Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/01/1996 09:04 AM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                         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              
 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                   
 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                 
 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                
 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                    
 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                
 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            
 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           
 Representative Ivan pointed out that there is a sectional analysis            
 in the committee packet.  He said that he would answer any                    
 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            
 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                    
 "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                
 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                    
 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             
 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               
 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                     
 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           
 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               
 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              
 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           
 CHAIRMAN GREEN announced that HB 465 would be taken up again                  
 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.                                                  

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