not talking in terms of a union group.  They're not the goons that                                                              
come in and strong-arm situations, in a strike situation or set                                                                 
principals up to strike.  For the most part, you could say that                                                                 
they're volunteers working with that statewide organization                                                                     
[indisc.] their retirement, and taking care of that group in that                                                               
way.  So, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I will simply say                                                             
there is a lack of a problem.  The problem that exists is not                                                                   
elegant enough to use the broad brush from Eagle River to Soldotna                                                              
to North Pole and to Fairbanks.  Let those folks in the Mat-Su iron                                                             
this out. ... The concern about the present action that might                                                                   
awaken-here is a concern I have; these principals have not been the                                                             
active union, again strong-arm kinds of things.  Let me tell you                                                                
how, not one of the five biggest schools, but, perhaps, the sixth                                                               
biggest in the state, where I was superintendent.  The principals                                                               
would come in and say, 'We'd like to have this, this and this.',                                                                
and I'd say, 'Well, you can have this, but you can't have that.  Go                                                             
back and figure out another way to approach this.'  Then they would                                                             
come back and they'd say, 'Oh, here's what we'd like and, by the                                                                
way, we'd like to invite you and the board to dinner.', and at that                                                             
dinner, they'd buy dinner, and we'd meet and confer.  That settled                                                              
it.  Those principals were not overly paid.  They didn't have                                                                   
tremendous rights, and keep one other thing in mind. That comment                                                               
that this principal grieved, and won the grievance, if that right                                                               
had not been in the negotiated agreement, it's my belief, that                                                                  
board policies would have put that person through the grievance                                                                 
process where they may have prevailed.  The policies of a district                                                              
usually include a grievance process.  That person, then, could have                                                             
still taken it to the courts, and we know that wrongfully dealt                                                                 
personnel, in any school district or any other agency, can take                                                                 
things to court and win there.  So, you don't stop that principal                                                               
from winning his case by taking the right for collective bargaining                                                             
away from him."                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 0252                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN welcomed Mr. Hargraves' involvement in helping                                                              
straighten out some of the problems in the Mat-Su Valley.                                                                       
Representative Ogan concurred that someone needs to be in charge of                                                             
administrating.  He stated an administrator cannot discipline if                                                                
his hands are tied.  He wondered, "If you can't give a performance                                                              
evaluation, or other disciplinary things, without the kind of                                                                   
incidence we're hearing about, don't you think it's an almost                                                                   
impossible situation for an administrator?"                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 0304                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARGRAVES said,  "When I gave a performance evaluation it                                                                   
stuck, but I'm sitting here thinking about the possibility that a                                                               
principal got an evaluation if the information laundried out before                                                             
us today is correct.  It sounds like that he was, the appearance                                                                
was that he was being punished, being rated down in the evaluation                                                              
because he had had an active hand in some other thing. ... Here's                                                               
the concern I have when I see somebody win a grievance case; did                                                                
they maybe really have a grievance.  I think I was known as a                                                                   
superintendent of somebody that never lost a grievance, but I know                                                              
full well that if I'd done wrong, ... There could have been things                                                              
I could have done that would have justified the employee of                                                                     
prevailing."                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked if the school board should set that                                                                   
policy and reign in the superintendent if he is being arbitrary,                                                                
capricious or spiteful.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARGRAVES agreed.  He believed that every school district "of                                                               
any sophistication" in the state has those policies in place.  If                                                               
a school district does not have such policies he offered to write                                                               
those policies.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 0404                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN wondered about a situation in which a principal                                                             
is in violation of school district policy, and the superintendent                                                               
attempts to remedy the situation, but operates under a                                                                          
"no-confidence vote."  He stated, "That's the school board's job,                                                               
not the principal's union."                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARGRAVES agreed.  He stated, "I think that principals need to                                                              
think twice when they do that kind of thing.  In this instance,                                                                 
they may have felt that they had grounds to do it."  He recollected                                                             
that no-confidence votes have only happened maybe twice, including                                                              
this one.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS took exception to the statement regarding                                                                
personal union goons in Alaska which he did not believe to be a                                                                 
true characterization.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARGRAVES clarified the intent was not to apply the term toward                                                             
anybody he knows working in unions.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0550                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
VICE-CHAIR HALCRO mentioned an e-mail included in the bill packet                                                               
written by Malcolm Fleming referring to Ed Gilley, a former Adak                                                                
superintendent.  Mr. Fleming's letter brought up an interesting                                                                 
question about "if you give individuals, whether principals or                                                                  
whoever else, to negotiate with the board, they might cut a                                                                     
favorable deal with one and not the other, instead of bargaining                                                                
collectively as a group."  He asked Mr. Hargraves to address that                                                               
concern which Vice-Chairman Halcro felt was a valid concern.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARGRAVES noted that the superintendent mentioned in the e-mail                                                             
lost his certification before the Professional Teaching Practices                                                               
Commission (PTPC).  He noted that except for the small group of                                                                 
large school districts up and down the rail belt, negotiations do                                                               
not occur as one would think; they meet and confer.  Mr. Hargraves                                                              
could not imagine Anchorage wanting to deal with 119 principals                                                                 
individually.  That would become unwieldy.  Therefore, collective                                                               
bargaining is a matter of convenience and provides an orderly                                                                   
process.  He reiterated that those principals are not affiliated                                                                
with any statewide group, but this legislation may precipitate                                                                  
those principals becoming a member of a statewide group which would                                                             
be regrettable.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 0686                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JOHN CYR, President, NEA-Alaska, came forward to testify on HB 129.                                                             
He informed the committee that NEA-Alaska (NEA-AK) represents                                                                   
approximately 11,000 teachers, classroom aides, custodians and                                                                  
other educational support personnel and most importantly, NEA-AK                                                                
represents 130,000 children.  He pointed out that NEA-AK does not                                                               
represent any principals.  He viewed the role of a principal as an                                                              
instructional leader, a manager, or "whether they should be what                                                                
amounts to a political appointee."  He noted that he is from the                                                                
Mat-Su Valley and spent the majority of his educational career                                                                  
there.  He felt the Mat-Su School District has been one of the                                                                  
bright spots in education around Alaska, but was not sure that                                                                  
remains true today. The problems are not solely with the                                                                        
principals' association.  He commented that the principals'                                                                     
association should be referred to as such because, to his                                                                       
knowledge, they are not affiliated with any organized union.  He                                                                
stressed that NEA-AK or the local Mat-Su affiliate do not represent                                                             
nor wish to represent the principals there.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 0785                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. CYR commented that there have been on-going negotiations in the                                                             
Mat-Su Valley with the Teachers' Association which have not been                                                                
fruitful.  Furthermore the Classified Association is also at the                                                                
table, and that is not working out well.  The superintendent's                                                                  
contract has not been renewed.  Such a situation would be a                                                                     
challenge for even Mr. Hargraves with all of his expertise.  There                                                              
are many things in the Mat-Su Valley that need to be fixed.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. CYR informed the committee that the substance of an evaluation                                                              
cannot be grieved, only the process can be grieved.  If the process                                                             
has been mishandled, then it can be grieved.  He said,  "I think                                                                
it's interesting to note that the principal in this case won.                                                                   
Clearly, his supervisor didn't follow the process and that's where                                                              
this whole thing breaks down."  He sympathized with Representative                                                              
Ogan and said, "I taught in Wasilla High.  I mean, I think it's no                                                              
secret that some of the elected representatives in the Mat-Su                                                                   
Valley and myself, personally, and at some level organizationally                                                               
have had some problems, but those same folks come into my classroom                                                             
every year and they make presentations.  They were invited in."  He                                                             
stressed policy clearly allows for teachers to do that, and it is                                                               
only fair to open up that kind of forum for students to listen to                                                               
those points of view.  Mr. Cyr said that he was unsure as to what                                                               
happened in this case.  If a principal violates school board                                                                    
policy, it is no different than if a teacher violates school board                                                              
policy or anyone else.  "They should be disciplined.  Through the                                                               
fact that they weren't, either means, they didn't violate the                                                                   
policy or that there is a level of dysfunctionality there that runs                                                             
through the system that needs to be addressed."                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. CYR commented that he was a little uncomfortable discussing a                                                               
district and it's problems.  He indicated the need to look at what                                                              
we want our school administrators to be.  Is the desire to have the                                                             
classic iron-handed managers or team leaders?  To his knowledge,                                                                
there is no recent research which advocates running a school with                                                               
a "top-down model where you lay out those dictates and everybody                                                                
stands in lines and salutes."  Schools are team processes where                                                                 
everyone gets together through the process to make the school a                                                                 
better place.  He emphasized that no one needs protection more in                                                               
that arena than principals who are on the front line getting                                                                    
bombarded from all sides.  Therefore, taking away the collective                                                                
bargaining agreement from principals places them in a terrible no                                                               
man's land where he did not believe anyone would want to be.  A                                                                 
principal's job is difficult enough with the protection they have,                                                              
and without it, he asked,  "Why would you do that?"  Mr. Cyr                                                                    
believed that some unintended consequences would occur with HB 129                                                              
which would be more far-reaching than what is trying to be fixed.                                                               
He said, "I think in this instance, Representative Ogan, I probably                                                             
do agree.  There are some problems in the Mat-Su School District,                                                               
but they need to be solved at home, and they need to be solved by                                                               
all of us who are concerned, sitting down at the table and trying                                                               
to work through it. Not at this level."                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 1061                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
VIVIAN DAILEY, President, Fairbanks Principals Association;                                                                     
Principal, North Pole High School, testified next via                                                                           
teleconference from Fairbanks in opposition to HB 129.  She read                                                                
the following testimony:                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     I appreciate this opportunity to speak to a proposed bill                                                                  
     that could have a serious, negative impact on the                                                                          
     students of the state of Alaska.  Fairbanks Principals                                                                     
     Association strongly opposes HB 129 which would deny                                                                       
     principals the right to collectively bargain.  Collective                                                                  
     bargaining in the Fairbanks-Northstar Borough School                                                                       
     District is not broken and does not need fixing.                                                                           
     Principals do support change and, in fact, are the                                                                         
     leaders of change in our schools.  We strongly support HB
     36 and the Quality Schools Initiative and Alaska state                                                                     
     standards.  The public is in our public schools through                                                                    
     our publicly-elected school board who make policies which                                                                  
     principals enforce.  Once again, I would encourage you,                                                                    
     as members of the committee, to oppose this particular                                                                     
     bill of HB 129, and recognize the value that principals                                                                    
     have, and the right that they have as public employees to                                                                  
     collectively bargain.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 1159                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGAN cautioned everyone against getting caught up in                                                             
an incident or series of incidents in the Mat-Su Borough School                                                                 
District.  He said it is easy to do that and get distracted from a                                                              
decision on policy.  Representative Ogan noted that he could site                                                               
more incidents, but did not because that is not what he wanted to                                                               
focus on.  He referred to the numerous comments that top-down                                                                   
leadership is not a good thing.   The people, the voters, are on                                                                
top and need to be respected.  The voters elect the school board                                                                
and therefore, the voters need to be on top and establish the                                                                   
policy, not the other way around.  Representative Ogan stated that                                                              
HB 129 empowers the voters through their representatives to                                                                     
establish and carry out the policy.  He suggested that this is not                                                              
an isolated problem because other states have done this; the same                                                               
states who are on the cutting-edge of making major positive changes                                                             
to education.  He sympathized with the principals' desire not to                                                                
lose this benefit.  In conclusion, Representative Ogan stated this                                                              
is not about labor, it is about management, and whether or not                                                                  
management should collectively bargain.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 1267                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
VICE-CHAIR HALCRO closed the public testimony on HB 129.  There                                                                 
being no comments from the committee, Vice-Chair Halcro announced                                                               
that HB 129 would be held per Chairman Rokeberg's request.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1283                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
VICE-CHAIRMAN HALCRO adjourned the House Labor and Commerce                                                                     
Standing Committee at 5:16 p.m.                                                                                                 

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