Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205


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                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
SENATE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                               
                         March 1, 2006                                                                                          
                           1:43 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Fred Dyson, Chair                                                                                                       
Senator Lyda Green                                                                                                              
Senator Kim Elton                                                                                                               
Senator Donny Olson                                                                                                             
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Gary Wilken, Vice Chair                                                                                                 
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 281                                                                                                             
"An Act  relating to interdistrict  operation of  public schools;                                                               
relating  to  enrollment  of students  by  school  districts  and                                                               
regional educational  attendance areas;  and relating  to charter                                                               
schools and correspondence programs."                                                                                           
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR SENATE BILL NO. 199                                                                                      
"An Act  relating to public  school funding for a  prohibition on                                                               
the sale  of food and  beverages of minimal nutritional  value in                                                               
schools  and  for placing  restrictions  on  the use  of  vending                                                               
machines  in  public  schools; and  providing  for  an  effective                                                               
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
SENATE BILL NO. 162                                                                                                             
"An  Act   relating  to  monitoring  and   reporting  of  student                                                               
discipline and  safety, of student  health pertaining  to height,                                                               
nutrition,  and  physical  activity,  of the  percentage  of  the                                                               
legislative body  with a body  mass index that exceeds  25.0, and                                                               
of state  capitol vending machine  profits; requiring  schools to                                                               
report  school  health  status  and  policy,  the  percentage  of                                                               
students that  are overweight  and at  risk of  being overweight,                                                               
and profits  from vending machines; and  requiring the evaluation                                                               
of health education  programs on the basis of  health reports and                                                               
     BILL HEARING CANCELED                                                                                                      
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB 281                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: SCHOOL DIST. ENROLLMENT SHARING/CORRESPON                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) DYSON                                                                                                    
02/13/06       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/13/06       (S)       HES, FIN                                                                                               
03/01/06       (S)       HES AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
BILL: SB 199                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: SCHOOL NUTRITION SUPPORT GRANTS                                                                                    
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) ELTON                                                                                                    
05/09/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
05/09/05       (S)       HES, FIN                                                                                               
02/03/06       (S)       SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE INTRODUCED-REFERRALS                                                                
02/03/06       (S)       HES, FIN                                                                                               
03/01/06       (S)       HES AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
Wes Keller, Staff                                                                                                               
to Senator Fred Dyson                                                                                                           
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented SB 281.                                                                                        
Eddy Jeans, Director                                                                                                            
School Finance                                                                                                                  
Department of Education and Early Development                                                                                   
801 West 10th Street.                                                                                                           
Juneau, AK  99801-1894                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Had no position yet on SB 281.                                                                           
Carl Rose, Executive Director                                                                                                   
Association of Alaska School Boards                                                                                             
1111 West 9th Street                                                                                                            
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Had no position on SB 281.                                                                               
Lee Young, Principal                                                                                                            
Kenai Peninsula Borough Schools                                                                                                 
Soldotna, AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 281.                                                                                     
Jesse Kiehl, Staff                                                                                                              
to Senator Kim Elton                                                                                                            
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions on SSSB 199.                                                                          
Dave Jones, Director of Finance                                                                                                 
Kodiak Island Borough School District                                                                                           
722 Mill Bay Road                                                                                                               
Kodiak, AK  99615                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SSSB 199.                                                                                   
Suzanne Meunier, Director of Advocacy                                                                                           
American Heart Association                                                                                                      
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SSSB 199.                                                                        
Tammy Green, Section Chief                                                                                                      
Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion                                                                                 
Division of Public Health                                                                                                       
Department of Health and Social Services                                                                                        
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SSSB 199.                                                                                   
Peggy Cowan, Superintendent                                                                                                     
Juneau Borough Schools                                                                                                          
10014 Crazy Horse Drive                                                                                                         
Juneau, AK  99801                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SSSB 199 and                                                                     
suggested a change.                                                                                                             
Barbara Thompson, Director                                                                                                      
Teaching and Learning Support                                                                                                   
Department of Education and Early Development                                                                                   
801 West 10th Street, Suite 200                                                                                                 
Juneau, AK  99801                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced Ms. Goade during hearing on                                                                   
SSSB 199.                                                                                                                       
Stacy Goade, School Food Coordinator                                                                                            
Teaching and Learning Support                                                                                                   
Department of Education and Early Development                                                                                   
801 West 10th Street, Suite 200                                                                                                 
Juneau, AK  99801                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions on SSSB 199 and                                                                       
suggested a change.                                                                                                             
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
CHAIR FRED DYSON  called the Senate Health,  Education and Social                                                             
Services  Standing  Committee meeting  to  order  at 1:43:22  PM.                                                             
Present  were Senators  Lyda Green,  Kim Elton,  Donny Olson  and                                                               
Chair Fred Dyson.                                                                                                               
     SB 281-SCHOOL DIST. ENROLLMENT SHARING/CORRESPONDENCE                                                                  
CHAIR DYSON announced SB 281 to  be up for consideration.  As the                                                               
sponsor, he invited Mr. Keller to present the bill.                                                                             
1:44:11 PM                                                                                                                    
WES   KELLER,  Staff   to  Senator   Fred  Dyson,   Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, explained  that SB  281 authorizes  school districts                                                               
to  design, promote  and  administer statewide  distance-learning                                                               
programs; it  makes explicit what  is implied, since  no existing                                                               
law prohibits a school district  from enrolling students from any                                                               
area  of  Alaska;  it allows  contractual  agreements  -  already                                                               
allowed in statute - between school  districts; and it adds a new                                                               
definition  of  correspondence  programs,  currently  defined  in                                                               
regulation only,  by defining  a program in  terms of  whether it                                                               
takes on the daily, routine care of children.                                                                                   
He  requested  that  the  Senate   Finance  Committee  deal  with                                                               
financial  implications,  noting  he'd asked  the  Department  of                                                               
Education and  Early Development  (DEED) to assist  with wording.                                                               
Mr. Keller  said state  funding would follow  the student  to the                                                               
new  district,  as  would  federal  impact  aid;  however,  local                                                               
contributions would not, maintaining the status quo.                                                                            
CHAIR  DYSON  moved  to  adopt the  proposed  CS,  Version  F[24-                                                               
LS1430\F,  Mischel, 2/15/06]  as the  working document.   Without                                                               
objection, Version F was before the committee.                                                                                  
MR. KELLER  pointed out that  SB 281  presses one question:   How                                                               
will  district costs  be factored  into the  funding formula  for                                                               
non-correspondence students  that enroll  in another  district if                                                               
it happens  more often because  of this legislation?   Suggesting                                                               
it's  an issue  for the  Senate Finance  Committee, he  added, "I                                                               
think  answering this  question in  open discussion  will clarify                                                               
things and  be helpful to us  as far as legislative  intent."  He                                                               
said SB 281  doesn't propose or  promote any  particular program,                                                               
doesn't  impose  mandates  and   introduces  no  new  legislative                                                               
intent.  He asserted that  it elevates the importance of district                                                               
boundary lines  because it's a  statement of confidence  in local                                                               
school districts.                                                                                                               
He informed members that technology  - which makes the impacts of                                                               
distance  disappear   -  drives   SB  281.     Relating  personal                                                               
background, Mr.  Keller said  he has new  hope for  Alaska's K-12                                                               
education.   He discussed a  "virtual box" designed for  a child,                                                               
based  on the  child's  needs and  current  level, an  individual                                                               
learning  plan,   state  standards  and  so   forth;  this  would                                                               
facilitate    personal   teacher-student    and   teacher-teacher                                                               
communication  never before  available.   Mr. Keller  elaborated,                                                               
suggesting  security measures  already  exist,  for example,  and                                                               
saying  small communities  can take  advantage of  expertise from                                                               
people outside the community.                                                                                                   
He expressed enthusiasm for  education technology and highlighted                                                               
the  following  myths:   technology  removes  teachers  from  the                                                               
equation;  technology  usage  only occurs  between  teachers  and                                                               
students, not  among students;  distance technology  is primarily                                                               
for correspondence schools or home  schooling; teachers need deep                                                               
technological  knowledge to  be  effective; kids  don't have  the                                                               
ability to take  care of technological hardware  such as laptops;                                                               
technology for education is expensive,  with no cost savings; and                                                               
accurate predictions can not be  made about future technology and                                                               
software.   Mr.  Keller concluded  by citing  a 2003  census that                                                               
found three out  of four Alaskan families have  computers - which                                                               
puts Alaska near the top -  and that 68.5 percent of Alaskans use                                                               
the Internet.                                                                                                                   
2:00:11 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  ELTON asked  whether protections  should be  included to                                                               
keep  one  school  district  from  losing  students  to  another,                                                               
causing the school to fall below the minimum number of students.                                                                
MR.  KELLER suggested  that was  for legislators  to answer.   He                                                               
offered his  opinion, however,  that if  a local  school district                                                               
had the best  situation to attract its own students  with its own                                                               
programs, then nothing had to be done.                                                                                          
SENATOR ELTON  asked whether Section  1 allowed something  new to                                                               
happen so one  district could create a charter  school in another                                                               
MR.  KELLER  agreed it  wasn't  happening  already, but  said  he                                                               
wasn't sure it was illegal.                                                                                                     
SENATOR ELTON expressed interest  in having the committee discuss                                                               
it,  since  it  would  be  a  significant  shift  and  he  didn't                                                               
understand all the ramifications.                                                                                               
SENATOR OLSON asked  about the difference between  Version G, the                                                               
original bill, and Version F.                                                                                                   
2:02:32 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. KELLER explained  that the first version  didn't specify that                                                               
districts could make contractual agreements  with each other.  In                                                               
many  remote locations,  the school  building is  the center  for                                                               
culture in  the community.  A  school that wasn't happy  with its                                                               
teachers that  come and go from  the community might be  eager to                                                               
participate  in a  program offered  by another  district and  yet                                                               
still use the building.  This would allow such agreements.                                                                      
CHAIR DYSON added  an example:  Hope, a small  community south of                                                               
his district, has  just 10 students, but a nice  school built for                                                               
60.   If the  number fell  below the threshold  of 10,  the local                                                               
district or  school could  contract with  the Anchorage  or Kenai                                                               
school  district  to  have  a  distance-delivery  charter  school                                                               
there, using  the building  and providing a  teacher's aide  as a                                                               
monitor  and proctor  in the  classroom and/or  providing support                                                               
for  students with  disabilities.   Some districts  conduct their                                                               
administration from Anchorage already,  and Chair Dyson suggested                                                               
this would  allow small schools  and districts to  take advantage                                                               
of   another   district's  economies   of   scale   or  to   work                                                               
He  highlighted the  problem of  a  small high  school trying  to                                                               
provide  a variety  of classes  and experiences  to students.   A                                                               
virtual school  could combine three  students in one  village who                                                               
wanted  to learn  Russian, aviation  or  medical technology,  for                                                               
example, with dozens of other  students in schools throughout the                                                               
area  or  the state;  it  would  be  taught by  highly  qualified                                                               
teachers  from   another  locale.     Chair  Dyson   related  his                                                               
understanding that all the bill's language is permissive.                                                                       
MR.  KELLER  requested  that the  legislation  be  moved  forward                                                               
unless some  questions couldn't be  answered.   Regarding Senator                                                               
Elton's earlier  question, he said  charter schools  have another                                                               
"layer":   the  state board,  which can  approve or  disapprove a                                                               
decision that has been made at the local district level.                                                                        
CHAIR DYSON opened public testimony.                                                                                            
2:07:57 PM                                                                                                                    
EDDY  JEANS, Director,  School Finance,  Department of  Education                                                               
and Early Development, informed members  that DEED hadn't taken a                                                               
position on the  bill yet, mainly because of  lack of opportunity                                                               
for  feedback  from  the  state  Board  of  Education  and  Early                                                               
Development.   Concurring  that many  items  in the  bill are  in                                                               
statute, he noted,  for example, that AS 14.14.110  has the title                                                               
"Cooperation with other districts."                                                                                             
He  conjectured  that some  concerns  of  the state  board  might                                                               
relate to Section 1, which allows  a district to create a charter                                                               
school to operate  in another school district,  and to Section 3,                                                               
which  allows a  local  school  board to  establish  a school  in                                                               
another  district.   Mr. Jeans  pointed out  that children  cross                                                               
boundaries  now, with  funding going  to the  district where  the                                                               
children actually attend school.   He gave examples.  In response                                                               
to Chair  Dyson, he  clarified that  under Section  1, subsection                                                               
(d), it  appears a local  school board could establish  a charter                                                               
school  outside  the district  boundaries  with  approval of  the                                                               
state board,  but without consent of  the other school board  - a                                                               
substantial  change.   He surmised,  at minimum,  that the  state                                                               
board would want  both local school boards to be  a party to such                                                               
a charter.                                                                                                                      
2:12:20 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. JEANS, in further response,  said he believes the state board                                                               
will meet  March 17;  he covers  current legislation  during such                                                               
meetings and will  ensure this is before the board.   In response                                                               
to  Senator  Olson  regarding  the  bill's  necessity,  Mr. Jeans                                                               
mentioned  that  at  least  the  existing  cooperation  component                                                               
between  districts is  clearly allowed  by statute.   In  further                                                               
response,  he explained  that he  would present  the bill  to the                                                               
state board to  receive feedback, but would also  point out that,                                                               
for this  particular section,  current statute  already addresses                                                               
the cooperative nature between districts.                                                                                       
2:14:41 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DYSON asked  Mr. Jeans whether he believes  the present law                                                               
allows a district "on invitation,  with agreement" to establish a                                                               
new charter school in another district.                                                                                         
MR. JEANS answered  that it hadn't happened yet,  other than with                                                               
the Delta Cyber  School, which was approved as  a charter school,                                                               
serves students  statewide via  the Internet and  is funded  as a                                                               
correspondence program.                                                                                                         
CHAIR  DYSON indicated  Version  F differs  from  current law  in                                                               
allowing a charter school to  operate specifically within another                                                               
district.   He  proposed getting  a legal  opinion as  to whether                                                               
additional authorization is needed beyond existing statute.                                                                     
MR.  JEANS,  in   response  to  Senator  Elton,   said  he  reads                                                               
Section 3,  paragraph (1),  to  say a  district  can establish  a                                                               
brick-and-mortar school  in another  district without  the second                                                               
district's approval.                                                                                                            
CHAIR  DYSON surmised  the drafter  thought the  approval of  the                                                               
state board  provided a safeguard.   He asked about options  if a                                                               
recalcitrant school  district at some  point isn't doing  what is                                                               
SENATOR ELTON remarked  that it's an interesting  point, but said                                                               
he reads Section 1 as being  different from Section 3.  Section 1                                                               
provides that  the state  board would  be involved  in decisions,                                                               
but Section 3 is just a local response.                                                                                         
MR.  JEANS  noted  that  Section  1  amends  the  charter  school                                                               
legislation, which already has a  state board approval component.                                                               
Section 3  amends AS 14.14,  adding a  new subsection  that deals                                                               
with operations of districts.                                                                                                   
MR.  KELLER added  that  he couldn't  imagine  a school  district                                                               
going out  and building a  school in a  rural area.   He reported                                                               
that   one  big   concern  he   has  heard   from  districts   is                                                               
administration.   Although  he could  see safeguards  so students                                                               
aren't viewed  as revenue sources,  he suggested this is  more of                                                               
an  opportunity to  "put sizes  and needs  together, rather  than                                                               
trying to take over another district."                                                                                          
2:21:49 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DYSON asked about financial implications.                                                                                 
MR. JEANS  answered that  DEED hadn't  analyzed it  for financial                                                               
impact.   Regarding  the issue  raised by  Mr. Keller  about cost                                                               
differentials and  the dollars following the  students, Mr. Jeans                                                               
offered the belief that it's  being achieved already by providing                                                               
funding  to  the  schools  and districts  that  are  serving  the                                                               
children.   In further  response, he  said there  may not  be any                                                               
cost implications.                                                                                                              
2:23:56 PM                                                                                                                    
CARL  ROSE,  Executive  Director, Association  of  Alaska  School                                                               
Boards (AASB), testified that AASB  has no formal position on the                                                               
bill  because  all the  implications  aren't  known.   Addressing                                                               
possibilities, he pointed out that  those wanting to do a charter                                                               
school might  seek other  sponsors; thus the  bill could  be far-                                                               
reaching.   Mr.  Rose  offered his  understanding  that the  bill                                                               
intends to  restate the latitude already  possessed by districts.                                                               
As for  financial implications,  he pondered  whether going  to a                                                               
district with another cost differential might affect costs.                                                                     
2:27:08 PM                                                                                                                    
LEE  YOUNG,  Principal,   Connections,  Kenai  Peninsula  Borough                                                               
Schools,  informed  members that  Connections  is  a home  school                                                               
program.   He requested  clarification as  to whether  the bill's                                                               
focus is  distance delivery, for  remote students  especially, or                                                               
is  to  perhaps  shape  core  school  districts.    He  predicted                                                               
financial  benefits  if school  districts  can  go outside  their                                                               
boundaries; he  also believes his  program is better  off because                                                               
of the competition.   Mr. Young suggested if there  were a way to                                                               
rate  districts  for  doing  a good  job,  then  perhaps  charter                                                               
schools  wouldn't  be  allowed to  set  up  new  brick-and-mortar                                                               
schools.  He  asked about ways to craft the  legislation to avoid                                                               
having new  brick-and-mortar schools  draw students from  the old                                                               
school programs,  thereby watering them  down.  He  asked members                                                               
to continue to analyze this and do good work.                                                                                   
CHAIR DYSON asked whether anyone else wished to testify.                                                                        
2:30:23 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DYSON announced SB 281 would be held over.                                                                                
            SSSB 199-SCHOOL NUTRITION SUPPORT GRANTS                                                                        
CHAIR DYSON announced SSSB 199 to be up for consideration.                                                                      
2:31:02 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  ELTON, sponsor,  pointed  out that  the  fiscal note  is                                                               
wrong and  should predict  a cost of  $843,000 each  year, rather                                                               
than  for one  year.   He  explained that  SSSB  199 provides  an                                                               
option for school districts to  receive a $4-per-student bonus if                                                               
they sell  healthful food  in the  schools, as  set forth  in the                                                               
bill.   It doesn't  affect the  cap, and is  meant to  provide an                                                               
incentive and be  part of a solution to obesity  and other health                                                               
issues.    It  applies  to  food sold  in  vending  machines,  in                                                               
cafeterias or at student-run fundraisers,  but doesn't cover food                                                               
that isn't  sold, such as pizza  at a class party.   Furthermore,                                                               
it doesn't cover  food funded under the federal  school lunch and                                                               
nutrition program.                                                                                                              
He  acknowledged that  food sales  at  schools support  ancillary                                                               
programs and clubs, but disputed  the assumption that sales would                                                               
drop  if foods  weren't  sugar-rich; he  indicated  a decline  in                                                               
sales  likely would  happen the  first year  only, followed  by a                                                               
recovery.   Additionally, Senator  Elton surmised that  adding $4                                                               
per student to  the budgets of districts that  choose this option                                                               
may add  an incremental  amount of money  to the  school activity                                                               
funds.   Thus the bill  provides for healthful food  and supports                                                               
student  activities,  with  the   goal  of  a  healthier  student                                                               
He  reported   that  the  sponsor  substitute   reflects  changes                                                               
suggested  by the  numerous  school  districts and  organizations                                                               
that  reviewed the  bill after  its introduction.   For  example,                                                               
rural  school districts  had expressed  concern that  traditional                                                               
foods would  be precluded; the  bill was changed so  those aren't                                                               
implicated.    Senator  Elton noted  differences  of  opinion  on                                                               
whether certain foods  are healthful; for example,  whole milk is                                                               
allowed  because some  people  in the  health  field suggest  the                                                               
benefits of  calcium outweigh  other issues,  though some  in the                                                               
schools feel  otherwise.   Highlighting the  basic nature  of the                                                               
"recipes" in the  bill, which don't prevent  the departments from                                                               
developing  stricter ones,  Senator  Elton  brought attention  to                                                               
letters of  support in the  committee packets,  saying additional                                                               
letters had been received as well.                                                                                              
2:38:39 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  DYSON referred  to  page  2, line  9,  which begins,  "(B)                                                               
depict only physical activity".  He asked what that means.                                                                      
SENATOR  ELTON  replied that  it  reflects  picking and  choosing                                                               
among what other states have done.   Several states have used the                                                               
idea  that a  school vending  machine should  depict a  healthful                                                               
food.   The  intent is  that advertising  on the  front shouldn't                                                               
undermine what is actually offered in the machine.                                                                              
2:39:45 PM                                                                                                                    
JESSE   KIEHL,  Staff   to  Senator   Kim  Elton,   Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature,   added  that   along   with   paragraph  (C),   the                                                               
aforementioned  phrase  refers to  what  is  depicted on  vending                                                               
machines in schools  in a district that chooses to  apply for the                                                               
grant.   Rather  than having  a scantily  clad individual  eating                                                               
pork  rinds,  for  instance, the  images  would  depict  physical                                                               
activity or foods and beverages allowable under the bill.                                                                       
SENATOR  ELTON suggested  a more  likely image  would be  someone                                                               
drinking a cola.                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  pointed out  that someone could  be shown  smoking a                                                               
cigarette or  performing another activity not  seen as desirable.                                                               
He suggested the sponsor might want to consider this.                                                                           
2:41:28 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GREEN  asked about  calculations  for  the fiscal  note,                                                               
which wasn't in committee packets.                                                                                              
SENATOR ELTON  suggested those  who wrote  the fiscal  note could                                                               
answer better.   He remarked  that some districts  have initiated                                                               
programs that  likely would qualify  under the bill,  but without                                                               
the incentive.  He reiterated  that the fiscal note he'd received                                                               
was in error because it assigned a one-year cost.                                                                               
MR. KIEHL affirmed  he had a copy.  He  related his understanding                                                               
that the fiscal note assumed  every district would participate in                                                               
the first year,  as shown on an attached  spreadsheet showing all                                                               
53 districts.                                                                                                                   
CHAIR DYSON  noted that Eddy  Jeans, Department of  Education and                                                               
Early Development  (DEED), had  nodded his  assent.   Chair Dyson                                                               
asked whether  Senator Elton  had done research  on the  costs of                                                               
dental  disease and  other implications  on  public budgets  when                                                               
people have unhealthful diets.                                                                                                  
SENATOR  ELTON revealed  he'd opted  not to  provide an  overview                                                               
that ranged "from scary to horrific."   He reported that close to                                                               
25  percent of  the Alaskan  population is  classified as  obese,                                                               
much higher  than in recent years.   There are many  causes; this                                                               
bill  isn't  the silver  bullet  to  solve  them all.    However,                                                               
increased health  problems correlate with obesity  or poor eating                                                               
habits,  including diabetes  and dental  health problems.   While                                                               
DEED could prepare its fiscal note  by applying an upper limit of                                                               
$4 across  all the districts,  Senator Elton pointed out  that it                                                               
doesn't address hypothetical  costs such as those  for bad health                                                               
habits that  begin at an early  age, or savings from  good health                                                               
habits over time.                                                                                                               
CHAIR DYSON  suggested statistics  might be available  for public                                                               
money paid for nonpreventative dental care for K-12 children.                                                                   
2:47:50 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DYSON opened public testimony.                                                                                            
DAVE  JONES, Director  of Finance,  Kodiak Island  Borough School                                                               
District, explained  that his district  has been looking  at this                                                               
issue.   He cited  his high  school as  a good  example:   it has                                                               
vending machines  and on-site sales  that generate  a significant                                                               
amount  of money  to fund  activities  and to  allow students  to                                                               
participate who otherwise would be unable  to.  Many of the items                                                               
currently sold  are not  nutritional.   Mr. Jones  predicted that                                                               
adopting this new policy would result  in a large drop in funding                                                               
and  thus a  drop in  physical activity.   However,  part of  the                                                               
reason  he'd  support this  bill  is  because the  revenue  won't                                                               
replace what is being raised already, but will help.                                                                            
He informed  members that  his only concern  relates to  sales in                                                               
elementary schools.   He gave an  example of a local  school used                                                               
for community  activities.  During  the day, the soda  machine is                                                               
shut down, but it  works in the off hours; the  money is used for                                                               
student field trips and so  forth.  Mr. Jones emphasized ensuring                                                               
that the bill doesn't eliminate more than is desired.                                                                           
SENATOR  ELTON  suggested  the aforementioned  machine  would  be                                                               
protected in two ways.  First,  the bill only relates to sales of                                                               
food from one  hour before school until one hour  after.  Because                                                               
of  concerns from  rural communities  with K-12  students in  the                                                               
same building, the  bill ensures that the  presence of elementary                                                               
students  in  the  building doesn't  preclude  having  a  vending                                                               
machine.  He added that  teachers and school administrators would                                                               
be  expected  to  try  to  control  the  purchasing  behavior  of                                                               
elementary  students  by  posting  and  enforcing  signs  on  the                                                               
machines, for example.                                                                                                          
CHAIR DYSON asked how many students are in the school district.                                                                 
MR. JONES replied about 2,736.                                                                                                  
CHAIR DYSON  noted that  $4 per student  would be  about $11,000.                                                               
He asked how much profit is netted from the vending machines.                                                                   
MR. JONES answered about $17,000 a  year.  There are sales beyond                                                               
that.   Observing that the bill  relates to the adjusted  ADM, he                                                               
said he'd been figuring about $16,000  to $18,000.  He added that                                                               
the booster club's morning sales  of coffee and donuts contribute                                                               
more than the vending machines.                                                                                                 
2:54:20 PM                                                                                                                    
SUZANNE   MEUNIER,   Director   of   Advocacy,   American   Heart                                                               
Association  (AHA), stated  support for  the bill.   Noting  that                                                               
obesity is a  cause of cardiovascular disease  - Alaska's leading                                                               
cause  of  death -  as  well  as  high blood  pressure,  elevated                                                               
cholesterol and  diabetes, she predicted that  preventing obesity                                                               
through  good  nutrition and  physical  education  would help  to                                                               
significantly   reduce  these   killers.     Mentioning  research                                                               
directly linking good  nutrition and the ability  to learn, play,                                                               
grow and  develop, Ms. Meunier said  well-nourished children have                                                               
higher  test  scores,  better  attendance  and  fewer  behavioral                                                               
problems.  She noted currently  there is little guidance for food                                                               
sold outside the federal school  meals program; she suggested the                                                               
school   environment   should   reinforce   classroom   nutrition                                                               
education.    On  behalf  of  AHA,  she  respectfully  urged  the                                                               
committee to move the bill forward.                                                                                             
2:56:41 PM                                                                                                                    
TAMMY  GREEN,  Section  Chief,  Chronic  Disease  Prevention  and                                                               
Health  Promotion,  Division  of  Public  Health,  Department  of                                                               
Health and  Social Services (DHSS),  spoke in support  of efforts                                                               
to increase  nutritional content in the  schools, particularly in                                                               
relation  to  vending  machines.    She  mentioned  working  with                                                               
schools and  parents to increase  the health of  children, noting                                                               
that  obesity  is a  problem  projected  to  grow over  the  next                                                               
several years.   However, this is  an education bill.   Ms. Green                                                               
indicated DHSS would  defer to DEED's lead and  would support its                                                               
decisions in any way possible if this were to become law.                                                                       
SENATOR ELTON asked if the figures are correct.                                                                                 
MS. GREEN replied they are correct.                                                                                             
2:58:59 PM                                                                                                                    
PEGGY  COWAN, Superintendent,  Juneau Borough  Schools, spoke  in                                                               
support of SSSB 199, noting  that her school district is focusing                                                               
on  health this  year.   She highlighted  the common  interest of                                                               
decreasing  obesity  and  increasing   activity.    Although  she                                                               
couldn't  predict  an  exact  monetory  amount  and  agreed  with                                                               
previous speakers that this would  be lowballing current revenues                                                               
from vending machines and other  sales, Ms. Cowan said this would                                                               
be an  incentive to implement  such a  program.  She  pointed out                                                               
that the Juneau school district  funding goes not only to student                                                               
activities, but also to items like classroom computers.                                                                         
She  reported  that one  local  middle  school switched  to  more                                                               
healthful snacks at lunchtime this  year, resulting in a dramatic                                                               
decrease  in  sales;  she expressed  hope  that  Senator  Elton's                                                               
prediction that sales would decline  only in the first year would                                                               
hold true.   Ms. Cowan  expressed appreciation for  leadership at                                                               
the state level to promote  health and partnering with the school                                                               
districts to do so.                                                                                                             
She  recommended one  change:   link the  definition of  "minimal                                                               
nutritional  value"  with the  federal  definition.   Noting  the                                                               
bill's definition  is more  rigorous, Ms.  Cowan pointed  out the                                                               
problems for school districts struggling  to keep up with federal                                                               
definitions and then having new state definitions as well.                                                                      
CHAIR DYSON  asked whether the  federal standard  mentions dental                                                               
MS. COWEN pointed  out that experts from DEED were  present.  She                                                               
offered her  understanding that the  federal standards  relate to                                                               
nutritional   content  and   preparation   methods  for   various                                                               
beverages and foods, rather than particular health standards.                                                                   
CHAIR DYSON  recalled attending  a seminar  about the  effects of                                                               
sugar and carbonic acid on the enamel of immature teeth.                                                                        
MS.  COWEN said  she hadn't  belabored the  statistics except  to                                                               
acknowledge  that Juneau  unfortunately  shares  them, but  added                                                               
that  carbonated beverages  aren't  good for  bones  either.   In                                                               
further response,  she estimated the school  district's take from                                                               
food  sales  to be  about  $8  to $10  a  head,  for about  5,000                                                               
CHAIR  DYSON  asked  whether the  district  receives  $40,000  to                                                               
$50,000 net income, then, from food sales.                                                                                      
MS. COWEN  replied, "At  least."   She related  her understanding                                                               
that,  according to  Mr. Jeans,  this new  program would  provide                                                               
about $30,000.                                                                                                                  
3:05:12 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR ELTON suggested  a complete correlation is  difficult.  A                                                               
bake  sale in  conjunction  with a  basketball  game wouldn't  be                                                               
covered by  this bill, for example,  if it happened more  than an                                                               
hour past the end of the school day - which is the usual case.                                                                  
MS.  COWEN  agreed, surmising  that  most  vending machine  sales                                                               
happen when there  are community - rather than  school district -                                                               
activities.   She  again expressed  appreciation for  a financial                                                               
incentive for doing what the districts should be doing.                                                                         
3:06:21 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DYSON called upon Stacy  Goade and Barbara Thompson of DEED                                                               
to answer questions.                                                                                                            
BARBARA  THOMPSON,  Director,   Teaching  and  Learning  Support,                                                               
Department  of Education  and Early  Development, explained  that                                                               
Ms.  Goade  is the  administrator  for  all the  child  nutrition                                                               
CHAIR DYSON  asked Ms. Goude  what she thinks about  the pressure                                                               
school districts are  under when someone from a  company comes to                                                               
a school and proposes renting floor space in return for money.                                                                  
STACY  GOADE,  School  Food Coordinator,  Teaching  and  Learning                                                               
Support, Department of Education  and Early Development, affirmed                                                               
this happens.   She said behind the bill is  the "local wellness"                                                               
law that came with the  Child Nutrition [and WIC] Reauthorization                                                               
Act  of 2004.   The  national school  lunch program  now requires                                                               
participating school  districts to  have a local  school wellness                                                               
policy.   Thus  the  commissioner's office  and  her office  have                                                               
worked with  school districts  this year  and partnered  with the                                                               
Alaska  Association of  School Boards  (AASB)  and Tammy  Green's                                                               
staff at  DHSS to develop  a sample  policy for school  boards to                                                               
use; it's a template, not a requirement.                                                                                        
She noted  this is a  confusing time for school  districts, since                                                               
the local  policy has  slightly different  "nutrition standards,"                                                               
which  she suggested  is a  better  term than  "foods of  minimal                                                               
nutritional value."                                                                                                             
CHAIR DYSON asked Ms. Goude  what she would have school districts                                                               
do, if she had her preference.                                                                                                  
MS.  GOUDE  said she  couldn't  answer,  but understood  all  the                                                               
underlying issues.  They're short on funding, she concluded.                                                                    
SENATOR  ELTON asked  whether the  federal  definition is  looser                                                               
with respect to the definition of good food and beverages.                                                                      
MS. GOUDE affirmed it's much  less rigorous; it helps mostly with                                                               
items  such  as  licorice,  marshmallows  and  other  sugar-laden                                                               
foods.    She suggested the "food and beverage  standards" in the                                                               
bill  are  much   more  rigorous  than  the   "foods  of  minimal                                                               
nutritional  value" under  the federal  law  for child  nutrition                                                               
programs.  In  response to Senator Elton, she  specified that she                                                               
believed the  term, not  the standards, should  be changed.   She                                                               
noted that in  working with districts, there  are three different                                                               
definitions of foods, which is confusing.                                                                                       
SENATOR ELTON  announced he would  consult with Ms. Goude  on the                                                               
aforementioned language.   He indicated it had  been decided that                                                               
the federal standards are weak.                                                                                                 
MS.  GOUDE  said  "foods  of  minimal  nutritional  value"  is  a                                                               
specific category defined  in federal law.  In  response to Chair                                                               
Dyson,  she indicated  schools  have dealt  with  perhaps 20  new                                                               
changes under  the school  lunch program  since the  2004 federal                                                               
Act.  She  listed five components for school  boards:  1) develop                                                               
a  policy to  increase physical  activity in  schools; 2) address                                                               
and  increase nutrition  education; 3)  deal with  all the  foods                                                               
outside  the national  school lunch  program, which  has its  own                                                               
nutrition standards; 4) address  other health-related issues; and                                                               
5) have a team, implement it and monitor it.                                                                                    
CHAIR  DYSON  asked  what  is  required  with  respect  to  foods                                                               
available in the schools.                                                                                                       
MS. GOUDE  answered that  they're required  to develop  a policy;                                                               
then  the   superintendents  would  develop   the  administrative                                                               
regulations under  the school board  policy to address  all foods                                                               
outside of the  federally funded national school  lunch program -                                                               
à la  carte foods and items  from food stores, morning  sales and                                                               
vending machines.  It's a  local policy, for the school districts                                                               
themselves  to  determine  -  the  federal  government  has  been                                                               
specific about  that - and the  policy is developed with  a group                                                               
that  represents  the community  and  the  schools.   In  further                                                               
response,   Ms.   Goude   said   there   definitely   is   parent                                                               
communication  involvement in  this policy  development, at  each                                                               
school site.                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DYSON asked  whether, when the process  is completed, there                                                               
is a requirement that parents be informed of the policy.                                                                        
MS.  GOADE said  yes, there  needs to  be communication  with the                                                               
CHAIR DYSON asked whether it has to meet any standard.                                                                          
MS.  GOADE answered  that they  don't have  to meet  any specific                                                               
standard, but the aforementioned  board policy was developed with                                                               
the AASB  and two state agencies  to complete a template  to help                                                               
them begin  somewhere.  The  sample policy is much  more rigorous                                                               
than the "foods of minimal nutritional value," she added.                                                                       
CHAIR DYSON asked whether there is  any way to audit how well the                                                               
goals are accomplished.                                                                                                         
MS. GOADE answered  that part of the  state agency administrative                                                               
responsibility  for the  child nutrition  programs  is to  review                                                               
them next  year as they  begin to be  implemented.  They  need to                                                               
have these policies  July 1.  Next school year  the policies will                                                               
be  developed,  and  then  it  will  be  seen  what  is  actually                                                               
implemented in these  schools.  "We will report back  to the feds                                                               
on  what   our  state  has   done  with  local   wellness  policy                                                               
development," she added.                                                                                                        
CHAIR DYSON  asked what happens if  the policy is to  continue to                                                               
sell  food  that  rots  children's teeth  because  of  the  money                                                               
MS.  GOADE  indicated  the  department  does  a  federal  on-site                                                               
review, looks to see what the  policy is, and reports back to the                                                               
federal government  that there is a  policy in place.   She noted                                                               
that the  federal guidance  to the  state agencies  is not  to be                                                               
subjective or to personally evaluate the local policy.                                                                          
CHAIR DYSON surmised the federal  government wouldn't do anything                                                               
about it either.                                                                                                                
MS. GOADE  replied that it  will be  determined at a  later date.                                                               
She  observed  that  the  practice has  been  to  implement  such                                                               
programs and then see what the  states report back.  She noted it                                                               
was the  federal government that  implemented the  local wellness                                                               
policy,  because sales  from vending  machines  and outside  food                                                               
sales were impacting  the federally funded school  food program -                                                               
to extinction in some places.                                                                                                   
3:16:24 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GREEN  suggested a  far  greater  problem is  that  many                                                               
school  lunch   programs  provide   food  that  isn't   any  more                                                               
nutritional than what comes from  a vending machine, and isn't as                                                               
MS. GOUDE  noted the  federal government will  be ramping  up its                                                               
"school meal initiative standards"  and the commodity program for                                                               
foods  used by  school  districts to  be more  in  line with  the                                                               
dietary  guidelines  for  Americans.    Thus  she  suggested  the                                                               
federal government sees the need to strengthen those areas.                                                                     
3:17:33 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR ELTON announced  he probably would bring  an amendment to                                                               
the  next hearing  after working  with Ms.  Goude.   He estimated                                                               
sales  in Alaska  from vending  machines,  à la  carte sales  and                                                               
student store sales  to be about $1.5 million.   At $4 a student,                                                               
the bill  would recover  about $843,000.   Senator Elton  said he                                                               
wouldn't object to  raising the limit to $7,  which would provide                                                               
more  incentive; he  encouraged other  members to  offer such  an                                                               
amendment if they believed this to be a good and workable idea.                                                                 
SSSB 199 was held over.                                                                                                         
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair  Dyson adjourned  the Senate  Health, Education  and Social                                                               
Services Standing Committee meeting at 3:18:40 PM.                                                                            

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