Legislature(2019 - 2020)DAVIS 106

04/22/2020 01:00 PM EDUCATION

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Audio Topic
01:00:20 PM Start
01:03:02 PM Presentation: Virtual Learning Contract
02:49:02 PM Presentation: the Current Status of Local School Boards and Their Communities.
03:07:00 PM Presentation: Education Budget, Instruction & Staffing
03:53:48 PM Presentation: Ua Covid-19 Update: Impact & Response
04:18:07 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
- Joint with the House Education Committee -
+ Presentations & Discussions: TELECONFERENCED
- Virtual Learning Contract by the Department
of Education & Early Development
Current Status of Local School Boards and their
Communities by Norm Wooten, Association of Alaska
School Boards
- Education Budget, Instruction & Staffing by
the Department of Education & Early Development,
Association of Alaska School Boards & Alaska
Council of School Administrators
- UA COVID-19 Update: Impact & Response by
Jim Johnsen, President, University of Alaska
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
-- Teleconference Listen Only --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
                         JOINT MEETING                                                                                        
               HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
              SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         April 22, 2020                                                                                         
                           1:00 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Harriet Drummond, Co-Chair                                                                                      
 Representative Andi Story, Co-Chair                                                                                            
 Representative Grier Hopkins                                                                                                   
 Representative Chris Tuck                                                                                                      
 Representative DeLena Johnson                                                                                                  
 Representative Mike Prax (via teleconference)                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
 Senator Gary Stevens, Chair                                                                                                    
 Senator Shelley Hughes, Vice Chair                                                                                             
 Senator John Coghill                                                                                                           
 Senator Mia Costello                                                                                                           
 Senator Tom Begich                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Tiffany Zulkosky                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
 All members present                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative Dan Ortiz (via teleconference)                                                                                   
Representative Bryce Edgmon (via teleconference)                                                                                
Senator Cathy Giessel                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PRESENTATION:  VIRTUAL LEARNING CONTRACT                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PRESENTATION:  THE CURRENT STATUS OF LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS AND                                                                    
THEIR COMMUNITIES.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PRESENTATION:  EDUCATION BUDGET, INSTRUCTION & STAFFING                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PRESENTATION:  UA COVID-19 UPDATE: IMPACT & RESPONSE                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL JOHNSON, Commissioner                                                                                                   
Department of Education & Early Development                                                                                     
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Co-offered a PowerPoint presentation on the                                                              
Virtual Learning Contract.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
LACEY SANDERS, Director                                                                                                         
Division of Administrative Services                                                                                             
Department of Education & Early Development                                                                                     
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Co-offered a PowerPoint presentation on the                                                              
Virtual Learning Contract.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
NORM WOOTEN, Executive Director                                                                                                 
Association of Alaska School Boards                                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered a PowerPoint presentation on the                                                                 
Current Status of Local School Boards and Their Communities.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LISA S. PARADY, PhD, Executive Director                                                                                         
Alaska Council of School Administrators                                                                                         
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Co-offered a PowerPoint presentation on                                                                  
Education Budget, Instruction, and Staffing.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KAREN GABORIK, PhD, Superintendent                                                                                              
Fairbanks North Star Borough School District                                                                                    
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION   STATEMENT:       Testified   during   the   PowerPoint                                                             
presentation on Education Budget, Instruction, and Staffing.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DANIEL WALKER, Superintendent                                                                                                   
Lower Kuskokwim School District                                                                                                 
Bethel, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION   STATEMENT:       Testified   during   the   PowerPoint                                                             
presentation on Education Budget, Instruction, and Staffing.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEENA BISHOP, PhD, Superintendent                                                                                               
Anchorage School District                                                                                                       
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Co-offered  a  PowerPoint presentation  on                                                             
Education Budget, Instruction, and Staffing.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JIM JOHNSEN, PhD, President                                                                                                     
University of Alaska                                                                                                            
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Offered a  PowerPoint  presentation on  UA                                                             
COVID-19 Update: Impact and Response.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:00:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GARY STEVENS  called the  joint meeting  of the  House and                                                             
Senate  Education  Standing  Committees  to order  at  1:00  p.m.                                                               
Representatives Drummond,  Story, Hopkins, Johnson, and  Tuck and                                                               
Senators  Stevens, Begich,  Coghill,  Costello,  and Hughes  were                                                               
present  at  the  call  to   order.    Representative  Prax  (via                                                               
teleconference)  arrived   as  the   meeting  was   in  progress.                                                               
Representatives Ortiz  and Edgmon  and Senator Giessel  were also                                                               
present.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS thanked  Co-Chairs Drummond and Story  of the House                                                               
Education Standing Committee for agreeing  to a joint meeting, as                                                               
both  the House  and  Senate Education  Standing Committees  were                                                               
pursuing  the same  thing,  and  he said  that  he  thinks it  is                                                               
appropriate that they  all get together to ask  any questions and                                                               
learn what is  going on.  He  said that he has talked  with a lot                                                               
of  people  within  the  University of  Alaska  (UA)  system  and                                                               
Kindergarten  through   Twelfth  Grade  (K-12)  levels,   and  he                                                               
expressed pride  in what they are  doing in coming to  grips with                                                               
COVID-19  and figuring  out how  to  continue educating  Alaska's                                                               
children and adults.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
^PRESENTATION:  Virtual Learning Contract                                                                                       
            PRESENTATION:  Virtual Learning Contract                                                                        
                                                                                                                              
1:03:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS  announced that the  first order of  business would                                                               
be a PowerPoint presentation on [the Virtual Learning Contract].                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS  related that the  presentation was an  update from                                                               
the Department of Education &  Early Development (DEED) regarding                                                               
the issue of COVID-19.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:04:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL JOHNSON,  Commissioner, Department  of Education  & Early                                                               
Development, co-offered a PowerPoint  presentation on the Virtual                                                               
Learning Contract  [hardcopy included  in the  committee packet].                                                               
He  stated that  it had  been  just over  a month  since he  last                                                               
updated the  House Education Standing  Committee on March  20, on                                                               
the statewide effort to ensure  student learning continues during                                                               
the COVID-19 crisis.  He said that  in the month since then a lot                                                               
has happened,  and he is  grateful to provide both  committees in                                                               
the joint hearing with an update.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:05:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON,  referencing  slide 2  of  the  PowerPoint                                                               
presentation, stated  that he would  be focusing his  comments on                                                               
two  main  areas:    the  efforts  to  support  distant  delivery                                                               
education  through the  Alaska Statewide  Virtual School  (AKSVS)                                                               
and the  federal education funding  through the  Coronavirus Aid,                                                               
Relief, and  Economic Security  (CARES) Act.   He added  that the                                                               
Administrative Services Director, Lacey  Sanders, would help talk                                                               
about the federal education funding aspect of the presentation.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON, referencing  slide 3,  stated that  it had                                                               
been 38 calendar  days since Governor Mike  Dunleavy announced on                                                               
March 16,  the start of  non-student contact days,  for districts                                                               
to dedicate  in-service days to fully  organizing education plans                                                               
for remote delivered  schooling, should the need arise.   He said                                                               
that  schools  across Alaska  have  done  an outstanding  job  of                                                               
shifting   almost   overnight   from   traditional   school-based                                                               
instruction  to home-based  and delivered  learning environments.                                                               
He  remarked  that  for  many Alaska  teachers,  this  shift  has                                                               
involved  countless hours  of preparation  for  a very  different                                                               
kind of  teaching and learning  landscape, and he  commended them                                                               
for  taking this  leap quickly  and ensuring  ample opportunities                                                               
for learning  to continue during  these unprecedented times.   He                                                               
said that  he is  sure the  committee has  heard, and  would hear                                                               
more, about the amazing creativity  that has been taking place in                                                               
the system.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON stated  that on  April 9,  [2020], Governor                                                               
Dunleavy extended the statewide school  closure period from May 1                                                               
to the end of  "the 2019 school year."  He  said that despite the                                                               
need  to extend  school building  closures, student  learning was                                                               
continuing  for  each  school   district's  individual  plan,  to                                                               
provide distance-delivered educational services  to students.  He                                                               
said  that he  wanted  to  recognize that  this  was a  difficult                                                               
decision, and  it ends the  school year with  students physically                                                               
separated from their  teachers.  He stated  that incident command                                                               
is continually considering how this  would look going forward and                                                               
the possibility  of having small  groups, or  individual students                                                               
reconvene and meet with their  teachers before they head into the                                                               
summer months.   He said that the department  has asked districts                                                               
to submit a  summary report once this is all  over, no later than                                                               
45  days   after  the  declaration  of   public  health  disaster                                                               
emergency is  lifted.   He added that  the summary  reports would                                                               
provide everyone  with valuable documentation of  the educational                                                               
services  that  are  still  being  delivered  during  the  school                                                               
closure,  which  he  expressed  would  give  an  opportunity  for                                                               
celebration  because of  the  creativity and  hard  work that  is                                                               
happening.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:08:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON, referencing  slide 4,  stated that  DEED's                                                               
goal from  the beginning has  been to support  Alaska's families,                                                               
teachers,  and schools  by providing  as  many quality  distance-                                                               
delivered  resources as  quickly as  possible, to  ensure student                                                               
learning continues through  the crisis.  He said  that these low-                                                               
cost resources  are available at AKlearns.org,  a website created                                                               
in response  to COVID-19, which includes  "no-tech, low-tech, and                                                               
high-tech support."   He  stated that in  addition to  the online                                                               
clearinghouse,  DEED  has  also  partnered  with  Apple  Inc.  to                                                               
purchase  500 preloaded  iPads to  send  to as  many students  as                                                               
possible,  in the  primary grades  especially, who  may not  have                                                               
Internet  or  access to  a  teacher  in  their communities.    He                                                               
pointed  out that  some communities  no longer  have teachers  in                                                               
them  for various  reasons related  to  transportation and  other                                                               
issues associated  with the  current situation.   He  thanked the                                                               
Anchorage  School District,  which has  been supporting  the iPad                                                               
project, as  it will be processing  the iPads and putting  a note                                                               
in  the box  for students.   He  said that  DEED is  working with                                                               
superintendents on how the iPads  will be distributed.  He stated                                                               
that the  Alaska Superintendents Association (ASA)  has supported                                                               
the project  by collecting data from  superintendents on students                                                               
in  Kindergarten,  First,  and  Second Grades  who  do  not  have                                                               
connectivity in their communities and could use these resources.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:10:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STORY   asked  Commissioner  Johnson  whether   he  had                                                               
estimated how  many districts and  students do not have,  or have                                                               
very poor, access to the Internet.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  replied that  [the answer to]  the question                                                               
was slightly complicated.  He said  he saw a map recently showing                                                               
districts that would benefit from  the Broadband Assistance Grant                                                               
(BAG)  or "BAG  25," [the  25  referring to  megabits per  second                                                               
(Mbps)].     He  indicated  that   the  map  also   showed  which                                                               
communities with fewer  than 25 Mbps would benefit.   He said the                                                               
answer  to the  question  of who  has no  connectivity  is not  a                                                               
straight yes  or no, because  some communities  have connectivity                                                               
but not  necessarily in the homes.   He said that  some districts                                                               
have sent data showing which  students have connectivity in their                                                               
homes, but DEED has not required  districts to send in that data.                                                               
The work  is ongoing, and hopefully  this summer the data  can be                                                               
collected and  reported.  He  stated that DEED is  advocating for                                                               
any  future packages  that come  from the  federal government  to                                                               
include  money  to  expand connectivity  for  students  in  every                                                               
community in Alaska.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:12:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEVENS remarked  that his  understanding was  that though                                                               
many villages might not have  connectivity in the homes, students                                                               
could still connect at schools or outside of schools in cars.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  replied that this was  his understanding as                                                               
well.  He  said that he had  a call from one  provider about some                                                               
innovations  that may  be taking  place, in  which a  tower could                                                               
potentially be placed on a  school or facility to broadcast Wi-Fi                                                               
around a community.   He added that he was  not sure whether this                                                               
has happened in any communities  yet, but he knows some solutions                                                               
like that are being considered.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:13:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND,  referencing the  BAG 25 legislation  that was                                                               
passed, stated that she was  not certain whether the governor had                                                               
signed  the legislation  yet, but  said  that she  thinks it  was                                                               
passed  in time  to meet  the deadlines  for grant  applications.                                                               
She asked Commissioner Johnson whether  he was aware of districts                                                               
having made their grant applications for that service.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON answered  that  the governor  did sign  the                                                               
bill, and DEED  had sent the application  to every superintendent                                                               
just that  morning.  He said  that ASA has been  gracious to host                                                               
calls with  superintendents to remind them  that applications are                                                               
out there.   He added that DEED has been  working on updating the                                                               
regulations  to correlate  with  the new  statute that  increases                                                               
[the broadband  requirement for schools  from 10 Mbps to  25 Mbps                                                               
of download speed, with help in funding from BAG].                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND, referencing  students  using  Wi-Fi from  the                                                               
schools outside  of the building  or in cars, remarked  that this                                                               
could not  possibly be  an effective way  to work,  especially in                                                               
inclement weather.   She commented  that she has seen  photos and                                                               
videos of  students on decks  outside of schools, soaking  up the                                                               
bandwidth outside  of the  building, and  she expressed  that she                                                               
hopes districts  are looking at  better ways to  get connectivity                                                               
to students.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:15:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  remarked that his understanding  was that                                                               
the Florida Virtual Schools' contract  is available to parents on                                                               
an  individual level  where they  can sign  in, and  this is  not                                                               
being  run  through  school districts.    He  asked  Commissioner                                                               
Johnson whether this was correct.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON replied  that  in some  cases families  can                                                               
access it individually,  and in other cases  districts or schools                                                               
are using it.   He said that he would be  talking much more about                                                               
the Florida Virtual School in just a moment.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS asked  whether there was a  time frame for                                                               
when BAG 25 might be implemented.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON  answered that  the  bill  was signed,  the                                                               
applications were  distributed, and the  window closes on  May 1,                                                               
for the BAG grant applications to be submitted.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:16:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS noted that Representative  Ortiz and Speaker Edgmon                                                               
had joined the committee meeting online.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:16:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON  referenced  slide   5  of  the  PowerPoint                                                               
presentation,  which  shows  that  many,   if  not  all,  in  the                                                               
education  community  are  pulling  together  in  putting  online                                                               
resources together, especially for  education leaders.  He stated                                                               
that  DEED  has  drawn  collective   wisdom  and  resources  from                                                               
schools,  districts, and  states  from around  the  country.   He                                                               
related that  there are staff  who have been reviewing  dozens of                                                               
websites  and  resources  in  search of  solutions  that  may  be                                                               
helpful in  Alaska; this  is happening  in other  associations as                                                               
well.  He  said DEED is working with partners  to provide content                                                               
and  resources; the  Alaska Staff  Development  Network has  been                                                               
hosting   meetings;   and   the    Alaska   Council   of   School                                                               
Administrators  (ACSA),  the  National  Education  Association  -                                                               
Alaska (NEA-Alaska), and the Association  of Alaska School Boards                                                               
(AASB) have websites addressing COVID-19.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  stated that the leadership  website is full                                                               
of content  and attempts to  provide up-to-date information.   He                                                               
expressed  that  while  it  does not  know  what  restarting  and                                                               
reentering school in  the fall will look like,  DEED is committed                                                               
to gathering and providing as  many resources for leaders as they                                                               
focus on  ending the school year  and the decisions that  will be                                                               
need to be made next school year.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON,  referencing  slide  6,  stated  that  the                                                               
distant delivery  through AKSVS is  part of an effort  to provide                                                               
quality  options  online.    He  expressed  that  he  shares  the                                                               
convictions  of  the committee  members,  as  Co-Chair Story  had                                                               
stated,  that all  levels  of governance  in  Alaska that  affect                                                               
children should be worked on  closely together, and he apologized                                                               
that  his effort  to provide  instructional content  to students,                                                               
teachers, and  families through the partnership  with the Florida                                                               
Department of  Education communicated  anything other  than that.                                                               
He said  that providing as  many high-quality content  options as                                                               
quickly  as   possible  should  not   have  prevented   him  from                                                               
demonstrating the appropriate  preparation and communication, and                                                               
he  apologized for  putting the  committee in  the position  that                                                               
they were receiving  questions about this.  He  stated that since                                                               
the announcement of the virtual school,  he has been having a lot                                                               
of  online meetings  and phone  calls with  groups, associations,                                                               
and individuals to apologize  for unintentionally surprising them                                                               
and to answer questions and ensure  that people know there was no                                                               
deliberate  intent   not  to  collaborate  or   communicate  with                                                               
superintendents and  school boards.   He  said that  he considers                                                               
the announcement  of the  virtual courses  as another  option for                                                               
families, teachers,  and schools  to use as  needed at  the local                                                               
level.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:20:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON, referencing  slide  7,  stated that  there                                                               
were  several  elements  that  the committee  had  asked  him  to                                                               
address.  He said that DEED  entered into a standard contract for                                                               
goods and  professional services with the  Florida Virtual School                                                               
on March  25, 2020; this  was a  one-time contract not  to exceed                                                               
$525,000.    It  was   executed  following  standard  procurement                                                               
policies  and procedures,  but it  is a  government-to-government                                                               
contract  and  not  a  single  source.   He  explained  that  the                                                               
contract  was entered  under the  authority  of a  government-to-                                                               
government agreement, because it addresses public schools.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  stated that the contract  has three phases,                                                               
first  of which  is to  meet the  immediate need  of content  for                                                               
students, teachers, and families who  are unable to attend school                                                               
because  of the  pandemic.   He said  that the  next phase  is to                                                               
provide  training for  54 teachers,  theoretically  one for  each                                                               
district, online, and the goal  is to transition this summer from                                                               
instruction being provided by or  in cooperation with the Florida                                                               
Virtual  School to  instruction  given by  Alaska  teachers.   He                                                               
stated that  the transition includes  being able to use  over 190                                                               
courses and  content from the  platform with the  Florida Virtual                                                               
School  that  teachers in  Alaska  can  use, which  is  happening                                                               
already in the state in at  least one district.  He remarked that                                                               
Alaska  teachers can  customize and  modify this  content in  any                                                               
manner, as  needed.  He stated  that the goal of  the contract is                                                               
to ensure  student learning  continues through  this crisis.   He                                                               
emphasized DEED's commitment to  supporting teachers and families                                                               
with as many quality-content options as possible.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  stated that the Florida  Virtual School was                                                               
chosen  because  it  is  a  public  agency,  public  school,  and                                                               
government entity.   The  Florida Virtual  School is  a statewide                                                               
model funded  by the Florida  State Legislature, and it  has been                                                               
around  for  almost  20  years,  providing  course  training  and                                                               
expertise in  online blended programs  for districts  and states.                                                               
He explained  that when the  coronavirus hit, DEED wanted  to act                                                               
quickly  to provide  additional learning  opportunities, and  the                                                               
department  felt comfortable  working  with  the Florida  Virtual                                                               
School, as it had already been  looked at and used in Alaska, and                                                               
it is a  not-for-profit entity, is governed by a  board, and is a                                                               
public school.  He stated  that Florida Virtual School has helped                                                               
to  design  and implement  programs  in  other states,  including                                                               
Alabama, Hawaii,  Illinois, Montana,  New Hampshire,  and several                                                               
others.   Prior to the  launch, a  couple of districts  in Alaska                                                               
were using the Florida Virtual  School for content this year, and                                                               
the content can support public school teachers.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  stated that  the program is  funded through                                                               
existing  funds,  which  were  originally  allocated  to  support                                                               
state-level  efforts  for  education.   He  explained  that  DEED                                                               
receives several federal awards each  year, and each award has an                                                               
allowable amount that can be  used for state-level administrative                                                               
costs.   He  said that  the department  has seven  federal awards                                                               
that  contribute to  the  consolidated  administration, and  each                                                               
award crosses multiple fiscal years.   He stated that one portion                                                               
of  funding  that  was  expended   for  the  virtual  school  was                                                               
consolidated  administration,  and  the other  remaining  federal                                                               
funds  used to  support it  were discretionary  funds that  could                                                               
have  been used  for state-level  activities that  may have  been                                                               
diverted because of the contract,  such as in-person meetings and                                                               
other types of travel.  He  commented that enrolling in a subject                                                               
through the virtual school is free;  it does not include any cost                                                               
to a family or school  district.  Furthermore, enrolling will not                                                               
change a student's  enrollment status in his/her  local school or                                                               
state  funding received  by that  district,  which he  said is  a                                                               
significant  point he  should have  been  careful to  communicate                                                               
more clearly from the very beginning.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON  stated  that  he  has  received  questions                                                               
regarding  families wanting  to  enroll  in home-school  programs                                                               
that already  exist, but funding  for those programs  was decided                                                               
last fall.   He said that the virtual school  content can be used                                                               
for  free,  even by  home-school  programs  for existing  or  new                                                               
students, without any cost to the district allotment.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:26:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON  reiterated  that   the  timeline  for  the                                                               
virtual  program  was an  initial  response  to the  pandemic  to                                                               
provide immediate  resources for  families and  teachers.   As an                                                               
example,  he said  that there  could  be a  family with  multiple                                                               
students that  might want  an extra  science or  history activity                                                               
and could use these resources that  would also work with a public                                                               
school teacher.   He provided another example, in  that a teacher                                                               
teaching  multiple grades  and working  with district  leadership                                                               
could use this  content to provide multiple  subjects to multiple                                                               
grade levels  of students.  He  stated that looking ahead  to the                                                               
next year,  it is  unknown what  it will  look like;  everyone is                                                               
hoping that things will return  to normal, but the contract looks                                                               
forward by building the capacity  in state for Alaska teachers to                                                               
deliver virtual online content.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  stated that the  next topic on slide  7 was                                                               
communications, and  he reiterated  that there was  no deliberate                                                               
intent to  not collaborate  with superintendents,  school boards,                                                               
or educators.   He  said that  he has  been meeting  with various                                                               
educational   leadership   associations   each   week   and   has                                                               
continually  expressed the  commitment  to provide  as many  high                                                               
quality,  distance-delivered resources  as possible.   He  stated                                                               
that  DEED considered  the announcement  as  just another  option                                                               
that may  be needed  by families and  schools, and  nothing about                                                               
the virtual courses are mandatory.   He commented that he has had                                                               
some positive calls with other leaders around the state.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON  stated  that  as of  yesterday,  over  420                                                               
courses were  being used or  accessed by students  across several                                                               
districts  at varying  degrees and  levels.   He reiterated  that                                                               
there  is no  cost,  the program  is optional,  no  one needs  to                                                               
change enrollment,  and there is  no expectation that  a district                                                               
will use  the program, but  it is there  for those that  need it.                                                               
He said  that courses offered  are aligned with  Alaska's content                                                               
standards.    Florida  Virtual   School  follows  the  same  data                                                               
security  and privacy  protocols  required of  all other  schools                                                               
under  the Family  Educational Rights  and  Privacy Act  (FERPA),                                                               
because it  is a public school,  and, as mentioned in  phase two,                                                               
there  will be  a shift  to all  of the  content being  taught by                                                               
Alaska teachers.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:29:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEVENS  noted that  Representative  Prax  had joined  the                                                               
Committee online.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:29:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEGICH asked when the contract would expire.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  answered that it expires  in February 2021.                                                               
In response to  a follow up question, he stated  that it is fully                                                               
funded until that time.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEGICH  remarked that he  has seen the  positive comments                                                               
made by former  Commissioner Hanley in the  Anchorage Daily News,                                                             
about the usefulness of the program,  and he asked whether it was                                                               
Commissioner Johnson's intent to not have a second contract.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  answered that  it would  not be  a contract                                                               
like the  one that currently  exists.  He  said that he  does not                                                               
know what next year  is going to look like, and  he said that the                                                               
courses and the  platform might be something that  people want to                                                               
continue to access,  as some districts continue  to do currently.                                                               
He emphasized  that if the crisis  continues and there are  a lot                                                               
of people  who would  like to  have the  platform continue  to be                                                               
provided, so that  it would not be an expense  to districts, then                                                               
it could be continued in a  way similar to textbook purchases, in                                                               
which content is provided to  districts.  He reiterated that DEED                                                               
would not  be entering  into a  contract like  the one  from this                                                               
year.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEGICH  asked how  many people  currently were  using the                                                               
virtual school.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  answered that  there are 420  courses being                                                               
taken by over 140 students, as of a day or two ago.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:31:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  asked what  would happen to  districts or                                                               
students  utilizing these  programs  during  the second  semester                                                               
when [the programs] stop in February 2021.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON answered that  the contract ends in February                                                               
2021, but  the content and the  platform can be used  through May                                                               
2021, which essentially will be the end of the school year.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS  asked  whether this  platform  would  be                                                               
taught  all  next school  year,  first  and second  semester,  by                                                               
Alaska teachers who are trained this summer.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON answered yes, that is the intent.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  asked who would be  paying these teachers                                                               
during the summer  for them to take  the professional development                                                               
courses through the state and through these programs.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON replied  that  DEED  has had  conversations                                                               
with   the  Alaska   Education  Association,   which  will   have                                                               
conversations with districts.  He said  it may be at a district's                                                               
discretion  and, depending  on some  of the  COVID-19 money  that                                                               
DEED  gets, it  may be  able  to pay  a stipend  for teachers  to                                                               
participate  in  the  training.    He stated  that  some  of  the                                                               
training could start as soon as  May of this year if teachers are                                                               
ready.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS   asked  how   the  courses   were  being                                                               
acclimated and included  into options for students  now, in terms                                                               
of  Alaska's  standards  and  grades for  districts.    He  asked                                                               
whether this  was simply an  enrichment program that  was costing                                                               
$500,000  for  140  students  "in places  where  they  only  have                                                               
accessible Internet access and devices."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON answered  that  that is  not  how he  would                                                               
characterize  it.   He  said that  for some  students  it may  be                                                               
enrichment, which  is part  of a  well-rounded program;  for some                                                               
students it may  be something that is needed  for graduation; and                                                               
for other students it may be  something that is used to round out                                                               
their  program  as  they  are provided  other  instruction.    He                                                               
remarked that  districts are  adopting a  variety of  grading and                                                               
credit  strategies around  the  state and  will  be making  those                                                               
determinations.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS asked what this  would mean for a district                                                               
that is not  including this in its grading policy  for this year,                                                               
or for  graduation, and he asked  how this would help  a student,                                                               
outside   of   critical   enrichment,  in   his/her   educational                                                               
progression  and  ability to  graduate  this  year or  use  those                                                               
credits on his/her  transcripts.  He asked whether  this would be                                                               
"district-by-district."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  replied that no  one is required to  take a                                                               
course, and if a family elects  to take a course, then an attempt                                                               
at building  communication with that  district is made to  let it                                                               
know that  a family has expressed  interest.  He said  that these                                                               
districts will  work with a  family to determine whether  and how                                                               
to grant  credit.  He  expressed that the challenge  currently is                                                               
that  students were  suddenly turned  out, and  each district  is                                                               
making  decisions to  try and  provide options  and opportunities                                                               
for them, and some districts  are choosing different methods.  He                                                               
said  that he  thinks  Representative  Hopkins' ending  statement                                                               
that it is up to the districts is accurate.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS stated that  he understands very well that                                                               
Commissioner  Johnson was  apologizing  for the  miscommunication                                                               
with the  districts and said  that he  understands how it  can be                                                               
difficult  with  how   fast  things  are  moving   in  the  world                                                               
currently.  He commented that  this was something that could have                                                               
been helped by getting out ahead and working with the districts.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:36:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STORY   remarked  that  she   appreciates  Commissioner                                                               
Johnson  recognizing  the  error  of  not  reaching  out  to  the                                                               
stakeholders in  making a  contract.  She  stated that  there was                                                               
information in the committee packet  from a stakeholder about the                                                               
concerns regarding  the Florida Virtual School,  noting that some                                                               
of  its success  rates  do not  include  certain demographics  in                                                               
comparison.    She  said  that  she  thinks  one  of  the  things                                                               
stakeholders can do when they  know something is being pursued is                                                               
to find  and share information.   She  said that she  thinks that                                                               
everyone wants  to work  together well and  noted that  there are                                                               
several correspondent  schools doing  distance learning,  and the                                                               
amount of the  contract, $500,000, she said  she thinks districts                                                               
could use to  improve their offerings in distance  learning.  She                                                               
remarked  that she  did not  know when  planning started  for the                                                               
contract,  but  she  expressed  concern.    She  asked  what  the                                                               
limitations were that  were seen in Alaska schools  being able to                                                               
offer the content,  and she asked how things  would move forward,                                                               
based on that information.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:38:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON replied  that  he  appreciates the  council                                                               
that included  the information, and  he said, "Point taken."   He                                                               
said that this  was not to address any deficiency  in Alaska.  He                                                               
said his  team was  having daily  meetings with  educators around                                                               
the  state   and  hearing  about   how  overwhelming  it   is  to                                                               
immediately switch to  all the students not being in  school.  He                                                               
noted  that these  are extraordinary  times, and  he said  he was                                                               
"trying  to  spread a  table  with  as  many options  for  school                                                               
districts, for teachers,  for families to be able  to choose from                                                               
to meet  the needs of students,  and their teachers, in  a really                                                               
extraordinary time."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON reiterated  that it was not  at all designed                                                               
to address a  deficiency.  He said he thinks  the teachers in the                                                               
state  are working  hard, and  some have  been able  to make  the                                                               
transition very  easily based on training,  content, or resources                                                               
their  districts had,  while other  teachers have  had more  of a                                                               
challenge  based on  experience, how  many years  they have  been                                                               
teaching,  or what  else has  happened  in their  districts.   He                                                               
commented that  this was just  one of  many options being  put on                                                               
the  table, including  the iPads  and other  content online.   He                                                               
said that  some families are  choosing other options  online that                                                               
are either for  profit, nonprofit, or private.   He apologized if                                                               
it was communicated  in any way that this was  a deficiency being                                                               
addressed, and  he said  that moving forward  he was  having many                                                               
conversations  with  people,  and  many  teachers  had  expressed                                                               
interest  in receiving  training.   He said  that DEED  was being                                                               
careful to reach  out and work with education  partners to ensure                                                               
that it  is truly fulfilling  the intent  to build a  capacity in                                                               
the state to  respond to statewide or regional  closures that may                                                               
happen in the future.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY  remarked that Commissioner Johnson  had said that                                                               
phase  two  of this  project  was  ideally  to have  one  teacher                                                               
trained from  each of  the 54  school districts.   She  asked for                                                               
further explanation on the topic.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON   answered  that  theoretically,   with  54                                                               
districts, it  would be  great to  have at  least one  teacher in                                                               
each district  trained, but it  is known that some  districts may                                                               
not have the  capacity or may have a lot  of turnover; therefore,                                                               
it may not work  out to have one teacher for  every district.  He                                                               
indicated  that those  teachers  using [AKSVS]  are busy  dealing                                                               
with the  transition that has  happened.  He expressed  that next                                                               
school  year everyone  is  hoping that  they get  to  go back  to                                                               
school,  but if  there is  still  a statewide  closure, then  the                                                               
added capacity, platform, and over  190 courses could be used and                                                               
adapted  as  a  way to  respond.    He  said  there is  also  the                                                               
possibility that there could be  individual community or regional                                                               
closures.   He said conversations  have been held  with education                                                               
leaders  regarding  the  possibility  of time  being  spent  this                                                               
summer  to form  a  response team  that could  go  in to  support                                                               
individual communities or  regions that may have  closures due to                                                               
COVID-19.  He indicated this  team could be comprised of teachers                                                               
from  around the  state, who  could help  teachers who  have gone                                                               
through  the   training  make  the  necessary   transition.    He                                                               
reiterated  that he  hopes this  does not  happen and  he is  not                                                               
predicting it,  but he wants  to be responsible and  prepared for                                                               
what might happen.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:43:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY asked  whether any other of the  54 districts have                                                               
stepped forward  to have  the training  from the  virtual school,                                                               
whether there were  any other department funds  available to help                                                               
develop  AKSVS  programs,  and  how  DEED  was  getting  feedback                                                               
currently  from educators,  administrators,  and  parents on  how                                                               
this is working.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  answered that in  terms of feedback,  as he                                                               
had  said  before,  he has  been  soliciting  in-person  feedback                                                               
through meetings, conversations, and e-mails  on the website.  He                                                               
said that there has been some  positive feedback, as well as some                                                               
concern  about the  contract and  this option  for students.   He                                                               
stated that the department has  received federal money, including                                                               
administrative money,  and that will  be an ongoing reality.   He                                                               
stated  that  DEED has  not  allocated  or planned  any  specific                                                               
expenditures out  of that  money coming forward,  but he  has had                                                               
conversations  on  whether  some  should   be  set  aside  as  an                                                               
emergency  response  fund,  in  case  of  regional  or  community                                                               
issues.   He  said that  DEED had  not yet  sent out  an official                                                               
solicitation for  training.  He remarked  that conversations have                                                               
taken place on how to possibly  do this well, and some individual                                                               
teachers have e-mailed and inquired about it as well.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY  asked Commissioner Johnson  how he has  seen this                                                               
impacting the resources for the  other 31 correspondence programs                                                               
and how the impacts to them would be tracked.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON replied  that he was not  sure he completely                                                               
understood the question.  Nevertheless,  he related that there is                                                               
a  superintendent,  who  has  received  numerous  inquiries  from                                                               
families wanting to  enroll students in a  homeschool program, to                                                               
get support  during this transition,  but "those  districts don't                                                               
have the  money to provide that  allotment."  He said,  "They can                                                               
use this content and provide that  if they need to, with no cost.                                                               
So, this does not take  anybody's enrollment; it doesn't take any                                                               
student  away from  a correspondence  program;  it provides  free                                                               
content  that  a  correspondence   program  can  use  with  their                                                               
students if they so choose."                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:47:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGHES remarked that she  noticed the contract was signed                                                               
a  week or  so  after  the schools  announced  closures, and  she                                                               
commended  all the  districts, because  she said  she knows  they                                                               
were scrambling  trying to  figure out  how to  meet needs.   She                                                               
said that  in the first couple  of weeks, she heard  from several                                                               
families   in   different    districts,   friends,   and   people                                                               
communicating  how things  were  going.   She  remarked that  she                                                               
understands  that most  of the  districts probably  want to  make                                                               
sure  that their  high schoolers  stay on  track for  graduation.                                                               
She stated  that she heard  from families around the  states that                                                               
things were running smoothly for  the high schoolers, but for the                                                               
other grades it was a little bit "hit or miss" initially.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGHES  stated that  when she  heard about  the contract,                                                               
she initially thought  it was a good thing, but  was surprised to                                                               
hear the  education community  pushing back.   She said  that she                                                               
understands some of  this was from the lack  of communication, to                                                               
which the  commissioner had humbly  admitted, and which  she said                                                               
she appreciates.   She said  that she recommended  families check                                                               
out  the Khan  Academy Kids  application, which  has reading  and                                                               
math programs  that her granddaughter  was using as  a supplement                                                               
to what the Anchorage School District was providing.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGHES  mentioned SB 79,  which she sponsored.   She said                                                               
she  and Representative  Drummond had  held approximately  half a                                                               
dozen joint  meetings exploring the  possibility of setting  up a                                                               
virtual   education  statewide   platform   that  would   connect                                                               
districts.     She  indicated  that   although  there   had  been                                                               
bipartisan and  bicameral support for that  proposed legislation,                                                               
it was  blocked.  She  said that  educators were not  "jumping up                                                               
and down" to help.   She suggested that she would  put out a call                                                               
to the  education community, and she  indicated that Commissioner                                                               
[Johnson]  had worked  with  her  on SB  79.    She mentioned  an                                                               
occasion when children  were unable to be in  their classrooms as                                                               
a  result of  an earthquake,  and she  offered her  understanding                                                               
that   the  Anchorage   School   District   was  discussing   the                                                               
possibility of  having days  every school  year in  which classes                                                               
would  go  virtual  so  that   students  and  teachers  would  be                                                               
accustomed to it, so that if  there were a need they could switch                                                               
to that mode.  She  asked Commissioner Johnson whether he thought                                                               
the  state  should  consider  such  a plan  for  the  purpose  of                                                               
readiness.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  HUGHES also  asked Commissioner  Johnson  how well  this                                                               
program was  being communicated  to families,  as there  are only                                                               
140 students currently  using it.  She remarked that  it has been                                                               
left to  the districts  to offer  it to  families, and  she asked                                                               
whether  there was  any  way  to get  out  the  word, other  than                                                               
putting it  on the website  for families to  see.  She  said that                                                               
even though  the families  might be  using resources  through the                                                               
classroom teachers for  their students, a lot of  the parents are                                                               
working from home, and if  there were additional options for more                                                               
hours of work for students, then the parents might use it.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:53:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON,  regarding whether  this is  something that                                                               
Alaska  should move  forward  in  the future,  said  he is  still                                                               
reflecting  and  learning on  the  first  rollout before  he  has                                                               
conversations about what may come next.   He expressed that he is                                                               
certainly apologetic for  not doing a better job  of showing this                                                               
as an  option for families.   He stated that virtual  courses are                                                               
an option  and opportunity used,  probably, in most  districts in                                                               
the state.  He said that he  is going to spend more time figuring                                                               
out how  he could have rolled  this out better and  would then be                                                               
happy  to have  conversations with  the legislature  on the  next                                                               
step.   He  remarked that  in terms  of communication,  it is  on                                                               
DEED's website  and remains there  still, but after  the reaction                                                               
to  it, DEED  has decided  to let  other sources  do some  of the                                                               
communication.     He  said  that  unfortunately,   the  lack  of                                                               
communication at the beginning and  the negative things that came                                                               
out probably scared some people away,  but he said that he thinks                                                               
districts and  others are starting  to see it  as an option.   He                                                               
said that  there are other parts  of the contract, and  there are                                                               
140  students  and "400  and  something"  courses being  utilized                                                               
currently, but those numbers are expected to grow.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:55:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COSTELLO  said that she  has children in high  school and                                                               
middle school.   She asked how, as a parent,  when her children's                                                               
teachers design  lesson plans for  core courses, is  she supposed                                                               
to know  whether they are from  the Florida Virtual School.   She                                                               
asked whether she  was hearing correctly that  this was something                                                               
for individual families that want  to leave the public school and                                                               
go through  the virtual school.   She expressed that she  did not                                                               
quite understand the mechanics of the virtual school.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON answered  that this  would in  no way  take                                                               
students away from  their local schools; they  would not unenroll                                                               
and then  enroll in a  virtual school.   He loosely  compared the                                                               
virtual school to  Khan Academy and said that  there are students                                                               
in  classrooms where  teachers use  Khan Academy  as part  of the                                                               
content.    He expressed  that  he  thinks  a parent  would  know                                                               
whether  a teacher  was using  a virtual  school as  part of  the                                                               
curriculum, and he  said that the Anchorage  School District used                                                               
content  from  the  Florida  Virtual   School  even  before  this                                                               
happened.  He said  that DEED put this out for  people to use, as                                                               
it works  in a local  setting, so families  could access it.   He                                                               
said that  there is  a brief  survey on the  website that  asks a                                                               
series of  questions to  determine what  district the  people are                                                               
in, whether they  intend to use it for enrichment,  whether it is                                                               
a teacher  using it  with students,  and other  things.   He said                                                               
that  DEED  will  continue  to improve  efforts  to  explain  the                                                               
mechanics so that people understand  how the virtual school works                                                               
and  know  that it  is  not  taking  enrollment away  from  local                                                               
schools.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:59:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS remarked  that Bob Boyle's recommendation,                                                               
which  DEED  had said  it  was  using  for contracting  with  the                                                               
virtual schools,  had estimated  that $500,000 would  provide 450                                                               
semester  hours  to students.    He  asked whether  the  $525,000                                                               
would be limited in the  same way, where available semester hours                                                               
for students would run out.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON answered  that this contract is  not part of                                                               
the work Bob Boyle did with DEED.   He stated that because he was                                                               
recently retired  from a district  that had a virtual  school, he                                                               
did some research for DEED on  virtual schools, as it was a topic                                                               
that had  recently come up  at the legislature.   He said  he had                                                               
wanted  some  background  and  information,  and  Bob  Boyle  had                                                               
provided it.   He  remarked that  he did not  have the  report in                                                               
front of  him that Bob Boyle  had provided with the  exact number                                                               
of hours.   He stated that when the transition  is made to Alaska                                                               
teachers teaching  the content next  school year, there  are over                                                               
190 courses available, in which up  to 300 students can enroll at                                                               
a full-time equivalent.  He said  that he is not certain how that                                                               
correlates to  the number Representative  Hopkins gave,  but this                                                               
is what the contract look likes currently.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  asked whether  the 190  different courses                                                               
available were  incorporated into  Alaska standards and  would be                                                               
applicable   for  statewide   recognition  towards   a  student's                                                               
graduation.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON replied  that this is up  to local districts                                                               
to decide  whether they  will use  the content,  in the  same way                                                               
that they choose  to use textbooks or other  curriculums to count                                                               
as part of their programs.   He said that these courses taught by                                                               
Alaska  teachers are  fully adaptable  in whatever  way classroom                                                               
teachers want  to adapt them  to meet state, local,  and cultural                                                               
standards.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS posed a hypothetical  situation in which a                                                               
student  enrolls  in a  course  on  his/her  own, not  through  a                                                               
district,  then  drops  a  class and  is  charged  an  exorbitant                                                               
cancelation fee.   He asked  whether, based  on the way  that the                                                               
Florida  Virtual  School  program is  currently  structured,  the                                                               
cancelation fee  would be covered  by DEED or by  [the student's]                                                               
district, or whether the family would have to cover the fee.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   JOHNSON  answered   that  the   immediate  courses                                                               
provided in response to COVID-19 are  provided at no cost for the                                                               
course, the proctoring of an exam, or dropping a course.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:02:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  commented  that  earlier  in  response  to  a                                                               
question   from   Representative  Story,   Commissioner   Johnson                                                               
mentioned that  capacity was  being added  for dozens  of courses                                                               
that can  be accessed or adapted.   She asked how  that works and                                                               
when it would  occur.  She asked whether the  420 or more courses                                                               
being  accessed   were  representative   of  420   students,  420                                                               
classrooms of a certain number  of students each, or 120 students                                                               
accessing 3 or 4 classes each.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:03:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON, referencing  the adaptation element, stated                                                               
that Alaska teachers  take the Florida Virtual  School content or                                                               
other textbooks,  then implement the  curriculum and adapt  it as                                                               
needed  for their  classes or  students.   He said  that the  420                                                               
courses  are being  accessed by  over 140  students.   He related                                                               
that this is  just the immediate response  to end-of-year content                                                               
as part of  the sudden closure of schools; it  is not necessarily                                                               
what enrollment  numbers will  look like  next fall  when courses                                                               
are delivered by Alaska teachers.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND remarked that she  was looking at several pages                                                               
of quotations in  the contract and noticed a  column for quantity                                                               
and  the  sales  price  with  a  discount.    She  asked  for  an                                                               
explanation regarding quantity.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:05:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON answered that  the quantity was the estimate                                                               
given as to the number of  courses DEED thought might be accessed                                                               
by students.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND   asked  whether,  if  20   students  accessed                                                               
"Algebra I Global  School Sem 2" instead of 50,  there would be a                                                               
reduction  in the  sales price,  and how  it would  work if  more                                                               
students access than estimated.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON  answered  that  adjustments  are  made  as                                                               
things move forward based on actual course requests and needs.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:06:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEVENS stated  that  he  would like  to  move  on to  the                                                               
funding  aspect of  the  department's presentation,  particularly                                                               
the CARES  Act and  how those  funds are  affecting DEED  and the                                                               
districts.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:07:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON commented  that he  would like  to make  an                                                               
initial  comment and  then  turn it  over to  Lacy  Sanders.   He                                                               
thanked his staff, who spent a  lot of time "unpacking" the CARES                                                               
Act as it  was a bill that  was passed very quickly  on March 27.                                                               
He  said  that  the  Act includes  $30.75  billion  in  emergency                                                               
education funding for states.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:07:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LACEY  SANDERS, Director,  Division  of Administrative  Services,                                                               
Department  of Education  & Early  Development, continued  DEED's                                                               
PowerPoint presentation  on the  Virtual Learning Contract  as it                                                               
relates  to the  issue of  COVID-19.   Referencing  slide 9,  she                                                               
stated  that  she  would walk  through  the  emergency  education                                                               
funding that  was allocated  through the CARES  Act and  is often                                                               
referred to  as the Education  Stabilization Fund.  She  said the                                                               
fund is  divided into  three pots,  the first  of which  could be                                                               
referred  to  as  the  Governor's Emergency  Relief  Fund.    She                                                               
explained that  the Governor's Emergency Education  Relief (GEER)                                                               
funds are  administered by the governor,  and Alaska's allocation                                                               
was  set  at  $6.5  million.   She  said  that  these  funds  are                                                               
available  for obligations  through September  30, 2020,  and the                                                               
governor must award  the funds within one year of  receipt or the                                                               
funds  are  reverted to  the  U.S.  Department of  Education  for                                                               
reallocation to  other states.   She stated that these  funds can                                                               
be used for  three things:  emergency support  to local education                                                               
agencies   that   the   state   education   agency   deems   most                                                               
significantly impacted  by the coronavirus; emergency  support to                                                               
institutes of  higher education the governor  determines are most                                                               
significantly  impacted by  the coronavirus;  and support  to any                                                               
institute  of  higher  education,   local  education  agency,  or                                                               
education-related  entity  within  the state  that  the  governor                                                               
deems essential for carrying out educational services.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. SANDERS stated that the second  pot of funds in the Education                                                               
Stabilization  Fund  is  the Higher  Education  Emergency  Relief                                                               
Fund.    She  explained  that  the  CARES  Act  provided  several                                                               
different methods  for distributing roughly $14  billion in funds                                                               
to  institutions  of  higher   education;  the  most  significant                                                               
portion of  that funding allocation provides  $12.56 billion that                                                               
will  be distributed  to institutions  using a  formula based  on                                                               
student  enrollment.   She  said  that  she  would defer  to  the                                                               
University  of   Alaska  to  share  additional   details  in  its                                                               
presentation later in the meeting.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. SANDERS stated  that DEED's presentation today  on funding is                                                               
focused  on the  third  pot of  funding, which  is  known as  the                                                               
Elementary and  Secondary School Emergency Relief  Fund (ESSERF).                                                               
She said  that this third pot  of funds is what  the commissioner                                                               
referenced heading  to DEED as  the state education  agency, also                                                               
referred to as the SEA by  the federal government.  She explained                                                               
that this funding will be  distributed to school districts, which                                                               
are commonly  referred to as  local education agencies,  and will                                                               
support elementary and secondary education.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:11:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS asked whether the  $14 billion or $12.56 billion in                                                               
funds  could  go  towards both  state  institutions  and  private                                                               
institutions.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. SANDERS replied  that it is her understanding  that the funds                                                               
could go to both state and  private, but she said she would defer                                                               
to the  university to  correct her later  in its  presentation if                                                               
she had misspoken.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:12:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.   SANDERS,   referencing   slide   10   of   the   PowerPoint                                                               
presentation,  stated  that  she  wanted to  make  the  committee                                                               
members  aware of  additional education  related  funding in  the                                                               
CARES Act.   She said that there are several  pots of money, most                                                               
notably  the items  listed on  slide 10.   She  pointed out  that                                                               
there  is  $3.5 billion  for  the  Child Care  Development  Block                                                               
Grant,  which is  to provide  childcare assistance  to healthcare                                                               
providers,  first  responders,   sanitation  workers,  and  other                                                               
essential  workers in  response to  the COVID-19  pandemic.   She                                                               
stated  that this  money  will be  allocated  through the  Alaska                                                               
Department of Health  and Social Services (DHSS).   She said that                                                               
there is  $750 million in the  bill for grants to  local agencies                                                               
providing Head Start services that  support children's growth and                                                               
development.   She explained  that this  money will  be allocated                                                               
directly  to the  Head Start  Alaska  providers.   She said  that                                                               
there  is  $8.8  billion  for  child  nutrition  programs,  which                                                               
includes the national school lunch  program, the school breakfast                                                               
program, the  summer food  service program,  the child  and adult                                                               
care feeding program,  the school milk program, and  others.  She                                                               
explained that this funding will be allocated through DEED.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SANDERS stated  that there  is $15.5  billion of  additional                                                               
funding  for   the  Supplemental  Nutrition   Assistance  Program                                                               
(SNAP),  which will  be allocated  through DHSS.   She  said that                                                               
there  is  $100 million  targeted  for  school funding  for  safe                                                               
schools  and the  citizenship  education  initiative through  the                                                               
School  Emergency  Response  to Violence  (SERV)  Project,  which                                                               
provides  education-related  services, including  counseling  and                                                               
referrals  for   mental  health  services,  to   local  education                                                               
agencies.   That  money  will be  distributed  through the  local                                                               
education agencies.   She noted that the CARES  Act also provides                                                               
federal student loan relief, which  is an automatic suspension of                                                               
principal and  interest payments on federally  held student loans                                                               
through September  30, 2020; borrowers  are not required  to take                                                               
any action in order to participate in this automatic suspension.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:14:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. SANDERS,  referencing slide  11, remarked  that she  would be                                                               
"diving"  into  ESSERF.   She  stated  that  approximately  $13.5                                                               
billion  was allocated  for  elementary  and secondary  education                                                               
formula grants; the State of  Alaska's allocation is estimated to                                                               
be $38.4  million.  She noted  that DEED had not  yet received an                                                               
official  application from  the U.S.  Department of  Education on                                                               
this funding; therefore,  the $38.4 million is  just an estimate.                                                               
She said  that the funding  will be distributed from  the federal                                                               
U.S.  Department  of Education  to  DEED  and  then on  to  local                                                               
education  agencies.    She  stated  that  allocations  to  state                                                               
education agencies are  based on the proportion of  Title 1, part                                                               
A funds each state received in  the most recent fiscal year.  She                                                               
said that state  education agencies may reserve up  to 10 percent                                                               
for grants  and statewide  emergency needs,  including up  to 0.5                                                               
percent  for   administration;  these  funds  may   be  spent  on                                                               
emergency needs, as determined by  the state education agency, to                                                               
address issues responding to the  coronavirus.  She said that the                                                               
state education  agencies may  also spend  the funds  directly or                                                               
through  grants and  contracts.   State  education agencies  must                                                               
allocate 90 percent  for local education agencies,  and the funds                                                               
must be awarded within one year  of receipt.  She noted that DEED                                                               
posted  on  its  website,  and shared  with  superintendents,  an                                                               
estimated allocation  for the $38.4  million [hard  copy included                                                               
in the committee packet].                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:16:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS asked  for clarification on the money  that goes to                                                               
DEED,  10   percent  going  for   grants  and  0.5   percent  for                                                               
administration,  and  he  asked  what   purpose  "the  other  9.5                                                               
percent" is used.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SANDERS replied  that that  funding is  an allowable  amount                                                               
that the  federal guideline allows  DEED, or the  state education                                                               
agency, to  grant or contract  out for other needs  or emergency-                                                               
related costs associated with the coronavirus.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:17:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND said she thought  she had heard Ms. Sanders say                                                               
that  one half  of  one percent  is allowed  to  be retained  for                                                               
administrative costs.  She asked  for clarification as to who was                                                               
allowed to retain that amount, DEED, or the school districts.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.   SANDERS  answered   that  the   half  of   a  percent   for                                                               
administration  could  be  retained by  DEED  for  administrative                                                               
costs.  She added that  school districts have maximum flexibility                                                               
in their ability to spend the  funds received through the Title I                                                               
allocation, on  the needs  that they identify,  and she  said she                                                               
would talk about allowable uses momentarily.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:18:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  remarked that she  had the draft  estimate for                                                               
the CARES Act  funding, as it is distributed  among Alaska school                                                               
districts, and  the first column  was for the EESRF  funds, which                                                               
total  approximately  $34,567,000.    She said  that  the  second                                                               
column  is the  GEER fund,  totaling  $3.7 million,  for a  total                                                               
CARES Act  funds to  education of $38.3  million.   She expressed                                                               
that  she  understands  this  is  a draft  and  the  numbers  are                                                               
somewhat  flexible, and  she  asked Ms.  Sanders  to explain  the                                                               
governor's emergency  education relief fund column,  as she could                                                               
see it goes to some school districts, but not all of them.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. SANDERS answered  that she absolutely could  explain that and                                                               
asked to  have everyone turn  to the  document so she  could walk                                                               
through  it  and  answer  any   questions  in  order  to  clearly                                                               
articulate what the estimated document outlines.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:20:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS commented that the  document she is referring to is                                                               
on BASIS,  and it is from  DEED, titled, Draft -  Estimated CARES                                                               
ACT Funding  for Alaska School  Districts [hard copy  included in                                                               
the committee packet.]                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SANDERS stated  that the  first column  shows the  estimated                                                               
ESSERF allocation.   She  reiterated that  the State  of Alaska's                                                               
total allocation is $38.4 million;  after removing the 10 percent                                                               
that state  education agencies may reserve,  the remaining amount                                                               
is $34,567,200.  She said that  DEED used the Title I allocation,                                                               
as required  by the  federal guidance, to  allocate money  to the                                                               
school districts.   She stated that  this is what is  seen in the                                                               
first column.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. SANDERS  stated that out of  the GEER fund, the  governor has                                                               
allowed $3.7  million to be  distributed to 35  school districts,                                                               
to ensure that all districts  receive funding equal to or greater                                                               
than  the allocation  of the  $30 million  one-time funding  that                                                               
would have  been allocated through  the foundation formula.   She                                                               
explained that if a school district  was not eligible for a Title                                                               
I  distribution,  under  a $30  million  allocation  through  the                                                               
foundation formula,  then it  would have  received $23,096.   She                                                               
said,  "The  governor is  allocating  $3.7  million to  these  35                                                               
schools so that  they receive an amount equal to  or greater than                                                               
the allocation under  the $30 million."  Ms.  Sanders stated that                                                               
the third  column totals the  amount that school  districts would                                                               
receive between the two pots of money.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:22:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEGICH  remarked that  Ms. Sanders  had pointed  out that                                                               
the  governor had  communicated his  intent to  replace the  "$30                                                               
million one-time money."  He  added, "But during that testimony -                                                               
you  know,  we had  quite  a  bit of  it  this  year -  districts                                                               
identified  that they  used a  lot  of the  $30 million  one-time                                                               
funding from the past year, which  ... the vetoed $30 million was                                                               
supposed to hold harmless, to  offset reduced class sizes, retain                                                               
teachers,  purchase  and update  their  curricula  - things  like                                                               
that."    He asked  whether  what  the  governor is  doing  would                                                               
effectively "do that,"  or whether the money  was really supposed                                                               
to be used  for the additional burden that falls  on districts to                                                               
address  the   COVID-19  related  expenditures,  as   opposed  to                                                               
offsetting  the activities.    He asked  whether  this was  "just                                                               
digging a deeper hole."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. SANDERS  replied that the  school districts have  the ability                                                               
to  use  the  funding  at  their  discretion,  and  while  it  is                                                               
understood that  the one-time foundation formula  would have been                                                               
in  addition to  the foundation  formula that  would normally  be                                                               
received,  they are  now receiving  approximately $38  million to                                                               
address  not  only current  needs,  but  increased needs  due  to                                                               
coronavirus impacts as well.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEGICH remarked  that essentially the answer  that he had                                                               
just heard was,  "No," and that it is not  providing very much at                                                               
all for districts  to deal with COVID-19, if they  choose to hold                                                               
themselves  harmless on  the cut  imposed last  week through  the                                                               
veto  process.   He commented  that he  thinks this  is what  Ms.                                                               
Sanders  said, and  said he  understands that  it is  basically a                                                               
forced "Sophie's  choice" on  the districts as  to how  they will                                                               
address COVID-19 or  the veto.  He expressed  that he appreciated                                                               
Ms. Sanders candor in letting the committee know that.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:25:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS  asked Ms.  Sanders how  quickly these  funds would                                                               
get out to the districts.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:25:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SANDERS replied  that it  is DEED's  understanding that  the                                                               
application for the  funds related to ESSERF  will be distributed                                                               
either tomorrow  [4/23/20,] or Friday  [4/24/20].  She  said DEED                                                               
will apply for  the funds and, once the  application is submitted                                                               
and  the  funds  are  received,  it  will  wait  for  legislative                                                               
approval to disburse that money  to school districts.  She stated                                                               
that  the GEER  fund application  and guidance  had already  been                                                               
received from  the U.S. Department  of Education, and as  soon as                                                               
the governor provides  a detailed plan on that  funding, DEED can                                                               
submit on the governor's behalf to receive the funding.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEVENS  asked  Ms. Sanders  to  clarify  the  legislative                                                               
approval  she had  mentioned,  and he  asked  whether that  means                                                               
through the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:26:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SANDERS answered  that  Chair Stevens  might  be aware  that                                                               
yesterday the  Office of Management  and Budget and  the governor                                                               
submitted  a  Revised Program  Legislative  (RPL)  packet to  the                                                               
Legislative Budget  and Audit Committee.   She said that  the RPL                                                               
packet included  an RPL  for DEED  to receive  additional federal                                                               
authority to  receive those  federal funds  and disperse  them to                                                               
school districts.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:27:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  asked whether  these funds would  be available                                                               
to school  districts starting  that week  and would  be available                                                               
for obligation  through September 2021, through  the beginning of                                                               
school  the next  fiscal year.   She  said that  she assumes  the                                                               
districts could start spending the  money now, but the suggestion                                                               
is that they will spread the  expenditures over the course of the                                                               
next  year, starting  in July.   She  asked whether,  if this  is                                                               
intended  to replace  the  $30  million that  was  vetoed by  the                                                               
governor, she  can assume that  the administration  believes that                                                               
the  cost  of  the  impact  of  COVID-19  issues  on  the  school                                                               
districts  is only  $8 million  above that  $30 million  that was                                                               
vetoed by the governor.  She  remarked that she is having trouble                                                               
understanding the justification  of the size of  these grants and                                                               
when they are supposed to be expended.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:28:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. SANDERS  emphasized that  DEED had  not received  an official                                                               
application or  guidance from the  U.S. Department  of Education.                                                               
She  said there  is rumor  at the  federal agency  level, meaning                                                               
other entities outside of the  U.S. Department of Education, that                                                               
the expenditures  associated with  the funding will  be backdated                                                               
as early  as March  13, 2020; however,  she reiterated  that DEED                                                               
has not  received official guidance,  and until it does  it would                                                               
not  want  to  advise  anyone   to  make  expenditures  based  on                                                               
receiving  this money.   She  stated that  the allocation  of the                                                               
funding for  ESSERF is  based on federal  guidance, and  she said                                                               
that she does not want to speak  on behalf of the governor or the                                                               
administration other  than to say  that DEED's guidance  has been                                                               
to  determine  what the  allocation  methodology  for the  school                                                               
districts  was.     She  said  DEED  looked   at  the  allocation                                                               
methodology  for  the  $30  million  outside  of  the  foundation                                                               
formula  and   wanted  to  ensure  that   school  districts  were                                                               
receiving  funding  at  least  equal to  the  amount  under  that                                                               
allocation.  She  reiterated that she would  not feel comfortable                                                               
speaking  on  behalf  of  the   governor  or  the  administration                                                               
regarding whether this is backfilling $30 million.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:30:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   STEVENS  remarked   that   he   thinks  [the   committee]                                                               
understands.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:30:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  commented  that  the  first  column  that  is                                                               
allocated by Title I, Part  A formula, only shows three districts                                                               
that appear  to not have any  Title I eligibility:   the Aleutian                                                               
Region,  Pelican,  and  Skagway.   She  asked  whether  this  was                                                               
correct.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:31:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. SANDERS confirmed that was correct.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:31:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEVENS commented  that the  meeting was  going on  longer                                                               
than he had  hoped, but that these were  all important questions.                                                               
He  said that  he  would like  to  get through  the  rest of  the                                                               
slides.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:31:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY  expressed concerned  about the cuts  to districts                                                               
and noted that it looked  like the school districts that received                                                               
more money up towards the $38  million have more Title I students                                                               
and are  getting more money  from that.   She asked  whether this                                                               
money would also allow the  local municipalities to contribute to                                                               
districts,  as typically  money is  run through  the formula  and                                                               
local municipalities can increase their contributions.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:32:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. SANDERS answered that the  federal funding Title I allocation                                                               
is  not   a  match-able   fund;  therefore,   communities  cannot                                                               
contribute a match towards federal funding.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:33:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. SANDERS,  returning attention  to the  PowerPoint, referenced                                                               
slide 12 and stated that some of  the items on the slide had been                                                               
discussed  previously.   She reiterated  that the  allocation for                                                               
Alaska  was  $38.4 million;  the  allocations  are based  on  the                                                               
proportion of Title  I, Part A funds that each  state received in                                                               
the most recent  fiscal year; it is anticipated  that funding and                                                               
allocation  will be  available on  April 24,  2020, or  April 25,                                                               
2020; and  the state education  agencies must award  funds within                                                               
one year of receipt.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:34:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS noted that Senator Giessel had joined the meeting.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:34:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SANDERS,  referencing slide  13,  stated  that it  had  been                                                               
briefly discussed  in an earlier  slide that the  state education                                                               
agencies  may  reserve  10  percent   for  grants  and  statewide                                                               
emergency  needs,  which also  includes  half  of a  percent  for                                                               
administrative  costs;  these funds  may  be  spent on  emergency                                                               
needs  as determined  by the  state education  agency to  address                                                               
issues  in responding  to the  coronavirus.   She  said that  the                                                               
state can use these funds directly through grants or contracts.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:34:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. SANDERS  referencing slide 14,  titled "Local  Level Spending                                                               
Options."  She stated that this  slide was intended to answer the                                                               
question of  how districts can  use these  funds.  She  said that                                                               
any activity authorized under the  federal Acts were noted on the                                                               
slide,  many  of  which  will   help  in  response  to  COVID-19,                                                               
including   preparedness   and  response   efforts,   sanitation,                                                               
professional  development, distance  learning, and  others.   She                                                               
said that  she wants to remind  people that this funding  is very                                                               
flexible to respond to emerging needs.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:35:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEGICH  asked Ms.  Sanders for  clarification on  a topic                                                               
from slide 10,  relating to a childcare  development block grant.                                                               
He said  that a lot  of testimony had  been heard on  a "directly                                                               
unrelated" issue  of the potential  impact on childcare  from the                                                               
current crisis, and  he asked for more clarity  on the governor's                                                               
approach to  childcare and on  whether it  was the intent  of the                                                               
governor,  the administration,  or DEED  to maintain  the current                                                               
pre-Kindergarten (pre-K)  programs with  any of  these resources.                                                               
He remarked  that there  were also $4.3  million in  pre-K grants                                                               
that were vetoed.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SANDERS  answered  that  the   $3.5  billion  for  childcare                                                               
development  block grants  are funds  administered  by DHSS,  and                                                               
DEED is  not involved  in those  conversations.   She recommended                                                               
follow-up with  that department  to see  how it  is administering                                                               
those funds.   She stated  that there is $11.5  million remaining                                                               
in the  existing budget  for pre-K  and early  learning programs,                                                               
which consist  of $6.5 million  for Head Start, $3.2  million for                                                               
pre-K  grants, $500,000  for parents  and teachers,  and $300,000                                                               
for Best Beginnings.  She  reminded the committee that GEER funds                                                               
currently have  had only $3.7  identified through  the allocation                                                               
methodology, which  leaves some funds available  for the governor                                                               
to determine  how to  utilize at  his discretion.   Additionally,                                                               
DEED can retain  10 percent of the funding that  is allocated for                                                               
ESSERF, and  the determination on how  that will be used  has not                                                               
yet  been   made.    She   remarked  that  there  may   be  other                                                               
opportunities, but  she does not  have a  firm answer as  to what                                                               
they will be.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BEGICH remarked  that this  was an  encouraging response                                                               
from  Ms. Sanders,  and he  said he  would be  in touch  with the                                                               
department and  the Office  of the  Governor regarding  the extra                                                               
resources and how they might best be allocated.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:39:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY  remarked that she  had two questions  relating to                                                               
items that  were vetoed in the  DEED budget:  the  elimination of                                                               
the additional  authority for the consortium  library and support                                                               
for  the online  libraries.   She asked  Ms. Sanders  whether she                                                               
knew of any possible funding for those two items.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:39:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. SANDERS  replied that she  could speak to the  vetoed amounts                                                               
regarding the  partial veto  for online  libraries, and  she said                                                               
$33,000  is  retained  in  the budget  to  work  with  libraries,                                                               
archives, and  museums to utilize subscriptions  for online video                                                               
conferencing and to  provide equipment, as necessary.   She asked                                                               
Co-Chair Story to repeat the second question for her.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STORY  responded that  the  question  pertained to  the                                                               
$635,000 for the consortium of library support.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. SANDERS  stated that  the state's  current fiscal  picture is                                                               
not looking  very great right now,  as she said the  committee is                                                               
aware.   She said that  the governor  chose to veto  that funding                                                               
and  not expand  the library  operations for  that program.   She                                                               
said she  realizes that the  term "operating funds"  or "increase                                                               
in operating  program" has  confused some  people.   She remarked                                                               
that  when  looking at  the  State  of  Alaska's budget  for  the                                                               
libraries, archives,  and museums, an addition  of $600,000 would                                                               
expand  current operations.   She  expressed that  given Alaska's                                                               
current  fiscal  challenge,  the  governor  chose  to  veto  that                                                               
funding.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STORY   expressed  that   she  would   appreciate  more                                                               
information  on that  topic be  provided to  the committee.   She                                                               
emphasized the  importance of the interlibrary  loan, a state-of-                                                               
the-art  program  allowing  for  borrowing from  any  library  or                                                               
university in Alaska.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:42:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEVENS offered  his understanding  that  Ms. Sanders  was                                                               
saying  that the  reduction  was  for something  that  was to  be                                                               
expanded  beyond the  current system,  not  for the  interlibrary                                                               
loan system that has been in place for quite some time.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:42:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SANDERS said  DEED could  provide additional  information to                                                               
the committee,  as Co-Chair Story  had requested.   She clarified                                                               
her  understanding  was  that the  library  being  discussed  was                                                               
previously located  and funded within the  University of Alaska's                                                               
budget, and  due to  reductions there was  a proposal  that would                                                               
move  the  program into  the  libraries,  archives, and  museums,                                                               
which is  what she  meant by  expanding the  libraries, archives,                                                               
and  museums  operations.    She stated  that  the  decision  the                                                               
governor made  was to veto  the expansion of that  program within                                                               
the  libraries,   archives,  and   museums.    She   offered  her                                                               
understanding that  there is some funding  allocated currently in                                                               
the university's  budget for maintaining  that, but she  said she                                                               
would  have to  defer  to  the university  to  speak  to what  is                                                               
included in its budget.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS said  he would ask the university  about the status                                                               
of that program.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:44:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND remarked that  the interlibrary loan program is                                                               
being utilized  more than ever  now that the libraries  have been                                                               
shut down to entry by the  public, and she remarked that it makes                                                               
absolutely no  sense to her to  cut that funding, because  she is                                                               
sure [libraries] are having to dig  deep to mail books to patrons                                                               
instead of  allowing patrons to  come in and  pick them up.   She                                                               
remarked that there needs to be more discussion on the topic.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS remarked that if Ms.  Sanders could get back to the                                                               
committee   with  any   additional   information   it  would   be                                                               
appreciated.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:45:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   HOPKINS   asked    for   confirmation   of   his                                                               
understanding  that  DEED  had said  that  the  $30  million-plus                                                               
coming  in  from the  COVID-19  and  CARES  Act funds  could  not                                                               
replace the  $30 million that was  vetoed out of the  budget, and                                                               
because that is money no longer  coming from the state, it limits                                                               
the amount  that a municipality  can give as  a local match  to a                                                               
school  district.    Referencing   slide  14  of  the  PowerPoint                                                               
presentation, he  asked for further  confirmation that  the CARES                                                               
Act limits a lot of the  funds to specific purposes and could not                                                               
replace  "the  $30  million lost  that  would  impact  electives,                                                               
courses, support staff numbers, class  size impacts - things like                                                               
that."  Those impacts will  still be realized by school districts                                                               
while the CARES Act funds go  to specific things as listed on the                                                               
slide.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:46:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. SANDERS  answered that she wants  to be clear to  the best of                                                               
her  ability that  these are  not  replacement funds  of the  $30                                                               
million;  this is  an  allocation of  federal  funds through  the                                                               
CARES  Act  to school  districts.    She reiterated  that  school                                                               
districts have a significant amount  of flexibility in the use of                                                               
these  funds, including  addressing  some of  the multiple  items                                                               
just   listed  by   Representative  Hopkins.     She   said  that                                                               
Representative Hopkins  is correct  in that federal  funds cannot                                                               
be  matched  and  so  local  contribution  amounts  will  not  be                                                               
increased given the  federal allocation, but she  said that given                                                               
the state's current fiscal situation,  the governor chose to veto                                                               
the  $30 million  and now  money is  being allocated  through the                                                               
CARES Act,  which was  the point of  the presentation  before the                                                               
committee that day.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  remarked that  he would be  interested in                                                               
finding out  "what exactly  these funds are  able to  be replaced                                                               
for,  " and  added that  "that might  be specific  to the  school                                                               
districts."   He mentioned  the layoffs  of teachers  and support                                                               
staff and [the  loss of] class types, and electives,  and he said                                                               
that unless "the et cetera down  at the bottom of slide 4" allows                                                               
for the replacement of jobs,  activities, sports, and things like                                                               
that which  were cut from next  year in the budgets,  the impacts                                                               
would be realized due to the governor's veto.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SANDERS reiterated  that DEED  was  still awaiting  specific                                                               
federal guidance  from the  U.S. Department  of Education  on all                                                               
the exact uses and allowability for  this funding.  She said that                                                               
once it  has that,  then DEED can  provide school  districts with                                                               
the resources and ability to  help answer any questions that they                                                               
have on allowable use of the funds.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS  remarked that  it  makes  sense and  the                                                               
state is  still waiting on  a lot  of direction from  the federal                                                               
government.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
^PRESENTATION:   The Current  Status of  Local School  Boards and                                                               
Their Communities.                                                                                                              
  PRESENTATION:  The Current Status of Local School Boards and                                                              
                       Their Communities.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                              
2:49:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS announced that the  next order of business would be                                                               
a presentation on  the Current Status of Local  School Boards and                                                               
Their Communities.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:49:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NORM  WOOTEN, Executive  Director, Association  of Alaska  School                                                               
Boards, offered  a PowerPoint presentation on  the current status                                                               
of local school boards and  their communities.  Referencing slide                                                               
2 of  the PowerPoint  presentation, he  stated that  when schools                                                               
first  shut down  the first  question the  Association of  Alaska                                                               
School  Boards  (AASB) received  from  school  boards across  the                                                               
state was how  they would be able to have  school board meetings.                                                               
He said AASB put together a  webinar for school boards to be able                                                               
to  digitally have  remote school  board meetings,  thus allowing                                                               
the public  access to comply  with the Alaska Open  Meetings Act,                                                               
while complying with  social distancing.  He said  that the model                                                               
policy under Board  Bylaw 9320 makes allowances to be  able to do                                                               
so  and  then  archive  on   the  AASB  website.    He  commented                                                               
anecdotally  on  a  webinar  with   the  National  School  Boards                                                               
Association in  which remote meetings  were discussed and  he had                                                               
spoken about  Alaska's model, which  was then shared  with states                                                               
across the  entire country.   He expressed that AASB  was pleased                                                               
to be able to teach school  districts in many other states how to                                                               
accomplish remote meetings.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:51:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WOOTEN,  referencing  slide  3, stated  that  AASB  has  had                                                               
multiple calls from school districts  across the state asking for                                                               
help  as they  wade  through  a new  era  of  online meetings  to                                                               
provide  resources  to  students   and  ensure  student  learning                                                               
continues.  He  credited his team at AASB for  doing amazing work                                                               
under an increasing workload.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. WOOTEN,  referencing slide  4, stated that  he had  made some                                                               
screenshots  of   online  resources   from  the   AASB's  digital                                                               
newsletter, which previously  went out once a month  but is being                                                               
put  out  every   week  now  because  of   the  quickly  changing                                                               
landscape.   He said these were  some of the webinars  related to                                                               
the COVID-19 pandemic and social  distancing and closing schools.                                                               
He said that  school districts can access this  resource on their                                                               
own  time,  and   he  said  that  the  webinars   have  had  more                                                               
participants than  ever before, because school  board members are                                                               
taking advantage of the resources AASB is providing them.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:53:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. WOOTEN,  referencing slide 5 of  the PowerPoint presentation,                                                               
stated  that AASB  advertised that  it  is open  for business  to                                                               
school districts  and is picking  up workshops and  learning more                                                               
about how  to deliver them  and maintain interest, which  he said                                                               
can  be more  difficult when  you cannot  read body  language and                                                               
look  people  in  the  eye.   He  said  that  the  districts  are                                                               
responding  to  AASB,  and  he   pointed  out  several  different                                                               
examples  of  workshops   that  AASB  has  put   out  for  school                                                               
districts.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WOOTEN, referencing  slide  6, stated  that as  Commissioner                                                               
Johnson had  mentioned, a lot  of resources are available  on the                                                               
AASB website and  the weekly commentary it puts out.   He pointed                                                               
out that the  slide shows an example of  Brigham Young University                                                               
(BYU) contacting AASB to say it  was providing a free online high                                                               
school  curriculum,   which  is   another  resource   for  school                                                               
districts at  no cost to  them.   Referencing slide 7,  he stated                                                               
that another resource  AASB put out is for  wellness, safety, and                                                               
social and  emotional learning.  He  said that there has  been an                                                               
amazing outreach from  partners across the state  and the nation,                                                               
and AASB has been putting them  on its site so that school boards                                                               
are not  overwhelmed and can  access the resources.   Referencing                                                               
slide  8,  he  stated  that AASB  has  been  putting  coronavirus                                                               
information and resources on its  website and has been monitoring                                                               
the  daily  press releases  from  the  governor, the  Center  for                                                               
Disease Control  (CDC), the World Health  Organization (WHO), and                                                               
others, to  provide a single  place that school districts  can go                                                               
to get information.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WOOTEN,  referencing slide  9,  stated  that an  interesting                                                               
section  in the  commentary  AASB put  out  is labeled  "District                                                               
Dispatches,"  which  is a  brief  report  of things  that  school                                                               
districts are doing across Alaska.   He said AASB asks a question                                                               
of school districts each week; this  week it asked how the school                                                               
districts  are supporting  students at  home and  what have  been                                                               
some successes  and challenges.   There  has been  great response                                                               
from school  districts, school board  members, and  school staff,                                                               
which AASB has  been posting.  He pointed out  an example of some                                                               
things  the   Anchorage  School   District  is  doing,   and  the                                                               
encouragement given to other districts.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:56:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. WOOTEN,  referencing slide 10,  pointed out some  things that                                                               
keep school board members up at  night.  He said there is concern                                                               
about  limited  and  affordable  bandwidth  in  rural  and  urban                                                               
districts.   He  explained that  many students  across the  state                                                               
only have a  smartphone as a digital device, and  it is difficult                                                               
to access  courses and do the  work needed on those  devices.  He                                                               
said  that he  is happy  DEED is  looking into  this and  AASB is                                                               
looking into other solutions as  well.  He said distance learning                                                               
is a concern,  as mentioned earlier by  Commissioner Johnson, and                                                               
he said  he has  heard from  school board  members that  they are                                                               
concerned  about  distance  learning and  would  prefer  distance                                                               
learning to  be from Alaskans, for  Alaskans.  He said  there are                                                               
concerns  about planning  for the  2021  school year,  as no  one                                                               
knows what  is going to  happen but would  like to make  plans as                                                               
far in advance as possible.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WOOTEN,  referencing  slide  11, stated  that  school  board                                                               
members  are  worried  about  transportation.    There  has  been                                                               
trouble getting staff  back into villages with  the suspension of                                                               
service by RavnAir Alaska, which  really took school districts by                                                               
surprise.   He said school  districts and other air  carriers are                                                               
scrambling to get  staff, move students around,  and get freight.                                                               
The decreased  service of  the Alaska  Marine Highway  System has                                                               
really   affected   school   districts   in   Southeast   Alaska,                                                               
Southcentral  Alaska,  and  the   Aleutian  Chain.    Mr.  Wooten                                                               
remarked  that  there  are  concerns  from  school  boards  about                                                               
financial support for the extra  COVID-19 expenses, food service,                                                               
instructional materials,  Internet fees, and  quarantining staff.                                                               
He  relayed that  across the  state  budgets have  "gone out  the                                                               
window."   The budget that was  put in place at  the beginning of                                                               
the  school year  is  of  no effect  anymore,  and districts  are                                                               
making changes on the fly.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. WOOTEN said  the school board members also want  to create an                                                               
emergency plan that would include  the possibility of a statewide                                                               
pandemic.   He stated  that even  though districts  had a  lot of                                                               
plans   in   place,   this    caught   everybody   by   surprise.                                                               
Nevertheless, the districts have been  able to do amazing things.                                                               
He said  DEED has  been a  great help to  the districts,  but the                                                               
state just  needs a plan  that has some  protocols in place.   He                                                               
stated  that  school  boards are  worried  about  assistance  for                                                               
counseling, mental health, and social  and emotional learning for                                                               
students, staff, and  community members.  He  expressed that this                                                               
pandemic has  really affected people  and will be  something that                                                               
will never  go away from  their memories, and school  boards will                                                               
need to provide services to these people.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:01:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WOOTEN,  referencing  slide  12, stated  that  school  board                                                               
members are  worried about summer  programs; they want  to ensure                                                               
increased student  achievement, do  not want  the students  to go                                                               
off track,  and do not  want to lose ground  with them.   He said                                                               
they  would  certainly appreciate  assistance  in  being able  to                                                               
offer a  universal summer school  for students across  the state.                                                               
He relayed  that nearly  all districts  are subsidizing  the food                                                               
service provided now with district  funds, and this will only get                                                               
worse  as  the  summer  goes  along.   He  stated  that  Alaska's                                                               
significant Title I  student population is the main  user of food                                                               
services, and districts are concerned  about being able to ensure                                                               
students don't go hungry, whether or not they are in school.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:02:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEVENS   commented  that  he  appreciated   Mr.  Wooten's                                                               
presentation.  He  said the committee is certainly  well aware of                                                               
the  crucial role  that the  school boards  play in  education in                                                               
Alaska and understands to some extent,  though not as much as Mr.                                                               
Wooten,  some of  the problems  being faced.   He  expressed hope                                                               
that the  CARES Act funds would  get to the districts  as quickly                                                               
as possible.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:02:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  remarked that AASB  has always been  there for                                                               
school boards and she appreciates  its services.  She stated that                                                               
there has  been little  time to  look at  the draft  document the                                                               
department gave  on the  distribution of  the CARES  Act funding,                                                               
and  she  emphasized  her  concern  that  school  districts  have                                                               
already  set their  budgets for  the fiscal  year that  begins in                                                               
July and  those budgets  will be  $30 million  leaner due  to the                                                               
governor's  veto.   She  said  that it  sounds  to  her that  the                                                               
approximately  $38 million  dollars is  supposed to  be replacing                                                               
the $30  million, and  the $8  million above  and beyond  that is                                                               
supposed to take  care of all the COVID-19 expenses.   She stated                                                               
that without  consulting with a  single chief  financial officer,                                                               
she has a  distinct feeling that the $8 million  is not enough to                                                               
cover the  expenses that were  outlined in the last  three slides                                                               
by   Mr.   Wooten,    including   bandwidth,   digital   devices,                                                               
transportation  issues, the  extra  food services,  instructional                                                               
materials,  and  so forth.      She  asked  Mr. Wooten  what  his                                                               
thoughts  were on  that fiscal  issue, then  noted that  it is  a                                                               
somewhat unfair question,  and suggested that if he  did not have                                                               
that document, he should obtain it.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:04:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WOOTEN answered  that the  districts are  very reluctant  to                                                               
spend money until  they have it in their bank  accounts.  He said                                                               
that  what they  are accessing  now are  their general  funds and                                                               
reserves.  He  said he seriously doubts that the  $8 million will                                                               
be nearly  enough money,  but he  did not want  to speak  for the                                                               
chief financial  officers and  superintendents across  the state.                                                               
He stated  that he was quite  surprised that the CARES  Act funds                                                               
are being used to supplant rather  than supplement.  He said this                                                               
might be  a step  away from the  direction of  Co-Chair Drummond,                                                               
but he hoped it expressed the nervousness that AASB has.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:05:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY  asked whether her understanding  was correct that                                                               
the $38 million  from the CARES ACT fund  is already appropriated                                                               
to all  the districts  through the  Title I  formula, and,  as an                                                               
example, that Anchorage will now  have $4 million more because it                                                               
has more  Title I students.   She expressed her  understanding is                                                               
that DEED  was trying to  use the GEER funds  to fill in  for the                                                               
other school districts that would  not receive more Title I money                                                               
to fill in the $3.7 million, which would total $38 million.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. WOOTEN  replied that his  understanding was that that  is the                                                               
case, and the $38 million  has been appropriated to the districts                                                               
already.   He said that  it sounds like a  lot of money,  but the                                                               
way the  districts are currently  spending money, it is  going to                                                               
dry up quickly.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
^PRESENTATION:  Education Budget, Instruction & Staffing                                                                        
    PRESENTATION:  Education Budget, Instruction & Staffing                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:07:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS announced that the next order of business would be                                                                
a presentation on Education Budget, Instruction, and Staffing.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:07:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LISA  S.  PARADY,  PhD, Executive  Director,  Alaska  Council  of                                                               
School  Administrators, co-offered  a PowerPoint  presentation on                                                               
Education  Budget, Instruction,  and Staffing.   She  stated that                                                               
she  wanted to  join Chair  Stevens  in his  opening comments  in                                                               
commending the  incredible job of Alaska's  K-12 public educators                                                               
in  responding  to   COVID-19.    Referencing  slide   2  of  the                                                               
PowerPoint  presentation [hard  copy  included  in the  committee                                                               
packet],   she  stated   that  the   Alaska  Council   of  School                                                               
Administrators  (ACSA)  provides   leadership  and  advocacy  for                                                               
Alaska's   public  education,   and   as   a  private   nonprofit                                                               
established nearly 50 years ago, ACSA  was created to serve as an                                                               
umbrella for  the Alaska  Superintendents Association  (ASA), the                                                               
Alaska Association  of Secondary  School Principals  (AASSP), the                                                               
Alaska Association  of Elementary School Principals  (AAESP), the                                                               
Alaska  Association of  School Business  Officials (ALASBO),  and                                                               
the  Alaska Staff  Development  Network (ASDN).    She said  that                                                               
these  organizations   have  been  working   collaboratively  and                                                               
tirelessly through COVID-19 to serve Alaska students.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DR.  PARADY, referencing  slide 3,  stated that  ACSA appreciates                                                               
that DEED has accounted for  the non-Title I districts to provide                                                               
comparable  funds through  the discretionary  CARES Act  funding,                                                               
and  while there  are still  no specifics,  she complimented  the                                                               
department in  its estimates for the  work that has been  done to                                                               
support  all  the  school  districts to  receive  the  CARES  Act                                                               
distributions.    She  commented that  as  previously  mentioned,                                                               
there will  still be the  resulting loss of local  matching funds                                                               
to affected  districts, and there  will be additional costs  as a                                                               
result  of  COVID-19.    She said  that  school  districts  would                                                               
appreciate a  quick approval  by the  legislature to  receive the                                                               
funds once distributed.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DR. PARADY,  referencing slide 4,  stated that ASCA has  been the                                                               
communications  hub through  COVID-19,  supporting Zoom  meetings                                                               
and  calls, as  shown  on the  chart  on slide  4.   She  thanked                                                               
Commissioner Johnson and his staff  for their willingness to join                                                               
most of these to best  support education leaders across the state                                                               
to be on the same page and  to hear the same information from the                                                               
department  and  each  other.    She  noted  that  Shawn  Arnold,                                                               
President,  ASA, has  facilitated meetings  almost every  morning                                                               
with  superintendents  and  the commissioner,  through  COVID-19.                                                               
She said that  Robin Jones, President, AASSP,  and Eric Pederson,                                                               
President,  AAESP,  have  been  supporting  a  weekly  call  with                                                               
Commissioner  Johnson and  all  the K-12  principals.   She  said                                                               
there is  a weekly call  for education leaders statewide  to hear                                                               
the  same information  from DEED  and share  with each  other how                                                               
each organization  has been working  to support  education during                                                               
this time.   She stated that there is a  current COVID-19 website                                                               
that acts as  a clearinghouse for school  district resources that                                                               
has  been   sorted  by  like-sized  districts,   so  that  school                                                               
districts have  not had to  "[reinvent] the wheel," but  can work                                                               
with  each other  to support  documents,  messaging, or  anything                                                               
needed during this time.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:11:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. PARADY,  referencing slide 5,  stated that ASCA  is committed                                                               
to  continuing to  support collaboration  across school  district                                                               
leaders and  statewide educators moving  forward.  She  said that                                                               
Commissioner Johnson  and she have  had many  conversations about                                                               
how they  can best support  school districts with  school restart                                                               
dates,  reentry  for  next year,  soft  openings,  and  staggered                                                               
openings, whether  that is physical,  virtual, or a hybrid.   She                                                               
said ASDN will continue to  provide development and will continue                                                               
to help with communication and collaboration across Alaska.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DR.  PARADY,  referencing  slide   6,  stated  that  Commissioner                                                               
Johnson  had shared  that ASDN  has been  providing extraordinary                                                               
services  during this  uncertain time.   She  said that  ASDN has                                                               
created  no-cost,  one-hour  support  sessions  for  teachers  to                                                               
quickly transition  them to  remote education.   She  thanked the                                                               
ASDN team  Kathy Blanc,  Sam Jordan,  Kelly Tonsmeire,  and Ceann                                                               
Murphy  for working  for a  month straight  to support  educators                                                               
across Alaska.   She said that the mission of  ASDN is to improve                                                               
student achievement by  providing research-based, online learning                                                               
and face-to-face  professional development programs  for Alaska's                                                               
teachers and  school administrators; it  has been doing  this for                                                               
nearly 40 years.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DR.  PARADY,  referencing  slide  7, showed  an  example  of  the                                                               
services that  have been provided  to Alaska educators  since the                                                               
coronavirus.   She  said  that  it is  worth  noting  that 42  of                                                               
Alaska's 54 districts have participated.   She expressed pride in                                                               
the work,  which focused on  core content to continue  to provide                                                               
students what they need in this remote environment.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:13:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. PARADY, referencing  slide 8, showed an  example of offerings                                                               
from ASDN in the current week.   She explained that the offerings                                                               
are different  every week, and  she noted that ASDN  is cognizant                                                               
of  the disparity  in Alaska  regarding connectivity,  bandwidth,                                                               
and infrastructure,  and it  is focused on  how to  help teachers                                                               
without Internet  access support their  students.  She  said that                                                               
these classes  have been incredibly  popular, because so  many of                                                               
Alaska's  school  districts that  are  off  the road  system  and                                                               
without connectivity are using paper  and packets.  She said ASDN                                                               
partnered   with  NEA-Alaska   to  conduct   a  statewide   needs                                                               
assessment to  determine what teachers' needs  are before courses                                                               
are developed; those needs were  targeted, and the results can be                                                               
seen on the slide.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DR.  PARADY, referencing  slide 9,  pointed out  some samples  of                                                               
feedback  that have  been received,  and  she said  that all  the                                                               
feedback received  has been incredibly positive.   She reiterated                                                               
that she  is proud so many  people are working hard  to make this                                                               
all work  for Alaska's students.   She expressed that  she thinks                                                               
it is  important to make  sure that the superintendents  have the                                                               
opportunity  to share  with the  committee a  boots-on-the-ground                                                               
perspective  of their  transition to  remote learning,  the costs                                                               
being  incurred, the  challenges being  faced, and  the successes                                                               
that they have had.   She stated that she would  like to turn the                                                               
presentation   over  to   Dr.   Karen  Gaborik,   Superintendent,                                                               
Fairbanks  North  Star  Borough   School  District;  Dan  Walker,                                                               
Superintendent, Lower  Kuskokwim School  District; and  Dr. Deena                                                               
Bishop, Superintendent, Anchorage School District.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:15:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KAREN GABORIK, PhD, Superintendent,  Fairbanks North Star Borough                                                               
School District, testified during  the PowerPoint presentation on                                                               
Education Budget, Instruction, and Staffing.   She stated that it                                                               
was a pleasure  to be there to share how  Fairbanks has responded                                                               
to school  closure during COVID-19  and to highlight some  of the                                                               
efforts and challenges  as it shifts to a  remote learning model.                                                               
She said that the first two  weeks of school closures, which were                                                               
non-student-contact  days,   were  utilized  to  prepare.     She                                                               
explained  that using  an online  tool  that was  created by  the                                                               
district's  team,  school leaders  and  staff  conducted a  needs                                                               
assessment with  each family in  the district to  determine their                                                               
status at that time.  She  said that several questions were asked                                                               
about:   the  effectiveness of  the district's  communication and                                                               
families'  ability  to access  it;  awareness  of and  access  to                                                               
resources  on  the  district   website;  personal  belongings  of                                                               
students and  medications at the  schools; whether  supplies were                                                               
needed   to  participate   in   engagement  activities;   whether                                                               
assistance  was needed  with  snack or  meals  at home;  Internet                                                               
connectivity; and  access to  devices.  She  said that  the needs                                                               
assessment has served as the  foundation for the response efforts                                                               
in the district throughout this whole event.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. GABORIK  stated that teachers focused  initially on providing                                                               
engagement  activities   for  students  and  preparing   for  the                                                               
transition to remote instruction.   She said that in her district                                                               
remote instruction covers  the full gamut from  no-tech paper and                                                               
pencil options, to high-tech online  options.  She commented that                                                               
educators  had to  get up  to speed  very quickly  with platforms                                                               
like  Zoom,  Google Suites,  and  a  multitude of  other  digital                                                               
tools.   She  said  that  naturally, the  teachers  who had  been                                                               
effectively integrating technology already  were able to make the                                                               
transition with  much more ease than  others, so a full  range of                                                               
support had to be provided to teachers to help with that.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DR. GABORIK stated  that when the closure was extended  to May 1,                                                               
the school  district began student device  deployment; its target                                                               
was to put 3,000 Chromebooks in  the hands of students.  She said                                                               
that the  priority was seniors,  as the district wants  to ensure                                                               
that  they graduate  this spring.    She stated  that after  that                                                               
students then  rose to  the top  of the list  based on  the needs                                                               
assessment.   She pointed out  that Fairbanks is not  currently a                                                               
one-to-one district,  but one silver  lining in all of  this will                                                               
be  a renewed  commitment  on  the district's  part  in terms  of                                                               
resources, to  ensure that  every student in  the district  has a                                                               
device,  and  she  said  the  district  would  actively  look  at                                                               
developing lease  options so kids  can take the devices  home and                                                               
have them available at all  times.  She stated that additionally,                                                               
the  district has  begun  to  provide meals  to  kids across  the                                                               
community and there are two tiers  - morning and afternoon - with                                                               
approximately  45 drop  off sites  across the  borough, including                                                               
schools, local businesses, and agencies.   To date, almost 94,000                                                               
meals have been delivered to students.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
DR. GABORIK  stated that  her district's  team of  educators have                                                               
curated high quality social and  emotional learning resources and                                                               
provided  them on  the website,  through regular  newsletters and                                                               
personal  contacts  with  families.    She  said  that  telephone                                                               
counseling  ("telecounseling")   was  deployed  so   that  school                                                               
counselors  could  continue  to  do their  general  and  academic                                                               
support  work with  students.    She said  her  district is  very                                                               
fortunate to be a recipient of  the Alaska Rises Grant, and it is                                                               
engaging in  teletherapy services  to students to  address mental                                                               
health needs  as appropriate  to that grant.   She  remarked that                                                               
her district's social services managers  have provided a critical                                                               
link for  high-risk families, and  they are working hard  to keep                                                               
those families  connected with community  resources.   She stated                                                               
that  one  of  the  "heavy lifts"  included  the  development  of                                                               
telework  agreements for  all  employees, which  was  new to  the                                                               
district; in  partnership with unions,  the district was  able to                                                               
create agreements  that have been seamlessly  deployed across the                                                               
organization.   She said that  in addition to working  from home,                                                               
which  most  of the  district's  employees  are currently  doing,                                                               
there are some  staff onsite, and to protect the  health of these                                                               
onsite  employees,  some  crews,   such  as  those  in  nutrition                                                               
services and  facilities maintenance, have split  their shifts so                                                               
that if an employee becomes ill  with COVID-19, an attempt can be                                                               
made to mitigate the impact.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR.  GABORIK stated  that  another heavy  lift  was developing  a                                                               
grading policy  that was grounded  in equity and a  commitment to                                                               
do no  harm to students.   She said  that the district  looked at                                                               
best  practices that  were emerging  around the  country and  put                                                               
into   place  guidelines   that  focus   on  providing   learning                                                               
activities and feedback to students.   She remarked that priority                                                               
was  once again  given to  seniors  who needed  to improve  third                                                               
quarter  grades  in order  to  graduate.    She stated  that  the                                                               
district tried  to be very  family friendly and cognizant  of the                                                               
limitations of family to support  children at home.  She remarked                                                               
that the  announcement that schools  would remain closed  for the                                                               
rest of the school year put  a damper on everyone's spirits and a                                                               
noticeable dip in energy could be  seen the week after that.  She                                                               
expressed  that she  thinks in  general people  were experiencing                                                               
emotional  and  physical  fatigue,  and  she  said  it  has  been                                                               
important  to  shift from  "sprint  mode,  to marathon  mode"  to                                                               
encourage staff  to take  care of themselves  and make  sure they                                                               
are getting a break.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
DR. GABORIK stated that there  are hundreds of amazing stories of                                                               
students and staff creating  meaningful connections and utilizing                                                               
all  the  resources  available.   There  are  also  heartbreaking                                                               
pieces to  this as well, and  she said she thinks  those parts of                                                               
the  story should  not be  glossed over.   She  stated that  this                                                               
year's  seniors and  their families  are  genuinely mourning  the                                                               
loss  of traditional  graduation ceremonies.   She  said that  in                                                               
Fairbanks it has  been found that while principals  truly want to                                                               
create alternative events  that are fun and celebratory,  it is a                                                               
challenge  to do  so with  limited people  who would  normally be                                                               
available to assist.  She stated  that her commitment has been to                                                               
adhere to  the advisories  and mandates from  the state  and with                                                               
only two and a half weeks left,  decisions had to be made, so she                                                               
gave directions to schools the  previous week that there would be                                                               
no gatherings of any type for  graduations.  She pointed out that                                                               
the  governor's message  the day  before confirmed  this for  the                                                               
district.   She  stated that  principals are  working on  ways to                                                               
create remote graduation events to celebrate the students.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DR. GABORIK stated  that the kids she worries about  most are the                                                               
at-risk students,  who have unfortunately dropped  off the radar.                                                               
She said  that there  have been  multiple outreach  efforts, home                                                               
visits, and attempts to connect with  families.  She said that it                                                               
is  known  that  for  some  students  the  safest,  warmest,  and                                                               
healthiest part of their day is  at school, and they have not had                                                               
that.    She expressed  that  she  is  very concerned  for  these                                                               
students, and  if the  schools reopen in  August, they  will have                                                               
been off  the school  grid for  five months.   She said  that she                                                               
anticipates the district  will need to significantly  ramp up its                                                               
social and emotional and trauma  informed supports for these kids                                                               
when  they come  back to  schools.   She stated  that with  every                                                               
student it  is anticipated  that there  will be  some level  of a                                                               
learning gap, but  for the at-risk students this  will involve so                                                               
much more than just academics.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
DR. GABORIK stated that another thing  to remember in all of this                                                               
is that  the staff  have been  stressed as  well.   She explained                                                               
that educators  do not function in  a bubble, and all  the social                                                               
and economic stressors in the  community are impacting them also;                                                               
they have their  own children to support, spouses who  are out of                                                               
work, and family  members who are immune compromised.   She added                                                               
that some  of the staff  themselves are immune compromised.   She                                                               
stated that  the district has  been working hard to  extend self-                                                               
care and resilience  resources to the staff during  this time and                                                               
to  reach out  to them  as frequently  as it  is reaching  out to                                                               
students and families.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
DR.  GABORIK  stated that  looking  ahead  she is  worried  about                                                               
education funding  for fiscal year 2022  (FY 22).  She  said that                                                               
not only is  the price of oil  a concern, but the  impact of loss                                                               
of  jobs   on  community  population  and,   ultimately,  student                                                               
enrollment in the long term, has  her worried.  She said that she                                                               
personally  wonders whether,  once  the travel  bans are  lifted,                                                               
people will choose to stay  in Fairbanks or Alaska, especially if                                                               
there   has  been   irreparable   damage   to  their   employment                                                               
opportunities  or they  feel the  need  to get  closer to  family                                                               
support networks out of state.   She summarized that COVID-19 has                                                               
changed the  perspective on  school, work,  and life  in general.                                                               
She  said there  are moments  of brilliance  and inspiration,  as                                                               
well  as moments  of heartbreak  and  fatigue.   She stated  that                                                               
everyone  is  finding their  way  to  figuring  it out,  and  she                                                               
expressed  that  she  truly  appreciates  the  House  and  Senate                                                               
Education   Standing  Committees'   interest   in  hearing   from                                                               
superintendents across the state.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:23:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEVENS  commented  that   he  appreciates  Dr.  Gaborik's                                                               
comments and  thoughts about  not glossing over  the issues.   He                                                               
expressed that  he thinks  she did  a good  job of  informing the                                                               
committee on how  bad things are looking, and  he understands her                                                               
concern  about funding  in the  future.   He said  that his  main                                                               
concern  is young  people graduating  this  year without  meeting                                                               
academic  standards, thus  going  off to  college without  really                                                               
being  ready for  it.   He said  he is  concerned also  about the                                                               
students Dr.  Gaborik had  mentioned, who are  dropping out.   He                                                               
asked Dr.  Gaborik whether she  could give the committee  an idea                                                               
on how many students in her  district have been lost through this                                                               
process, be it through parental involvement or other causes.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR.  GABORIK  answered  that  she  would  speak  to  the  seniors                                                               
specifically.  She  said there is always an  intersession in June                                                               
to help the  seniors who "just didn't make it,"  and she said the                                                               
number of students  who are at risk have doubled.   She said that                                                               
for some students, the online  environment does not work, and she                                                               
expressed  that she  thinks everyone  is beginning  to appreciate                                                               
that there  need to be several  options for students.   For some,                                                               
in-person [instruction] is what they  need and what works, and to                                                               
expect them  to be  effective learners  remotely is  a challenge.                                                               
She commented  that she does  not have  numbers on how  many kids                                                               
have dropped  off the radar, but  she is hearing from  the social                                                               
service managers that  there have been students "hanging  on by a                                                               
thread,"  and  now  "they're  just  not  sure  that  thread  even                                                               
exists."   She  said that  these  would be  important numbers  to                                                               
track after this is all over.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS remarked  that it is a shocking  statement that at-                                                               
risk students have  pretty much doubled, and he said  it would be                                                               
interesting to  know what  that number is  in other  districts as                                                               
well.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:25:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY remarked that Dr.  Gaborik had prepared a document                                                               
to   send   to  [the   House   Education   &  Early   Development                                                               
Subcommittee]  about what  the loss  of $30  million in  one-time                                                               
funding  would mean  for  her  district, and  she  said that  Dr.                                                               
Gaborik  talked about  class size  being  conducive to  learning,                                                               
instructional aids,  and a reduction  in school activities.   She                                                               
expressed that she assumes this is  going to become a reality for                                                               
the district now.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:26:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. GABORIK  replied that it  has been interesting to  track that                                                               
conversation.   She said  that she has  more questions  for DEED,                                                               
and she  appreciates the questions from  the legislators, because                                                               
it helps bring  some clarity to how  the money can be  used.  She                                                               
commented that the need is high,  Fairbanks has a $3 million hole                                                               
from the vetoes,  although she said she is still  not clear as to                                                               
what degree  the district can  fill that  hole.  She  stated that                                                               
she  thinks summer  programs and  supplemental  academics in  the                                                               
coming fall  are going to  be key  for Fairbanks, which  would be                                                               
new  services on  top of  cuts.   She  explained that  sanitation                                                               
training  and  supplies,  planning for  long-term  closures,  and                                                               
educational technology will be huge  for Fairbanks, as well.  She                                                               
said that  someone had commented  that rural areas  are impacted,                                                               
but even in  a "community down the road system,"  there is a wide                                                               
variety of connectivity for families.   She said that these needs                                                               
will have  to be addressed.   She stated  that the equity  gap in                                                               
all of this  has become glaringly clear, much of  which has to do                                                               
with connectivity and access.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:27:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DANIEL WALKER,  Superintendent, Lower Kuskokwim  School District,                                                               
testified  during   the  PowerPoint  presentation   on  Education                                                               
Budget, Instruction, and Staffing.   He stated that the last five                                                               
weeks had  been an unprecedented  time for everyone, and  he said                                                               
that the  breadth of  new challenges  seems to  be unending.   He                                                               
expressed   that  the   level   of  stress   that  teachers   are                                                               
experiencing is  unlike anything he has  seen in his 28  years in                                                               
the Lower Kuskokwim School District.   He stated that most of the                                                               
anxiety is around  the uncertainty of the future  and ranges from                                                               
how to  support students in  this new learning  paradigm, whether                                                               
schools still will be in this  mode of operating in the fall, and                                                               
how to ensure  quality learning for students.  He  said that this                                                               
is  further  complicated  by teachers'  anxiety  over  their  own                                                               
personal safety and wellbeing.   He commented that one frequently                                                               
asked  question  is  whether  teachers  will  be  able  to  leave                                                               
villages for summer break to visit  family and take care of their                                                               
own  personal healthcare  needs,  whether they  will  be able  to                                                               
return  in August,  and  what this  will look  like  in terms  of                                                               
quarantine needs.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. WALKER stated that in terms  of education delivery, as can be                                                               
imagined, the quality  of education in rural  Alaska is partially                                                               
determined by  access to the  Internet, and most of  the families                                                               
in  the communities  do not  have  the luxury  of basic  Internet                                                               
service  outside of  their personal  cell phones.   He  said that                                                               
without access to  the Internet, teachers must  think of creative                                                               
ways  to deliver  instruction  that is  engaging  and allows  for                                                               
creativity for the students.  He  stated that because of the lack                                                               
of Internet, the use of the  Florida Virtual School is simply not                                                               
an option for his district outside  of the school walls.  He said                                                               
that  as  his  district  has worked  through  logistics  and  has                                                               
challenged teachers  to move  from packets  of work  delivered to                                                               
home to  more project  based approaches that  allow for  hands on                                                               
and  meaningful  experiences  supported by  the  teacher  through                                                               
phone calls,  text messages, pictures,  and so forth.   He stated                                                               
that  where  available,  teachers  are holding  Zoom  calls  with                                                               
students  and   their  parents.     He   expressed  that   he  is                                                               
continuously  amazed by  the staff  and their  desire to  provide                                                               
quality experiences for the district's students.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. WALKER  reiterated that the  Lower Kuskokwim  School District                                                               
does  not have  the  capability to  use the  Internet  to a  high                                                               
degree  for  instruction outside  the  school  walls; while  some                                                               
infrastructure  exists, it  is financially  out of  the reach  of                                                               
most families.   He said that the district is  looking toward the                                                               
future  in determining  what technologies  might  be utilized  to                                                               
provide access to  rich multimedia content that  does not require                                                               
direct access  to the  Internet.  He  stated that  current e-rate                                                               
rules prohibit  the district from  extending its  school Internet                                                               
connections to students in their  homes; however, the district is                                                               
looking at technologies that would  allow for the school networks                                                               
to  be extended  across communities  to provide  access to  media                                                               
content and  caching service,  but without  direct access  to the                                                               
Internet.  This would allow  for student issued devices to access                                                               
a special  network from  students' homes  to access  the content.                                                               
He expressed that  in these uncertain times it  is more important                                                               
than ever to communicate on a  regular basis, and the district is                                                               
meeting with  its 28 principals 3  times per week via  Zoom calls                                                               
and doing  district-wide Zoom calls  with all  staff periodically                                                               
to update them with the latest  information.  He pointed out that                                                               
there  are  routinely  more  than  400  staff  members  on  these                                                               
district-wide  calls.    He  stated that  it  is  important  that                                                               
students  continue to  be fed  through food  service during  this                                                               
time  of uncertainty,  and  the district  is  providing meals  to                                                               
students seven  days a week  and to the  elders five days  a week                                                               
and  has  served  approximately   64,000  breakfasts  and  67,000                                                               
lunches to date.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:31:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WALKER  stated  that  there  are  several  other  logistical                                                               
challenges  being addressed,  including travel  restrictions that                                                               
have limited the  ability of itinerants to provide  services in a                                                               
variety of areas.  As an  example, he said that one community had                                                               
several tragedies involving students,  and schools not being open                                                               
and  social   workers  not  being   able  to   provide  in-person                                                               
counseling  has  made  it  difficult   to  meet  the  social  and                                                               
emotional  needs  of  students.     He  said  that  the  district                                                               
continues   to  provide   teletherapy   to   students  in   these                                                               
situations, but as  can be imagined, it is not  ideal.  He stated                                                               
that many staff  are taking advantage of  the district's employee                                                               
assistance  program,   seeking  counseling   to  deal   with  the                                                               
emotional stress of  the pandemic.  He said  the facilities staff                                                               
are struggling  to provide  the same level  of service  to remote                                                               
communities,  due to  the travel  restrictions in  some villages.                                                               
He pointed out  that a generator went down in  a village the past                                                               
week, and  the needed part had  to be transported to  the edge of                                                               
the village by snow machine and  sled and wait for local staff to                                                               
pick  it up,  as the  people delivering  it were  not allowed  to                                                               
enter the village.  He  said that additionally, there are several                                                               
construction projects  ongoing, and  village communities  are not                                                               
allowing contractors to come to  the villages to work, which will                                                               
cause delays and  cost overruns.  He stated that  the district is                                                               
working with the Yukon Kuskokwim  Health Corporation to make some                                                               
of its facilities available, should  there be a surge in COVID-19                                                               
positive  patients in  Bethel.   He summarized  that overall  the                                                               
district is working through these  challenges and moving forward,                                                               
and like Dr. Gaborik had said,  many of the same challenges being                                                               
experienced  across  the  state  in   addition  to  the  ones  he                                                               
mentioned,  including graduation  and meeting  the mental  health                                                               
needs of  students, is a  challenge that  he thinks they  are all                                                               
worried about in the long term.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:33:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS remarked that he  appreciated Mr. Walker's comments                                                               
and thoughts on the stress levels that everyone is facing.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:34:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEENA  BISHOP, PhD,  Superintendent,  Anchorage School  District,                                                               
co-offered  a   PowerPoint  presentation  on   Education  Budget,                                                               
Instruction,  and  Staffing.    She  stated  that  she  would  be                                                               
presenting  distance learning  data,  and she  said  she and  the                                                               
Anchorage  School  Board  appreciate  being asked  to  share  the                                                               
information.  She  stated that she would be  sharing surveys from                                                               
teachers on  their thoughts  and perceptions  on the  three weeks                                                               
they have  been fully  engaged in distance  learning, as  well as                                                               
the  actual student  data from  electronic systems  that captured                                                               
it.  She shared that the  information she would be presenting has                                                               
some limitations, as  it does not reflect the  paper packets that                                                               
have gone home  to nearly 6,000 people this week.   Some of those                                                               
packets  were  for families  that  do  not have  connectivity  or                                                               
devices; however, she  said that the district  has had additional                                                               
requests for paper packets:  "something  that a child could do at                                                               
a table without a parent looking  at a computer."  She added that                                                               
this data also  does not account for long-term  projects, such as                                                               
online  learning  projects that  are  tracked  based on  students                                                               
logging in during  the week.  She said that  the Anchorage School                                                               
District  has   distributed  over   9,000  Chromebooks   and  940                                                               
hotspots,  with 1,300  more to  be dispersed,  and it  has worked                                                               
with partners in MTA Solutions,  Alaska Communications (ACS), GCI                                                               
Communication Corp, AT&T, and Verizon for the Internet.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:36:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. BISHOP, referencing slide 14  of the PowerPoint presentation,                                                               
stated  that the  student remote  learning engagement  survey was                                                               
asked teachers, the people on  the front lines, their perceptions                                                               
of  student engagement  in their  classes.   She noted  that this                                                               
data was  "hot off the  press."  She noted  that of the  3,227 in                                                               
the   district,  73   percent  of   elementary  school   teachers                                                               
responded, [61 percent of middle  school teachers responded], and                                                               
55 percent of high school  teachers responded.  Referencing slide                                                               
16,  she said  that the  overall  level of  student engagement  -                                                               
shown  on the  chart from  not  engaged to  very engaged  - is  a                                                               
classic  bell  curve,  with the  little  engaged  and  moderately                                                               
engaged being  what teachers are  finding to be the  most common.                                                               
When surveyed,  46 percent of  teachers felt that  their students                                                               
were moderately engaged.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
DR.  BISHOP,  referencing  slide  17, stated  that  there  is  an                                                               
interest  in  equity  regarding  educating  all  students.    The                                                               
Anchorage School District  has a motto regarding  the students it                                                               
educates, which is  that "all means all."  She  stated that there                                                               
is  a direct  inverse  relationship between  Title and  Non-Title                                                               
schools with the center of the bell curve in the engagement.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. BISHOP, referencing slide 18,  stated that this chart looks a                                                               
little busier,  and at the  top it asks,  "To what degree  do the                                                               
following  barriers affect  your  ability to  support the  remote                                                               
learning  needs of  your students?"   She  said that  this was  a                                                               
question to  individual teachers in the  community, who responded                                                               
that they  had no  difficulty in  using the  online communication                                                               
platform or  caring for  or teaching their  own children  at home                                                               
while teaching their students.   The teachers also had no problem                                                               
with bandwidth or Internet access in  their homes.  She said that                                                               
there were some  other challenges.  She explained  that this data                                                               
is taken  to plan for  the kinds  of support needed  for teachers                                                               
for the next  week and the future.   She stated that  in order to                                                               
create  this  program   on  the  fly,  the   district  wanted  to                                                               
understand what the needs are of the people doing the work.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:39:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR.  BISHOP,  referencing slide  19,  stated  that the  data  she                                                               
mentioned previously can be juxtaposed  with the data pulled from                                                               
the online  programs being used  for students in middle  and high                                                               
schools to engage  in the content.  She  explained that platforms                                                               
such as  Canvas and Zoom  are used  to connect with  students and                                                               
have  the student  learning  system, but  the  actual content  is                                                               
through  Apex Learning,  which  is  another high-evidence  online                                                               
learning  program.   She  stated  that in  the  research for  the                                                               
Florida  Virtual School  online  learning, Apex  Learning is  the                                                               
second  from the  top,  and it  is  used in  her  district.   She                                                               
pointed  out that  the  chart on  slide 19  shows  the number  of                                                               
students   enrolled  in   Ninth  through   Twelfth  Grades,   the                                                               
percentage   logged  in,   and   the   percentage  of   submitted                                                               
assignments.  She said that this  data is compared to other urban                                                               
school districts.  She remarked  that Anchorage is in the Council                                                               
of  Great City  Schools, and  Co-Chair Drummond  was a  member of                                                               
that as  well when she  was on the  Anchorage School Board.   Dr.                                                               
Bishop said  that this  is the  organization that  represents the                                                               
top  enrolled school  districts in  the  nation, so  the data  in                                                               
Anchorage is more  favorable than other urban areas.   She stated                                                               
that the  third week  of education showed  a significant  drop in                                                               
the number of  students logging in and the  number of assignments                                                               
submitted.   She said that the  limitations are that some  of the                                                               
courses do  not need the  students to log  in every day  or every                                                               
week; they  are longer term with  just a choice to  log in during                                                               
office hours.  She stated that  all the teachers in the Anchorage                                                               
School District have office hours for students.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
DR.  BISHOP,  referencing  slide   20,  stated  that  equity  has                                                               
challenged the  board and administration  to "keep an eye  on the                                                               
all,"  and to  the district's  surprise, of  the kids  logging in                                                               
there was  not a big  "delta" among any  of the groups  and there                                                               
was  about the  same amount  of engagement  from all  the student                                                               
groups, including the economically  disadvantaged.  She expressed                                                               
that she was  happy with the data so far,  even though she wished                                                               
there were more students online.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DR. BISHOP, referencing  slide 21, stated that  the middle school                                                               
data was  broken up between  students that are "on  straight Apex                                                               
and then  using a Canvas platform."   She pointed out  the middle                                                               
school data  in the  same format  as the other  slide.   She said                                                               
that it is still early; there  are only two data points, which do                                                               
not create  a trend, but the  district is keeping a  close eye on                                                               
it.   She said  the district  continues to  query what  it should                                                               
expect.   She  said  the  city is  hunkered  down,  the state  is                                                               
hunkered down,  there is  limited access,  families are  in their                                                               
homes, and there  is stress in communities  and homes; therefore,                                                               
the district  is trying to engage  with the data in  its learning                                                               
of the system and discover  the appropriate expectations for what                                                               
is doable and possible.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:42:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. BISHOP, referencing slide 22  of the PowerPoint presentation,                                                               
pointed  out the  middle school  engagement in  Canvas, which  is                                                               
more social  studies and science,  and in Apex, which  is English                                                               
and  math.    Referencing  slide  23, she  said  that  the  slide                                                               
demonstrates the  same thing about middle  school student groups,                                                               
and  again  the Anchorage  School  District  has found  that  the                                                               
engagement of  the different  races and  ethnicities, as  well as                                                               
students represented in different  categories such as Title, have                                                               
all been  very comparable to  each other.   She stated  that this                                                               
leads to more questions.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
DR.  BISHOP   referenced  slide  24,  which   spotlights  English                                                               
language, Indian,  migrant, and special education  learners.  She                                                               
said that some  of the special education students  are engaged in                                                               
the  general  curriculum  with   support,  while  others  are  on                                                               
alternate assignments, and  it was difficult to gauge  due to the                                                               
differences  there.    She  reiterated   that  she  wants  to  be                                                               
transparent and  open and share  data with the committee  that is                                                               
hot  off  the  press.    She   said  there  is  a  struggle  with                                                               
expectation, but  the world is in  a pandemic, so that  has to be                                                               
taken into  account to determine what  needs to be done  to bring                                                               
hope  to  the  communities,  to bring  routine  to  children  and                                                               
families,  and to  assure them  that  the district  is there  for                                                               
them.  She  said that the district does its  best, although it is                                                               
difficult  to determine  what the  needs will  be in  the future.                                                               
She  stated that  the  district  knows through  the  data that  a                                                               
significant input  will need to  be made into summer  learning to                                                               
reengage students who have not been engaged.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR.  BISHOP, regarding  finances, said,  "We don't  know what  we                                                               
don't know."  She explained that  the largest expense is going to                                                               
be making  up the learning that  was lost.  She  related that the                                                               
district budgeted  for food and  computers for students,  as well                                                               
as items budgeted  in the normal, everyday running  of the school                                                               
district.  She added that  there are areas where school districts                                                               
are reserving money  by not using substitutes,  energy, and other                                                               
things  like  that,  and  that money  can  be  redistributed  for                                                               
present needs.   She said  that an  unknown is the  summer school                                                               
issue and  how there will  be an  "additive program" so  that the                                                               
children of  Anchorage and all Alaska  "can get back up  on their                                                               
feet and continue in the  learning trajectory to meet the student                                                               
outcome,"  which she  emphasized is  the main  reason why  public                                                               
education exists.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:45:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS  remarked that he appreciates  Dr. Bishop providing                                                               
the  committee with  such  up-to-date  information.   Referencing                                                               
slide 19  of the  PowerPoint presentation,  he remarked  that the                                                               
submission  of assignments  seems to  be almost  half from  Ninth                                                               
through Twelfth Grades, and he  asked Dr. Bishop what conclusions                                                               
she draws from that.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
DR.  BISHOP answered  that the  data  was just  received the  day                                                               
before,  and  the district  is  looking  at  it.   She  said  the                                                               
district  understands   that  "the  excitement  and   newness  of                                                               
something  got  folks  out  there  and  now  we're  falling  into                                                               
routine."  She said that a  lot of these courses are not designed                                                               
for students to  log in everyday with their  teachers to complete                                                               
them, and some  of what has been shared by  students and teachers                                                               
is that they log in,  download the assignment, do the assignment,                                                               
and then upload and submit them.   She remarked that the district                                                               
had looked  at the make-up  of the  students and the  courses and                                                               
found  that  there  is  not   a  disparity  among  the  different                                                               
ethnicities and  races.   She said  that the  next step  that the                                                               
board charged the district with  after seeing this data the night                                                               
before, was to look at where  these students are in their schools                                                               
and what  the differences and  similarities are of those  who are                                                               
logging  in and  completing  [assignments] versus  those who  are                                                               
not.   She added that the  next goal the district  has for itself                                                               
is  to use  a  multi-tiered  system of  support,  which she  said                                                               
addresses instruction  in different levels; students  in tier one                                                               
are logging  in and doing  fine at  this pace, but  added support                                                               
needs to  be there for students  who are not logging  in, and the                                                               
district is trying to figure out what  it can do and how to do it                                                               
with distance  education.   She reiterated  that the  district is                                                               
meeting people where they are, and  the needs are vast.  She said                                                               
that she  has communications  from some  families that  they want                                                               
more rigor and  accountability and from other  families that they                                                               
cannot take on even one more  thing, and the vast differences are                                                               
difficult.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:48:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEVENS thanked  Dr. Bishop  and remarked  that he  looked                                                               
forward to  hearing from  her in  the future  on how  things have                                                               
developed.  He  expressed concern that this could be  a lost year                                                               
for so many  of Alaska's young people, and he  said that he knows                                                               
Dr. Bishop is doing her best to make sure that doesn't happen.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:48:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND   remarked  that   this  must   be  enormously                                                               
stressful, and  she said that  she appreciates all the  work that                                                               
Dr. Bishop  and her  "thousands" of staff  are doing  to approach                                                               
normalcy  in Anchorage.    She expressed  that  she has  concerns                                                               
about  the loss  of  the  $30 million  one-time  funding and  the                                                               
resulting  loss of  local matching  funds to  affected districts.                                                               
She remarked  that this  is all so  new she has  no idea  how the                                                               
CARES Act  funding will  intersect with  that funding  space, and                                                               
she asked Dr.  Bishop whether she has any thoughts  on that.  She                                                               
remarked that  the $30 million  that was outside the  formula has                                                               
been  vetoed,  and  the  funding  from  the  CARES  Act  will  be                                                               
considerably more for the Anchorage  School District, but overall                                                               
for the  whole state,  it will only  be approximately  $8 million                                                               
more  than the  $30 million  would have  provided.   She said  it                                                               
sounds  like,  as  Mr.  Wooten   had  said,  school  budgets  are                                                               
basically out  the window  and districts  are scrambling  as fast                                                               
they  can to  provide  services and  keep up  with  the needs  of                                                               
students and  are not  worrying about the  budget impact  at this                                                               
point.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:50:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. BISHOP replied that this was  a great question.  She said the                                                               
Anchorage School District  and Anchorage School Board  voted on a                                                               
budget early on  that did not include the $30  million.  She said                                                               
the Anchorage  School District made some  significant adjustments                                                               
to its  program, specifically to health  education, by increasing                                                               
the pupil/teacher  ratio (PTR) at high  schools, eliminating some                                                               
positions,  and redesigning  its  gifted program  to  make up  an                                                               
approximately  $20 million  reduction; the  district was  able to                                                               
make up  $14 million  dollars outside the  classrooms but  had to                                                               
reduce  $6  million  inside  of   them.    She  stated  that  the                                                               
legislature  supporting the  $30  million brought  $8 million  to                                                               
Anchorage,  which  might  seem large  compared  to  other  school                                                               
districts, but  is relative  because Anchorage  has approximately                                                               
40 percent  of the students in  the state.  She  said there would                                                               
have  been $2  million  in a  local  match on  top  of that,  and                                                               
because there  is a high  percentage of poverty in  Anchorage and                                                               
many students, it is receiving  an additional $2 million that was                                                               
not expected.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DR.  BISHOP   stated  that  the   school  board  did   make  some                                                               
adjustments to  help teachers in  bringing them back, as  well as                                                               
the gifted, essentially  "kicking the can down the  road," and it                                                               
will have to double up on  reductions in the future, because this                                                               
is one-time money.  She said  that this is the biggest issue, and                                                               
there is  a long  road ahead.   She  said that  right now  in the                                                               
process, there are some savings  being made because of things she                                                               
had mentioned.   She said that  the district didn't lose  a year,                                                               
only nine  weeks, but [this  time lost] took  a toll more  on the                                                               
social and emotional side of normalcy  and stress.  She said that                                                               
for the  most at-risk learners,  or most  unrepresented learners,                                                               
additional  inputs  will  be needed,  and  summer  school,  early                                                               
learning, and pre-K is where it  matters the most.  She expressed                                                               
that she  fears that the  district will  have to expend  money to                                                               
summer  school or  other aspects  added  to the  school year,  to                                                               
compensate for lost time and learning.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:53:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEVENS  thanked   the  Superintendents  Gaborik,  Walker,                                                               
Bishop  and  Dr.  Parady  and said  the  presentation  was  quite                                                               
enlightening for everyone.  He  said he looked forward to hearing                                                               
from them as they move down the path in the coming months.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
^PRESENTATION:  UA COVID-19 Update: Impact & Response                                                                           
      PRESENTATION:  UA COVID-19 Update: Impact & Response                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:53:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS  announced that the  final order of  business would                                                               
be the presentation on UA COVID-19 Update: Impact & Response.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:54:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JIM  JOHNSEN, PhD,  President, University  of  Alaska, offered  a                                                               
PowerPoint  presentation, titled  "UA COVID-19  Update: Impact  &                                                               
Response"  [hard copy  included  in the  committee  packet].   He                                                               
stated  that he  appreciated the  last hour,  hearing from  other                                                               
education leaders in Alaska and  their challenges, and he said he                                                               
was  inspired by  the  hard  work and  commitment  that they  are                                                               
delivering  every day.   He  said that  it is  an example  of the                                                               
resilience of Alaskans, which is what he would be talking about.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DR. JOHNSEN, referencing slide 2  of the PowerPoint presentation,                                                               
stated  that  he  would  give   an  overview  of  the  levels  of                                                               
commitment that  the University of  Alaska (UA) is making  to its                                                               
mission  of  higher  education in  Alaska,  through  support  for                                                               
mitigation efforts,  communities, and  education in general.   He                                                               
said that UA is experiencing  very negative effects of the COVID-                                                               
19 virus, and he would talk  about those in terms of expenses and                                                               
projected revenue  declines.  He  stated that he would  also talk                                                               
on  what is  headed  the university's  way  regarding its  fiscal                                                               
picture, which involves  state funding cuts since 2014.   He said                                                               
that he  would then  speak to  how UA is  moving forward,  and he                                                               
noted that  it was great  to hear from  his colleagues as  to how                                                               
leadership is happening in the  schools across Alaska.  He stated                                                               
that the UA Board of Regents  is meeting weekly to deal with this                                                               
specific issue.   The  university system  has a  management team,                                                               
and  each of  the three  universities have  this system  as well,                                                               
which  is  linked with  the  state  for close  communication  and                                                               
cooperation in this response.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DR.  JOHNSEN,  referencing  slide  3, stated  that  in  terms  of                                                               
mitigation response, UA's  top priority is the  health and safety                                                               
of the students  and employees.  He said that  the university was                                                               
in spring  break and  decided to extend  it another  week, closed                                                               
the campuses,  and asked  students not  to come  back or  find an                                                               
alternative if they were living in  a student residence.  He said                                                               
that there  were a small number  of students from rural  Alaska -                                                               
international students  and some others  - who were  permitted to                                                               
stay on campus  as an exception.  He stated  that UA transitioned                                                               
to remote program delivery on March  23, most of which is online;                                                               
however,  some  of it  is  over  the  telephone.   He  said  that                                                               
thousands of courses were transitioned in a week's period.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DR. JOHNSEN  stated that  most UA faculty  and staff  are working                                                               
from home;  the faculty  is providing  distance delivery  and the                                                               
staff is performing  their regular jobs.  He  said that on-campus                                                               
events were  cancelled, even commencements,  which he said  was a                                                               
sad  but  necessary thing  to  do.    He  stated that  access  to                                                               
facilities  is  highly  restricted  and  only  essential  use  is                                                               
allowed, including preparation of  online materials, and research                                                               
that needs to  continue.  He said that  additionally, UA operates                                                               
critical facilities such  as police, heat, and  power plants that                                                               
need  to  continue,  and  social  distancing  and  other  hygiene                                                               
measures are  being taken.   He commented that  critical research                                                               
needs to  continue, and  UA was able  to acquire  some exemptions                                                               
from  several of  the governor's  health mandates,  consideration                                                               
for  which he  expressed  appreciation to  the  governor and  his                                                               
team.   He  said  that  UA is  constantly  enforcing very  strict                                                               
monitoring  rules, cleaning  practices,  and distance  protocols.                                                               
He noted  that UA  is using  the Internet  extensively and  has a                                                               
website for faculty,  students, and staff that  summarizes how to                                                               
learn, work, and teach most effectively.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:59:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. JOHNSEN,  referencing slide 4,  stated that in terms  of UA's                                                               
commitment  to   communities,  it  is  deploying   all  available                                                               
capacity,  brainpower,  and  resources  to  communities  and  the                                                               
state,  including expertise  in  epidemiology  and economics,  as                                                               
well  as   [distribution  of]   medical  supplies   and  personal                                                               
protective  equipment  (PPE).   He  clarified  that he  had  just                                                               
received approval from Commissioner  Crum the previous evening to                                                               
transfer hand sanitizer and other  PPE UA has manufactured in its                                                               
labs and  campuses to communities.   He  stated that UA  can work                                                               
with  the state  and  the  Board of  Nursing  to graduate  senior                                                               
nurses early,  and they  now have  interim certification  to "get                                                               
out there and  into the fight" to help take  care of Alaskans who                                                               
need care.   He said that  the dorms have been  made available to                                                               
first  responders  and there  are  facilities  use agreements  in                                                               
place  with numerous  communities across  the state.   He  stated                                                               
that the  Alaska Airlines  Center, [on  the University  of Alaska                                                               
Anchorage  campus],  is  now an  alternative-care  site  for  the                                                               
COVID-19 crisis.  He remarked that  UA is also focused on "coming                                                               
out of this"  and on economic development for the  state, and the                                                               
center for  economic development, business  enterprise institute,                                                               
and small  business development  center are  all working  hard on                                                               
this.  He  said there is a  lot of hard work going  on in support                                                               
of the communities.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
DR.  JOHNSEN,  referencing  slide  5, stated  that  in  terms  of                                                               
education more  generally, UA has converted  thousands of classes                                                               
to alternative  modes and is  in communication  with Commissioner                                                               
Johnson  on  how  to  support  K-12  teachers  with  professional                                                               
development for  online courses and  programs going forward.   He                                                               
said  that  UA is  continuing  its  virtual middle  college,  for                                                               
college-ready  high   school  students   across  the   state  and                                                               
conducting  research   on  the   transition  from   in-person  to                                                               
alternative modes  of education.   He stated  that now  more than                                                               
ever there  needs to be a  focus on stepping up  and growing UA's                                                               
teachers,  for  several  reasons already  stated  throughout  the                                                               
afternoon.    He  noted  that  the day  before,  UA  had  a  very                                                               
constructive meeting with  the heads of the  Alaska Native Claims                                                               
Settlement Act (ANCSA)  Regional Corporation Education Foundation                                                               
and is working  closely with the funders and  supporters of rural                                                               
and Alaska  Native students to do  the best for their  access and                                                               
retention in academic programs during these tough times.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:02:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR.  JOHNSEN, referencing  slide 6,  mentioned financial  impacts                                                               
and stated that there is no question  that UA is getting hit.  He                                                               
said UA has had to help  its students get off campus and provided                                                               
support  for travel,  housing, and  other basic  living expenses.                                                               
He remarked that  it has also set up private  donation funds, and                                                               
people  across  Alaska  have been  very  generous  in  supporting                                                               
students' needs.  He said that  some students are kept on campus,                                                               
and those  who are low  income or  have other specific  needs are                                                               
being taken  supported.  He  stated that UA has  expanded payroll                                                               
benefits  to take  care of,  which  is a  burden it  bears as  an                                                               
employer.   He  pointed out  that  it is  buying Chromebooks  and                                                               
Mifis and  getting them  to students,  faculty, and  staff across                                                               
the state.  He expressed  appreciation for the cooperation of the                                                               
Internet service  providers in Alaska  and said they  have really                                                               
stepped up to help bring down  the cost of distance delivery.  He                                                               
added  that  there  have  been   increased  costs  for  security,                                                               
cleaning, and other steps that have been taken.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
DR.  JOHNSEN,  referencing  slide   7,  stated  that  the  bigger                                                               
challenge is  the impact on  revenue.   He remarked that  UA does                                                               
not know exactly  what these are, which is why  the slide shows a                                                               
range, and he  expressed that UA is very  concerned about impacts                                                               
on  revenue.   He  stated  that  UA earns  a  lot  of money  from                                                               
investments  and subsidizes  operations  from investment  income,                                                               
which is  obviously down.   He said that if  enrollment continues                                                               
to decline as a result of  the pandemic, tuition and fee revenues                                                               
will decline.   If students are not living in  UA dorms, going to                                                               
hockey  games,  buying books  or  food,  or parking  vehicles  on                                                               
campuses,  auxiliary income  will  decline.   He  stated that  if                                                               
research is delayed, research revenues  decline and indirect cost                                                               
recovery declines,  and he said  that there are  compelling needs                                                               
for  philanthropy  in  Alaska  and across  the  country,  and  UA                                                               
anticipates  some softening  in  philanthropic giving.   He  said                                                               
that UA's estimate  at this point for the coming  year is between                                                               
$35 million and $40 million in costs and foregone revenues.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:04:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR.  JOHNSEN,  referencing  slide  8, stated  that  Congress  has                                                               
passed   statutes  that   provide  some   assistance  to   higher                                                               
education,  and $7.9  million is  coming  to UA  directly, via  a                                                               
formula; $3.9  million of which  is for students and  has already                                                               
been received, and UA is in  the process of designing how it gets                                                               
distributed to  students.   He said that  the other  $3.9 million                                                               
will go directly to UA institutions;  it has yet to see money but                                                               
anticipates  it  will  arrive  in   the  next  couple  of  weeks.                                                               
Additionally, Congress appropriated $6.5  million dollars into an                                                               
Emergency Education  Relief Fund  that is discretionary  with the                                                               
governor, to  fund any  education needs, whether  they be  at UA,                                                               
the schools,  or other post-secondary institutions  in the state.                                                               
He stated that  UA is working with the governor's  office on that                                                               
and has indicated a strong  interest in receiving some portion of                                                               
those funds.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR.  JOHNSEN,  referencing  slide  9,  remarked  that  the  slide                                                               
depicts  the  decline  in funding  of  the  state's  Unrestricted                                                               
General  Fund (UGF);  the peak  was  in FY  14, and  there was  a                                                               
downward slide  beginning in FY  15 where there  were substantial                                                               
year-over-year  reductions  with  a  cumulative  impact  of  $490                                                               
million.     He  stated  that  the   current  three-year  compact                                                               
agreement  has a  $70 million  reduction, so  there is  a serious                                                               
combination   of   continuing   base   budget   reductions   with                                                               
increasingly less ability to absorb  the reductions, and COVID-19                                                               
laid on  top of  that.  He  said that UA  is back  in Washington,                                                               
D.C., advocating for additional  federal stimulus funds, directly                                                               
with  its delegation  and in  conjunction  with higher  education                                                               
associations.  He pointed out that  two big ideas have bubbled up                                                               
as areas  of possibility, one  of which  is to refinance  debt at                                                               
zero or low  interest, which would bring down  the annual service                                                               
cost of debt  to free up resources to offset  other reductions or                                                               
to take care of operating expenses.   A second option would be to                                                               
do two  things to  the e-rate  program:  to  expand its  scope to                                                               
include post-secondary institutions, which  as of now it includes                                                               
only primary and  secondary; and to "plus  out" the appropriation                                                               
for it,  so that  it is  not in a  zero-sum competition  with the                                                               
schools  across  the  state  who   benefit  from  this  important                                                               
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:07:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. JOHNSEN,  referencing slide 11, remarked  that looking ahead,                                                               
UA continues to  believe that education is  critical for Alaska's                                                               
economic  recovery,  and it  is  an  essential partner  with  the                                                               
state, communities, and  businesses in the effort.   He expressed                                                               
that it is going  to be a difficult time ahead,  and said that UA                                                               
is  open  this week  for  enrollment  for  classes in  the  fall,                                                               
keeping   a  close   eye  on   enrollments  and   spending  small                                                               
discretionary  pots   focused  on  recruitment,   marketing,  and                                                               
retention  of  students, and  the  university  is at  this  point                                                               
delaying  the  decision  as  to whether  it  will  be  delivering                                                               
classes primarily in-person  in the fall or  via distance online.                                                               
He stated  that it is  the goal  to offer as  much as it  can in-                                                               
person  in the  fall, but  it will  be prepared  to offer  mostly                                                               
online  if that  is what  conditions require.   He  said that  UA                                                               
students  and  faculty  want  this   decision  made  as  soon  as                                                               
possible, and  it will make  the decision  as quickly as  it can,                                                               
given the conditions  on the ground, and he expressed  that UA is                                                               
very hopeful  that as plans come  forward on opening up,  it will                                                               
be able to  open up, as well.  Nevertheless,  UA will be prepared                                                               
to  offer  its full  curriculum  in  the  fall.   He  noted  that                                                               
continued  uncertainty  is  likely to  contribute  to  enrollment                                                               
challenges,  and  although the  direction  and  focus UA  has  on                                                               
meeting its mission will help,  he expects some challenges on the                                                               
enrollment front this coming year.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DR. JOHNSEN stated that UA will  need to cut costs because of the                                                               
state budget cuts, but he said  that he thinks there will need to                                                               
be other further reductions.  He  said that it is in the planning                                                               
process for  furloughs of employees  in FY 21 and,  after several                                                               
years   of  no   compensation   increases,  modest   compensation                                                               
adjustments  that  were put  into  the  budget  will need  to  be                                                               
reconsidered.    He  stated that  there  are  administrative  and                                                               
academic program reviews focused on  trying to get $45 million of                                                               
cuts  out of  the  UGF in  FY  21 and  FY 22,  which  is a  major                                                               
process;  UA  has  already  identified   close  to  50  different                                                               
academic degree  programs for discontinuation and  reduction, and                                                               
the academic  and student  affairs committee  has met,  and those                                                               
selections  are moving  forward  for a  board  decision in  June.                                                               
Additionally,   he  said   there  are   extensive  administrative                                                               
reductions, consolidations, and other steps underway.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DR.  JOHNSEN  thanked  the  committee   for  the  opportunity  to                                                               
present.  He stated that not  everything is negative and like its                                                               
colleagues, UA is  doing its best to position itself  to come out                                                               
of the  pandemic strong.   He  remarked that  UA will  be smaller                                                               
with the  budget reductions, but he  said that he thinks  it will                                                               
be more focused  on its goals of  economic development, research,                                                               
workforce  development, educational  attainment  and equity,  and                                                               
cost effectiveness.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:11:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS  expressed his  appreciation for  the comprehensive                                                               
look at  UA, and  he expressed  that there  was concern  from the                                                               
committee   for  what   happens  to   the  university   with  the                                                               
combination of  reductions in  budgets plus  COVID-19.   He asked                                                               
Dr. Johnsen  whether he has  any reflection on what  is happening                                                               
to college and university education around the country.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:12:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. JOHNSEN replied that "it is  all over the map," because there                                                               
is great variance.   Small, low enrollment,  private liberal arts                                                               
colleges  with   small  endowments  are   suffering  dramatically                                                               
because they  do not have  the cash  capacity to deal  with these                                                               
kinds of reductions.  He said that  he was on a panel a couple of                                                               
weeks   ago  with   the  head   of  the   regional  institutional                                                               
accrediting  body  for  the Northeast,  who  was  describing  the                                                               
number of colleges closing and  the number of colleges merging in                                                               
that area.   He  remarked that  Vermont is  a prime  example, and                                                               
there is "a lot of that."  He  stated that the concern is even at                                                               
the table  of "the  big ones."   He  explained that  he was  on a                                                               
panel  recently  with  the University  of  California,  Berkeley;                                                               
Michigan State University; Ohio  State University; the University                                                               
of Georgia;  and many other  big universities, and they  are very                                                               
concerned   about  enrollment   impacts,   [lost]  revenue   from                                                               
athletics,  research, graduate  students  and graduate  training,                                                               
and  the  future of  the  faculty  for  the  long term  with  the                                                               
interruption  of training  future faculty  members.   He remarked                                                               
that there is a high level  of concern across the country as this                                                               
issue is addressed.  He stated  that there is a tremendous amount                                                               
of  communication and  collaboration happening,  and universities                                                               
are  learning from  each  other going  forward  and paying  close                                                               
attention to the experiences of other institutions.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEVENS   remarked  that  he  appreciated   Dr.  Johnsen's                                                               
positive  comments about  seizing opportunities  to take  care of                                                               
teachers and  nurses.   He said  that it  seems likely  that kids                                                               
will  not  want   to  leave  their  homes,  and   "we  have  that                                                               
advantage";  therefore,   he  encouraged   Dr.  Johnsen   in  his                                                               
marketing to students.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
DR. JOHNSEN  responded that  UA would  be focusing  on marketing.                                                               
He said  typically when  unemployment rates  increase, enrollment                                                               
increases, and although  he was not certain that  this would take                                                               
place during the  COVID-19 recession, such a  phenomenon could be                                                               
a  "silver  lining  to a  dark  cloud."    He  said that  UA  has                                                               
developed   over  the   years   some   very  strong,   nationally                                                               
competitive,  high  quality online  programs,  and  there is  the                                                               
possibility that  these programs  can be marketed  nationally and                                                               
internationally,  based on  areas of  unique expertise  developed                                                               
over the years.  He summarized  that these were some upsides that                                                               
UA  will  hopefully  be  able  to invest,  in  spite  of  cutting                                                               
everywhere else, to position itself to grow in the future.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:16:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STORY  remarked that she  did not  know how much  of the                                                               
discussion  Dr.  Johnsen  heard  earlier,  but  there  were  some                                                               
questions  about the  funding of  the consortium  library program                                                               
that had  been vetoed from  the DEED  budget, and it  was thought                                                               
that the reason  it was vetoed was because this  was an expansion                                                               
of the  program, and  she asked  Dr. Johnsen  whether this  is an                                                               
expansion of the  program, from his understanding,  or this would                                                               
fund the interlibrary loan program in the State of Alaska.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DR.  JOHNSEN offered  his  understanding that  a  portion of  the                                                               
funding that DEED  received for this program is what  was used to                                                               
purchase  services  from  UA  in   the  amount  of  approximately                                                               
$200,000.   He  stated that  this does  create an  issue, because                                                               
those funds are used to provide  those services.  He said that UA                                                               
is looking  at the situation to  evaluate the impact of  the veto                                                               
in DEED and  its inability to purchase those services  from UA as                                                               
a result.   He stated that he  could not go into  any more detail                                                               
at this point  because it is a developing situation,  but it is a                                                               
concern.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:17:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS stated that all  the testimony heard in the meeting                                                               
was extremely valuable, and there  would probably need to be more                                                               
meetings in the  future to explore the details of  all the issues                                                               
that were  presented.   He reiterated that  it is  impressive and                                                               
inspiring to hear what everyone is doing during this time.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:18:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committees, the joint                                                                
meeting of the House and Senate Education Standing Committees                                                                   
was adjourned at 4:18 p.m.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
00_COVID-Update_AGENDA_Joint-Ed-Cmte_22April2020_draft3.pdf SEDC 4/22/2020 1:00:00 PM
01_COVID-Update_DEED _22April2020.pdf SEDC 4/22/2020 1:00:00 PM
Joint ED CMTE - COVID Update - April 22, 2020
01a_COVID-Update_DEED_CARES Act Allocations by District_22April2020.pdf SEDC 4/22/2020 1:00:00 PM
01b_COVID-Update_DEED_CARES Act Allocation Memo_22April2020.pdf SEDC 4/22/2020 1:00:00 PM
02_COVID-Update_DEED Contract with FLVS_22April2020.pdf SEDC 4/22/2020 1:00:00 PM
Joint ED CMTE - COVID Update - April 22, 2020
03_COVID-Update_Assoc-AK-School-Boards_22April2020.pdf SEDC 4/22/2020 1:00:00 PM
Joint ED CMTE - COVID Update - April 22, 2020
04a_COVID-Update_AK-Council-School-Admin_22April2020_revised1.pdf SEDC 4/22/2020 1:00:00 PM
05_COVID-Update_UnivAK_22April2020.pdf SEDC 4/22/2020 1:00:00 PM
Joint ED CMTE - COVID Update - April 22, 2020