Legislature(1995 - 1996)
04/01/1996 09:04 AM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE April 1, 1996 9:04 a.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Lyda Green, Chairman Senator Loren Leman, Vice-Chairman Senator Mike Miller Senator Johnny Ellis Senator Judy Salo MEMBERS ABSENT All members present. COMMITTEE CALENDAR SENATE BILL NO. 301 "An Act relating to postsecondary education." CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 465(HES) am "An Act relating to employment of teachers and school administrators and to public school collective bargaining." HOUSE BILL NO. 540 am "An Act relating to health care data and registration of births." PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION SB 301 - See Senate Health, Education & Social Services minutes dated 3/6/96 and 3/29/96. HB 465 - No previous action to record. HB 540 - No previous action to record. WITNESS REGISTER Mike Tibbles, Staff Senator Green State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Diane Barrans, Executive Director Postsecondary Education Commission Department of Education 3030 Vintage Boulevard Juneau, Alaska 99801-7109 POSITION STATEMENT: Representative Ivan Ivan State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Prime sponsor of HB 465. Carl Rose, Executive Director Alaska Association of School Board 316 W 11th Street Juneau, Alaska 99801-1510 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 465. Rick Cross, Deputy Commissioner Department of Education 801 W 10th Street, Suite 200 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1894 POSITION STATEMENT: Discussed SB 204, HB 398, and HB 465. Steve McPhetres, Executive Director Alaska Council of School Administrators 326 4th Street, #404 Juneau, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 465. Marilyn Leahy, President Valdez School Board PO Box 689 Valdez, Alaska 99686 POSITION STATEMENT: Stated that HB 465 provides tools to better education. Ken Klunder, Mat-Su Teacher Palmer, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Discussed concerns with HB 465. Donald Evans, Superintendent Southwest Region School District PO Box 90 Dillingham, Alaska 99576 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 465. Gayle Pierce PO Box 58660 Fairbanks, Alaska 99711 POSITION STATEMENT: Expressed concerns with HB 465. Tom Wright, Staff Representative Ivan State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions. Barbara Stek 6101 Eastwood Court Anchorage, Alaska 99504 POSITION STATEMENT: Stated that HB 465 will not improve education. Pat Gakin PO Box 871304 Wasilla, Alaska 99687 POSITION STATEMENT: Stated that HB 465 will nullify tenure. Steve Wright Kenai Peninsula Education Support Association PO Box 4645 Soldotna, Alaska 99669 POSITION STATEMENT: Urged the committee to listen to the testimony of education employees. John Holst PO Box 179 Sitka, Alaska 99835 POSITION STATEMENT: Stated that provisions of HB 465 are important to Sitka. Bill Bjork, President Fairbanks Education Association PO Box 333 Ester, Alaska 99725 POSITION STATEMENT: Urged the committee to slow down the process with HB 465. Barbara Young PO Box 772442 Eagle River, Alaska 99577 POSITION STATEMENT: Urged that HB 465 not be passed out of committee. Don Campbell PO Box 871045 Wasilla, Alaska 99687 POSITION STATEMENT: Expressed concerns with HB 465. Kathleen Wight-Murphy, First Grade Teacher PO Box 876166 Wasilla, Alaska 99687 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 465. Tom Hermon PO Box 3645 Palmer, Alaska 99645 POSITION STATEMENT: Stated that HB 465 undermines teaching. Marvin Faris PO Box 6631 Wasilla, Alaska 99654 POSITION STATEMENT: Discussed due process. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 96-26, SIDE A SB 301 POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION Number 002 CHAIRMAN GREEN called the Senate Health, Education and Social Services (HESS) Committee to order at 9:04 a.m. and introduced SB 301 as the first order of business before the committee. She announced that she intended to take testimony, but anticipated some time constraints. HB 465 will be before the committee again on Wednesday. She invited any witness interested to submit written testimony to the HESS committee. Chairman Green asked Mr. Tibbles to review the changes made to SB 301 since the last meeting. MIKE TIBBLES, Staff to Senator Green, directed the committee to page 3 of the Ford draft F dated 3/29/96. Under Section 4, the specified members were deleted and replaced with "The corporation shall be the members of the commission." Under subsection (c), the specific references to the schools were deleted and replaced with generic language. SENATOR SALO inquired as to what language was deleted in Section 4. MIKE TIBBLES stated that the specific references to the members were deleted and replaced with language saying that the members will consist of the members of the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education. Under another section of the bill the members are specified. SENATOR SALO inquired as to where the commissioners were addressed. CHAIRMAN GREEN directed Senator Salo to page 17, Section 44; the members of the corporation are specified in this section. Number 078 MIKE TIBBLES noted a technical change on page 4, line 19 where "program" was changed to "programs". At the request of the Department of Law, subsection (b) was deleted because the corporation already had the authority to obtain legal counsel. On page 13, line 26 the existing language "subject to appropriation" was retained. Mr. Tibbles reiterated that Section 44 specifies what members are on the commission. SENATOR MILLER moved that the CSSB 301 Ford version F dated 3/29/96 be adopted in lieu of the original bill for a working document. Hearing no objection, Ford version F was adopted. SENATOR SALO noted that this draft has substantive changes and therefore, hoped that more time to review this draft would be given. CHAIRMAN GREEN said that in some brief checks, this draft has not met any objection. The bill, version C, that came before the committee was worked on by the Department of Law, the Department of Education, and the Commission on Postsecondary Education. The changes in version F were those discussed in the last meeting. Chairman Green said that legislators do want confirmation and the bill has been set up accordingly. Chairman Green stated that she would like to see the bill move out of committee today. Number 139 SENATOR ELLIS asked if this bill retained legislators on the Commission of Postsecondary Education. CHAIRMAN GREEN clarified that the legislative members are only ex officio, non voting, members as is the student member. This bill has aggressive language that does not allow persons with special interests to be appointed as a member. SENATOR ELLIS asked if SB 301 retained the proposals in the EO. CHAIRMAN GREEN said that six or seven areas of the EO are maintained in SB 301. This bill goes further than the EO by repealing those federal laws that are no longer applicable or required. The EO was used as the basis for the bill. Chairman Green believed the main difference between the EO and the bill is that the bill makes the legislature a part of the confirmation process. She reiterated the changes pointed out by Mr. Tibbles earlier. Chairman Green pointed out that the institutional authorization remains with the commission. There are also some clean-up items from SB 123. The bill provides that persons involved with the corporation's institutions will sign an agreement indicating their intention to provide a good product. DIANE BARRANS, Executive Director of the Alaska Postsecondary Education Commission, believed that the program participation agreement is in existing language. Number 206 SENATOR ELLIS inquired as to the fate of the WICHE and WAMI programs under this bill. CHAIRMAN GREEN referred Senator Ellis to page 2, line 21 where the WAMI program falls under the University of Alaska and would be controlled by the Board of Regents. Currently, there are two line items in the budget concerning the WAMI program; one is in the university budget and the other is in the Department of Education. She noted that this was decided in the House. SENATOR ELLIS asked if the effect would be to eliminate the lines in the budget. CHAIRMAN GREEN said that it would coordinate the line items for WAMI. There would be no change to WICHE. SENATOR SALO expressed concern that the bill allows two boards to remain although, they are the same people. The legislative confirmation of the members may or may not create problems with the bond rating from the Bond Council. Senator Salo pointed out that there has been a significant change in this draft by making the members of the corporate board the members of the commission. She wanted to be sure that this would not jeopardize the bond rating. She wanted to have more time for that reason. Will this go to Finance? CHAIRMAN GREEN replied yes and agreed that concern could be passed on to Finance. Chairman Green did not believe that anyone wanted to negatively impact the bond rating. She believed that there was a provision for the board to continue. Number 259 SENATOR LEMAN moved that CSSB 301, Ford version F, be reported out of committee with accompanying fiscal notes and individual recommendations. SENATOR ELLIS objected. He did not believe the committee had given this bill adequate time. CHAIRMAN GREEN noted that there had been a task force on this for three weeks. SENATOR ELLIS asked if the task force consisted of Senator Green, Representative Toohey, and Representative Bunde. CHAIRMAN GREEN emphasized that the task force was open to anyone interested. Chairman Green noted that the Department of Law, the Department of Education, and the Commission on Postsecondary Education participated. The Department of Law and the Commission on Postsecondary Education came up with version C of the bill. The following changes were made by Mr. Ford. SENATOR ELLIS asked if the Administration supported this version moving out of the committee. CHAIRMAN GREEN did not know. Upon a roll call vote, Senators Green, Miller, and Leman voted "Yea" and Senators Ellis and Salo voted "Nay". Therefore, CSSB 301(HES), version F, passed out of committee. HB 465 TEACHERS/ADMINISTRATORS/COLL. BARGAINING Number 283 CHAIRMAN GREEN introduced HB 465 as the next order of business before the committee. REPRESENTATIVE IVAN, prime sponsor, read the following sponsor statement: I introduced House Bill 465 to promote quality, performance, accountability and fairness in our educational system and the youth it serves. This bill also gives our school districts a degree of flexibility when dealing with increased costs associated with our educational system. Committee Substitute for House Bill 465 (HESS) amended would allow school districts to layoff teachers who have acquired tenure rights, but only if the school district finds it necessary to reduce the number of teachers due to declining enrollment or declining revenues and after all nontenured teachers are given notice of nonretention. However, a school district may retain a nontenured teacher and place a tenured teacher on layoff if there is no tenured teacher in the district who is qualified to replace the nontenured teacher. The bill also increases tenure from two to three years and removes the costly trial de novo portion of our statutes which allows a school district employee who, if not satisfied with a district led investigation, to go to the court system to begin an entirely new trial. The district's investigation, most often, must be recreated. The deletion of the trial de novo provides our educators the same protections as provided to other state employees. New procedures for appealing a decision to dismiss or nonretain a tenured teacher are established in House Bill 465. The record established during the various hearings will be available for use if a suit is filed in superior court. A tenured teacher may waive the school board hearing and appeal directly to superior court. An extensive evaluation system and an improvement of performance plan is included in House Bill 465. The evaluation system can be used for nonretention purposes. Should a tenured or nontenured teacher receive a less than acceptable evaluation, a plan of improvement would be implemented. If the district demonstrates the teacher's performance does not meet professional performance standards and objectives defined in the plan of improvement, the teacher is subject to nonretention. Sections 2 and 4 of House Bill 465 apply only to those teachers who are hired after the bill is signed into law. The remaining sections of the bill dealing with loss of tenure rights, evaluations, layoff and rehire and elimination of trial de novo go into effect after the bill is signed and will have an effect on all teachers. Representative Ivan pointed out that there is a sectional analysis in the committee packet. He said that he would answer any questions. Number 342 SENATOR SALO inquired as to how Representative Ivan would characterize HB 465 versus HB 217. REPRESENTATIVE IVAN believed that HB 465 was about the same as HB 217. HB 465 attempts to provide flexibility and the necessary tools to the school districts in order to develop and staff educational plans. With regards to the layoff provisions of the bill, Representative Ivan explained that once a teacher is laid off that teacher is placed on stand by for three years. This bill also involves public input. SENATOR LEMAN asked if the new CS incorporated the Governor's concerns which were expressed when HB 217 was vetoed last year. REPRESENTATIVE IVAN believed that HB 465 addressed the Governor's concerns. Representative Ivan noted that he was not invited to sit in on the task force which reviewed HB 217 and the Governor's concerns. However, last month Representative Ivan agreed to get together with the task force as well as the public, NEA, PTAs, the Association of School Boards, etc and discuss HB 465. That meeting resulted in 16 proposed changes of which 13 were incorporated into HB 465. CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if HB 465 was amended in House HESS as well as on the floor of the House. REPRESENTATIVE IVAN replied yes. Representative Ivan mentioned that NEA brought forth three recommendations prior to the House HESS meeting; of those two were accepted. Number 403 CARL ROSE, Executive Director of the Association of Alaska School Boards, informed the committee that he would forward some pertinent information to the committee after the meeting. Mr. Rose quoted the following comments made by President Clinton at the National Governors' Association Education Summit on March 27, 1996. "We need a candid assessment of what is right and what is wrong with our educational system and what we need to do. Your focus on standards, your focus on assessment, your focus on technology is all to the good. We know that many of our schools do a very good job, but some of them don't. We know that many of our teachers are great, but some don't measure up. We know that many of our communities are seizing the opportunities of the present and the future, but too many aren't." "I accept your premise; we can only do better with tougher standards and better assessment, and you should set the standards. I believe that is absolutely right. We'll support you however you want. But they won't work unless you're going to really see whether the standards are being met and unless there are consequences to those who don't meet them. I think you have to reward the good teachers and get more good people in teaching, and that we have to facilitate the removal of those who aren't performing." "We need a system that doesn't look the other way if a teacher is burned out or not performing up to standard. There ought to be a fair process for removing teachers who aren't competent, but the process also has to be much faster and far less costly than it is." "I read the other day that in New York it can cost as much as $200,000 to dismiss a teacher who is incompetent. In Glen Ellen, Illinois, a school district spent $70,000 to dismiss a high school math teacher who couldn't do basic algebra and let the students sleep in class. That is wrong." "We should do more to reward good teachers; we should have a system that is fair to teachers, but moves much more expeditiously and much more cheaply in holding teachers accountable." "So states and school systems and teachers unions need to be working together to make it tougher to get licensed and recertified, easier and less costly to get teachers who can't teach out of the classrooms, and clearly set rewards for teachers who are performing, especially if they become board certified, or in some defined way to prove themselves excellent." Number 447 Mr. Rose presented the committee with a packet of information which included a side-by-side comparison of HB 217 and HB 465. He pointed out that when the Governor vetoed HB 217 he was critical of a four year tenure requirement. The bill before the committee has reduced the tenure requirement to three years. The Governor had also noted that the quality of education was not addressed in the evaluation process. The bill before the committee has an extensive process. With regards to the layoff provisions of the bill, those provisions provide a temporary measure for emergency downsizing due to decreased enrollment or decreased funding of a school. The layoff provisions are more permissive than nonretention. Mr. Rose noted that judicial review was requested as a method of appeal, but a compromise was placed in HB 465 which utilizes the language of HB 217 that allows direct access to the court. Mr. Rose also noted that HB 465 does not have a RIP. He felt that this bill did meet the veto message of the Governor. The packet of information Mr. Rose gave the committee contained a list of all the amendments made to the bill as well as a letter of support. Mr. Rose said that he supported HB 465. SENATOR SALO inquired as to where standards are addressed in HB 465. CARL ROSE explained that the evaluation process is based on standards adopted by the Board of Education. The evaluation process is located in Section 4, page 3, line 6. Mr. Rose noted that the "based on" language was used because there are teacher certification standards as well as national teacher certification standards that could be considered. In response to Senator Salo, Mr. Rose said that those standards had been adopted by regulation. SENATOR SALO asked where the rewards for good teachers are located in the bill. CARL ROSE believed that teachers are currently rewarded very well with the compensation pay. We are attempting to address quality in the classroom through the evaluation process. SENATOR SALO did not understand why Mr. Rose and his association would not have stayed with HB 398, if they did want to address quality in the classroom. The findings section of HB 398 focused the same goals of HB 465 in a manner that might have had a chance to improve the quality of schools. Senator Salo said that HB 465 is not focused on improving the quality of schools. Number 512 SENATOR LEMAN pointed out that he has believed for years that teachers should be paid according to performance, although there has been resistance to that notion. He suggested that he and Senator Salo could work together on addressing that. Senator Leman did not believe that HB 465 addressed that concern. SENATOR SALO believed that rewards were more than the level of pay one receives, for instance, the level of respect received from others and the level of academic and political freedom a teacher receives are also rewards. Senator Salo said that it did not have to be merit pay. SENATOR LEMAN said that it could be one element. SENATOR SALO said that if Senator Leman could do it fairly she would agree. RICK CROSS, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Education, noted that Governor Knowles had submitted HB 398 and SB 204 which deal with the same subject as HB 465. Governor Knowles supports his bills. Mr. Cross explained that HB 398 and SB 204 were the result of the dialogues between persons effected by public education in Alaska after the Governor vetoed HB 217. Mr. Cross said that dialogue had been continued with this bill which has led to some of the significant modifications encompassed in the bill before the committee. Hopefully, this dialogue will continue. When comparing SB 204 and HB 398 to HB 465, the evaluation process in the Governor's bills has much local determination and is standards based. HB 465 has a prescriptive evaluation process that is well defined before the school board is allowed to work with its constituents to develop a process. Mr. Cross said that a process based on quality standards is desired. Any bill in this area should attempt to improve the quality of teaching and ensure that the teacher is performing up to the state standards. Therefore, the "less than acceptable" language in HB 465 could be greatly strengthened if tied to established standards. Mr. Cross acknowledged that Representative Ivan had been open in working with everyone and listening to all the concerns which have led to some significant modifications; hopefully, that process will continue. In conclusion, Governor Knowles supports SB 204 and HB 398 while acknowledging the considerable process that has occurred with HB 465. Number 563 SENATOR MILLER noted that Mr. Cross was previously a superintendent, when stating that there is a compromise with the trial de novo issue; if a teacher can go before the school board and if the case goes to court, then it would be a review of the process or the teacher can choose to bypass the school board process and go directly to Superior Court. Senator Miller asked Mr. Cross if as a former superintendent, if he believed the aforementioned compromise would work with the districts. RICK CROSS informed everyone that not only was he a former superintendent but also a former teacher. He felt that the ability to bypass the school board and go directly to Superior Court to be a very strong protection. SENATOR SALO recalled that HB 217 had a means of independent review that would be less expensive than Superior Court access. She asked Mr. Cross if there was a way in which to provide a fair review of a dismissal that also saves money and time. RICK CROSS said that the key to that is the elimination of duplicate processes. Under the old system, the school board hearing was misrepresented by many. The school board hearing was a full hearing which required cross examination by attorneys, full witness disclosure, and a record. TAPE 96-26, SIDE B Mr. Cross said that the school board hearing had been characterized as summary. In his experience, the school board hearings were extensive and cost $100,000 plus. To have to duplicate that in the Superior Court doubles the expense and jeopardizes the district's ability to retain witnesses; testimony may occur over a five year period. A process that eliminates the pyramiding would be critical to reducing the time and cost associated with the procedures. HB 465 provides for direct action in Superior Court which means a complete hearing with all evidence; this would shorten the process greatly. Should a teacher elect to go directly to Superior Court, the school board would not be involved in the dismissal at all which could be a concern to some. In response to Chairman Green, Mr. Cross said that he would like to continue the dialogue. Number 560 STEVE MCPHETRES, Executive Director of the Alaska Council of School Administrators, supported HB 465. The development of HB 465 has been a long process, but Representative Ivan has been open to suggestions. For example, the original bill referred to "teacher evaluation" but ACSA believed that administrators should be subject to the evaluation process just as certified teachers and the language now reflects that. Mr. McPhetres pointed out that evaluations should be done in order to improve which HB 465 addresses. Evaluations are not done merely to get rid of people. Mr. McPhetres said that he would be happy to be involved in any further discussions on any amendments that come before the committee. SENATOR SALO was happy to hear Mr. McPhetres comment on evaluations. She believed that evaluations under existing law focus more on improving instruction because there is not such a clear path to eliminate employment. With HB 465, there seems to be a clearer, straighter evaluation path to get rid of people. Given that change, would evaluations for the improvement of instruction be able to be maintained? STEVE MCPHETRES believed that HB 465 strengthens the evaluation process by allowing input from the general public to develop an evaluation criteria. Mr. McPhetres noted that the check sheet is utilized now, although, this system does not address the needs of society. Mr. McPhetres seemed to think that an accountable process could be developed in order to place some confidence back into the communities from the schools. SENATOR SALO stated that most in the profession would agree that in the past, even the check sheets have not been done or done without observation. Senator Salo inquired as to how the bill could assure that those observations and evaluations were done. STEVE MCPHETRES said that HB 465 does assure that observations and evaluations are done. The original legislation said that if the administrator was not doing their job, the administrator would be subject to dismissal. Mr. McPhetres informed everyone that ACSA suggested that administrators be placed on the same playing field as teachers; if an administrator is not doing their job, they should be part of the plan of improvement. There is more accountability in this bill than in any existing regulation. Mr. McPhetres noted that workshops are already being set for evaluation training for administrators across the state. Number 504 SENATOR SALO pointed out that teachers would have to bring to light that the administrator they worked under was not doing evaluations. Therefore, there needs to be protections against repercussions of reporting an administrator. STEVE MCPHETRES agreed. HB 465 holds everyone to a higher level than in the past. SENATOR SALO inquired as to the protection for the teacher who reports his/her administrator. She believed that an administrator would still be able to do a bad job due to the fear of reporting the administrator, especially if the teacher is nontenured. As a nontenured teacher, Senator Salo said that she would not report that she had not been observed because she thought she would lose her job. STEVE MCPHETRES said that the due process is well laid out as to what should be done. With HB 465, every school district will be held more accountable to this process. The superintendent, the principal, and the teachers will be subject to know the requirements. The bill specifies that before an evaluation occurs, there will be training for the administrator and the certified person who is to be evaluated. The framework is established in HB 465 so that everyone involved is held more accountable. CHAIRMAN GREEN pointed out that HB 465 requires that the school district observes the administrator. That administrator can be placed on a plan of improvement. MARILYN LEAHY, President of the Valdez School Board, viewed HB 465 as providing some important tools to increase the board's accountability to the quality of education. The public access and involvement would ensure due process. She was pleased with how standards would established in the classroom. With regard to the layoff procedures, Ms. Leahy envisioned layoff to be used in extraordinary cases not in the daily management of a district. The layoff procedure would serve as a safety net to preserve the district and the children in the face of budget changes. Ms. Leahy believed that layoff should be used when all other options had been exhausted. Ms. Leahy believed that HB 465 would ultimately provide a tool to improve the quality of education in school districts and allow more accountability to the standards in education as well as more financially accountable. CHAIRMAN GREEN announced that witnesses were now under a two minute time limit due to the many people wanting to testify. Number 432 KEN KLUNDER, a teacher from Mat-Su, returned to the previous discussion of respect. Respect means that if a teacher has worked in a district for a number of years, then the teacher has some protection. This bill will not respect that in all cases. Under HB 465, if a teacher is reported to be a bad teacher that teacher would receive a hearing. However, if a teacher's program is eliminated, the teacher would not be given a hearing nor does the bill mention seniority. Therefore, the time that teacher spent improving their skills is gone. Mr. Klunder acknowledged that the bill provides three years of rehire possibilities, but who can wait that long. Under HB 465, the elimination of a program can be done very easily. Mr. Klunder said that should not be the case; program elimination should not be done due to budget cuts. He asked when Alaska would begin discussions about maintaining the budget and eventually rebuilding. HB 465 will create an environment in which a school board's personal agenda could be established very easily. In the past, teachers had to be replaced which is expensive. Mr. Klunder believed that if the elimination of programs was made more difficult, then there would be a deeper search to determine a course of action. Mr. Klunder expressed concern with establishing the standards at the state level; there is nothing mentioned about pedagogy in this bill. The bill addressed maintenance issues and does not delve into the heart of teaching, so he felt that these were low level standards. Mr. Klunder suggested that the standards be established at the local level; why allow the state to establish standards that will never be changed? If the standards are established at the district level, then those standards can evolve. Mr. Klunder emphasized that he wanted an evaluation system that made him a better teacher. If the desire is to fire the teacher, then another process should be followed. Mr. Klunder recognized that there are some positive areas to HB 465. In conclusion, Mr. Klunder stated that it should not be too easy to cut a budget. SENATOR LEMAN agreed with Mr. Klunder that the standards should be established in the district. Senator Leman believed the bill was permissive on that issue. With regards to Mr. Klunder's comment about the lack of a hearing when a program is eliminated, Senator Leman believed that the district's hearings on the budget and programs are public. He suggested that the involvement should be at the district's hearings. KEN KLUNDER noted the difficulty for people to look at another point of view. He pointed out that some excellent and progressive programs have been eliminated. Number 370 DONALD EVANS, Superintendent of the Southwest Region School District, supported HB 465. As a teacher, a principal, and currently a superintendent, Mr. Evans believed that HB 465 offered a positive compromise approach to improve education. Mr. Evans pointed out that HB 465 supports parental input to the education process which is long overdue. GAYLE PIERCE, testifying from Fairbanks, directed the committee to paragraph (7) on page 3 which discusses providing information on the performance of a teacher from sources other than the administrator. The current regulation, Chapter 19 which addresses evaluations, includes a provision that allows an administrator to use sources other than the direct observation in the evaluation of a teacher. Ms. Pierce emphasized that the current regulations also recognize the teacher's right to know what these sources of additional information are. She suggested that the knowledge of the content and the source of that information continue to be as in regulation. Is that provision in the bill? CHAIRMAN GREEN deferred to Tom Wright. TOM WRIGHT, staff to Representative Ivan, said that provision was added on the House floor by Representative Brown. That provision is on page 4, line 23 of the CSHB 465(HES) am. GAYLE PIERCE referred to page 7, subsections (d) and (e) regarding the layoff provisions which are commonly addressed in negotiated agreements. She pointed out that the negotiated agreements are different than in the bill because they are negotiated with regard to local circumstances. She expressed concern with the meaning of "this section may not be in conflict with the provisions of this section." Currently, some contracts contain a two year recall provision while other contracts specify more than three years. Would the language in the bill mean that such contracts would be in conflict with the bill? CHAIRMAN GREEN explained that Sections 2 and 4 only apply to those teachers who are employed after the bill is signed into law. The remainder of the bill goes into effect after the bill is signed and will effect all teachers. Chairman Green said that she could not answer Ms. Pierce's question. She asked Ms. Pierce to repeat her question. GAYLE PIERCE reiterated that currently there are locally bargained agreements that address the content and thrust of HB 465 in subsections (d) and (e). What does it mean to be in conflict? Would local agreements with different layoff provisions be in conflict with HB 465? CHAIRMAN GREEN replied no. She assumed that locally negotiated contracts would not be in conflict with HB 465. She asked Ms. Pierce if she had a layoff provision in her contract. GAYLE PIERCE replied yes. Number 286 SENATOR SALO pointed out that years are specified on page 7, subsection (e). In her opinion, subsection (f) does state that would be in conflict. This illustrates a larger problem with the bill. HB 465 takes things out of the local arena and places them in the state arena, in a state that is very diverse. Senator Salo read this language to say that the collective bargaining agreements with different specifications would be moot under this bill. TOM WRIGHT noted that the three years specified on page 7 only refers to the time a teacher is on layoff status. The language does not refer to any agreement in effect at the time HB 465 is signed. SENATOR SALO emphasized that the bill would prevent further agreements from negotiating the time for layoff status. Currently, agreements regarding layoff status differs. According to subsection (f), once the bill passes, negotiated agreements cannot be different. SENATOR LEMAN said that referred to new agreements. SENATOR SALO noted that the language removes the ability to negotiate that issue at the local level. BARBARA STEK, testifying from Anchorage, said that she was representing some teachers from Anchorage. Ms. Stek said that HB 398 was a compromise bill that was developed and agreed upon by many parties, however, HB 398 seems to have been held in committee to die. This new document, HB 465, does not seem to meet the needs of everyone. She informed the committee that Anchorage does not use a check off system, but under this bill Anchorage may have to use a system that is not as good as their current system. Furthermore, the incompetency criteria for nonretention has been deleted and the plans for improvement are vague. Ms. Stek believed that HB 465 allowed the State Legislature to under fund education. Under HB 465, school districts would be allowed to layoff who they want, increase class sizes, and then work can be done within budget constraints. Ms. Stek emphasized that the legislature needs to find revenue in order to avoid the layoff issue. There are other ways to improve education, HB 465 will not improve education. Number 212 PAT GAKIN, testifying from Mat-Su, did not oppose three year tenure, however HB 465 nullifies tenure since anyone can be laid off or nonretained. HB 465 will not attract good teachers because there is no job security due to the vague evaluation procedure. Some teachers may feel threatened by some parents who will insist on certain grades otherwise a bad evaluation of the teacher will result. Ms. Gakin informed the committee that as a counselor she is involved in reporting to the Division of Family and Youth Services(DFYS). She expressed concern that parents may decide to strike out against whomever they feel has reported to DFYS. Ms. Gakin pointed out that there are four seats in Mat-Su who are parents or community members or students who evaluate teachers. Ms. Gakin expressed concern that good teachers will not be kept if programs may be totally eliminated or contracted out to noncertificated persons. Under this bill, the teacher education standards would not have any control over noncertificated persons. HB 465 takes away due process for teachers. Ms. Gakin informed the committee that she had taught in Alaska for 18 years. She said that she would not have come to Alaska if she did not believe that Alaska was a good place to teach and she had valuable things to offer. Ms. Gakin stressed that she would not have come to Alaska now knowing there is no job security. Over half of the teachers in Ms. Gakin's high school have masters degrees which mean that these teachers have had more time in their specialized area. She predicted that these teachers would not continue to go into education, if they could be laid off at any time due to budget constraints. When any decrease in funding can cause a teacher to be nonretained or laid off, the best teachers may leave Alaska or even the profession. STEVE WRIGHT, Kenai Peninsula Educational Support Association, said that the committee may wonder why a swing shift high school custodian would be concerned about these bills. He informed the committee that the Kenai Peninsula Education Association and the Kenai Peninsula Educational Support Association are currently in the middle of joint bargaining which is a first in Alaska. How does teacher tenure effect support employees? Mr. Wright explained that support employees work side-by-side with teachers during the day and into the night. These proposed bills would have great financial and emotional effect on teachers. He predicted that employee morale, productivity, and financial stability would suffer as a result of HB 465. What happens to teachers also happens to the support staff. Mr. Wright urged the committee to pay attention to the testimony from education employees. Number 152 JOHN HOLST, testifying from Sitka, informed the committee that the Sitka school district has been involved in the nonretention of a teacher since 1990. He noted that this case has gone through three trials and is returning to the Supreme Court. Mr. Holst believed that HB 465 would assist in changing some of the processes that have lead to this six-year-old unresolved situation. Mr. Holst referred to a Newsweek article of a few years ago in which the President of NEA said they would ensure that it would cost a quarter of a million for any teacher that is dismissed or nonretained. Mr. Holst agreed that the check list type of evaluation was not good. A formative evaluation system done locally would be preferable; Sitka is in the process of doing that. He noted that Sitka continues to lose enrollment due to the closure of the mill. Therefore, the provisions in HB 465 are very important to Sitka. Mr. Holst hoped that when HB 465 is passed on that the Tier 3 would not be attached to the bill. SENATOR SALO thought that current law provides the tools for layoff due to decreased enrollment. JOHN HOLST said that Sitka's problem is more complicated. Sitka is one of the two lowest per pupil funded school districts in the state and it is also against the cap. Sitka may have to layoff additional staff even if enrollment remains steady. BILL BJORK, President of the Fairbanks Education Association, expressed concern with the process of HB 465 through the legislature. If HB 465 could get enough attention, it would evolve into the compromise legislation of HB 398 and SB 304. Mr. Bjork believed that HB 465 could be amended sufficiently so that the association could support it. HB 465 has been fast-tracked through the House and is currently scheduled for only one committee hearing in the Senate; this is troublesome. Mr. Bjork emphasized that it is difficult for a teacher to participate in a hearing such as this. He urged the committee to slow down the process with HB 465. Mr. Bjork noted that current law says if there is a decrease in enrollment which leads to a decrease in funding, then layoff of tenured teachers could occur. On page 6, line 24 HB 465 says "school attendance in the district has decreased". Mr. Bjork asked if the prime sponsor intended to tie attendance to funding. How is enrollment being intended on page 3, line 24. TOM WRIGHT recalled that under current statutes a decrease in enrollment would be cause for nonretention. Under HB 465, there are two different categories that trigger layoff: "a significant, demonstrated reduction in per-pupil expenditures due to a decrease in revenue from one year to the next" and "school attendance in the district has decreased". BILL BJORK asked if that both criterias must be met or one or the other of the criteria. TOM WRIGHT clarified that one or the other of the criteria would have to be meet for layoffs. BILL BJORK inquired as to the definition of "significant, demonstrated reduction" on line 25 of page 6. TOM WRIGHT said that language was taken from HB 398. This is the language suggested by the reconstituted task force. Number 020 SENATOR SALO expressed concern with the lack of a requirement for the districts to decrease their administrative costs before laying off teachers. She said that her district was concerned with this. TOM WRIGHT acknowledged that that issue is not addressed in HB 465. TAPE 96-27, SIDE A BARBARA YOUNG, testifying from Anchorage, expressed concern with the evaluation provisions for her daughter's teacher. She did not feel qualified to evaluate her daughter's teacher. If Ms. Young is lucky she can spend one day a year in her daughter's classroom. Ms. Young did not believe she could evaluate her daughter's teacher fairly or professionally. Currently, there are standards in place. She urged the committee to allow the qualified people to do their job. HB 465 would also allow a school district or administrator to place anyone under a plan of improvement and nonretain anyone who does not receive an acceptable performance evaluation. Who will handle my daughter's class if her teacher is dismissed in the middle of the year? Will class sizes be increased or will the teacher be replaced with an inexperienced teacher? In either case the students would lose. She urged the committee not to pass HB 465 out of committee. In conclusion, Ms. Young said that she would appreciate answers to her questions regarding class size. DON CAMPBELL, testifying from Mat-Su, referred to Section 11 of HB 465 when asking if there was a process to appeal an administrative decision to layoff a tenured teacher due to performance. CHAIRMAN GREEN said that there is a process. DON CAMPBELL inquired as to the particulars of that process. Number 068 TOM WRIGHT explained that if a tenured teacher is nonretained due to an evaluation plan of performance, there are procedures in Section 11 that would address that. Mr. Wright referred everyone to Section 11, subsection (b) on line 16. DON CAMPBELL reiterated his question regarding whether the teacher would have a process to appeal the decision. CHAIRMAN GREEN directed Mr. Campbell to line 19 which allows the teacher to notify the employer that he/she is requesting a hearing before the school board. That begins the appeal process. DON CAMPBELL asked if every other public employee, except teachers and politically appointed employees, had the right to arbitrate their dismissal. CHAIRMAN GREEN replied no. DON CAMPBELL said that sounded discriminatory. CHAIRMAN GREEN asked Mr. Campbell to leave his phone number with the LIO so that she could get back to him on those questions. KATHLEEN WIGHT-MURPHY, testifying from Mat-Su, informed the committee that she was a First Grade Teacher and that she had been an educator for over 20 years. Ms. Murphy stressed her overwhelming support of improving education in Alaska, but was overwhelming opposed to HB 465. She agreed with a fair and equitable evaluation procedure and noted that in her district there are already such procedures in place. Tenured teachers can be nonretained due to documented incompetence after a plan of improvement has not been met. Principals need only be actively involved in observations and follow through with procedures that are already in place. Ms. Murphy expressed concern with the mandatory state performance standards. She thought it interesting that there are only voluntary performance standards for students, leaving it to school districts to cooperatively work with community members, parents, and teachers to develop academic standards and guidelines. Ms. Murphy also found it interesting that most legislators have ran on political platforms that want less governmental control with greater control to local government. Individual school districts should be able to collaboratively establish teacher standards appropriate for their specific communities. Ms. Murphy said that she had never met a teacher that was not dedicated to this profession. She expressed concern with how these standards would be evaluated and who will determine if the teacher is meeting the needs of her students. Ms. Murphy said that she had much more to discuss and would send her written statement to all members of the committee. She urged the committee to reconsider HB 465. Number 166 TOM HERMON, testifying from Mat-Su, said that HB 465 would create anxiety for teachers. Job security will no longer exist, even for an outstanding educator. HB 465 does not improve the quality of education. Mr. Hermon stated that education depends upon teachers reaching out to students to motivate them to learn. If HB 465 passes, teachers will worry about themselves and be unable to reach out to students. HB 465 undermines teaching and the profession. CHAIRMAN GREEN called Lucy Hope as the next witness. Ms. Hope yielded her time to the next person on the list. MARVIN FARIS, testifying from Wasilla, thought that Senator Salo's comments regarding due process were very insightful. He was concerned with the issue as well, especially in Section 9 which deals with nonretention. How is a teacher to receive due process protection when he/she can be nonretained for failure to meet performance objectives that are described in the individual plan of improvement? Number 206 CHAIRMAN GREEN believed that it had been thought out to the point where changes had been identified and established in the plan of improvement. MARVIN FARIS interjected that he understood that completely. Mr. Faris reiterated his question regarding how the due process issue fits into this. Will teachers be afforded due process rights or will HB 465 aggregate those rights? CHAIRMAN GREEN said that teachers would have the opportunity to have an administrative hearing or go directly to court. MARVIN FARIS suggested that Chairman Green review the bill a bit more carefully. If state employees and others have due process standards or cause for being nonretained or dismissed, teachers should be afforded the same right. Constitutionally and historically, due process has been a very important part of the legal process in this country. HB 465 seems to take away those rights. TOM WRIGHT pointed out that the nonretention section is in Section 11, subsections (b) and (c). The employee can by-pass the school board and go directly to Superior Court. MARVIN FARIS inquired as to what would prevent a tenured teacher from being arbitrarily found to have insufficient teaching standards. How can these people be treated fairly? SENATOR SALO said that Mr. Faris' last statement was at the core of the concern with HB 465. The "less than acceptable" language is fairly open and would depend on one's interpretation. Senator Salo said that HB 465 does include due process, but the bill uses language which is very broad. MARVIN FARIS agreed with Senator Salo's thinking. He inquired as to why the standard of incompetency was deleted as a standard for the nonretention of a teacher. Why is this standard too hard to prove? Number 257 TOM WRIGHT said that this is an attempt to tie this to the evaluation system. If a person does not perform up to the standards after the plan of improvement, this would tie it into the evaluation. CHAIRMAN GREEN announced that HB 465 would be taken up again Wednesday. SENATOR SALO said that tying the evaluation system to incompetence is good. However, substituting the word incompetent with "less than acceptable" creates the biggest problem for the bill. She said that she would construct some amendments. CHAIRMAN GREEN said that Vernon Marshall and Willie Anderson would be heard first on Wednesday. For those on teleconference who did not get a chance to testify, please forward your written comments to the committee. She asked everyone who testified to get their written comments with specific suggestions to the committee. There being no further business before the committee, the meeting was adjourned at 10:57 a.m.