Legislature(2017 - 2018)BUTROVICH 205

02/03/2017 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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Audio Topic
08:00:08 AM Start
08:00:43 AM Presentation: School District Overview and Cost Drivers
09:19:47 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ School Districts Overview and Cost Drivers TELECONFERENCED
Lisa Parady, Executive Director of the Alaska
Council of School Administrators
Norm Wooten, Executive Director of the
Association of Alaska School Boards
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                        February 3, 2017                                                                                        
                           8:00 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Shelley Hughes, Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Gary Stevens                                                                                                            
Senator Cathy Giessel                                                                                                           
Senator John Coghill                                                                                                            
Senator Tom Begich                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PRESENTATION: SCHOOL DISTRICT OVERVIEW AND COST DRIVERS                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
LISA SKILES PARADY, Ph.D.                                                                                                       
Executive Director                                                                                                              
Alaska Council of School Educators (ACSA)                                                                                       
Alaska Superintendents Association (ASA)                                                                                        
Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals (AASSP)                                                                       
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented information on Education Cost                                                                   
Drivers.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
AMY LUJAN, Executive Director                                                                                                   
Alaska Association of School Business Officials (ALASBO)                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented information on Education Cost                                                                   
Drivers.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
ANGELA WASHINGTON, Vice President                                                                                               
Northwest Arctic Borough School District (NWABSD)                                                                               
Secretary Treasurer                                                                                                             
Association of Alaska School Boards (AASB)                                                                                      
Kotzebue, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION  STATEMENT: Presented  information  about Education  Cost                                                            
Drivers for Alaska School District.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:00:08 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SHELLEY   HUGHES  called  the  Senate   Education  Standing                                                            
Committee meeting  to order  at 8:00 a.m.  Present at the  call to                                                              
order were Senators Begich, Giessel, Coghill, Stevens, and Chair                                                                
Hughes.                                                                                                                         
^PRESENTATION: SCHOOL DISTRICT OVERVIEW AND COST DRIVERS                                                                        
     PRESENTATION: SCHOOL DISTRICT  OVERVIEW AND COST DRIVERS                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:00:43 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  announced that the  only order of business  would be                                                              
a presentation on Education Cost Drivers. She stated:                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     As  we continue  to look  how  we can  provide a  better                                                                   
     education for  our children, we need to  understand what                                                                   
     areas are causing  the most financial strain  for school                                                                   
     districts.  Once we  know where the  major cost  drivers                                                                   
     are, we  can start  to figure  out what the  legislature                                                                   
     can  do  help districts  keep  costs  down in  order  to                                                                   
     focus on teaching our kids.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:01:42 AM                                                                                                                    
LISA SKILES PARADY,  Ph.D., Executive Director, Alaska  Council of                                                              
School  Educators   (ACSA),  Alaska  Superintendents   Association                                                              
(ASA),   Alaska  Association   of   Secondary  School   Principals                                                              
(AASSP),  presented information  on  Education  Cost Drivers.  She                                                              
referred  to a  handout  showing  the diverse  organizations  ACSA                                                              
works  with.  She noted  that  ACSA  also administers  the  Alaska                                                              
Staff Development Network (ASDN).                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
DR. PARADY  referred to  a handout  entitled "2017 Joint  Position                                                              
Statements  (JPS)."  The aforementioned  members  rotate  chairing                                                              
the JPS, which lists unified positions.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:04:12 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  PARADY  discussed the  recent  ACSA  Survey of  Districts  in                                                              
order to  be responsive to the  committee's request to  present on                                                              
school  district   cost  drivers.  She  related  that   28  of  54                                                              
districts  responded  and  all   questions  were  open-ended  with                                                              
response/comment   answers.  She  felt   the  answers   were  very                                                              
representative of  what districts are feeling. She  noted she will                                                              
be providing the committee with the full results of the survey.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:04:47 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  PARADY began  with  school district  budget  areas that  have                                                              
been increasing the  fastest or the most. She showed  that the top                                                              
area  was salaries,  which, she  added, Dr.  Paramo calls  "people                                                              
costs."  Subsets   of  salaries   are  health  care   and  workers                                                              
compensation.  Dr. Parady  emphasized that  health care costs  are                                                              
the biggest  cost drivers.  She said the  legislature can  help by                                                              
trying to get control of health care.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:05:58 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES asked  why health  insurance and  health care  costs                                                              
are separated.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
DR. PARADY agreed that combined, they would be the largest area.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:07:00 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  PARADY shared  rough numbers  on the  district responses:  89                                                              
percent  cited health  insurance/  health care  costs, 46  percent                                                              
maintenance,  29 percent  worker's compensation  or insurance,  28                                                              
percent   PERS/TRS   retirement.   Other  costs   cited   included                                                              
broadband/technology,    logistics,   special   education,    food                                                              
service, housing, recruiting, and transportation.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:08:09 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  PARADY provided  examples  of cost  increases  due to  health                                                              
insurance  and  workers  compensation.  She  also  cited  employee                                                              
costs and internet access costs.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DR.  PARADY  reported   that  in  an  earlier   survey,  districts                                                              
reported an  18 percent  increase in health  insurance from  FY 13                                                              
to FY 17. She  added that 17 districts had increases  in excess of                                                              
30  percent  over the  same  period.  She  quoted Bob  Crumley  of                                                              
Chugach, "The  best conclusion I can  draw quickly is that  in the                                                              
same  period  in  which  costs   have  increased  by  18  percent,                                                              
benefits have remained static or decreased to contain costs."                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:09:25 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. PARADY  addressed a survey  question regarding  what districts                                                              
have done  to control  these costs. She  reported that  82 percent                                                              
cited reducing  health insurance  costs by increased  cost sharing                                                              
with  employees,  increasing  deductibles  and  co-pays,  and  re-                                                              
bidding  with  insurance  carriers.  She  said  36  percent  cited                                                              
reducing  personnel, hours,  and  staff ratios;  39 percent  cited                                                              
energy efficiencies;  and others  cited reducing travel,  limiting                                                              
tech purchases, and outsourcing.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:10:56 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. PARADY provided  specific examples of health  care reductions,                                                              
workers  compensation  reform, subsistence  level  broadband  use,                                                              
and having a cost  cutting environment at the same  time as trying                                                              
to  recruit  quality educators.  She  noted  ACSA is  convening  a                                                              
health care  cost containment  committee and  intend to go  out to                                                              
bid  for  a new  plan.  Other  ideas  are to  make  reductions  in                                                              
utility  use,  reduce  staff  ratios,  and  increase  the  use  of                                                              
technology.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:12:59 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  PARADY  addressed  what  the   legislature  can  do  to  help                                                              
districts  lower administrative  costs. She  noted that  districts                                                              
reported unfunded  mandates as problematic and 32  districts cited                                                              
reducing  unfunded mandates  as a  solution. She  said 25  percent                                                              
cited lowering health  care cost with a statewide  insurance pool.                                                              
Others  suggested  workers  compensation  reform. She  noted  that                                                              
ACSA is working  close with the Department of  Education and Early                                                              
Development (DEED)  on reducing reporting requirements.  Districts                                                              
want  to see  E-rate  grants  kept  strong, increased  support  to                                                              
education  service  agencies,  and   the  hiring  of  a  statewide                                                              
engineer  to help  reduce utility  costs.  Districts suggested  to                                                              
continue funding  for AS 14.14.115 - to incentivize  collaboration                                                              
between districts.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:15:25 AM                                                                                                                    
She detailed a request to stop costly unfunded mandates.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:16:07 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. PARADY  spoke of challenges  districts have, such  as employee                                                              
turnover,  inadequate broadband,  and  energy, transportation  and                                                              
travel costs. She  shared data about Alaska's high  staff turnover                                                              
rates; 21  percent of  total staff.  Rural remote  sites had  a 34                                                              
percent  turnover.  She provided  an  example  of how  that  would                                                              
affect a business.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:17:56 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. PARADY  showed a  slide of superintendent  turnover  from 2009                                                              
to 2013.  Only nine superintendents  have remained  working during                                                              
that time.  She stated  that 32  of 54  districts, or  59 percent,                                                              
saw at least one new superintendent during 2012 - 2016.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:19:22 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  PARADY showed  charts with  data  on school  budget size  and                                                              
superintendent    salary.   She    pointed    out   that    Alaska                                                              
superintendents  are on the  lower end of  the national  scale and                                                              
are struggling to be competitive.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:20:07 AM                                                                                                                    
AMY  LUJAN,  Executive  Director   Alaska  Association  of  School                                                              
Business Officials  (ALASBO), presented  information on  Education                                                              
Cost Drivers.  In answering  questions regarding school  operating                                                              
and  administrative  costs,  she   turned  to  a  handout  by  the                                                              
Department of  Education and Early  Development (DEED)  on general                                                              
fund  (School Operating  Fund) expenditures,  available on  DEED's                                                              
website. She  began with administrative  costs, both  for district                                                              
administration  -  the  superintendent  and  the  board,  and  for                                                              
district administration support - the business office.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
When asked about  human resources costs, she noted  that less than                                                              
half  of  the districts  have  dedicated  human  resources  staff.                                                              
Those  costs are shown  between  functions 510  and 550. She  said                                                              
very few districts have dedicated public relations staff.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:23:30 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. LUJAN  explained that administrative  costs relative  to total                                                              
cost  statewide are  5.3 percent  of  expenditures and  transfers,                                                              
which she opined is cost effective.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
She addressed secretarial  staff costs listed under  function 450.                                                              
This  includes secretarial  staff  and clerks  and copy  machines.                                                              
That totals about 2.6 percent of expenditures and transfers.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:25:07 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  LUJAN  turned  to operations  and  maintenance  costs,  which                                                              
include  all  the  energy  costs,   under  object  435,  coded  to                                                              
function 600.  These areas total  3.3 percent of  expenditures and                                                              
transfers.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:26:11 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. LUJAN shared  IT and other technology costs, most  of which is                                                              
not considered administrative  costs. It is coded  to function 100                                                              
- instruction and to 350 - support services instruction.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:26:31 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. PARADY  pointed out  that technology is  no longer  an add-on,                                                              
but is considered best practice and is an instructional tool.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:27:15 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  LUJAN  commented  that  in  larger  districts  there  are  IT                                                              
departments,   but  they  function   as  instruction   or  support                                                              
services.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:28:05 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. LUJAN  turned to  administrative  travel coded  to 400  - 780.                                                              
She said  much is  spent on  recruiting and  traveling around  the                                                              
district for maintenance or meetings.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:29:05 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. LUJAN addressed  employee benefits expense. It is  a huge cost                                                              
- about 40.9  percent of expenditures and transfers.  She provided                                                              
examples  of  employee  benefits   and  how  health  insurance  is                                                              
related. In order  to show the high cost of benefits,  she gave an                                                              
example from the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
DR. PARADY noted  there are also lost costs, such  as training due                                                              
to the high turnover rate.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  LUJAN   said  workers   compensation   looks  like   a  small                                                              
allocation, but it is growing at an alarming rate.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:30:56 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STEVENS asked  for  examples of  mandates  that could  be                                                              
considered expendable and should be done away with.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:31:48 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  PARADY  offered  to  provide  the  committee  of  a  list  of                                                              
mandates and districts' recommendations for removal.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STEVENS asked for one example.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
DR.  PARADY  responded  that  there  are  numerous  state-mandated                                                              
trainings, and some may not be the best fit for educators.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STEVENS  asked which  specific one  should be  removed. It                                                              
is easy  to blame the  legislature for  mandating them; it  is the                                                              
schools' responsibility to say which ones should be removed.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR.  PARADY said  they are  not  blaming the  legislature. Over  a                                                              
period of time the  mandates have been layered and  they take time                                                              
and  money  away  from the  classrooms.  She  offered  to  provide                                                              
examples of mandated training that are recommended for removal.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STEVENS  stated that  the legislature  needs to  know that                                                              
information from the schools.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DR. PARADY  referred to  mandate repeals included  in HB  156 last                                                              
session.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  HUGHES  said  she  is looking  forward  to  receiving  that                                                              
information to disburse to the committee.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:34:55 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL asked  what issues are rising to the  top that are                                                              
driving workers compensation utilization and costs.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:35:23 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  LUJAN responded  that falls  are frequently  seen in  workers                                                              
compensation claims.  She said claims are pretty  much from common                                                              
injuries.  She referred  to  the  2017 Joint  Position  Statements                                                              
that  suggested adopting  medical  treatment guidelines,  improved                                                              
management   of  claims,  and   improved  re-employment   benefits                                                              
process.  She said they  are going  to be  working on  this issue.                                                              
School districts are behind making changes to save costs.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:36:20 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR   COGHILL  concluded   that   nothing  extraordinary   was                                                              
happening like more violence or dangerous behavior.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. LUJAN said it is nothing like that.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:36:59 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  PARADY named  two  things the  state could  look  at -  other                                                              
states' employer directed care, time limits, and medical review.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:37:35 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GIESSEL  appreciated  the   responses.  She  said  having                                                              
worked  in  the  North  Slope  Borough  she  understands  turnover                                                              
issues.  She provided  an example  of  enthusiastic teachers  from                                                              
Alabama who  left because they were  not prepared for  Alaska. She                                                              
asked for  information about  in-state teacher education  programs                                                              
leading to higher retention of local teachers.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:38:55 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. PARADY  replied that  teacher turnover  is a critical  problem                                                              
at a  critical time.  She related that  University of  Alaska (UA)                                                              
president, Dr. Johnsen,  is focused on Strategic  Pathways, one of                                                              
which  emphasizes  teacher preparation  and  the  need to  produce                                                              
additional Alaskan teachers.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
She read from the 2017 Joint Position Statements:                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     "Alaska's  teacher  shortage makes  the  need to  better                                                                   
     align  the state's K-12  system with  the University  of                                                                   
     Alaska  paramount.  Innovative  pathways are  needed  to                                                                   
     attract  leadership talent  to the education  profession                                                                   
     and    address   unique    circumstances.    Alternative                                                                   
     qualifications,  retire/rehire  provisions  and  teacher                                                                   
     retirement incentives must be considered."                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
She opined  that there  is a  heightened awareness  at UA  and she                                                              
gave credit to  school districts for providing  robust training to                                                              
support new  teachers in  their transition.  She pointed  out that                                                              
the country is  not producing enough new educators,  but Alaska is                                                              
feeling it  more. There needs to  be a focus on  teacher retention                                                              
in multiple ways.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:42:36 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GIESSEL spoke  of the term teacher training  and wished to                                                              
change  the word  "training"  to "educating."  She  referred to  a                                                              
successful  recruitment program  at  UA for  Alaska Native  nurses                                                              
called Recruitment of Alaska Native Nurses (RRANN).                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
She asked  if moving  costs are included  for new teachers  moving                                                              
to Alaska.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:44:03 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. PARADY did not think so.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:44:23 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH noted  examples of programs, such as  in the Yupiit                                                              
School District,  to attract teachers. They bring  teachers in for                                                              
two weeks  to see if they  fit in. The  district also has  a "grow                                                              
your own program" in their strategic plan.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
He  asked  whether there  was  a  breakdown  for rural  and  urban                                                              
energy  costs. He  noted  unbearable high  energy  costs in  rural                                                              
areas  are   causing  reductions   in  educational   programs.  He                                                              
wondered  if  that  relates  to the  state  engineer  cost  saving                                                              
suggestion.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DR.PARADY offered to break out that data for the committee.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:46:03 AM                                                                                                                    
ANGELA  WASHINGTON,  Vice  President,   Northwest  Arctic  Borough                                                              
School  District  (NWABSD), Secretary  Treasurer,  Association  of                                                              
Alaska   School  Boards   (AASB),   presented  information   about                                                              
Education Cost  Drivers for Alaska  School Districts.  She related                                                              
that Alaska  public schools  are funded  through a combination  of                                                              
federal, state,  and local revenues distributed through  a formula                                                              
established  in law that  accounts for  variations in  enrollment,                                                              
student needs, and cost of living.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
She  shared recent  trends  and costs  for  school districts.  She                                                              
provided  data for personnel  costs which  showed average  teacher                                                              
pay  increased by  6.3  percent over  the  last five-year  period.                                                              
Teacher   salaries  statewide   average   $65,950,  according   to                                                              
preliminary  calculations  by  districts  responding  to  an  AASB                                                              
survey.  She listed  other teacher-related  costs  such as  travel                                                              
and insurance.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:48:50 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. WASHINGTON addressed  the state's cost of  recruiting teachers                                                              
and administrators  and the high rate  of turnover - 20  percent -                                                              
in rural districts.  Research shows a direct link  between teacher                                                              
turnover and a  lower graduation rate. She provided  an example of                                                              
a very  effective program  for new teachers  in rural  Alaska that                                                              
led to a low turnover rate.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:50:17 AM                                                                                                                    
She  related  information  about  energy costs.  Heating  oil  and                                                              
gasoline prices  in 100  communities surveyed  by the  Division of                                                              
Community  and  Regional  Affairs  showed  a  decline  in  average                                                              
retail  prices from  2015  to 2016.  Districts  are continuing  to                                                              
work on energy  conservation and alternative energy  production to                                                              
reduce the consumption of fossil fuels.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:51:29 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. WASHINGTON  brought up the cost  of housing teachers  in rural                                                              
Alaska where districts must provide housing for teaching staff.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
She  addressed  the variety  of  professional  development  costs,                                                              
depending on location and mandates.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
She noted  costs for  education across the  state are  a challenge                                                              
in that  they vary  depending on  location and  access to  various                                                              
programs.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:53:46 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  WASHINGTON concluded  that  districts are  exploring ways  to                                                              
provide  equitable,  quality  education   for  students,  such  as                                                              
having  hybrid learning  for  distance  education  for those  that                                                              
have  adequate  bandwidth,  short-term boarding  programs,  and  a                                                              
teacher  training  program for  local  citizens.  These ideas  may                                                              
also produce cost savings.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES requested a document of her presentation.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:54:27 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GIESSEL asked  about flying in specialists  to the school.                                                              
She recalled  being on  a plane  to a rural  area with  a physical                                                              
therapist from  the East Coast.  She asked for data  regarding who                                                              
the specialists are and where they come from.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. WASHINGTON offered to provide that information.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:56:25 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES commented  on  the benefits  of  the E-rate  program                                                              
which adds  funds for infrastructure  for districts. She  asked if                                                              
NWABSD has applied for those funds.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:57:14 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. WASHINGTON  said the  district makes good  use of  E-rate. She                                                              
said GCI  is setting up  extra towers that  cost $40,000  per site                                                              
in  order  to   improve  connectivity.  Latency   is  currently  a                                                              
challenge for the district.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:58:18 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS brought  up the 20 percent rural  teacher turnover                                                              
rate and said  he thought that wasn't  so bad if the  teachers are                                                              
moving  to  another district  in  the  state.  He asked  how  many                                                              
teachers are actually leaving the state.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. WASHINGTON  said it varies. Locally,  the cost is the  same no                                                              
matter where they move.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STEVENS  asked what  the percentage  is of rural  teachers                                                              
who leave the state.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:00:17 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  WASHINGTON  said she  could  provide  only NWABSD  data.  She                                                              
noted  an  entire school  turned  over  about  five years  ago.  A                                                              
disgruntled  employee can  affect  a whole  school.  She said  she                                                              
could provide the committee specific data.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STEVENS asked if the AASB could provide that data.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:01:32 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  suggested that Dr.  Parady might be able  to provide                                                              
that data.  She commented on the  issue of new teachers  not being                                                              
capable  right  away.  She  said   that  effects  the  quality  of                                                              
education, as well.                                                                                                             
She spoke  of the Every Student  Succeeds Act (ESSA) and  a return                                                              
to more control  at the local level.  She asked if there  would be                                                              
any relief expected from unfunded federal mandates.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:03:08 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. WASHINGTON said  it is difficult to choose one  mandate to get                                                              
rid  of. She  pointed out  that Alaska  tomorrow must  be in  full                                                              
operation.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:04:26 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR   BEGICH  commented   about   the  relationships   between                                                              
families,  children, and  teachers  and how  broken trust  affects                                                              
those relationships,  no matter where the teacher  who leaves ends                                                              
up.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
He  pointed  out  that  the  state   no  longer  provides  content                                                              
specialists. He asked  how the loss of that capacity  has affected                                                              
the NWABSD.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. WASHINGTON did not know, but offered to find out.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   HUGHES   suggested   Dr.   Parady   could   provide   that                                                              
information.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:06:17 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES  referred the  retention  factor  and asked  how  it                                                              
compares nationally.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:06:42 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  PARADY  spoke  to  the  national   situation.  She  said  the                                                              
majority   of  states   have  umbrella   organizations  that   are                                                              
reporting  that  all schools  nationally  are having  issues  with                                                              
retention due  to a  nationwide shortage  of educators.  Alaska is                                                              
also  struggling with  professionals  like accountants  and is  in                                                              
the  worst position  due to  its geographical  location. Job  fair                                                              
numbers have declined  drastically. There are very  small pools of                                                              
teacher applicants to choose from.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:08:43 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES  clarified  that  she wishes  to  know  the  teacher                                                              
retention comparison nationally.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DR. PARADY said  she would provide that information.  She noted on                                                              
February 22 there  would be a presentation to  the Joint Education                                                              
Committees on just this topic.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:09:27 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  noted that there is  a cost factor and  an education                                                              
factor related  to teacher  loss. She  stressed that students  are                                                              
affected  by teachers leaving;  it affects  their desires,  goals,                                                              
and competence.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:10:17 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GIESSEL pointed  out a  positive suggestion  on the  2017                                                              
Joint  Position Statement  and she  read,  "We strongly  encourage                                                              
action  to  ensure   that  quality  mental  health   services  are                                                              
available to  support all of our  schools." She related  that this                                                              
is being piloted  at Begich Middle School by  having mental health                                                              
clinicians in the  school. There has been a significant  impact on                                                              
students' ability  to learn. She  encouraged the committee  to get                                                              
more information about that.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:11:46 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS  spoke of  a serious  reduction in the  Department                                                              
of Education  and Early Development  (DEED) and whether  the state                                                              
is prepared to support school districts and ESSA.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
DR.  PARADY agreed  that DEED  reductions  have affected  schools.                                                              
The  Alaska  Staff  Development   Network  has  tried  to  provide                                                              
additional  services.  She  opined that  Commissioner  Johnson  is                                                              
attempting  to focus  on critical  areas and  that the state  will                                                              
prioritize  its resources.  She said ACSA  supports the  Education                                                              
Challenge  Initiative.  She  stated   that  there  are  incredible                                                              
"pockets  of  prosperity"  all over  Alaska  and  many  technology                                                              
advances, but  the state can do  better and, hopefully,  ESSA will                                                              
allow  the  state   to  address  some  of  the   areas  that  need                                                              
improvement.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:15:18 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS assumed ESSA would provide more federal funding.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DR.  PARADY  could not  guess  what  will  happen in  the  current                                                              
federal  climate. She  did  not  assume that  there  will be  more                                                              
money, but that Title funds and federal grants would continue.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:16:22 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH  noted an audit that  describes DEED as  reduced in                                                              
services to  such an extent  that it is  almost just  a monitoring                                                              
agency.  He  commended  Commissioner  Johnson and  his  staff  for                                                              
trying  to do  their best.  He requested  information about  where                                                              
teacher salary and  benefits rank nationally from  1972 until now.                                                              
He pointed  out that  they used to  be at the  top of  the nation,                                                              
which is one  of the reasons high quality teachers  were attracted                                                              
to the state.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEGICH noted  he runs a scholarship program  for those who                                                              
want careers  as teachers. One  person returned the  award because                                                              
she did not see a future in teaching in Alaska.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:18:29 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS  asked about  an item on  the 2017 Joint  Position                                                              
Statement regarding  ESSA: "We encourage legislators  to eliminate                                                              
discretionary  funding  caps,  to  allow  adequate  investment  in                                                              
education." He asked  whether that referred to a  city and borough                                                              
cap.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:19:02 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. LUJAN  explained that it addresses  federal issues, such  as a                                                              
federal funding cap for ESSA.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:19:47 AM                                                                                                                    
There  being no  further business  to come  before the  committee,                                                              
Chair  Hughes adjourned  the Senate  Education Standing  Committee                                                              
at 9:18 a.m.                                                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
2017 02 01 ACSA SenEd CommFINAL.pdf SEDC 2/3/2017 8:00:00 AM
2015-2016 Administrator Salary_Benefits Report FINAL.pdf SEDC 2/3/2017 8:00:00 AM
FY15 Audited Expenditures.xls SEDC 2/3/2017 8:00:00 AM