Legislature(2017 - 2018)BUTROVICH 205

03/30/2017 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= SB 78 PERM FUND DIVIDEND CONTRIBUTIONS/LOTTERY TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 78(EDC) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
+= SB 96 EDUCATION:SCHOOLS/TEACHERS/FUNDING TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 30, 2017                                                                                         
                           8:30 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Shelley Hughes, Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Cathy Giessel                                                                                                           
Senator John Coghill                                                                                                            
Senator Tom Begich                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Gary Stevens                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 78                                                                                                              
"An Act  creating the education  endowment fund and  the dividend                                                               
lottery fund;  authorizing contributions from the  permanent fund                                                               
dividend  to the  dividend lottery  fund;  relating to  transfers                                                               
from the dividend lottery fund  and the education endowment fund;                                                               
relating to  the definition of  'gambling'; and providing  for an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSSB 78(EDC) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 96                                                                                                              
"An  Act relating  to education;  relating  to school  districts;                                                               
relating  to  course  credit  for  students;  relating  to  group                                                               
insurance,  self-insurance,  and other  cooperative  arrangements                                                               
between    school    districts    and    businesses,    nonprofit                                                               
organizations, and  government agencies; relating to  funding for                                                               
school districts;  relating to  school operating  funds; relating                                                               
to competency examinations for  teacher certificates; relating to                                                               
the Professional  Teaching Practices Commission; relating  to the                                                               
duties  and  powers of  the  Department  of Education  and  Early                                                               
Development  and   the  commissioner   of  education   and  early                                                               
development;   relating  to   a  virtual   education  consortium;                                                               
relating to  the minimum  wage for bus  drivers; relating  to the                                                               
investment,  appropriation,  and  administration  of  the  public                                                               
school trust fund; and providing for an effective date."                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 78                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: PERM FUND DIVIDEND CONTRIBUTIONS/LOTTERY                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) BISHOP                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
03/06/17       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/06/17       (S)       EDC, FIN                                                                                               
03/24/17       (S)       EDC AT 8:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/24/17       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/24/17       (S)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
03/30/17       (S)       EDC AT 8:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 96                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: EDUCATION: SCHOOLS/TEACHERS/FUNDING                                                                                
SPONSOR(s): EDUCATION                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
03/20/17       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/20/17       (S)       EDC, FIN                                                                                               
03/22/17       (S)       EDC AT 8:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/22/17       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/22/17       (S)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
03/23/17       (S)       EDC AT 8:00 AM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
03/23/17       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/23/17       (S)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
03/24/17       (S)       EDC AT 8:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/24/17       (S)       <Bill Hearing Canceled>                                                                                
03/27/17       (S)       EDC AT 8:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/27/17       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/27/17       (S)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
03/28/17       (S)       EDC AT 5:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/28/17       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/28/17       (S)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
03/30/17       (S)       EDC AT 8:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
PAUL KENDALL, representing himself                                                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to SB 78.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR CLICK BISHOP                                                                                                            
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 78.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
PETE FELLMAN, Staff                                                                                                             
Senator Click Bishop                                                                                                            
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions regarding SB 96 on behalf                                                              
of the sponsor.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
TIM PARKER, President                                                                                                           
NEA Alaska                                                                                                                      
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 96.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
JEREMY HOLAN, Business Representative                                                                                           
Teamsters Local 959                                                                                                             
Teamster Director                                                                                                               
Student Transportation                                                                                                          
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified about concerns with SB 96.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
NORM WOOTEN, Executive Director                                                                                                 
Association of Alaska School Boards                                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 96.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DR. LISA SKILES PARADY, Executive Director                                                                                      
Alaska Council of School Administrators                                                                                         
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 96.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:30:41 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SHELLEY  HUGHES  called   the  Senate  Education  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 8:30  a.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order were  Senators Begich, Giessel,  and Chair  Hughes. Senator                                                               
Coghill arrived shortly thereafter.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
         SB 78-PERM FUND DIVIDEND CONTRIBUTIONS/LOTTERY                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:31:09 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES announced the consideration of SB 78. She said the                                                                 
intent is to pass the bill out of committee.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:31:36 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES opened public testimony on SB 78.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:31:50 AM                                                                                                                    
PAUL KENDALL,  representing himself,  testified in  opposition to                                                               
SB 78.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:36:12 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES closed public testimony on SB 78.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:36:26 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH  noted the bill says  it's a lottery fund,  but it                                                               
is a  raffle or  a drawing. He  said "lottery"  implies gambling,                                                               
which  will  create  a  backlash. He  suggested  calling  it  the                                                               
"dividend drawing fund."  He asked if the  sponsor has considered                                                               
that.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:37:30 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  CLICK BISHOP,  Alaska State  Legislature, sponsor  of SB
78, said he has had those discussions.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
PETE  FELLMAN,   Staff,  Senator   Click  Bishop,   Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, answered questions regarding SB  96 on behalf of the                                                               
sponsor. He  commented that  lotteries get  advertised a  lot and                                                               
bring a  lot of  attention. People  get excited  about lotteries,                                                               
not bucket raffles.  They felt the title would  generate talk. He                                                               
offered to take another look at the title.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:38:55 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH said  he had a negative reaction  at first because                                                               
lotteries  negatively impact  the poor  and minorities.  However,                                                               
the bill does not do that,  which he discovered after he read it.                                                               
He thought  changing the  title might  be an easy  way to  move a                                                               
great idea to a good conclusion.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:39:50 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BISHOP said his comments are well taken.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES said she also had the same concerns.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GIESSEL commented  that she  agrees with  the idea  that                                                               
lottery is associated with gambling.  She provided other examples                                                               
of gambling terms in the bill.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:41:19 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL  moved to report  CS for  SB 78, version  R, from                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations  and attached  fiscal                                                               
notes.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES announced that without objection, CSSB 78(EDC).                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:41:47 AM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
           SB 96-EDUCATION: SCHOOLS/TEACHERS/FUNDING                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:43:05 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES announced  the  consideration of  SB  96. She  said                                                               
there would be invited testimony.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
TIM  PARKER,  President,  NEA  Alaska, testified  on  SB  96.  He                                                               
related that the educators he  represents have a goal to maximize                                                               
student learning  and they appreciate the  goal of the bill  - to                                                               
find  efficiencies  while  still  delivering a  high  quality  of                                                               
education.  He  emphasized  the   need  for  a  long-term  fiscal                                                               
solution, which is their number one priority.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
He addressed  SB 96 beginning  with the virtual  education piece.                                                               
Educators  like  digital  learning  when done  right  because  it                                                               
increases student  learning. Synchronous digital learning  is one                                                               
of  the best  methods of  delivery. The  main concern  is whether                                                               
there is good or bad implementation  and this bill has the intent                                                               
to provide good implementation.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
He turned to  Section 1 and the fact that  virtual education does                                                               
not replace good teachers. He said NEA supports that.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
He  said  DEED  is  moving  forward  with  the  Alaska  Education                                                               
Challenge and  the section on  modernization fits well  into that                                                               
plan.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:48:01 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. PARKER  had questions  regarding the  bill. He  inquired what                                                               
kind of  resources DEED will  need to  accomplish what is  in the                                                               
bill  regarding  virtual  education,  such  as  districts  having                                                               
enough broadband.  NEA would  like to  know which  districts have                                                               
enough  broadband  to  accomplish  the  goals  in  the  bill.  He                                                               
suggested   including   educators   in  the   conversation   when                                                               
developing content, as that would result in student learning.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
He wondered  if usage fees  will cover the costs  districts might                                                               
incur from expanding virtual education.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
He stressed  the importance of  high standards as they  relate to                                                               
the Praxis  test. He  said the  bill suggests  tying the  test to                                                               
other  states standards;  however, standards  that are  right for                                                               
Alaska should  be considered. The  Praxis is a legitimate  way of                                                               
demonstrating content knowledge.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:50:41 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  PARKER  said  NEA  struggles  with  the  idea  of  insurance                                                               
pooling, as  mentioned in Sections 7  and 8, because in  the past                                                               
it  has not  resulted in  savings. They  do not  want to  see the                                                               
quality of  health care diminish.  There is a problem  in Section                                                               
8; the  issue of  outsourcing education  services to  the private                                                               
sector. He  said student health and  safety would be at  risk. He                                                               
maintained that  people who work  in schools should  be employees                                                               
of the district.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
He  said  he  shares  concerns   of  unintended  consequences  in                                                               
Sections 10 and 11.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:52:20 AM                                                                                                                    
He concluded that NEA's number one concern is student learning.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:52:28 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH referred  to Section  8, which  he worked  on. He                                                               
asked   for  clarification   of   Mr.   Parker's  concern   about                                                               
outsourcing of education on page 4, lines 23-29.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  PARKER  explained  that  it  is  the  mention  of  the  word                                                               
"businesses" to be  outsourced. He said currently  that is funded                                                               
at $100,000 and the bill would  raise it to $200,000 to outsource                                                               
economical, administration or  educational services. The turnover                                                               
issue is a concern, as is the quality of the employee.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
He pointed out that the first person  to see a student is the bus                                                               
driver. Next  is a custodian  or food service person.  Finally, a                                                               
teacher sees  the student. All  employees should be  employees of                                                               
the district and have high standards.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:54:49 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES thanked Mr. Parker.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:55:00 AM                                                                                                                    
JEREMY  HOLAN,  Business  Representative,  Teamsters  Local  959,                                                               
Teamster  Director,   Student  Transportation,   testified  about                                                               
concerns in  SB 96. He began  with Section 6(b)(2) and  said only                                                               
requiring one state  bus inspection a year  is inadequate because                                                               
it  will increase  the risk  to  students, bus  drivers, and  the                                                               
public, and  will potentially increase  the amount of  late buses                                                               
due  to break  downs. Two  inspections a  year are  currently the                                                               
only checks  on maintenance  to ensure safety.  He referred  to a                                                               
chart  provided  by  Department   of  Transportation  and  Public                                                               
Facilities  (DOTPF) that  shows the  percentage of  buses passing                                                               
inspections from the year 2004 to present.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:57:47 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. HOLAN  turned to his  second concern  Section 23 on  page 14.                                                               
Removing the  two times the  minimum wage for school  bus drivers                                                               
could increase  the driver shortage  in Alaska. He  provided data                                                               
on the  bus driver wage as  it relates to the  number of drivers.                                                               
He shared  information on the  reasons for driver  shortages; low                                                               
wages, long hours, split shifts,  and lack of opportunity to hold                                                               
a second job.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
He said drivers  can carry up to 84 very  precious cargo and must                                                               
pass a  background check,  pass a  CDL permit,  a road  test, and                                                               
work a very  flexible schedule. There are many  stresses place on                                                               
bus drivers.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:00:06 AM                                                                                                                    
He  summarized  his concerns  about  only  one state  school  bus                                                               
inspection a year.  He requested that they not  remove the double                                                               
minimum wage  for drivers and  that they  spend more time  on the                                                               
bill before moving it forward.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:00:39 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES thanked Mr. Holan.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:00:54 AM                                                                                                                    
NORM  WOOTEN, Executive  Director, Association  of Alaska  School                                                               
Boards, testified in opposition to  SB 96. He noted districts did                                                               
a  good job  of  addressing elements  of SB  96  at the  previous                                                               
meeting. He began with Section 4:                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Section 4 - This session  expands the content areas that students                                                             
may  challenge  out of  physical  education,  art and  music.  We                                                               
support  this as  seat time  is never  an appropriate  gauge, but                                                               
rather  mastery of  content. I  might  suggest that  you add  CTE                                                               
courses as  well to the  list of  content areas to  give students                                                               
more options.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:02:55 AM                                                                                                                    
Section 5  - I  suspect you are  looking for  accountability from                                                             
school  districts. However,  this  seems  redundant as  districts                                                               
already report this  data in other places.  Additionally, this is                                                               
yet one more  requirement for one more report.  Although it might                                                               
seem to be  a small requirement districts  are already struggling                                                               
to comply with state and federal reporting requirements.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:03:29 AM                                                                                                                    
Section 6 -  We appreciate the easing of requirements  in any way                                                             
possible   and  one   school  bus   inspection  per   year  seems                                                               
reasonable.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:03:47 AM                                                                                                                    
Section 7 - We support the  idea of districts being free to share                                                             
space  in  school  facilities.   However,  it  should  always  be                                                               
voluntary  and allow  districts to  make the  choice for  what is                                                               
appropriate  in their  community. Sharing  space with  businesses                                                               
might take a  little more thought but  as long as it  was a local                                                               
decision it could be good option.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:04:21 AM                                                                                                                    
Section  8 -  The opportunity  to obtain  a one-time  grant would                                                             
allow  districts   to  make  necessary  modifications   in  their                                                               
facilities to create separations necessary for student safety.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:05:08 AM                                                                                                                    
Section  9  - Among  the  items  in  this  section it  refers  to                                                             
districts join the  state of Alaska health plans.  The number one                                                               
cost  driver  in districts  is  health  insurance. Anything  that                                                               
would contain  or lower these  costs would  be would be  of help.                                                               
There is  are many  questions to  be answered  on how  this could                                                               
occur  with those  health benefits  currently being  contained in                                                               
collective  bargaining agreements.  The  first  step is  changing                                                               
statute  to allow  it to  happen. All  the ensuing  details would                                                               
then need to be ironed out.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:06:19 AM                                                                                                                    
Section 10  - This section  is the  most troubling in  this bill.                                                             
This  in effect  opens  up  the foundation  formula  by adding  a                                                               
building  capacity element  to the  formula. Student  populations                                                               
fluctuate from year  to year. This provision  will be devastating                                                               
to many  districts in Alaska.  Changes to the  foundation formula                                                               
deserve to be carefully considered  and vetted for any unintended                                                               
consequences.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:07:43 AM                                                                                                                    
Section 15 & Section 23 -  the provisions concerning the PTPC are                                                             
in alignment  with the Legislative  Audit recommendations  and we                                                               
are in support of those.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:08:08 AM                                                                                                                    
Article 15 -  AASB supports the use of and  expansion of distance                                                             
delivery  of course  material. Many  districts  are providing  or                                                               
purchasing these  services for delivery  in both inter  and intra                                                               
district.  Costs  for courses  should  always  be driven  by  the                                                               
market.  Membership   in  the  consortium  should   be  voluntary                                                               
allowing districts  to determine the benefit  for their students.                                                               
This is not  the solution to virtual education but  it is a first                                                               
step. We need  to continue to pursue greater  access to broadband                                                               
for all districts.  He referred to Dr. Bob Wicker's  work in this                                                               
area.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:10:19 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH  referred to  the suggestion  by NEA  to eliminate                                                               
the word "business" in Section 8.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. WOOTEN said  they have no opposition to  the word "business."                                                               
He had not considered that outsourcing would be a problem.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BEGICH  said  he  had   not  considered  it  either.  He                                                               
requested an opinion from Mr. Wooten at a later date.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:11:30 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  LISA SKILES  PARADY, Executive  Director, Alaska  Council of                                                               
School  Administrators (ACSA),  testified on  SB 96.  She praised                                                               
school  districts for  their testimony  on the  bill at  the last                                                               
meeting.  She  voiced appreciation  for  the  important work  the                                                               
committee has  done on the  bill, which includes  useful concepts                                                               
in  Sections 2,  3, 4,  6, and  12. She  suggested expanding  the                                                               
provision to allow  credits from outside of school  hours to also                                                               
include career and technical education.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
She said  ACSA supports  Section 7, the  idea of  schools sharing                                                               
facilities,   however,   it   should  not   be   required,   only                                                               
recommended.  They also  support the  cooperative grant  programs                                                               
and  the  adjustment  to   the  Professional  Teaching  Practices                                                               
Commission (PTPC).                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:14:57 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  PARADY  addressed  Section  9 and  noted  their  support  to                                                               
address  rising  health care  costs  which  are significant  cost                                                               
drivers. However,  with over 15 bargaining  agreements, this will                                                               
be problematic, and  a timeframe will need to  be considered. She                                                               
agreed that the  first step is to change the  statute and then to                                                               
provide time to allow details  to be addressed. Measures to lower                                                               
costs to districts need to  be considered and she appreciated the                                                               
committee's efforts.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
She suggested working on SB 96  through the interim with DEED and                                                               
the State Board of Education.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:16:38 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. PARADY  turned to sections  of concern. She said  ACSA agrees                                                               
with AASB  that Section 5 adds  a requirement back to  the annual                                                               
report  school  districts  have  to make  to  the  department  to                                                               
include categories  of administrative employees and  the ratio of                                                               
each category to the number of  students in the district. This is                                                               
a   return  to   a  recently   repealed  bureaucratic   reporting                                                               
requirement. The  information is  already reported  and available                                                               
on DEED's website.  It is an unfunded mandate  without basis. She                                                               
pointed  out that  administration cost  is a  legitimate cost  of                                                               
operating a large system.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:17:39 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. PARADY  addressed the fiscal  notes on pages  11-13 regarding                                                               
the delay, but  full impact of the bill. Overall,  cuts to school                                                               
districts are about  $21 million in FY18, $36.8  million in FY19,                                                               
and $52.7 million  by FY20. This is a sustained  loss of over $68                                                               
million to  school districts  in FY21 and  every year  after. The                                                               
losses appear to occur in only  20 of the 54 districts; there are                                                               
clear  winners  and  losers. For  example,  Anchorage  will  lose                                                               
roughly  $1.7  million  in  FY18, $6.6  million  in  FY19,  $11.6                                                               
million in FY20,  and $16.5 in FY21. Sitka will  lose $220,000 in                                                               
FY18, $990,000  in FY19, $1.7  million in FY20, and  $2.5 million                                                               
in FY21.  These cuts would  come about  if the district  does not                                                               
consolidate  schools  operating  below 80  percent  capacity  and                                                               
located within 25 miles by road to another school.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:19:16 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. PARADY said  she has asked the department about  how they are                                                               
looking at the 25 mile provision,  but has not received a list of                                                               
what  that would  look like.  She cautioned  that there  are many                                                               
missing details  in the bill. It  is a substantial change  to the                                                               
well-established  school finance  methodology and  does not  have                                                               
input  from  stakeholders.  The   provision  will  have  profound                                                               
impacts to school districts.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:20:05 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. PARADY stated  that Section 11 intends to  drive districts to                                                               
use  schools to  greater capacity,  a worthy  goal, but  it falls                                                               
short. She  used the North  Slope Borough District as  an example                                                               
of a  district where some  schools use modules  interconnected by                                                               
hallways and  the square  footage for  occupancy is  distorted by                                                               
the hallways.  The reduction  in funding would  begin on  July 1,                                                               
2017, which does  not provide enough time for  schools to address                                                               
school closures. The  "one size fits all" approach  does not work                                                               
for Alaska schools.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
She had questions about the  proposed occupancy rate in the bill.                                                               
She listed  examples of  questions she had  about space  and use.                                                               
She maintained that decisions about  space are best left to local                                                               
boards  and administrators.  She suggested  taking more  time and                                                               
working together on this issue.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:22:16 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  PARADY  turned  to  Section   12  -  the  virtual  education                                                               
consortium.  She thanked  the  committee  for promoting  distance                                                               
education.  She appreciated  that  experts were  invited to  talk                                                               
about  this issue.  There are  many things  happening already  in                                                               
Alaska with virtual education. She  agreed that virtual education                                                               
needs  to be  expanded  and supported.  However,  the bill  would                                                               
require districts to pay to  join the consortium and potentially,                                                               
make changes  to classroom schedules and  district calendars, and                                                               
provide professional development for  all teachers. She suggested                                                               
that the  committee take more  time to  work out the  details and                                                               
work together  with the Alaska Education  Challenge on increasing                                                               
broadband and expanding virtual education.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:24:01 AM                                                                                                                    
She concluded  by thanking the  committee for its work.  She said                                                               
she will provide additional written testimony.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES thanked Dr. Parady.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:24:29 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH  asked if  there is a  concern about  removing the                                                               
word "business" in Section 8.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DR. PARADY  wanted to send  a written response to  that question,                                                               
but did not think it would be a problem.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:25:32 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  thanked everyone for  their testimony, and  held SB
96 in committee.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:25:56 AM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair Hughes  adjourned the  Senate Education  Standing Committee                                                               
at 9:25 a.m.                                                                                                                    

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