Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/03/1996 09:05 AM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                         April 3, 1996                                         
                           9:05 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                                                           
 HOUSE BILL NO. 540 am                                                         
 "An Act relating to health care data and registration of births."             
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 465(HES) am                                             
 "An Act relating to employment of teachers and school                         
 administrators and to public school collective bargaining."                   
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
 HB 540 - See Senate Health, Education & Social Services minutes               
      dated 4/1/96.                                                            
 HB 465 - See Senate Health, Education & Social Services minutes               
          dated 4/1/96.                                                        
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
 Elmer Lindstrom, Special Assistant                                            
 Commissioner Perdue                                                           
 Department of Health & Social Services                                        
 PO Box 110601                                                                 
 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0601                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Discussed HB 540.                                        
 Garrey Peska                                                                  
 Hospital & Nursing Home Association                                           
 319 Seward Street                                                             
 Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                          
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 540.                                        
 Al Zangri, Chief                                                              
 Bureau of Vital Statistics                                                    
 Division of Public Health                                                     
 Department of Health & Social Services                                        
 PO Box 110675                                                                 
 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0675                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Viewed HB 540 as a housekeeping measure.                 
 Dr. John Middaugh, Chief                                                      
 Epidemiology Section                                                          
 Division of Public Health                                                     
 Department of Health & Social Services                                        
 PO Box 240249                                                                 
 Anchorage, Alaska 99524-0249                                                  
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 540.                                        
 Kimberly Homme, Special Assistant                                             
 Office of the Commissioner                                                    
 Department of Education                                                       
 801 W 10th Street, Suite 200                                                  
 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1894                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions.                                      
 Tom Wright, Staff                                                             
 Representative Ivan                                                           
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions.                                      
 Howard Trickey, Legal Counsel                                                 
 Anchorage School District                                                     
 PO Box 196614                                                                 
 Anchorage, Alaska 99519                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Discussed judicial review.                               
 Joe Josephson, Legal Counsel                                                  
 750 W. 2nd Avenue                                                             
 Anchorage, Alaska                                                             
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Discussed problems with HB 465 and some of               
                      the amendments.                                          
 Carl Rose, Executive Director                                                 
 Alaska Association of School Boards                                           
 316 W 10th Street                                                             
 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1894                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Discussed HB 465 and the amendments.                     
 Vernon Marshall, Executive Director                                           
 112 Second Street                                                             
 Juneau, Alaska                                                                
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Discussed Amendment 7.                                   
 Larry Wiget, Director                                                         
 Government Relations                                                          
 Anchorage School District                                                     
 PO Box 196614                                                                 
 Anchorage, Alaska 99519                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Discussed Amendment 7.                                   
 Jean Krause                                                                   
 Fairbanks, Alaska                                                             
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Discussed HB 465.                                        
 Virginia Walters                                                              
 214 Birch                                                                     
 Kenai, Alaska 99611                                                           
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Discussed the problems posed by HB 465.                  
 Jim Simeroth, President                                                       
 Kenai Peninsula Education Association                                         
 PO Box 925                                                                    
 Kenai, Alaska 99611                                                           
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Discussed concerns with HB 465.                          
 Jaqueline Dick                                                                
 Hoonah, Alaska                                                                
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 465.                                        
 Vergie Fryrear                                                                
 Hoonah, Alaska                                                                
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Urged the committee to support HB 465.                   
 Lucy Hope, President                                                          
 Mat-Su Education Association                                                  
 PO Box 870887                                                                 
 Wasilla, Alaska 99687                                                         
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Urged the committee to hold HB 465.                      
 Bill Munroe                                                                   
 Classified Employee Association                                               
 2950 Mariann's Place                                                          
 Wasilla, Alaska 99654                                                         
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Discussed problems with HB 465.                          
 Richard Krause                                                                
 PO Box 3121                                                                   
 Palmer, Alaska 99645                                                          
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Discussed problems with HB 465.                          
 Rob Pfisterer, President                                                      
 Anchorage Education Association                                               
 13210 Spendlove Drive                                                         
 Anchorage, Alaska 99516                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Discussed problems with HB 465.                          
 Clarence Bolden                                                               
 1234 Hillcrest Drive                                                          
 Anchorage, Alaska 99503                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Discussed the rural situation with respect to            
                      HB 465.                                                  
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
 TAPE 96-28, SIDE A                                                            
         HB 540 HEALTH CARE DATA; BIRTH REGISTRATIONS                        
 Number 002                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN GREEN called the Senate Health, Education and Social                 
 Services (HESS) Committee to order at 9:05 a.m. and introduced                
 HB 540  as the first order of business before the committee.                  
 ELMER LINDSTROM, Special Assistant in the Department of Health &              
 Social Services (DHSS), explained that HB 540 will accomplish                 
 changes in law necessary to ensure that DHSS has access to                    
 information regarding diseases and conditions of public health                
 significance that are essential to disease surveillance, control,             
 and prevention activities.  Civil immunity will be established for            
 providers who comply with the requirements to report health care              
 data.  This will also assure DHSS access to health records needed             
 to carry out its mandates and conduct research for the purposes of            
 protecting and promoting public health.  These provisions are                 
 required to continue eligibility for the federal grant of $420,000            
 per year which supports a registry of cancer occurrences in the               
 state.  Cancer has become the leading cause of death.  HB 540 will            
 activate changes needed to implement the electronic birth                     
 certificate system and clarify rules for filing and registering               
 births occurring en route to Alaska.  This system will reduce                 
 filing time from seven to five days in order to comply with                   
 requirements of the National Center for Health Statistics.   Mr.              
 Lindstrom noted that Dr. Middaugh and Mr. Zangri were on-line.                
 GARREY PESKA, Hospital & Nursing Home Association, supported                  
 HB 540.                                                                       
 Number 060                                                                    
 AL ZANGRI, Bureau of Vital Statistics in DHSS, said that the bureau           
 considers HB 540 to be a housekeeping measure that will clarify               
 those areas that Mr. Lindstrom mentioned.  Mr. Zangri noted that              
 DHSS has already saved a considerable amount of money on the                  
 electronic birth certificate system and will implement procedures             
 that will save money for hospitals that will no longer prepare                
 paper certificates to be mailed in to DHSS.                                   
 CHAIRMAN GREEN said that the committee intended to move HB 540 from           
 committee.  Unless there is opposing testimony, the committee would           
 proceed with that.                                                            
 DR. JOHN MIDDAUGH, Epidemiology Section of DHSS, supported HB 540.            
 He emphasized that the importance of HB 540 is to maintain the                
 state's eligibility for the $400,000 per year grant for five years            
 in order to establish a statewide cancer registry.  Dr. Middaugh              
 informed the committee that the department has coordinated with the           
 March of Dimes who had questions regarding the regulations for the            
 birth defects registry.  Those concerns have been satisfied and the           
 department will continue to work closely with the March of Dimes.             
 Dr. Middaugh said that the State Medical Association also supports            
 HB 540.                                                                       
 SENATOR SALO said that she hoped that HB 540 was more than a                  
 housekeeping measure in that the bill would improve Alaska's data             
 collection system; does HB 540 move forward?  DR. JOHN MIDDAUGH               
 replied yes.  The provisions in HB 540 facilitate the department's            
 relationship with the hospitals and private physicians in a                   
 collaborative manner in order to exchange information about the               
 conditions of public health.                                                  
 SENATOR MILLER moved that HB 540 am be moved out of committee with            
 individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so                  
        HB 465 TEACHERS/ADMINISTRATORS/COLL. BARGAINING                       
 Number 120                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN GREEN introduced  HB 465  as the next order of business              
 before the committee.  She informed the committee that she intended           
 to hear testimony today and hold HB 465 until Wednesday to consider           
 the many amendments to the bill.  Chairman Green invited witnesses            
 to testify now or after the amendments were discussed.                        
 SENATOR SALO felt that it would be helpful for those who wished to            
 testify to have the amendments briefly characterized as well as a             
 general overview.  Senator Salo informed the committee that she had           
 amendments to offer.                                                          
 CHAIRMAN GREEN stated that there has been indications that the                
 phrase "less than acceptable" is unsatisfactory.  Therefore,                  
 Amendment 1 was created which ties district standards to the                  
 SENATOR LEMAN moved that Amendment 1 be adopted.                              
 SENATOR SALO objected.  She pointed out that many of the amendments           
 head in different directions.  Amendment 1 removes the ambiguous              
 language of "less than acceptable" and develops district                      
 performance standards.  Senator Salo hoped that the district                  
 performance standards would be in line with the state performance             
 standards.  Amendment 1 is not an acceptable approach because of              
 the removal of the competency standard.  Senator Salo was unclear             
 as to the process the committee would follow.  Would all the                  
 amendments be moved first?                                                    
 Number 200                                                                    
 SENATOR LEMAN believed that if this issue addressed in Amendment 1            
 is a recurring theme then taking the amendment up now could                   
 eliminate some of the testimony on this issue.  Senator Leman spoke           
 to Section 12 and the concerns of those who believe that school               
 districts will not be allowed to develop their own performance                
 standards; that was not his intention.  Senator Leman emphasized              
 his support of local control for education.                                   
 CHAIRMAN GREEN said that the amendment attempts to return the                 
 formulation of the standards to the districts as well as                      
 recognizing that there are Department of Education standards in               
 regulation.  Those departmental standards should be the standard              
 under which no district goes.  The district would choose the point            
 at which they bring or describe their standards.  Chairman Green              
 emphasized the importance of local control.                                   
 SENATOR SALO stressed the importance of a person knowing upon what            
 performance standards they are being evaluated at the beginning.              
 Furthermore, prior evaluations are still important as the relate to           
 the standards during that time.  Senator Salo informed the                    
 committee that she would be offering an amendment with a delayed              
 effective date in order to ensure that the state standards are in             
 effect on July 1, 1997.                                                       
 CHAIRMAN GREEN agreed.  She believed that the legislature should              
 encourage districts to develop this language which is what the                
 amendment attempts.  Chairman Green intended for every district to            
 exceed the standards established in AS 14.20.149.                             
 Number 260                                                                    
 SENATOR ELLIS noted that the state is establishing performance                
 standards for student performance.  He asked if the state is also             
 working on performance standards for teachers as well.  Senator               
 Ellis was interested in when those standards would be developed at            
 the state level.  Senator Ellis asked if Chairman Green's comment             
 indicating that district standards should meet or exceed the                  
 state's performance standards for teachers was in the bill or other           
 CHAIRMAN GREEN believed that was implied.                                     
 SENATOR ELLIS restated his question; would school districts by                
 statute, once the state performance standards are in place, be                
 required to meet or exceed those standards for teachers and                   
 students?  Or is this a voluntary guideline?                                  
 KIMBERLY HOMME, Special Assistant in the Department of Education,             
 said that Senator Ellis was correct.  Currently in regulation,                
 there are voluntary performance standards for students.  Teacher              
 education standards have been adopted and are in regulation.  Ms.             
 Homme pointed out that the teacher education standards are related            
 to teacher performance standards.  She had not had a chance to                
 review the amendments.  The district performance standards in the             
 other bill were based on the state standards and regulations.                 
 Number 315                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN GREEN clarified that the amendment removes the "less than            
 acceptable" language.  She referred to the reference to Section 12            
 on page 2 of Amendment 1.                                                     
 SENATOR ELLIS surmised that the changes to Section 12 meant that              
 the districts would have to meet the state standards in regulation.           
 With enactment of this legislation, all districts would be required           
 to meet the state standards.  CHAIRMAN GREEN said that was correct.           
 SENATOR SALO believed that Amendment 1 was an improvement over the            
 "less than acceptable" language.  However, the amendment is not an            
 improvement over the current competency standard.  Through the                
 judicial record and the current court system there is a definition            
 of incompetency.  Senator Salo believed Amendment 1 to be middle              
 SENATOR SALO removed her objection.                                           
 SENATOR ELLIS inquired as to how the committee will proceed with              
 the amendments.  He recommended that the amendments be reviewed               
 quickly and then public testimony could be taken.  Senator Ellis              
 understood Senator Leman to say that he wanted to vote on Amendment           
 1 before public testimony was taken, but not necessarily all the              
 other amendments.                                                             
 SENATOR LEMAN believed that the next amendment could also be                  
 addressed now.  He explained that he was trying to address areas              
 that had already received public comment in order to eliminate                
 duplicate comments.                                                           
 SENATOR ELLIS said that it would be unfair to force votes on the              
 amendments by Chairman Green and then take public testimony and not           
 have votes on Senator Salo's amendments.  He preferred that all the           
 amendments be explained and then public testimony taken.                      
 CHAIRMAN GREEN agreed.                                                        
 SENATOR LEMAN clarified that he was referring to the consensus                
 SENATOR MILLER did not believe that any of the amendments had                 
 received a consensus.                                                         
 SENATOR SALO said that if Senator Leman removed his motion, then              
 all of the amendments could be reviewed and the testimony could               
 reflect the amendments.                                                       
 SENATOR LEMAN withdrew his motion to adopt Amendment 1.                       
 Number 368                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN GREEN explained that Amendment 2 relates to those who are            
 evaluated.  Amendment 2 does not require that the evaluation of               
 acceptable or better to be in the current year.  The evaluation of            
 acceptable or better could have been within five years.  Chairman             
 Green believed this referred to a person teaching in an area other            
 than their degree.                                                            
 SENATOR SALO inquired as to the intent of Amendment 2.                        
 CHAIRMAN GREEN said the intent of Amendment 2 was that the                    
 evaluation does not have to be in the current year.   She read the            
 amendment as it would read in the bill on page 7, line 14.                    
 SENATOR MILLER said it would place a time limit so that a teacher             
 who had received an evaluation 10 years ago and had not taught in             
 that subject in the last 10 years would remain qualified for that             
 position under this language.  The amendment would place the                  
 limitation that the teacher would have to have taught in that                 
 position within the last five years or received an evaluation of              
 acceptable or better within the last five years.                              
 SENATOR ELLIS asked if the evaluation was not in the last five                
 years, could the teacher be laid off?  SENATOR MILLER clarified               
 that the teacher would not be considered qualified for that                   
 Number 414                                                                    
 TOM WRIGHT, Staff to Representative Ivan, said that Senator                   
 Miller's explanation was correct.  The drafter suggested that there           
 should be a time limit.  He noted that the amendment was before the           
 committee in order to generate discussion to determine whether                
 there should be a time limit or not.                                          
 SENATOR SALO asked if this gave the district more latitude in not             
 rehiring a teacher after that teacher has been laid off.  TOM                 
 WRIGHT explained that, if Amendment 2 were adopted, a teacher would           
 have to receive an acceptable or better evaluation, taught and                
 received an evaluation in the subject within five years in order              
 for the teacher to be considered qualified for that particular                
 SENATOR SALO asked if the language was "and" or "or".  TOM WRIGHT             
 replied "and".                                                                
 TOM WRIGHT clarified that this language refers to teachers who are            
 teaching outside of their endorsement.                                        
 SENATOR SALO said that Amendment 2 is a bad amendment.  The problem           
 in Alaska, especially in rural Alaska, is that the area for which             
 a teacher is prepared is often much narrower than the need of the             
 school district for which they are hired.  For example, a few years           
 ago the teacher of the year was a math teacher who was trained in             
 science.  Senator Salo contended that even if that teacher returned           
 to science for the preceding five years, this teacher would still             
 be a wonderful teacher.                                                       
 SENATOR MILLER said that the language is "or" and would take care             
 of Senator Salo's concerns.                                                   
 SENATOR SALO specified the aforementioned situation in which the              
 teacher had an endorsement in science, but taught math for 10                 
 years.  Then the teacher is placed in English where she teaches for           
 five years.  If the teacher is then laid off under one of these               
 provisions, she would not be qualified to be hired back in a                  
 mathematics position.                                                         
 SENATOR MILLER said that Senator Salo would be correct, under                 
 Amendment 2, if more than five years had lapsed.                              
 Number 474                                                                    
 SENATOR SALO felt that it would be dependent upon how much time               
 before the five years had been spent teaching that subject.  There            
 is no seniority consideration in this bill.  Senator Salo                     
 recognized circumstances where Amendment 2 would be foolish for the           
 CHAIRMAN GREEN invited Representative Ivan to the table.  She                 
 indicated that she and Senator Salo should get together and discuss           
 a new direction for how teachers are qualified to teach subjects.             
 SENATOR SALO pointed out that if this legislation were enacted with           
 the qualifiers on page 7, subsection (d) it would move towards                
 current practice rather than opening the doors for more innovative            
 CHAIRMAN GREEN noted that new Amendment 3 had been distributed.               
 Amendment 3 attempts to simplify the language on page 6, lines 3-9.           
 TOM WRIGHT explained that the language was so cumbersome, that he             
 talked with the drafter about simplifying and clarifying the                  
 language without losing the intent of the language.                           
 SENATOR ELLIS asked if the substance was the same.  CHAIRMAN GREEN            
 replied yes.                                                                  
 SENATOR SALO felt that the amendment did more than technical                  
 clarification.  Senator Salo asked if the amendment was suggested             
 by the drafter.  TOM WRIGHT reiterated that he had requested that             
 the drafter clarify the language without losing the intent of the             
 original paragraph.                                                           
 Number 516                                                                    
 SENATOR SALO inquired as to the intent of the original paragraph              
 and the ways in which the amendment makes it clearer.  TOM WRIGHT             
 said that he would have to have it explained to him.                          
 SENATOR LEMAN mentioned that Terry Cramer, the drafter, could                 
 probably answer these questions.  CHAIRMAN GREEN said that Ms.                
 Cramer's presence at the next meeting would be requested.                     
 CHAIRMAN GREEN seemed to think that the locally adopted language              
 which was deleted should be reinserted.  TOM WRIGHT said that goes            
 back to Amendment 1 which clarifies the evaluation criteria.                  
 CHAIRMAN GREEN stated that there is no reason for the language to             
 be repetitive or circular.  SENATOR SALO inquired as to how the               
 language was circular.  CHAIRMAN GREEN pointed out the repetition             
 of the statute reference.  Chairman Green was not sure that it was            
 necessary to place in statute to adopt the standards that are                 
 already identified in statute.  If the district has not adopted the           
 standards, then the district cannot nonretain a tenured teacher.              
 SENATOR ELLIS pointed out that there are no time limits for the               
 district to adopt standards, but no action can be taken against a             
 teacher until standards are adopted.                                          
 CHAIRMAN GREEN clarified that the implementation date for these               
 standards is July 1, 1997.                                                    
 SENATOR ELLIS summarized that all local school districts have to              
 adopt local performance standards in line with the state standards            
 by that date.  He asked if the district could layoff teachers if              
 the district had not yet adopted the standards.  CHAIRMAN GREEN               
 said that currently, districts do not layoff teachers they                    
 nonretain teachers.                                                           
 CHAIRMAN GREEN moved on to Amendment 4 by Senator Salo which says             
 that the bill would take effective July 1, 1997.                              
 SENATOR SALO explained that Amendment 4 would ensure that the                 
 standards referred to in the bill would be in place before the bill           
 takes effect.  If the state standards will not be established until           
 1997, can one assume that the district standards which are based on           
 the state standards would be in place by that time as well.                   
 Perhaps, hearing from the districts may help determine if that is             
 Senator Salo discussed Amendment 5.  She said that tenure or the              
 lack there of could be a silencing factor for teachers.  Amendment            
 5 would clarify that nothing in the bill would be interpreted to              
 limit a teacher's rights as a citizen or a teacher.                           
 Number 576                                                                    
 SENATOR MILLER noted that freedom of speech and association are               
 constitutional rights.  He expressed concern with academic freedom.           
 Could a teacher teach that two plus two equals five?  Senator                 
 Miller did not know what defined academic freedom.                            
 SENATOR SALO was unsure as to whether academic freedom was defined            
 in statute, but that could be added.  In general, academic freedom            
 means exercising one's professional judgement and usually applies             
 to grading.                                                                   
 SENATOR MILLER felt that if this was done a definition of academic            
 freedom would have to be established.                                         
 CHAIRMAN GREEN informed everyone that conversations with                      
 Legislative Legal Services had determined that free speech rights             
 and freedom of association is protected under the constitution.               
 The term academic freedom is not defined in any body of law.                  
 Legislative Legal Services advised against including that phrase.             
 SENATOR SALO inquired as to who advised that.                                 
 TAPE 96-28, SIDE B                                                            
 CHAIRMAN GREEN said that the phrase would not move in the desired             
 direction.  She did not know who advised the committee of that.  If           
 specific language can be used in order to address Senator Salo's              
 intentions then that would be more appropriate.  Chairman Green               
 said that she would not support Amendment 5.                                  
 SENATOR ELLIS and SENATOR SALO both expressed interest in who in              
 Legislative Legal Services had advised the committee.  CHAIRMAN               
 GREEN said Terry Cramer pointed out that academic freedom was not             
 defined in a body of law.  SENATOR SALO requested written testimony           
 from Terry Cramer on this matter.                                             
 TOM WRIGHT clarified that Ms. Cramer said that in the context of              
 the amendment, there is no definition for academic freedom.                   
 SENATOR SALO asked if Chairman Green had problems with freedom of             
 speech rights and freedom of association.                                     
 CHAIRMAN GREEN stated that those were already provided for in the             
 constitution.  SENATOR MILLER clarified that those are                        
 constitutional rights, although the Alaska Supreme Court has                  
 differed with regard to freedom of association.                               
 Number 571                                                                    
 SENATOR SALO said that she would like that guarantee re-emphasized            
 which is done in many places in statute.  The existence of tenure             
 is related to freedom of speech.  In the Watson Blue v Seward case,           
 those two teachers were fired because they spoke out against                  
 something the superintendent was doing that they thought was wrong.           
 The tenure statutes that are in place today resulted from that                
 case.  Senator Salo emphasized that academic freedom, freedom of              
 association and free speech rights are inherent to this discussion            
 of tenure.  From discussions with teachers and her experience as a            
 teacher, Senator Salo stressed that this is a problem.                        
 SENATOR MILLER informed the committee that he would be offering               
 Amendment 6.  He explained that the Anchorage and Fairbanks                   
 districts approached him with the concern that the bill allows the            
 school board to be eliminated from the process of dismissing a                
 teacher.  Amendment 6 would bring the bill closer to current law              
 which includes the school board in the process.                               
 SENATOR SALO noted that the process of dismissing an incompetent              
 teacher is long and expensive process.  She wondered why school               
 districts were afraid of third party review.  The choice in the               
 bill to go directly to Superior Court and not spend time on                   
 discovery twice would potentially save time and money.  The only              
 difference between current practice and the bill is that a neutral            
 party is reviewing the case rather than the same party that                   
 dismissed the person.                                                         
 SENATOR MILLER did not know a valid reason to not involve the                 
 school boards.  The school boards are the elected body running the            
 district.  In the larger districts, Senator Miller believed that              
 teachers would not have the concern that the school boards are out            
 to get someone.  Therefore, the ability to advance to Superior                
 Court to review the record in order to determine if due process was           
 followed or not and if the Trial de Novo would be appropriate.                
 SENATOR SALO expressed interest in what a judicial review would               
 encompass.  Senator Salo believed that a judicial review would                
 ensure that the person has been heard, not that the charges were              
 CHAIRMAN GREEN pointed out that one of the duties of the school               
 board is to be involved in dismissals as well as approvals for                
 hiring.  Is there a point when the school district would be held              
 responsible for a process in which the district was not involved?             
 SENATOR SALO pointed out that the district would be involved in the           
 dismissal of a teacher because the school board would have to                 
 approve that dismissal.  The school board acts on all hirings,                
 resignations, and dismissals.  If this is missing, Senator Salo               
 suggested that it be placed in the bill.  She emphasized that the             
 district should not be fearful of a third party review.                       
 Number 481                                                                    
 HOWARD TRICKEY, representing the Anchorage School District,                   
 informed the committee that the Fairbanks School District had also            
 requested that he represent them today as well.  With regards to              
 Senator Salo's interest in judicial review, Mr. Trickey explained             
 the process.  Under the proposed amendment, if there is a hearing             
 before the school board the court's review of that hearing would              
 determine by the substantial evidence test if there was evidence to           
 support the school board's decision.  The court can also review the           
 record to determine if the teacher was afforded a constitutional              
 due process hearing before the board.  The court can grant a Trial            
 de Novo if that did not occur.  Mr. Trickey clarified that the                
 court makes an independent review and decision that there was                 
 substantial evidence before the school board to support the                   
 decision.  That meets the teacher's interest in due process in any            
 proceedings to nonretain a teacher for incompetency.                          
 JOE JOSEPHSON, Legal Counsel for NEA-AK, pointed out that NEA-AK              
 has always sought a level forum in order to determine whether there           
 is cause for dismissal.  That cannot be achieved under Amendment 6.           
 Under the amendment, a teacher is charged with grounds for                    
 dismissal and a hearing on that matter is held.  The school board             
 who approved the initial charge, makes the decision and then the              
 teacher has the right to appeal to the court for judicial review.             
 Mr. Josephson agreed that the court could determine if due process            
 was followed, but the court will affirm the school board's decision           
 if there is substantial evidence for sustaining that decision.  The           
 court does not have the benefit of having a witness before it, the            
 court is only reviewing paper.  Mr. Josephson emphasized that a               
 teacher can only prevail if the teacher can illustrate that there             
 was no substantial evidence to support the school board's decision.           
 If a clerk in the Division of Motor Vehicles is fired, that clerk             
 receives a level playing field:  the State Personnel Board.  That             
 clerk would go before a statewide board, not the agency that fired            
 the clerk.  Mr. Josephson stated that a teacher would be second               
 class under Amendment 6.                                                      
 Mr. Josephson thought that the argument was that school boards were           
 concerned that under the existing law the boards have to go through           
 a costly process twice.  Teachers agreed to move from two                     
 proceedings to one so long as a level playing field was maintained.           
 Under the amendment, that would not happen.                                   
 SENATOR MILLER requested a summary of the cases in the last 20                
 years that have advanced to Superior Court in order to illustrate             
 the record on those cases.  Senator Miller believed that in the               
 majority of such cases, the court would uphold the district.                  
 JOE JOSEPHSON agreed that under existing law with the Trial de Novo           
 option there is a level playing field.  However, under the                    
 amendment, the teacher only has the right to appeal.                          
 SENATOR MILLER reiterated the desire to review the cases of the               
 last 20 years.  He predicted that such a review would find that the           
 Superior Court has upheld the decisions of the school board in the            
 majority of the cases.                                                        
 Number 397                                                                    
 CARL ROSE, Executive Director of the Alaska Association of School             
 Boards, informed the committee that he had submitted written                  
 testimony, but noted that the numbers were two years old.  He                 
 believed that some seven cases were cited and the information was             
 discussing the cost of the Trial de Novo.  Often insurance                    
 companies will step in and not allow the case to move forward                 
 because of the assumed cost.  Mr. Rose said that the association              
 has long sought to remove the Trial de Novo.  He informed the                 
 committee that the school board does not act on every dismissal or            
 nonretention, that is the recommendation of the administrator.                
 SENATOR SALO interjected that the board acts on the recommendation            
 of the administrator.                                                         
 CARL ROSE replied at an appeal process.  He said that as a quasi              
 judicial body, an appeal process must be provided in a                        
 nonretention.  Mr. Rose felt it inaccurate to suggest that the                
 board acts beforehand and then sit in appeal.  A recommendation is            
 made to the board and the board must weigh that recommendation and            
 the evidence provided at the local hearing.  Mr. Rose suggested               
 that if one can prove that the board acted beforehand and then sat            
 in appeal, then due process rights were curtailed.                            
 HOWARD TRICKEY informed the committee that he had represented                 
 school districts in urban and rural Alaska for 20 years.  In his              
 experience, school boards are well trained and aware of their                 
 constitutional obligation to provide due process in the case of a             
 dismissal or nonretention.  In Anchorage, the procedures for a due            
 process hearing are as follows:  the board members are advised of             
 a possible recommendation and their constitutional obligation in              
 the matter, and then there are evidentiary proceedings.  In the               
 past, a retired judge has been hired to preside over the                      
 evidentiary proceedings.  Mr. Trickey pointed out that in rural               
 Alaska the school board often employs an independent attorney to              
 conduct the evidentiary proceedings and ensure a fair process.  Mr.           
 Trickey echoed the sentiment that it was wrong to assume that                 
 teachers do not receive fair proceedings.  He said that the school            
 boards he represents object to having two processes as is the case            
 under existing law.  Furthermore, the school boards do not want to            
 be eliminated from the process either because that is the manner in           
 which the board applies their own standard.                                   
 JOE JOSEPHSON pointed out that the school board hires and pays for            
 the hearing officer when indicating that people tend to follow the            
 recommendations of the staff.  The separation of power does not               
 exist at the school board level.                                              
 SENATOR SALO requested the number of school board hearings and the            
 number of those that have been upheld and those that have not been            
 upheld.  Senator Salo thought that the notion that the board does             
 not know anything about the case they are about to hear is                    
 farfetched.  Fairness cannot be sacrificed for the sake of time and           
 money.  With regard to Mr. Trickey's idea of a hearing officer,               
 Senator Salo believed that was discussed early on in this bill.               
 Senator Salo objected to Amendment 6 which eliminates a major                 
 portion of the fairness in the bill and makes it more objectional             
 to the professionals in the field than before.                                
 Number 297                                                                    
 SENATOR MILLER continued on with Amendment 7 which refers to the              
 employee improvement plan and shortens the specified time in order            
 for the plan to fall within the school year.  CHAIRMAN GREEN                  
 interjected that the amendment merely uses the standard teacher               
 work year.  SENATOR MILLER pointed out that this concern was                  
 brought forth by some of the school district who wanted to bring              
 the plan of improvement within the school year.                               
 SENATOR SALO inquired as to how this amendment would work if the              
 teacher was given a plan of improvement on May 15th.  SENATOR                 
 MILLER explained that it would have to carry into the next year.              
 SENATOR SALO asked if the teacher would be removed around April or            
 how would this work?  SENATOR MILLER said that the plan of                    
 improvement cannot be more than 180 work days, but could certainly            
 be less than 180 work days although not less than 90 days.                    
 SENATOR SALO expressed concern that the opposite effect would be              
 achieved under the amendment.  She felt that there was a better way           
 in which to accomplish the goal of having the plan within the                 
 school year by referring to the ensuing school year.                          
 VERNON MARSHALL, Executive Director of NEA-AK, pointed out that               
 there are employees that are on 10-12 month contracts.  When the              
 amendment was considered in the House, he assumed that it was to              
 consider the standard contract of nine months as well as including            
 those who had a 12 month contract.  This would allow at least an              
 employment year for the teacher, no matter the contract length, to            
 correct the problem.                                                          
 Number 251                                                                    
 LARRY WIGET, Director of Government Relations for the Anchorage               
 School District, clarified that the work day was specified in order           
 to address administrators who work beyond the normal nine months.             
 Changing the plan of improvement time to 90 work days would enable            
 the school district to complete the evaluation process in a single            
 school year.  By law a tenured teacher must be notified by March              
 15th if the teacher will not be retained by the school district for           
 the next year.  Also a tenured teacher placed on a plan of                    
 improvement after the evaluation in October would not have to                 
 complete the nine month process by the March 15th deadline, too               
 late to be dismissed for the coming school year if the teacher                
 fails to make improvements outlined in the plan.  That would ensure           
 a full year of employment and extend the plan of improvement beyond           
 12 months.                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN GREEN said that she could see both sides of the issue.               
 She continued with Amendment 8.  Hearing no discussion, Chairman              
 Green announced that testimony would now be taken.                            
 SENATOR SALO said that she would give the committee her amendments            
 later, since the amendments are not being moved and there are time            
 constraints.  She hoped that the committee would hear from NEA at             
 some point.                                                                   
 A discussion ensued between Senator Salo and Chairman Green                   
 regarding the procedure for taking testimony.                                 
 Number 205                                                                    
 JEAN KRAUSE, testifying from Fairbanks, asked if it was intended              
 for the teacher's performance standards to be adopted and remain in           
 place for a period of time or that the standards be subject to                
 frequent and radical change by the local school board during the              
 school year.  Will the performance standards for teachers be                  
 developed for all teachers and applied evenly or will the standards           
 be different for teachers in different levels, subjects and fields?           
 Furthermore, will the district be obligated to provide teachers               
 with the support, resources, and assistance to ensure that teachers           
 have a fair chance to meet the standards or improve their                     
 performance?  Ms. Krause noted that many teachers supply many of              
 the resources for the classroom from their own resources.  Can an             
 illiterate board member participate in a dismissal proceeding?                
 Ms. Krause pointed out that performance standards for                         
 administrators is not addressed in the bill.  She asked if                    
 administrative performance standards had been developed by the                
 state.  Are these administrative performance standards intended to            
 be developed and adopted before the bill is implemented?  Ms.                 
 Krause informed the committee that she had asked the following                
 question in the House, but failed to receive an answer.  If an                
 administrator is on a plan of improvement, can that administrator             
 evaluate teachers and place a teacher on a plan of improvement?  In           
 Ms. Krause's opinion, the superintendent is an important part of              
 the educational process due to their ability to allocate resources            
 and make recommendations regarding hiring and firing.  However,               
 there do not seem to be any performance standards for                         
 superintendents. Are performance standards for superintendents                
 intended to be developed and if so, at the state or local level or            
 both?  Will the same expectations be placed on superintendents as             
 are on teachers and administrators?  In conclusion, Ms. Krause                
 inquired as to how local politics would be eliminated from                    
 evaluation procedures of administrators and teachers.  Ms. Krause             
 offered to fax her written testimony to the committee.                        
 Number 150                                                                    
 VIRGINIA WALTERS, testifying from Kenai, stated that the evaluation           
 process is important to maintaining teacher quality in the schools.           
 The evaluation process should not be subject to whim or personal              
 subjectivity.  Ms. Walters noted that the evaluation process                  
 outlined in HB 465 poses many problems.  Will the evaluation of               
 teachers become a popularity contest?  She inquired as to what                
 would happen when a community member raises objection to a                    
 teacher's performance, but the administrator has no objection to              
 the teacher's performance.  Ms. Walters referred to page 4                    
 subsection (h) which says that information provided for the school            
 district under the evaluation is not subject to public disclosure.            
 Will all teachers be treated equally?  On page 3, subparagraph (6)            
 the language allows a teacher to be placed on a plan of improvement           
 while another can be dismissed immediately.  Ms. Walters asked why            
 one teacher would be entitled to a plan of improvement while                  
 another would not; is there any criteria for this?  She inquired as           
 to who the school district is on page 4 of the bill.  Why would the           
 principal who gave a negative evaluation to a teacher not determine           
 the plan of improvement?  As a retired teacher and community                  
 member, Ms. Walters was surprised that a superintendent of a                  
 district would not be held to the same public evaluation process              
 and review of their performance as teachers and principles.  She              
 suggested that line 32 on page 2 be reviewed.                                 
 JIM SIMEROTH, President of the Kenai Peninsula Education                      
 Association, expressed concern with the reduction in staff                    
 provisions of HB 465.  He informed the committee that currently,              
 his district had nonretained 117 teachers although the district               
 intends to hire most if not all of those teachers back.  Mr.                  
 Simeroth speculated that the reason for so many nonretained                   
 teachers is because it is a contract bargaining year.  He believed            
 this to be totally inappropriate.  Mr. Simeroth felt that HB 465              
 could possibly allow this situation to occur with any teacher which           
 would disrupt the school for the students.  Therefore, he was                 
 concerned with the layoff language which is not in the best                   
 interest of the students.                                                     
 Mr. Simeroth discussed a case in which a teacher was placed on a              
 needs improvement plan.  The teacher was placed on the plan not               
 because she had a teaching deficit, but because she did not show              
 support and respect for the principal and his ideas on and off the            
 school campus 100 percent of the time.  The needs improvement plan            
 said that the teacher should demonstrate support and enthusiasm for           
 activities suggested by others and the principal.  Mr. Simeroth               
 indicated that such a situation would take away a teacher's freedom           
 of speech and academic freedom.  Mr. Simeroth emphasized that this            
 could not be allowed to happen and disrupt the educational process            
 which HB 465 will achieve.  Mr. Simeroth said that he had other               
 issues to discuss, but would stop since his time was up.                      
 Number 043                                                                    
 VERGIE FRYREAR, testifying from Hoonah, requested that one of the             
 Hoonah board members be allowed to speak first.                               
 JAQUELINE DICK, testifying from Hoonah, supported HB 465.  She                
 noted that children today are beyond the basic education of the               
 past.  Ms. Dick said that everyone expects higher education for               
 their children and quality teachers and teaching.  More time is               
 needed for teachers to improve their teaching performance.                    
 VERGIE FRYREAR believed that employee evaluations for teachers                
 should be completed in the current school year.  Furthermore, the             
 teacher must receive a positive evaluation in the last five years             
 in the subject matter they are to teach at the secondary level.               
 TAPE 96-29, SIDE A                                                            
 Ms. Fryrear agreed that administrators do need an evaluation.  She            
 recognized the importance of allowing local districts to maintain             
 some control, but by adopting statewide standards everyone is bound           
 by a degree of similarity.  With regard to tenure, Ms. Fryrear                
 could not believe that any teacher would be afraid to talk to a               
 legislator about an administrator.  These are highly educated                 
 people.  Such a discussion loses sight of the reason tenure is even           
 being considered.  Administrators and school boards need more time            
 to evaluate a teacher's performance before allowing tenure.  Also             
 more time is necessary to offer assistance to the teacher before a            
 decision regarding nonretention is made.  Ms. Fryrear believed that           
 the school board should be part of the process for the dismissal of           
 teachers.  The Superior Court can determine whether the process is            
 followed correctly or not.  She did not think that school districts           
 were afraid of cases going to Superior Court as previously                    
 suggested.  There is a good appeal process for teachers already in            
 Number 041                                                                    
 Ms. Fryrear spoke to Amendment 7.  She believed that it would be              
 difficult to place a time line on all improvements because teachers           
 are often required to complete a course as part of their plan of              
 improvement.  Some of that control should be left to the district.            
 Ms. Fryrear believed that HB 465 would address some of the problems           
 education is experiencing.  She urged the committee to support and            
 pass HB 465.                                                                  
 LUCY HOPE, President of the Mat-Su Education Association, expressed           
 frustration with the process pushing HB 465 through.  She informed            
 the committee that CS HB 465, the version the House passed, was not           
 available in Mat-Su until 9:00 a.m. of the HESS hearing on Monday.            
 On Monday, 11 people waited to testify, each person's time was                
 limited to two minutes, and then six people had to leave without              
 having a chance to speak.  Ms. Hope explained that many people                
 could not return today because they had taken their leave to be               
 present on Monday.  She informed the committee that she had some of           
 their written testimony and would fax it to the committee.  Ms.               
 Hope asked if the committee had received the testimony that had               
 been faxed.                                                                   
 CHAIRMAN GREEN said that the committee had received several faxed             
 testimonies, but she had not yet reviewed them.  The testimony                
 would be distributed.                                                         
 LUCY HOPE addressed the layoff provisions of the bill.  She                   
 informed the committee that she had received official notice that             
 the Mat-Su School District plans to layoff 170 teachers.  All of              
 those teachers are nontenured and face losing their job permanently           
 as well as losing their ability to make a living which could force            
 them to move.  Ms. Hope pointed out that the Mat-Su school district           
 would qualify for the layoff provision every year as having                   
 significant reductions in per-pupil expenditures due to the                   
 decrease in revenue from one year to the next.  The state funding             
 formula has been frozen since the early 1990s, the borough                    
 contribution has shown a decrease each year in per-pupil funding              
 since 1990, and the certainty of less from the federal government             
 all contribute to this situation.  Ms. Hope explained that all                
 these factors along with the growth in the area decrease the per-             
 pupil expenditure.  Therefore, teachers in the Mat-Su who have                
 received tenure are subject to nonretention even though their                 
 performance may be excellent.  These layoffs create anxiety and low           
 morale which effects the children.  Ms. Hope believed that the                
 trigger for the layoff of teachers should be more specific and                
 should be tied to the reduction in basic needs which is defined in            
 law.  Tenured teachers should be assured that all nontenured                  
 teachers would be laid off first and not merely given a notice of             
 nonretention as stated in HB 465.                                             
 CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if Ms. Hope would prefer this to be tied to              
 basic need; was that in SB 217?                                               
 LUCY HOPE believed that was in SB 217.  Ms. Hope continued by                 
 suggesting that the layoff provision should be bargained at the               
 local level as is the case in Mat-Su.  She pointed out that by                
 extending the time to receive tenure to three years would increase            
 the number of nontenured teachers by one-third.  The Mat-Su                   
 district would then have 220 teachers to layoff with the current              
 law.  Ms. Hope asked if layoffs occur by statute and are                      
 implemented incorrectly, what avenue would be available for the               
 teacher?  She informed the committee that the Department of                   
 Education's performance standards refer to a classroom teacher in             
 a public school.  Is the department planning on adopting standards            
 for administrators before HB 465 would go into effect?  Ms. Hope              
 urged the committee to hold the bill in order to bring everyone               
 effected together in order to address these concerns in a                     
 meaningful way.                                                               
 Number 152                                                                    
 BILL MUNROE, Classified Employee's Association and parent, pointed            
 out that evaluation procedures already exist and are being utilized           
 in the Mat-Su district.  More evaluations could be productive                 
 management tools if they were utilized for constructive criticism             
 for better teaching skills.  Furthermore, layoff provisions already           
 exist that work.  HB 465 does little to improve public education.             
 The mandatory student standards are necessary.  Mr. Munroe said               
 that valuable programs had been cut because of flat funding which             
 has been eroded by 24 percent inflation since 1989.  The committee            
 should consider HB 398.  He referred to page 6, Section 10 when               
 asking if both paragraph (1) and (2) must be met or only one of the           
 two.  He inquired as to the meaning of "comport" on page 8, line 9.           
 Mr. Munroe felt that HB 465 is too confusing and convoluted.                  
 RICHARD KRAUSE, testifying from Palmer, believed that the current             
 evaluation system attempts to solve a problem.  Under HB 465, the             
 evaluation system creates the threat of nonretention rather than              
 the administrator helping the teacher improve.  That is not a very            
 healthy situation.  HB 465 seems to create a great level of fear.             
 Mr. Krause did not see that the teacher has any input into the plan           
 of improvement which he indicated should be incorporated.  The                
 layoff provisions in the bill seem rather loose.  The bill should             
 outline how layoff would occur, especially in light of the                    
 discussions regarding academic freedom.                                       
 CHAIRMAN GREEN informed those remaining to testify that the                   
 committee had to leave for the Senator floor shortly and requested            
 that their comments be brief.                                                 
 Number 249                                                                    
 ROB PFISTERER, President of the Anchorage Education Association,              
 opposed HB 465.  He explained that tenure statutes were designed to           
 protect teachers from being fired indiscriminately.  HB 465 intends           
 to weaken the individual's protection from indiscriminate action              
 from administrators and school boards.  There are state's,                    
 predominately Southern states, that have incorporated HB 465 into             
 their statute.  When comparing those states' scores on standardized           
 tests to those states with strong tenure laws will illustrate the             
 impacts that decisions on HB 465 will have.  HB 465 will demoralize           
 teachers throughout Alaska.                                                   
 Mr. Pfisterer acknowledged that HB 465 has one redeeming feature,             
 the bill touches evaluations.   Even so, the bill is not                      
 acceptable.  HB 465 is based on standards that have not yet been              
 determined.  He pointed out that some school districts already have           
 standards in place; will a different system be mandated and will              
 the state determine what local communities have already worked on?            
 Mr. Pfisterer said that it has come to the point that parents and             
 students are evaluating the teacher.  Therefore, will the teacher             
 be afforded the academic freedom to grade impartially?  Evaluations           
 should be done on a professional basis.  He noted that most aspects           
 of HB 465 are weighted heavily on the agenda of the school board.             
 Mr. Pfisterer discussed the various related legislations this year.           
 He posed the following questions for the committee to consider when           
 reviewing the combined effect of education related legislation:               
 would you advise people new to the profession to become a teacher             
 in Alaska, will this attract the best and brightest to the                    
 profession, will students be better prepared for the future if                
 these legislations pass?  HB 465 and other legislation are                    
 counterproductive to improving education.  With regard to comments            
 made on Monday regarding the attempt to meet the Governor's                   
 requirements in HB 465, Mr. Pfisterer wondered why all these                  
 amendments were being considered to try to reach where HB 398                 
 already is.  He suggested that HB 398 was a bill that many parties            
 agreed upon while HB 465 does not receive much agreement.                     
 Number 312                                                                    
 CLARENCE BOLDEN, NEA-AK, said that he represented Kodiak and the              
 Aleutian Chain with Dillingham and Northwest Arctic.  He informed             
 the committee that there was almost an uprising of citizens in the            
 Northwest Arctic last month.  This impacted the school and the                
 tenured teachers.  He wondered if changes made under HB 465 would             
 improve this situation or make it more volatile.  The parents                 
 literally attacked the teachers when they were confused about how             
 to get information through the school board.  The school board has            
 reacted by decreasing the rights of the tenured teachers in this              
 district.  Mr. Bolden suggested that the committee consider rural             
 situations where the school boards are not necessarily well versed            
 in how processes should go.  Establishing standards for teachers              
 should include lots of parents and teachers in order to have a                
 usable standard.                                                              
 CHAIRMAN GREEN said that concluded those on-line to testify.  She             
 said that Mr. Marshall would be heard first next Wednesday.                   
 SENATOR SALO expressed frustration.  When an issue has two distinct           
 sides, she expects to hear from the heads of the relevant                     
 organizations in the beginning in order to frame the remaining                
 There being no further business before the committee, the meeting             
 was adjourned at 11:02 a.m.                                                   

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