Legislature(1993 - 1994)
01/11/1994 09:00 AM CRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS January 11, 1994 9:03 a.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Randy Phillips, Chairman Senator Robin Taylor, Vice Chairman Senator Loren Leman Senator Al Adams Senator Fred Zharoff MEMBERS ABSENT All members present COMMITTEE CALENDAR HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 37 Urging the Congress to enact H.R. 1033 or similar legislation authorizing construction grants for publicly-owned treatment works in economically distressed rural communities. SENATE BILL NO. 2 "An Act requiring pay equity for certain public employees and requiring the compensation of certain public employees based on the value of work performed." SENATE BILL NO. 136 "An Act relating to a curriculum for Native language education; and providing for an effective date." PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION HJR 37 - No previous action to record. SB 136 - No previous action to record. SB 2 - See Community & Regional Affairs minutes dated 11/3/93. WITNESS REGISTER Roger McKowan Staff to Representative Lyman Hoffman State Capitol, Juneau, AK 99801-1182 465-4453 POSITION STATEMENT: prime sponsor of HJR 37 Willie Anderson NEA-Alaska 114 Seward St., Juneau, AK 99801 586-3090 POSITION STATEMENT: in favor of SB 136 Charles Kashatok Lower Kuskokwim School District Box 305, Bethel, AK 99559 543-4800 POSITION STATEMENT: in favor of SB 136 Senator Georgianna Lincoln State Capitol, Juneau, AK 99801-1182 465-3732 POSITION STATEMENT: prime sponsor of SB 136 Reva Shircel Director of Education, Tanana Chiefs Conference 122 First Ave., Suite 600, Fairbanks, AK 99701 452-8251 POSITION STATEMENT: in favor of SB 136 Barb Pungowiyi Native Program Coordinator, Nome Public Schools P.O. Box 1627, Nome, AK 99762 443-5351 POSITION STATEMENT: in favor of SB 136 Chuck Miller Tanana Chiefs Conference P.O.Box 126, Tok, AK 99780 883-5181 POSITION STATEMENT: in favor of SB 136 Carol Huntington Galena School District address unknown, Galena Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: in favor of SB 136 Esther Ilutsik Eskimo, certified teacher from Aleknagik address unknown, Aleknagik, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: in favor of SB 136 Richard Thomas Tanana Chiefs Conference P.O. Box 126, Tok, AK 99780 883-5181 POSITION STATEMENT: in favor of SB 136 Michael Krauss Director, Alaska Native Language Center, UAF Elieson Bldg, UAF, Fairbanks, AK 99774 474-6588 POSITION STATEMENT: in favor of SB 136 Molly Peterson Inupiaq Language Staff Developer, North Slope Borough School District, Box 169, Barrow, AK 99723 852-5311 POSITION STATEMENT: in favor of SB 136 Vince Barry Department of Education 810 West 10th St., Juneau, AK 99801 465-8689 POSITION STATEMENT: department supports SB 136 so long as programs are not mandated Anne Kessler Bilingual Programs, Department of Education, 810 West 10th St., Juneau, AK 99801 465-8716 POSITION STATEMENT: department supports SB 136 so long as programs are not mandated Patricia Jones state employee, ASEA member, P.O. Box 2996, Valdez, AK 99686 835-4344 POSITION STATEMENT: in favor of SB 2 Jennie Day-Peterson ASEA 3510 Spenard Rd., Suite 110, Anchorage, AK 99503 277-5200 POSITION STATEMENT: in favor of SB 2 Sherry Goll Alaska Women's Lobby, address unknown, Juneau, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: in favor of SB 2 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 94-1, SIDE A Number 001 The Senate Community & Regional Affairs Committee was called to order by Senator Randy Phillips, Chairman, at 9:03 a.m. He brought HJR 37 (FED MONEY FOR RURAL WATER/SEWER PROJECTS), sponsored by Representative Hoffman, before the committee as the first order of business. ROGER MCKOWAN, staff to Representative Lyman Hoffman, related that less than one month ago, a 4 year-old girl drowned in a sewage lagoon in the community of Newhalen, and over the last several years there have been numerous cases of viral meningitis and other diseases caused by leaky underground pits filled with human waste. Representative Hoffman has discovered a potential funding source under H.R. 1033 which establishes a federal grant program for construction of treatment works in economically depressed rural communities. The program would provide $300 million per year for six years to fund these grants. HJR 37 urges enactment of H.R. 1033 or similar legislation. MR. MCKOWAN noted the presence of Keith Kelton from the Department of Environmental Conservation to respond to questions from the committee. There being no questions on HJR 37, Chairman Randy Phillips asked for the pleasure of the committee. Number 055 SENATOR ADAMS moved that HJR 37 be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. Number 067 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS introduced SB 136 (NATIVE LANGUAGE EDUCATION) as the next order of business. Number 075 WILLIE ANDERSON, representing NEA-Alaska, stated their support for SB 136. He said it is clear it is an issue that needs to be addressed, because it is clear that the Native languages in Alaska have been slowly dying out and should be part of the school curriculum. Number 095 CHARLES KASHATOK, representing the Lower Kuskokwim School District (LKSD) and testifying from Bethel, stated the district's support for SB 136, with the exception of the requirement to utilize University of Alaska instructors and instructional materials. He pointed out that the LKSD currently employs approximately 50 certificated Yupik teachers, about 45 of whom speak the Yupik language, and that LKSD has a well-established language program for which they have developed the materials themself. He stated the district's support for the requirement that the evaluation of the district's Native language curriculum be included in the annual report card, and that the decision to require a Native languages education curriculum be made at the school level. Number 135 SENATOR TAYLOR asked if the language is being taught in his district at this time. MR. KASHATOK responds that 23 of the district's 26 sites have Native language programs. Number 150 SENATOR TAYLOR asked what difference SB 136 would make in LKSD, since Native language education has already been implemented. MR. KASHATOK replies that the legislation would require his district to use materials and teachers from the University of Alaska, when LKSD already had their own materials and teachers. Other than that, SB 136 would simply give support to what LKSD is already doing. Number 168 SENATOR GEORGIANNA LINCOLN, prime sponsor of SB 136, wants to make clear that SB 136 is not legislation for bilingual education, but for Native language education. Number 195 SENATOR LINCOLN proposes the bill be amended to allow school districts more option in implementing Native language education. She reads from a statement from the University of Alaska, Interior Campus which states that the actions of school boards and school administrators do not always reflect the wishes of the community. This is the prime reason she thinks there is a need for SB 136. Number 277 SENATOR TAYLOR comments that it appears Senator Lincoln's proposed amendments would in effect change the bill so that it would not have any impact on school districts at all. SENATOR LINCOLN replies that the bill would still have the effect of giving school boards the option of establishing local Native language curriculum advisory boards and would make it easier for districts to get funding for native language education programs by emphasizing the importance of such programs. Number 335 SENATOR LEMAN asks if there will be a problem for districts in which more than one Native language is spoken. SENATOR LINCOLN replies that, at least in the beginning of a Native language program, only the predominant language of the community will be taught. Number 372 REVA SHIRCEL, Director of Education, Tanana Chiefs Conference, is concerned that there is no fiscal note to support programs arising from SB 136. She advocates the following changes to the legislation: the requirement that school boards establish native language advisory boards for every school in its district in which there are native students - this would be a statewide requirement for all districts, including Anchorage, which has a large Native population; that local advisory school boards may also be Native language curriculum advisory boards; that students whose origin is not that of the predominant Native language also have the opportunity to learn their language. Number 427 BARB PUNGOWIYI, Native Program Coordinator, Nome Public Schools, supports SB 136, which she thinks would help insure the survival of Native languages. She reads a statement from a paper written by Carol Napoleon which states that Native people are not trying to undermine the State of Alaska. MS. PUNGOWIYI suggests that the Nome Native Education Committee also be allowed to serve as the Native language curriculum advisory board. She also advocates active participation in non-public schools. Number 455 CHUCK MILLER, Tanana Chiefs Conference, supports SB 136 because to be an Alaska Native and not be able to speak one's language feels as though there is something missing. He says our language is the basis of our culture, and if our language disappears, he fears that the traditional ways will soon follow. Number 481 CAROL HUNTINGTON, Galena School District, is in favor of SB 136. She mentions anger over anti-Native language and cultural policies practiced by educational agencies (teleconference transmission unclear, unable to decipher). Number 494 ESTHER ILUTSIK, Eskimo, Certified Teacher from Aleknagik, supports the bill because she has found there are many administrators and educators who do not value the Yupik language or culture and who do not support bicultural education. She adds that she hopes guidelines for serving on a Native language curriculum advisory board would not exclude certified Native teachers from serving. Number 509 RICHARD THOMAS, Tanana Chiefs Conference, supports SB 136 because he thinks if teaching the language is not begun soon, it will perish along with the traditions. Number 517 MICHAEL KRAUSS, Director, Alaska Native Language Center, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, strongly supports SB 136 and hopes that it will be passed. He urges people to understand the limitations of most types of language programs. The Alaska Native Language Center is most supportive of this legislation. Number 530 SENATOR TAYLOR asks Mr. Krauss if this legislation does not mandate anything, how it will change the current situation. MR. KRAUSS responds that HB 136 is the only way to get programs started out in the communities by increasing the outreach of the Alaska Native Language Center. Number 541 MOLLY PETERSON, Inupiaq Language Staff Developer, North Slope Borough School District, thinks that school districts should be required to have Native language programs. The communities need the state's help in this matter. Number 571 VINCE BARRY, Department of Education, states that the department supports the concept of SB 136, however they are not interested in imposing any curriculum. He notes for the record that ANNE KESSLER, an expert in bilingual/bicultural education is in attendance if anyone has any questions. Number 578 SENATOR TAYLOR asks Mr. Barry to clarify the department's stand on SB 136. MR. BARRY responds that the department supports the legislation so long as it does not establish mandatory requirements for curriculum. The department generally does not support mandatory requirements for curriculum of any kind. Number 580 SENATOR ZHAROFF asks Mr. Barry what effect making the legislation non-mandatory would have on the fiscal note. MR. BARRY describes language programs and says that the fiscal note is based on the six school districts that currently do not have bilingual programs starting such programs. Number 560 SENATOR TAYLOR asks why the programs Mr. Barry just talked about are held as extra-curricular activities, and not as part of the school day. MR. BARRY replies that the time of day the program is held is optional, and the second year the program was in operation it was held during the day. There is nothing in law that prevents what this bill intends to do; this bill would simply encourage Native language programs and clarify the support of such programs. Number 553 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asks Mr. Barry if there is any way to estimate the fiscal impact this legislation would have on local school districts. MR. BARRY responds that he will have to find out and get back to Senator Randy Phillips regarding that question. Number 554 SENATOR ADAMS requests that the bill not be held up in committee while waiting for the information The Chairman just requested. Number 554 VINCE BARRY comments that the fiscal note does accurately reflect the fiscal impact the bill would have as it relates to bilingual education. Number 534 ANNE KESSLER, Department of Education, Bilingual Programs, says that the department proposes a cost of $60,000 per site to develop a new Native language program in a site that does not currently have one. Under the criteria of the bill, the department came up with 63 sites eligible for this program. Number 525 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asks Ms. Kessler to make the previously mentioned information available to the committee as soon as possible. Number 524 SENATOR ADAMS notes that the previously mentioned fiscal information applies only to those sites that want a Native language program, and that participation by sites is not mandatory. The program would not necessarily cost the state $3,780,000. Number 515 SENATOR ZHAROFF asks Ms. Kessler how many students are necessary to initiate a bilingual program within a school district. MS. KESSLER replies that currently districts are required to provide a program if they have eight or more students who are of limited English proficiency. SENATOR ZHAROFF asks Ms. Kessler to define bilingual program. MS. KESSLER responds that it is a program that serves students who have limited proficiency in English, but that there is no simple definition of "bilingual program". SENATOR ZHAROFF asks Ms. Kessler to define "development of curriculum". MS. KESSLER says that means instructor training, materials development, and instruction. Number 500 SENATOR ZHAROFF comments that he thinks people from the community with a basis in both languages should perhaps be able to come in to the classroom as teachers aides to work with the students, which might be a less costly alternative. MS. KESSLER replies that it could be a less costly alternative, but would vary district to district. She states that the salary schedule for this type of person varies quite a bit, depending on how each particular district classifies these people. If the person from the community acquires a Type E certification from the department, which is recognized expert status, they may actually be paid at a rate equal to or greater than the rate paid to a teacher. Number 484 SENATOR ZHAROFF asks how the Department of Education came up with a figure of $60,000 per district for implementing Native language programs. MS. KESSLER responds that the figure the department came up with is based on the unit cost that districts get for bilingual education, so the figure could potentially be less at some sites. She also comments that the figure could be refined. Number 475 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS announced that the committee will hold SB 136. Number 474 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS stated that the committee would now take up SB 2 PAY EQUITY BASED ON VALUE OF WORK. Number 449 PATRICIA JONES states for the record that she is a female employee of the State of Alaska and a member of ASEA. She then reads from a letter from Joseph Wilkie. She comments that surveys pertinent to this legislation deal with discrimination between job classes, not within job classes. She is opposed to correcting the problem by implementing a quota system to hire females into male-dominated job classes, and notes that this would not be a valid option at any rate, since it is illegal. Ms. Jones believes that surveys should be conducted for all state job classifications, and that corrections be made where pay inequities exist. Number 433 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS thanks Ms. Jones for her testimony and calls the next witness. Number 432 JENNIE DAY PETERSON, ASEA, announces that she will waive her testimony in deference to Pat Jones's testimony due to time constraints. Number 430 SHERRY GOLL, Alaska Women's Lobby, states that the lobby supports SB 2. She believes at least half the pay difference is due to inequity and leads to hardships for women. Number 408 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS announces that SB 2 will be scheduled again due to time constraints. Number 405 There being no further business to come before the committee, the meeting was adjourned at 10:10 a.m.