Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/20/2001 02:05 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                    
      SENATE HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE                                                                    
                         April 20, 2001                                                                                         
                            2:05 p.m.                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Loren Leman, Vice Chair                                                                                                 
Senator Gary Wilken                                                                                                             
Senator Jerry Ward                                                                                                              
Senator Bettye Davis                                                                                                            
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Lyda Green, Chair                                                                                                       
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 178                                                                                                             
"An Act  relating to  the detention  of delinquent  minors  and to                                                              
temporary   detention   hearings;   amending   Rule   12,   Alaska                                                              
Delinquency Rules; and providing for an effective date."                                                                        
     MOVED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                                     
SENATE BILL NO. 11                                                                                                              
"An  Act relating  to  the legal  age  for attending  school;  and                                                              
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
SENATE BILL NO. 41                                                                                                              
"An  Act   relating  to   kindergarten  programs  and   compulsory                                                              
education; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 99(HES)                                                                                                   
"An Act  relating to  school discipline  and safety programs;  and                                                              
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
     MOVED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                                     
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 203(FIN)                                                                                                  
"An Act making  an appropriation to the Legislative  Council for a                                                              
study  of school  district  cost  factors;  and providing  for  an                                                              
effective date."                                                                                                                
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR SENATE BILL NO. 149                                                                                      
"An Act relating to employment incentives  for teachers and health                                                              
care providers, to  reemployment of retired teachers,  to loans to                                                              
and loan  forgiveness for teachers  and health care  providers, to                                                              
awards to  teachers, to  eligibility for  major medical  insurance                                                              
coverage  for beneficiaries  of the  teachers' retirement  system,                                                              
and  to  teacher  certificates; and  providing  for  an  effective                                                              
     MOVED CSSB 149(HES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
SENATE BILL NO. 188                                                                                                             
"An Act  establishing an education  fund and a land  endowment for                                                              
public education; and providing for an effective date."                                                                         
     MOVED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                                     
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 25                                                                                                  
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution  of the State of Alaska                                                              
relating to education.                                                                                                          
     MOVED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                                     
HOUSE BILL NO. 162                                                                                                              
"An Act  relating to absences from  the state under  the longevity                                                              
bonus program."                                                                                                                 
     SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
SB 178 - No previous Senate committee action.                                                                                   
SB 11 - See HESS minutes dated 2/5/01.                                                                                          
SB 41 - No previous Senate committee action.                                                                                    
HB 99 - No previous Senate committee action.                                                                                    
HB 203 - No previous Senate committee action.                                                                                   
SB 149 - See HESS minutes dated 4/2/01.                                                                                         
SB 188 - See HESS minutes dated 4/18/01.                                                                                        
SJR 25 - See HESS minutes dated 4/18/01.                                                                                        
HB 162 - No previous Senate committee action.                                                                                   
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
Paul Roetman                                                                                                                    
Aide to Senator Leman                                                                                                           
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on  behalf of the sponsor of SB 149                                                            
Guy Bell                                                                                                                        
Director, Division of Retirement and Benefits                                                                                   
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
PO Box 110200                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-0200                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Stated that SB 149 would have a miniscule                                                                
impact on the Teachers Retirement System.                                                                                       
Melissa Hill                                                                                                                    
Alaska Teacher Placement                                                                                                        
Department of Education &                                                                                                       
 Early Development                                                                                                              
801 W 10 St.                                                                                                                    
Juneau, AK  99801-1894                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports SB 149                                                                                          
Holly Morris                                                                                                                    
Aide to Senator Therriault                                                                                                      
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on behalf of the sponsor of SB 178                                                             
Robert Buttcane                                                                                                                 
Division of Juvenile Justice                                                                                                    
Department of Health &                                                                                                          
  Social Services                                                                                                               
PO Box 110601                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99801-0601                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports SB 178                                                                                          
Richard Benavides                                                                                                               
Aide to Senator Davis                                                                                                           
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on behalf of the sponsor of SB 41                                                              
Eddy Jeans                                                                                                                      
School Finance and Facilities Section                                                                                           
Department of Education &                                                                                                       
 Early Development                                                                                                              
801 W 10 St.                                                                                                                    
Juneau, AK  99801-1894                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions about SB 41 and HB 203                                                                
Dee Hubbard                                                                                                                     
No address provided                                                                                                             
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports mandatory kindergarten                                                                          
Vernon Marshall                                                                                                                 
Executive Director, NEA-Alaska                                                                                                  
114 2nd Street                                                                                                                  
Juneau, AK  99801                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports SB 41 and HB 99                                                                                 
Mr. Darroll Hargraves                                                                                                           
Executive Director                                                                                                              
Alaska Council of School Administrators                                                                                         
326 4th, Suite 404                                                                                                              
Juneau, AK  99801                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports SB 41 and CSHB 203(FIN)                                                                         
Rita Davis                                                                                                                      
Swanson Elementary School                                                                                                       
Palmer, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports mandatory kindergarten                                                                          
Carl Rose                                                                                                                       
Association of Alaska School Boards                                                                                             
316 W 11th St.                                                                                                                  
Juneau, AK  99801                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports CSHB 203(FIN)                                                                                   
Rod McCoy                                                                                                                       
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports early intervention in education                                                                 
Representative Lesil McGuire                                                                                                    
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of HB 99                                                                                         
Representative Peggy Wilson                                                                                                     
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of HB 203                                                                                        
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
TAPE 01-35, SIDE A                                                                                                            
Number 001                                                                                                                      
VICE-CHAIR  LOREN  LEMAN called  the  Senate Health,  Education  &                                                            
Social Services  Committee meeting to  order at 2:05  p.m. Present                                                              
were Senators  Wilken, Davis and  Leman.  Senator Ward  arrived at                                                              
2:10 p.m.  Vice-Chair Leman announced  the committee would take up                                                              
SB 149, SB  188, SJR 25, SB 178,  SB 11, SB 41, HB 99  and HB 203.                                                              
He asked  those who  wish to  testify via  teleconference to  keep                                                              
their comments  brief so  that the committee  can get  through its                                                              
SENATOR DAVIS  noted the  order of  bills announced by  Vice-Chair                                                              
Leman  is different  from the  original calendar.   She  expressed                                                              
concern  that several  people were  waiting to  testify on  a bill                                                              
that  was originally  scheduled at  the top  of the  list.   Those                                                              
people have time constraints.                                                                                                   
VICE-CHAIR LEMAN  asked Senator  Davis to let  him know  when they                                                              
arrive and  he will try to accommodate  them.  He then  asked Paul                                                              
Roetman to testify.                                                                                                             
        SB 149-TEACHER RETIREMENT,REEMPLOYMENT,CERTIFIC'T                                                                   
SENATOR WILKEN moved  to adopt Version R of SB 149  as the working                                                              
document of the  committee.  There being no objection,  the motion                                                              
MR.  PAUL ROETMAN,  staff to  Senator  Leman, sponsor  of SB  149,                                                              
explained  that the  committee substitute  (CS) outlines  specific                                                              
incentives  to  promote  recruitment and  retention  of  teachers.                                                              
Alaska has a growing teacher shortage.   In the beginning of 2001,                                                              
almost  90 teaching  vacancies  existed across  the  state.   Many                                                              
schools had to rely on emergency  certificates and waivers to fill                                                              
those  positions.   Alaska  is attracting  fewer  teachers to  the                                                              
state and,  in addition,  the University  of Alaska simply  cannot                                                              
meet  the  demand  for  graduates.   SB  149  takes  a  pro-active                                                              
approach to help reduce the staffing shortage.                                                                                  
MR. ROETMAN  described the changes made  in the CS.   The original                                                              
bill included some financial incentives  to attract teachers.  The                                                              
partial loan  assumption (50 percent  loan forgiveness)  and merit                                                              
awards for selected teachers provisions  were removed from the CS.                                                              
What remains  is recognition of out-of-state  teacher credentials,                                                              
an  incentive for  employment of  retired  teachers, and  improved                                                              
medical coverage for current teachers.                                                                                          
Sections 1  and 2 deal with  a preliminary teacher  certificate to                                                              
recognize  out-of-state  teacher  credentials  to  facilitate  the                                                              
process for out-of-state  teachers who want to  relocate to Alaska                                                              
to teach.   The bill allows  those teachers with a  valid teaching                                                              
certificate to  take the  practice exam within  the first  year of                                                              
their employment  instead of  prior to it.   A preliminary  Alaska                                                              
teaching certificate will be issued for a three-year term.                                                                      
Sections  3, 4  and 5  allow school  districts  to employ  retired                                                              
teachers if  they anticipate or formally  record a shortage.   The                                                              
CS contains a five percent limitation  but, according to Guy Bell,                                                              
director  of the  Division  of  Retirement and  Benefits,  retired                                                              
teachers are not likely to flood the vacant positions.                                                                          
Section 6 increases medical benefits to 100 percent coverage if a                                                               
teacher, who normally can retire after 20 years, postpones                                                                      
retirement for another five years.                                                                                              
MR. ROETMAN proposed two amendments for the committee's                                                                         
consideration.  The first, Amendment 1, reads as follows:                                                                       
                      A M E N D M E N T  1                                                                                  
OFFERED IN THE SENATE                          BY SENATOR LEMAN                                                                 
     TO:  CSSSSB 149(   ), Draft Version "R"                                                                                    
Page 3, lines 14 - 17:                                                                                                          
     Delete all material.                                                                                                       
Reletter the following subsections accordingly.                                                                                 
Page 3, following line 31:                                                                                                      
     Insert a new bill section to read:                                                                                         
   "* Sec. 5.  AS 14.25.040(a) is amended to read:                                                                            
          (a) Unless a teacher or member has elected to                                                                         
     participate  in the  optional  university retirement  program                                                              
     under  AS 14.40.661 -  14.40.799  [OR HAS  FILED AN  ELECTION                                                              
     UNDER AS 14.25.043(b)],  a teacher or member  contracting for                                                              
     service  with a  participating  employer is  subject to  this                                                              
Renumber the following bill sections accordingly.                                                                               
Page 5, following line 7:                                                                                                       
     Insert new bill sections to read:                                                                                          
   "* Sec. 7.  AS 14.25.043(a) is amended to read:                                                                            
          (a) If a retired member again becomes an active member,                                                               
     benefit  payments  may  not  be made  during  the  period  of                                                              
     reemployment [UNLESS THE TEACHER  MAKES AN ELECTION UNDER (b)                                                              
     OF THIS SECTION].   The retirement benefit  must be suspended                                                              
     for the  entire school year  if the teacher is  reemployed as                                                              
     an  active teacher  for  a period  equivalent  to  a year  of                                                              
     service.  During  the period of reemployment,  [THE MEMBER IS                                                              
     SUBJECT  TO AS 14.25.050  AND] deductions  from the  member's                                                              
     salary will be made in accordance with AS 14.25.050."                                                                      
Renumber the following bill sections accordingly.                                                                               
Page 5, following line 20:                                                                                                      
     Insert a new bill section to read:                                                                                         
   "*  Sec. 9.    AS 14.20.135  and AS 14.25.043(b)  are  repealed                                                            
July 1, 2004."                                                                                                                  
Page 5, line 28:                                                                                                                
     Delete "sec. 10"                                                                                                           
     Insert "sec. 14"                                                                                                           
Page 5, line 30:                                                                                                                
     Delete "secs. 4 - 6"                                                                                                       
     Insert "secs. 4, 6, and 8"                                                                                                 
Page 6, line 1:                                                                                                                 
     Delete "Section 8"                                                                                                         
     Insert "Section 11"                                                                                                        
Page 6, following line 1:                                                                                                       
     Insert a new bill section to read:                                                                                         
   "* Sec.  13.   Sections 5,  7, and  9 of  this Act take  effect                                                            
July 1, 2004."                                                                                                                  
Renumber the following bill section accordingly.                                                                                
Page 6, line 2:                                                                                                                 
     Delete "sec. 9"                                                                                                            
     Insert "secs. 12 and 13"                                                                                                   
SENATOR  WILKEN  moved  to  adopt  Amendment  1.  There  being  no                                                              
objection, the motion carried.                                                                                                  
SENATOR WILKEN moved to adopt Amendment 2.                                                                                      
VICE-CHAIR LEMAN objected for the purpose of an explanation.                                                                    
MR. ROETMAN said Amendment 2 does  two things: it removes the five                                                              
percent limitation  of Section  (3)(b); and  it provides  a sunset                                                              
provision  after  three years  for  all  three of  the  retirement                                                              
VICE-CHAIR  LEMAN  asked  Mr.  Bell   to  explain  the  effect  of                                                              
Amendment 2 on the Teachers Retirement System (TRS).                                                                            
MR.  GUY  BELL,  Director  of  the   Division  of  Retirement  and                                                              
Benefits, Department  of Administration,  told the committee  that                                                              
Amendment 2  will have no  impact, from an actuarial  perspective,                                                              
on  the retiree-return  provision  and  there  will be  an  almost                                                              
immaterial impact on the medical  benefit enhancement.  The amount                                                              
will be  .17 percent of  payroll equaling,  for example, $85  on a                                                              
$50,000  salary.   He believes  it  is a  good idea  to include  a                                                              
sunset  provision so  that the  legislature  can re-evaluate  this                                                              
program in the future.                                                                                                          
VICE-CHAIR LEMAN asked if three years  will provide adequate time.                                                              
MR. BELL said it should.                                                                                                        
VICE-CHAIR  LEMAN said  his intention  was to  get something  into                                                              
effect  that will  work  this year  and next  year  and then  take                                                              
another look at  it.  He announced with no objection,  Amendment 2                                                              
was adopted.                                                                                                                    
MR. ROETMAN noted  that Melissa Hill was available  to testify via                                                              
Number 674                                                                                                                      
MELISSA  HILL, Alaska Teacher  Placement,  said she cannot  stress                                                              
the need to find qualified teachers  for students in Alaska. It is                                                              
becoming harder  and harder to  find teachers willing  to relocate                                                              
to rural Alaska.  The state needs  to seek ways to accommodate and                                                              
entice  teachers. She  supports recognition  of certified  out-of-                                                              
state teachers.  She also supports  employment of retired teachers                                                              
because aside from  enlarging the applicant pool,  it will provide                                                              
mentoring opportunities.   Mentor teachers  are a major  factor in                                                              
teacher retention.                                                                                                              
MS. HILL informed committee members of the following facts:                                                                     
   · Alaska still has 300 teaching vacancies after the previous                                                                 
     job fair;                                                                                                                  
   · Only 375 applicants have registered for the April job fair;                                                                
   · At least four of Alaska's rural school districts can expect                                                                
     to hire 30 to 60 new teachers each year.                                                                                   
There was no further public testimony.                                                                                          
SENATOR WARD  moved CSSB 149(HES)  from committee  with individual                                                              
recommendations  and its accompanying  fiscal notes.   There being                                                              
no objection, the motion carried.                                                                                               
              SB 188-EDUCATION FUND/ LAND ENDOWMENT                                                                         
VICE-CHAIR LEMAN announced  that the committee would  next take up                                                              
SB 188.   The committee  held a  hearing on this  bill but  it was                                                              
held over  to give  members time  to contemplate  amendments.   He                                                              
asked for committee discussion or proposed amendments to SB 188.                                                                
There being  no discussion  or amendments,  SENATOR WARD  moved SB
188 from committee  with individual recommendations.   There being                                                              
no objection, the motion carried.                                                                                               
The committee took up SJR 25.                                                                                                   
                SJR 25-CONST. AM: EDUCATION FUND                                                                            
VICE-CHAIR LEMAN stated  that the committee held  a public hearing                                                              
on  SJR  25 but  it  was  held  over for  further  discussion  and                                                              
potential amendments.                                                                                                           
There being  no discussion or  amendments, SENATOR WARD  moved SJR
25   from   committee   with   individual    recommendations   and                                                              
accompanying fiscal  notes.  There being no objection,  the motion                                                              
The committee took up SB 178.                                                                                                   
              SB 178-DETENTION OF DELINQUENT MINORS                                                                         
HOLLY  MORRIS, staff  to Senator  Therriault, sponsor  of SB  178,                                                              
explained  that  SB  178  incorporates  language  from  a  federal                                                              
regulation into Alaska statute to  optimize funding opportunities.                                                              
The new statutory language will allow  a juvenile to be held in an                                                              
adult facility for 24 hours if a  court hearing takes place within                                                              
that time.  There are two exceptions  to the 24 hour limit: in the                                                              
case of adverse  weather and if moving the juvenile  to a juvenile                                                              
facility  would   endanger  the  juvenile.    The   48-hour  limit                                                              
currently in  statute is  still an option  with the exceptions  in                                                              
the regulation.                                                                                                                 
SENATOR WARD asked why the change is needed.                                                                                    
MS.  MORRIS explained  the change  will  bring Alaska's  statutory                                                              
language  into compliance  with federal  regulations.   Compliance                                                              
will  enhance the  state's ability  to maintain  and gain  federal                                                              
funding.   However, state  officials will be  able to  continue to                                                              
hold juveniles  in an adult facility  for 48 hours if that  is the                                                              
safest  option.    The  change appears  to  reduce  the  hours  of                                                              
detention in  an adult facility,  but with the  exceptions listed,                                                              
juveniles can be held for 48 hours.                                                                                             
SENATOR  WARD  asked which  programs  will  now qualify  with  the                                                              
statutory change.                                                                                                               
MR. ROBERT BUTTCANE,  Division of Juvenile Justice,  Department of                                                              
Health  and  Social  Services,  informed  committee  members  that                                                              
federal formula  funds currently  fund programs such  as attendant                                                              
care shelters,  electronic monitoring,  mentoring programs,  youth                                                              
courts,  and   elders  courts.  Those  programs   are  alternative                                                              
detention  programs   for  juveniles   who  do  not   need  secure                                                              
confinement after they have been  arrested.  By enacting a 24-hour                                                              
arraignment  provision in  Alaska  statute for  juveniles held  in                                                              
adult  jails, the  state  will preserve  an  opportunity to  claim                                                              
exceptions  to certain time  thresholds that  Alaska does  not now                                                              
because state law contains a 48-hour  limit.  He pointed out there                                                              
are six  youth facilities  around  the state,  but there are  more                                                              
than 250 communities that occasionally  arrest a juvenile offender                                                              
and need to hold that offender.                                                                                                 
MR. BUTTCANE  said under federal  law, a juvenile offender  can be                                                              
held in an  adult jail for up  to six hours without  incurring any                                                              
kind of federal  violation.  After six hours,  federal funding can                                                              
be  jeopardized.   Because  of  Alaska's expansive  geography  and                                                              
limited transportation  infrastructure, it is impossible  at times                                                              
to move a juvenile who has been arrested  from a village jail to a                                                              
juvenile facility within the six hour time frame.                                                                               
Enacting a 24-hour arraignment will  allow state officials to do a                                                              
couple of things.   The juvenile will be brought  before the court                                                              
within 24  hours so that judicial  review will take place  to make                                                              
sure the  juvenile is  being treated  properly.   Second, it  will                                                              
give  state officials  access  to the  exceptions  that allow  the                                                              
juvenile  to  be  held in  an  adult  jail  until  it is  safe  to                                                              
transport  that individual.    It  is a  practice  that now  takes                                                              
place:  juveniles are  not held  in  adult jails  any longer  than                                                              
absolutely  necessary.    SB  178  will  provide  a  mechanism  to                                                              
continue current  practices and  preserve Alaska's entitlement  to                                                              
federal funds.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR  WARD  asked  how  many   juveniles  were  held  in  adult                                                              
facilities last year.                                                                                                           
MR.  BUTTCANE   informed  committee   members  that  a   chart  of                                                              
statistics  was placed  in members'  packets.   According to  that                                                              
chart, 223  juveniles were held  in adult facilities  for anywhere                                                              
from 1 to 28 hours.                                                                                                             
SENATOR WARD asked for elaboration on electronic monitoring.                                                                    
MR.  BUTTCANE  said  the  threshold  is six  hours  but  with  the                                                              
exceptions the time  period can be extended for  periods necessary                                                              
to ensure safe  transportation.  For example, a  juvenile could be                                                              
held  for six  hours or  until the  storm  passes.   A penalty  is                                                              
assessed  for any  violations  and funds  are  withdrawn from  the                                                              
federal grant  program.  Withdrawal  of funds impacts  the state's                                                              
ability  to   designate  use  of   those  funds   like  electronic                                                              
monitoring, alternative care shelters or youth corps.                                                                           
SENATOR WARD asked if it is a bigger pot.                                                                                       
MR. BUTTCANE  said it  is a much  bigger pot and  it has  a domino                                                              
SENATOR WARD  asked how much money  was lost last year  because of                                                              
MR. BUTTCANE  said the  state has  not lost any  money yet.   Last                                                              
year, Senator Stevens was able to  enact exemption for Alaska that                                                              
will expire in 2002.                                                                                                            
Number 1417                                                                                                                     
SENATOR  WARD asked  how much the  state would  have lost  without                                                              
that exemption.                                                                                                                 
MR. BUTTCANE  said last  year the state  would have lost  $168,000                                                              
out of  about $672,000.   He added that  not only would  the state                                                              
lose $168,000,  it would  have to  dedicate all  of the  remaining                                                              
$500,000  to correct  the problem  of holding  juveniles in  adult                                                              
jails longer than six hours.  He  surmised that would be a problem                                                              
because  of  the  high  costs  associated  with  a  transportation                                                              
infrastructure  or   establishing  juvenile  facilities   in  each                                                              
community.   He pointed out the  violations are associated  with a                                                              
very small number of juveniles.                                                                                                 
With no  further questions or  discussion, SENATOR DAVIS  moved SB
178 from  committee with individual  recommendations and  its zero                                                              
fiscal note.  There being no objection, the motion carried.                                                                     
The committee then took up SB 11.                                                                                               
                  SB  11-COMPULSORY SCHOOL AGE                                                                              
SENATOR THERRIAULT, sponsor of SB  11, provided the committee with                                                              
a list of the 12 exemptions from  the public education requirement                                                              
provided in statute.   He pointed out that he tried  to figure out                                                              
whether there  is a  different way  to get  at the problem,  which                                                              
occurs when parents  enroll their children in  public education at                                                              
the age of 5 or 6, but send their  children to school sporadically                                                              
Until  the child  is  of mandatory  school  age at  age  7.   Both                                                              
teachers  and students  are  challenged  in such  situations,  and                                                              
often school becomes  a negative experience at an  early stage for                                                              
those students.                                                                                                                 
SENATOR THERRIAULT  pointed out the  list of 12 exemptions  is not                                                              
impacted by  SB 11.  The exemptions  allow a child to  be withheld                                                              
from public school  if the child is being educated  by a parent or                                                              
legal guardian.   Therefore, any parent  who wants to keep  his or                                                              
her child out of  the public school system can legally  do so, but                                                              
once a child is enrolled, SB 11 will  require that child to attend                                                              
on a regular basis.                                                                                                             
VICE-CHAIR LEMAN announced that he  would hold SB 11 until Monday,                                                              
when Chairwoman Green is in attendance.                                                                                         
SENATOR  THERRIAULT  said  he  is willing  to  discuss  any  ideas                                                              
committee members  may have  as to how  to approach this  problem.                                                              
He stated this problem pertains to 1 percent of students.                                                                       
VICE-CHAIR LEMAN  noted SB 11 would  be held until Monday  and the                                                              
committee would take up SB 41.                                                                                                  
        SB  41-KINDERGARTEN & DEFINITION OF "SCHOOL AGE"                                                                    
RICHARD  BENAVIDES, staff  to  Senator Davis,  sponsor  of SB  41,                                                              
explained that SB  41 would make kindergarten  mandatory in Alaska                                                              
and it would lower the compulsory  school age from 7 to 5 years of                                                              
age.  Alaska  has performance standards for students  aged 5 to 7,                                                              
yet school attendance  is not mandatory.  According  to statistics                                                              
provided by  the state  in October of  2000, all school  districts                                                              
except Galena had  children enrolled in some type  of kindergarten                                                              
program.  The  movement in education  at this point in  time is to                                                              
have children  start learning as  quickly as possible in  order to                                                              
meet the mandated  performance standards and pass  mandatory tests                                                              
at  the  high   school  level.    Fifteen  states   have  mandated                                                              
kindergarten,  42 states  must offer kindergarten  although  it is                                                              
not mandatory,  and all 50 states  have financial aid  for schools                                                              
with kindergarten programs.                                                                                                     
SENATOR WARD  asked if SB 41  will require all children  to attend                                                              
MR. BENAVIDES said that is correct.                                                                                             
SENATOR WARD  asked if  school districts  could continue  to offer                                                              
full, half or quarter-day kindergarten.                                                                                         
MR. BENAVIDES said the bill would  only mandate schools to offer a                                                              
kindergarten program.                                                                                                           
SENATOR  WARD  asked  if  districts  could  offer  a  kindergarten                                                              
program that was less than half-day.                                                                                            
SENATOR DAVIS stated  that no kindergarten programs  in Alaska are                                                              
less than  half-day  but the local  option would  allow less  than                                                              
half-day.     She  felt   there  would   be  disadvantages   to  a                                                              
kindergarten program that was less than half-day.                                                                               
SENATOR  WARD   commented  that  some  schools   provide  half-day                                                              
kindergarten  programs   right  now  for  financial   reasons.  He                                                              
questioned whether a district could  have a program three days per                                                              
SENATOR  DAVIS said  she  didn't think  anything  would prevent  a                                                              
district  from doing  that.  She  pointed out  whether a  district                                                              
provides a full  or half-day kindergarten program  depends on each                                                              
school board's philosophy and a variety of other reasons.                                                                       
SENATOR  WILKEN   expressed  surprise   that  the  Department   of                                                              
Education   and    Early   Development   (DOEED)    submitted   an                                                              
indeterminate fiscal  note because he  believes it should  be able                                                              
to provide  a close estimate of  the number of  kindergartners who                                                              
may enroll every  year.  He also noted that  kindergarten programs                                                              
are not funded through the foundation formula.                                                                                  
SENATOR  DAVIS   asked  Mr.  Eddy   Jeans  to  speak   to  whether                                                              
kindergarten programs are funded through the foundation formula.                                                                
MR.  EDDY  JEANS,  School Finance  Manager,  DOEED,  informed  the                                                              
committee that  DOEED does fund kindergarten programs  through the                                                              
foundation  formula and  that  both full  and  half time  programs                                                              
exist.  A half time program is currently  defined in regulation as                                                              
one that lasts less  than four hours per day.   He pointed out the                                                              
fiscal note is indeterminate because  SB 41 changes the compulsory                                                              
school age from 7 to 5.  DOEED does  not know how many 5 or 6 year                                                              
olds do not currently  attend school.  In addition,  parents would                                                              
have the option  of keeping their 5 and 6 year  olds out of public                                                              
school by way of 12 exemptions.                                                                                                 
SENATOR  WILKEN  asked  if  kindergartners  are  included  in  the                                                              
October count.                                                                                                                  
MR. JEANS said they are.                                                                                                        
SENATOR WARD  asked how  many kindergartners  were in last  year's                                                              
MR. JEANS said,  based on the enrollment report,  Alaska had 9,275                                                              
students statewide  but he  did not know  if that number  includes                                                              
both full and half time students.                                                                                               
SENATOR WARD  asked if half  time students receive  half allotment                                                              
and whether  districts have the option  of applying for  a full or                                                              
half time allotment.                                                                                                            
MR. JEANS  stated half  time students  receive half allotment  and                                                              
repeated that districts  have the option of offering  half or full                                                              
time programs.   Programs that are  more than four hours  per day,                                                              
exclusive of intermissions, are considered to be full time.                                                                     
SENATOR WARD asked if a school district  could apply for funds for                                                              
either half  or full day kindergarten  programs or could  offer no                                                              
MR. JEANS said that is correct.                                                                                                 
VICE-CHAIR LEMAN took public testimony.                                                                                         
[NO  RECORDING  IS AVAILABLE  FOR  THE  FOLLOWING PORTION  OF  THE                                                              
MEETING DUE TO TAPE DAMAGE.]                                                                                                    
MS. DEE  HUBBARD, an  Anchorage resident,  informed the  committee                                                              
that she has been working on this  issue since 1993.  In 1993, the                                                              
Anchorage   and   Alaska   PTAs   passed   resolutions   mandating                                                              
kindergarten.   Since that  time, four  more states have  mandated                                                              
kindergarten for children.  She believes  the state should mandate                                                              
that every school district offer kindergarten programs.                                                                         
MR.  VERN  MARSHALL,  Executive  Director  of  NEA-Alaska,  stated                                                              
support  for mandatory  kindergarten.   He  believes  the time  is                                                              
right to establish  such a mandate because Alaska  is aggressively                                                              
pursuing  standards.  He  feels it  is wise  to start children  in                                                              
kindergarten because it orients children  to school procedures and                                                              
helps them to start acquiring knowledge.                                                                                        
MR.   DARROLL  HARGRAVES,   Council   of  School   Administrators,                                                              
commented  on both  SB 41  and SB  11.   He  stated that  research                                                              
results show that  a big learning curve occurs  from birth through                                                              
age 5.   If  children miss  the opportunity  to learn during  that                                                              
period, they will  suffer through 12th grade.   In addition, young                                                              
students are more mature.  He pointed  out that regarding the list                                                              
of exemptions included  in Senator Therriault's  bill, exemption 8                                                              
is the only one  that allows flexibility for students  who are not                                                              
kindergarten  ready at  age  5.   That exemption  requires  school                                                              
board approval to  keep a child out of kindergarten  at age 5.  He                                                              
asked the committee  to add a simpler exemption to  apply to those                                                              
students who are not ready.                                                                                                     
[SIDE B RECORDING BEGINS]                                                                                                       
Number 2150                                                                                                                     
MS. RITA DAVIS, a teacher at Swanson  Elementary School in Palmer,                                                              
emphasized  the need for  early intervention  for school  success.                                                              
Although  children learn  with different  styles and at  different                                                              
rates,  educational and  brain  research consistently  shows  that                                                              
five-year old children are not only  ready and eager to learn, but                                                              
have a tremendous  capacity to learn.  For students  who come from                                                              
environments  that   may  not  be  rich  in  literature   or  life                                                              
experiences, early  kindergarten would offer  them developmentally                                                              
appropriate  activities  and  prepare   them  to  learn  and  make                                                              
choices.   For students  ready to learn,  it would offer  an early                                                              
opportunity.    Reading  research  concludes  that  early  reading                                                              
success in the  primary grades is the single biggest  indicator of                                                              
future  school  success.    If  Alaska   is  focusing  on  meeting                                                              
standards at the end of a student's  education, it is only logical                                                              
to look  at the beginning.  It is time  our state policy  reflects                                                              
our beliefs about this critical learning period.                                                                                
MR. CARL  ROSE, Executive  Director of  the Association  of Alaska                                                              
School Boards,  stated support for SB  41 for many of  the reasons                                                              
already  stated.     He  recently  returned  from   the  education                                                              
commission of the states.  That commission  produced an initiative                                                              
to  change  the foundation  system  for  funding education.    The                                                              
commission wants funding to cover  preschool through postsecondary                                                              
education. He stated  the first benchmark exam given  in Alaska is                                                              
at the  third grade  level and  districts will  have to  pay close                                                              
attention to that benchmark because  at that point, the curriculum                                                              
"steepens out"  and the gap  widens.  Mandating  kindergarten will                                                              
help students  to get up  on step together.  He believes  the best                                                              
place  to  put  the  state's  effort  regarding  the  high  school                                                              
qualifying exam  is into  looking at learning-appropriate  methods                                                              
of  teaching children  at the  kindergarten level  and to  mandate                                                              
kindergarten attendance.                                                                                                        
MR.  ROD  MCCOY,  special education  teacher  and  NEA-Ak  member,                                                              
thanked  and complemented  the  committee  for the  great  efforts                                                              
members have made for education. He made the following points:                                                                  
   · Research clearly says that the sooner students are involved                                                                
     in the learning process, the better off they are;                                                                          
   · Our legal system provides clear options to request                                                                         
     compulsory education because parents can easily determine to                                                               
     provide instruction at home - the state is not being                                                                       
     invasive in that process;                                                                                                  
   · Allow parents to determine whether their children are                                                                      
     school-ready at age 5 because attendance is important; and                                                                 
   · Districts need support for the benchmark tests - the state                                                                 
    must require schooling to start early in a child's life.                                                                    
VICE-CHAIR LEMAN announced  that SB 41 would be  held in committee                                                              
until Chairwoman Green returns.                                                                                                 
       CSHB 99(HES)-SCHOOL DISCIPLINE AND SAFETY PROGRAMS                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  LESIL  MCGUIRE, sponsor  of  HB  99, informed  the                                                              
committee  that  CSHB 99(HES)  was  unanimously  supported by  the                                                              
House.  She explained that CSHB 99(HES)  is simple: it asks school                                                              
districts to  put policies in  place to address  non-violent means                                                              
of  resolving  conflicts.  The  problem   of  school  violence  is                                                              
nationwide.   Alaska   schools  have   experienced   a   shooting,                                                              
stabbings,  baseball bat  fights and  other violent  acts.   These                                                              
acts  are  not  only  occurring  in  urban  areas.  She  has  done                                                              
extensive research  on non-violent resolution policies  in schools                                                              
and there is no  question that they make a difference.   HB 99 has                                                              
the  support of  school  districts, NEA-Ak,  and  the Division  of                                                              
Juvenile Justice.   She noted that  Debbie Ossiander, a  member of                                                              
the Anchorage school  board, has testified in the  past in support                                                              
of CSHB 99(HES). An incidental benefit  of CSHB 99(HES) will be to                                                              
help  districts   that  want   to  develop  full-fledge   conflict                                                              
resolution  programs to  receive grant funding.  She believes  the                                                              
state should  be one  of many  partners needed  to help  eradicate                                                              
school violence.                                                                                                                
MR. BUTTCANE, Division  of Juvenile Justice, DHSS,  stated support                                                              
for  CSHB  99(HES).  He pointed  out  that  in  the course  of  an                                                              
ordinary  year,  the  division  receives  between  800  and  1,000                                                              
misdemeanor assault referrals statewide.   Most of those referrals                                                              
are related  to interpersonal  conflicts  between students  at our                                                              
schools.   The  division believes  that conflict  resolution is  a                                                              
preventative option  that can be implemented to  reduce the number                                                              
of  assaults  and  conflicts  between  students.   The  Office  of                                                              
Juvenile Justice  and Delinquency Prevention has  developed such a                                                              
program  and in  its  guide states  that  the  tenets of  conflict                                                              
resolution present  a new model  of interacting with  and thinking                                                              
about  other  people,   one  that  challenges  us   to  go  beyond                                                              
stereotypes, to consider  the other's point of view,  and to reach                                                              
mutually satisfactory  agreements in which  all parties win.   The                                                              
results  of  this approach  for  society  could be  profound.  The                                                              
division  supports the  sponsor's effort  to implement  this as  a                                                              
next step in a direction that will create a better society.                                                                     
VICE-CHAIR LEMAN  asked if any of  the five large high  schools in                                                              
Anchorage have a greater amount of conflict than the others.                                                                    
MR. BUTTCANE said in his experience,  cycles occur in high schools                                                              
in which  one school may  have high levels  of conflict  one year,                                                              
which  subsides  after staff  implement  various  programs.   Some                                                              
schools do  not seem to have those  problems.  He pointed  out the                                                              
Chugiak High School has implemented  a conflict resolution program                                                              
that is showing tremendous success.  East High School had a number                                                              
of conflicts  a few years  ago but staff  found new ways  to teach                                                              
students  to resolve  conflicts without  using physical  violence.                                                              
The Division of  Juvenile Justice is working with  both middle and                                                              
high  schools  around the  state  but  not  every school  has  the                                                              
interest or resources to participate.                                                                                           
VICE-CHAIR LEMAN said he asked because  the legislature is looking                                                              
at putting some resources into pilot programs.                                                                                  
SENATOR DAVIS said  most high schools in Anchorage  have some form                                                              
of conflict  resolution program  in place  and those programs  are                                                              
now being  established in middle  schools.  Wendler  Middle School                                                              
is taking the lead.                                                                                                             
MR. VERN MARSHALL,  NEA-Ak, expressed appreciation  to the sponsor                                                              
for introducing  HB 99.  He noted that  prior to 1996,  NEA-Ak was                                                              
primarily  concerned  about  classroom  discipline.   It  has  now                                                              
absorbed a new  program and budget concept to deal  with the issue                                                              
of making schools  safer.  NEA-Ak has trained  staff and developed                                                              
programs  designed to  work  with teachers  and  support staff  to                                                              
address  the  issue of  making  the  school environment  safe  and                                                              
functional.  NEA-Ak realized  that the  incident in  Bethel was  a                                                              
critical  issue and  it was  the  first entity  to provide  crisis                                                              
TAPE 01-36, SIDE A                                                                                                              
MR. MARSHALL  pointed out that it  is costly to shut  schools down                                                              
because  of bomb  threats that  must  be taken  seriously. We  can                                                              
either pay later or incorporate programs  to deal with non-violent                                                              
resolution of  problems.  NEA-Ak  supports CSHB 99(HES)  and urges                                                              
its passage.                                                                                                                    
With no further discussion or questions,  SENATOR DAVIS moved CSHB
99(HES)  from committee  with individual  recommendations and  its                                                              
accompanying fiscal  notes. There  being no objection,  the motion                                                              
     CSHB 203(FIN)-SPECIAL APPROP: SCHOOL DIST. COST FACTORS                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   PEGGY  WILSON,   sponsor,  explained   that  CSHB
203(FIN) appropriates money to Legislative  Council for a study of                                                              
school district  cost factors.  The  current formula has  a design                                                              
error.   It  tracks expenses  as opposed  to the  actual costs  of                                                              
providing  an  education  in  each   school  district,  which  has                                                              
resulted in  flawed district cost  factors.  Failure  to precisely                                                              
measure  differential  costs  across  the state  has  resulted  in                                                              
inequitable funding.   Alaska has  a constitutional  obligation to                                                              
provide a full education to all students.   The challenge inherent                                                              
in this mission  is to account for Alaska's diverse  geography and                                                              
cultural and economic conditions.   CSHB 203(FIN) proposes that an                                                              
independent study be done at a cost of $350,000.                                                                                
VICE-CHAIR  LEMAN   said  he  agrees   with  the  need   for  good                                                              
information  and  he  does  not  believe  the  current  geographic                                                              
differentials  are  accurate,  but  he  believes  the  information                                                              
should  be based  on  the cost  of operating  schools  and not  on                                                              
incidental costs.  Any study should  be designed so that  the data                                                              
can be updated every two years, as mandated by SB 36.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  agreed it is important to  design the study                                                              
so that DOEED can update the information every two years.                                                                       
Number 447                                                                                                                      
MR. CARL ROSE, Association of Alaska  School Boards (AASB), stated                                                              
support  for  CSHB  203(FIN).  He  noted  that  many  people  have                                                              
lingering concerns about SB 36, one  being the information used to                                                              
develop the  foundation formula.   The McDowell study of  1996 was                                                              
expenditure  based  and  many believe  schools  were  inadequately                                                              
funded  at that  time.   The  funding  task force  recommended  no                                                              
change to  the foundation  formula until the  state could  come up                                                              
with empirical data  on which to underwrite the change.   The task                                                              
force felt to change the foundation  formula without a good set of                                                              
indices would further exacerbate  the problem. The AASB identified                                                              
the need for such a study in its  A+ document.  He pointed out the                                                              
AASB  has a  dues formula  that contains  factors  so that  during                                                              
times  of financial  prosperity,  dues  can  be reduced  and  vice                                                              
versa. He suggested  that using 2002 as the timeframe  to complete                                                              
the  product is  too short  and will  produce a  poor product.  He                                                              
would like  to see the study in  place very soon and  if the study                                                              
lasted until 2003, the legislature  would have another year's data                                                              
to consider.  He  stated the need for this bill  is more important                                                              
since SB 36 is  in place.  The district cost factors  used now are                                                              
very questionable                                                                                                               
MR. DARROLL  HARGRAVES, Council  of School Administrators,  stated                                                              
support for CSHB  203(FIN) because of the low  confidence level in                                                              
the current  chart of accounts set  in statute, which  he believes                                                              
is inadequate.                                                                                                                  
MR. EDDY JEANS, School Finance Manager,  DOEED, stated support for                                                              
CSHB  203(HES).  DOEED believes  a  study  needs  to be  done  and                                                              
completed  by January  15,  2003 instead  of  2002. Requiring  the                                                              
study to be  done in a very  compressed time frame will  produce a                                                              
product that does  not serve the state's needs.  He requested that                                                              
CSHB 203(FIN) be amended to change  the date from 2002 to 2003. He                                                              
stated he spoke  with Representative Wilson about  that amendment.                                                              
She would  like to do a little  bit of research  before supporting                                                              
VICE-CHAIR  LEMAN   suggested  requiring  a  draft   study  to  be                                                              
completed by January 1, 2002 and to then have a comment period.                                                                 
MR. JEANS said DOEED requested amended  language on the House side                                                              
that  would   have  required  Legislative   Council  to   work  in                                                              
consultation  with DOEED to  develop the  contract for  the study.                                                              
DOEED intends to work with the school  districts to make sure they                                                              
buy into the product  before it goes out for bid.  That way, DOEED                                                              
will  be asking  the  contractor  to measure  the  items that  the                                                              
school districts  feel are truly  driving the difference  in costs                                                              
between districts.  He said he doesn't  believe a good request for                                                              
proposals (RFP) could be crafted  in less than two months and that                                                              
development needs to be done on the front end.                                                                                  
VICE-CHAIR LEMAN  agreed.  He asked  Mr. Jeans if he  is satisfied                                                              
with  the information  the state  is  collecting on  the costs  of                                                              
running  school districts  and whether  DOEED has  the ability  to                                                              
compare districts from that information.                                                                                        
MR.  JEANS stated  that  two  additional positions  were  approved                                                              
under SB 36.   He now has two internal auditors  working for DOEED                                                              
that review  school district  audited financial  statements  on an                                                              
annual  basis.   DOEED  has  also  done  an extensive  review  and                                                              
revision of  the uniform  chart of accounts  adopted by  the state                                                              
board of education in December.   That chart of accounts will take                                                              
effect in July so it will be at least  one year before the results                                                              
are  in.   He believes  the new  chart  of accounts  will get  the                                                              
expenditure data in  line. DOEED is not suggesting  that this cost                                                              
model  be developed  based  on  audited financial  statements  for                                                              
expenditures because  districts spend what they get.   If they are                                                              
not  getting sufficient  funds, they  must cut  in certain  areas.                                                              
DOEED wants to look at the actual  costs of providing an education                                                              
in  the various  communities. Fuel  costs  and consumption  varies                                                              
greatly among  districts. The contractor  needs to  identify those                                                              
indices that DOEED can update regularly.                                                                                        
VICE-CHAIR  LEMAN  said  he  agrees but  would  be  careful  about                                                              
interpreting too much  from the costs unless a common  base can be                                                              
found  to  determine  comparable  deliveries  in  communities.  He                                                              
announced he  would hold CSHB  203(FIN) and adjourned  the meeting                                                              
at 3:32 p.m.                                                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects