SB 96: "An Act relating to education; relating to school districts; relating to course credit for students; relating to group insurance, self-insurance, and other cooperative arrangements between school districts and businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies; relating to funding for school districts; relating to school operating funds; relating to competency examinations for teacher certificates; relating to the Professional Teaching Practices Commission; relating to the duties and powers of the Department of Education and Early Development and the commissioner of education and early development; relating to a virtual education consortium; relating to the minimum wage for bus drivers; relating to the investment, appropriation, and administration of the public school trust fund; and providing for an effective date."
00 SENATE BILL NO. 96 01 "An Act relating to education; relating to school districts; relating to course credit for 02 students; relating to group insurance, self-insurance, and other cooperative 03 arrangements between school districts and businesses, nonprofit organizations, and 04 government agencies; relating to funding for school districts; relating to school 05 operating funds; relating to competency examinations for teacher certificates; relating 06 to the Professional Teaching Practices Commission; relating to the duties and powers of 07 the Department of Education and Early Development and the commissioner of 08 education and early development; relating to a virtual education consortium; relating to 09 the minimum wage for bus drivers; relating to the investment, appropriation, and 10 administration of the public school trust fund; and providing for an effective date." 11 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 12 * Section 1. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section
01 to read: 02 LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS. The legislature finds that 03 (1) virtual education allows students to access courses that are not otherwise 04 available in their local schools or school districts, including courses that are relevant to the 05 interests and career paths of students; 06 (2) virtual education provides students with access to teachers who are experts 07 in their fields, allowing for better instruction and better academic results; 08 (3) overall state spending on education does not correlate with improved 09 academic results; however, spending on quality classroom instruction does correlate with 10 improved academic results; 11 (4) access to quality classroom instruction, whether through virtual education 12 or traditional delivery modes, is important for the success of every student in the state; 13 (5) despite the benefits of virtual education, virtual education has limitations 14 and cannot replace high quality teachers and teaching aides in the classroom who inspire high 15 quality student learning. 16 * Sec. 2. AS 14.03.073(a) is amended to read: 17 (a) A school district shall provide the opportunity for students enrolled in 18 grades nine through 12 in the district to challenge one or more courses provided by the 19 district by demonstrating mastery in mathematics, language arts, science, social 20 studies, and world languages at the level of the course challenged. A school district 21 shall give full credit for a course to a student who successfully challenges that course 22 as provided under (b) of this section. 23 * Sec. 3. AS 14.03.073(b) is amended to read: 24 (b) A school district shall establish, within a reasonable time, an assessment 25 tool and a standard for demonstrating mastery in courses provided for students in 26 grades nine through 12 by the district under (a) of this section. This section does not 27 require a school district to establish an assessment tool for every course in 28 mathematics, language arts, science, social studies, and world languages that is offered 29 to students in grades nine through 12 by the district. 30 * Sec. 4. AS 14.03.073 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: 31 (e) In addition to providing the opportunity for a student to challenge a course
01 under (a) - (c) of this section, a school district shall allow a student enrolled in grades 02 nine through 12 to receive course credit for a physical education, music, or art class, if 03 the student participates in an activity, including a cultural activity, outside of school 04 hours that the school district determines meets the educational or physical activity 05 requirements of the course. A school district may adopt standards for awarding course 06 credit for common activities. 07 * Sec. 5. AS 14.03.120(a) is amended to read: 08 (a) A district shall annually file with the department, and make available to the 09 public, a report that 10 (1) establishes district goals and priorities for improving education in 11 the district; 12 (2) includes a plan for achieving district goals and priorities; [AND] 13 (3) includes a means of measuring the achievement of district goals 14 and priorities; and 15 (4) summarizes the categories of administrative employees 16 employed by the district and states the ratio of each category of administrative 17 employee compared to the number of students in the district. 18 * Sec. 6. AS 14.09.030(b) is amended to read: 19 (b) The department shall 20 (1) establish equipment requirements for each type of school bus that 21 is used to transport school children to or from a public school; 22 (2) at least once [TWICE] each calendar year, inspect each school bus 23 for compliance with requirements adopted under this subsection; and 24 (3) maintain a record of each accident involving a school bus or other 25 vehicle transporting school children that is owned by, leased by, or provided under 26 contract to a municipal school district or regional educational attendance area; the 27 record must include the date of the accident, a list of persons injured, whether the 28 person's injury occurred within the school bus, and each type of injury. 29 * Sec. 7. AS 14.14.110(a) is amended to read: 30 (a) When necessary to provide more efficient or more economical educational 31 services, a district may cooperate or the department may require a district to cooperate
01 or share facilities with other districts, businesses, nonprofit organizations, state- 02 operated schools, other state or local government agencies, or the Bureau of Indian 03 Affairs in providing educational or administrative services. However, if a cooperative 04 arrangement, including an arrangement to share facilities, requires pupils to live 05 away from their usual homes, the school board shall provide classes within the 06 attendance area when there are at least eight children eligible to attend elementary and 07 secondary school in the attendance area. In this subsection, 08 (1) "administrative services" includes supervisory, maintenance, 09 purchasing, student nutrition, student transportation, or other services that are 10 required for unified administration, or participation in a policy of group health 11 insurance under AS 39.30.090 or a policy of self-insurance provided by the 12 Department of Administration under AS 39.30.091; 13 (2) "educational services" includes boarding and tuition arrangements, 14 pupil or teacher exchanges, special education services, [OR] curriculum development, 15 professional teacher development, or the use of technology to deliver classroom 16 instruction. 17 * Sec. 8. AS 14.14.115(a) is amended to read: 18 (a) To encourage cooperative arrangements between school districts and 19 between school districts and businesses, nonprofit organizations, and state or 20 local government agencies to provide more efficient or economical administrative or 21 educational services, a school district may receive a one-time cooperative arrangement 22 grant from the department of up to $200,000 if the school district demonstrates that 23 the arrangement will result in a cost savings to the district [$100,000]. 24 * Sec. 9. AS 14.14.115 is amended by adding new subsections to read: 25 (d) To be eligible for a cooperative arrangement grant between school districts 26 under this section, other than a cooperative arrangement grant for assistance with the 27 costs of transferring a health insurance policy under (e) of this section, a district must 28 either be a rural school district or enter into a cooperative arrangement with a rural 29 school district. 30 (e) The department may award a one-time cooperative arrangement grant 31 under this section to a school district to assist the school district in paying for the costs
01 of transferring school district employees from a health insurance policy provided by 02 the school district to a policy of group health insurance under AS 39.30.090 or a 03 policy of self-insurance provided by the Department of Administration under 04 AS 39.30.091. The department may not award a cooperative arrangement grant to a 05 school district to pay the school district's contributions to the costs of the health 06 insurance policy. 07 (f) During the first three fiscal years after a cooperative arrangement is 08 awarded under this section, a district awarded a grant may accumulate in its school 09 operating fund, in addition to the unreserved portion allowed under AS 14.17.505(a), 10 an amount equal to the savings resulting from the cooperative arrangement. 11 (g) In this section, "rural school district" means a regional educational 12 attendance area or a small municipal school district as that term is defined in 13 AS 14.11.025(c). 14 * Sec. 10. AS 14.17.450(a) is amended to read: 15 (a) Except as provided in (g) of this section, for [FOR] purposes of 16 calculating a school's ADM to determine state aid, the ADM of each school in a 17 district shall be computed by applying the following formula: 18 If the student count The adjusted student count is 19 in a school is The number of 20 students in 21 At least But less than Base Multiplier excess of 22 10 - 20 39.6 23 20 - 30 39.6 + (1.62 x 20) 24 30 - 75 55.8 + (1.49 x 30) 25 75 - 150 122.85 + (1.27 x 75) 26 150 - 250 218.1 + (1.08 x 150) 27 250 - 400 326.1 + (0.97 x 250) 28 400 - 750 471.6 + (0.92 x 400) 29 750 or over 793.6 + (0.84 x 750). 30 * Sec. 11. AS 14.17.450 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: 31 (g) The adjustment under (a) of this section does not apply to a school that is
01 below 80 percent capacity and is within 25 miles by road of another school in the 02 same district that is also below 80 percent capacity. In this subsection, the district in 03 which a school is located shall determine the capacity of the school. 04 * Sec. 12. AS 14.17.505(a) is amended to read: 05 (a) A district may not accumulate in a fiscal year an unreserved portion of its 06 year-end fund balance in its school operating fund, as defined by department 07 regulations, that is greater than 25  percent of its expenditures for that fiscal year, 08 except that, during the first three fiscal years after a cooperative arrangement 09 grant is awarded under AS 14.14.115, a district may accumulate an additional 10 unreserved portion that is equal to the amount of savings resulting from the 11 grant. 12 * Sec. 13. AS 14.20.020(i) is amended to read: 13 (i) Beginning on July 1, 1998, a person is not eligible for an initial regular 14 teacher certificate unless the person has taken and successfully completed a 15 competency examination or examinations designated, at the time the person took the 16 test, by the board. The board shall review nationally recognized examinations that are 17 designed to test the competency of new teachers and shall designate those 18 examinations that it finds adequately test the skills and abilities of new teachers. For 19 each examination designated under this subsection, the board shall establish the 20 minimum acceptable level of performance. If the board designates a Praxis test as a 21 competency examination under this subsection, the board shall periodically 22 adjust the minimum acceptable level of performance established for the Praxis 23 test so that the level is equal to or higher than the most stringent minimum 24 acceptable level of performance for teacher certification established by another 25 state. 26 * Sec. 14. AS 14.20.380 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: 27 (b) The department shall provide administrative support services to the 28 commission. 29 * Sec. 15. AS 14.20.460 is amended to read: 30 Sec. 14.20.460. Duties of commission. The commission shall 31 (1) establish procedures, and adopt regulations to implement the
01 purposes of AS 14.20.370 - 14.20.510; 02 (2) conduct investigations and hearings on alleged violations of ethical 03 or professional teaching performance, contractual obligations, and professional 04 teaching misconduct; 05 (3) review the regulations of the department as they relate to teacher 06 certification and recommend necessary changes; 07 (4) review the decisions of the department regarding the issuance or 08 denial of certificates and in its discretion recommend reversal of decisions; 09 (5) reduce the commission's administrative costs by using 10 administrative support services provided by the department. 11 * Sec. 16. AS 14.30 is amended by adding a new section to read: 12 Article 15. Virtual Education. 13 Sec. 14.30.760. Virtual education consortium. (a) The department, in 14 cooperation with school districts, shall establish a virtual education consortium for the 15 purpose of making virtual education and professional development resources available 16 to students and teachers in the state. The consortium shall create and maintain a 17 database of virtual education courses for students in grades six through 12, training in 18 virtual instruction for teachers of students in grades six through 12, and professional 19 development courses for teachers of students in any grade. A school district or a third- 20 party vendor may provide a course for students or teachers that is included in the 21 database. A virtual education course for students may only be included in the database 22 if the course is approved by the department under (b) of this section. 23 (b) The department shall review the curriculum of a virtual education course 24 for students before including the course in the database. The department may approve 25 the course if the course is appropriate for students in grades six through 12 and aligned 26 with state standards established by the department. The database must be accessible to 27 all school districts and include the following information for each course: 28 (1) title, subject, and description; 29 (2) the name of the school district that provides the course; 30 (3) a description of the method of instruction; the description must 31 indicate whether the instruction is synchronous, asynchronous, or blended; and
01 (4) samples of the curriculum and instruction provided in the course, 02 including an introductory video of the instructor, and, for a synchronous course, a 03 video of the instructor teaching. 04 (c) The consortium shall provide training for teachers of students in grades six 05 through 12 on virtual instruction methods and the differences between virtual 06 instruction and instruction offered in a classroom. A teacher may not provide 07 instruction through a course for students that is in the database unless 08 (1) the teacher has completed the training provided by the consortium; 09 or 10 (2) the consortium determines that the teacher's previous experience 11 has prepared the teacher to provide virtual instruction and the teacher demonstrates the 12 skills necessary to provide virtual instruction. 13 (d) In addition to providing training for teachers under (c) of this section, the 14 consortium shall offer professional development courses for teachers of students in 15 any grade through the database. A school district with adequate broadband Internet 16 access to participate in virtual professional development courses shall require teachers 17 in that school district to complete professional development training through the 18 consortium. The consortium may require, as a condition of participation, that school 19 districts participating in virtual professional development courses for teachers adopt 20 the same in-service days. 21 (e) The school district in which a student taking a course included in the 22 database under (b) of this section is enrolled shall pay a fee to the host district of the 23 course. The school district in which the student is enrolled shall calculate the fee by 24 multiplying the base student allocation by a fraction, the numerator of which is the 25 number of classes the student is taking during the school year that are provided by the 26 host district, and the denominator of which is the total number of classes in which the 27 student is enrolled for the school year in any school district. 28 (f) A school district that provides a course included in the database under (b) 29 of this section shall pay a fee to the consortium. The department shall establish the fee 30 in regulations based on a recommendation of the consortium and may adjust the fee 31 annually as necessary. By June 30, 2020, the fees must approximately equal the
01 consortium's administrative costs related to reviewing and approving courses and 02 maintaining the database. 03 (g) The consortium may require, as a condition of participation, that school 04 districts that provide courses or have students participating in courses included in the 05 database under (b) of this section adopt the same school term and class schedule for all 06 or part of a school day. The school term must meet the requirements of AS 14.03.030. 07 (h) In this section, 08 (1) "asynchronous" means instruction that does not require the 09 simultaneous participation of a student and instructor; 10 (2) "base student allocation" means the amount set out in 11 AS 14.17.470; 12 (3) "blended" means instruction that uses a combination of 13 asynchronous and synchronous delivery; 14 (4) "host district" means the school district that provides a course 15 included in the database; 16 (5) "synchronous" means instruction that requires the simultaneous 17 participation of a student and instructor; synchronous instruction is delivered in real 18 time through videoconferencing or other live means; 19 (6) "virtual education" or "virtual instruction" means instruction 20 delivered through telecommunications or other digital or electronic methods. 21 * Sec. 17. AS 23.10.055(a) is amended to read: 22 (a) The provisions of AS 23.10.050 - 23.10.150 do not apply to 23 (1) an individual employed in agriculture, which includes farming in 24 all its branches and, among other things, includes the cultivation and tillage of the soil, 25 dairying, the production, cultivation, growing, and harvesting of any agricultural or 26 horticultural commodities, the raising of livestock, bees, fur-bearing animals, or 27 poultry, and any practices, including forestry and lumbering operations, performed by 28 a farmer or on a farm as an incident to or in conjunction with the farming operations, 29 including preparation for market, or delivery to storage or to market or to carriers for 30 transportation to market; 31 (2) an individual employed in the catching, trapping, cultivating or
01 farming, netting, or taking of any kind of fish, shellfish, or other aquatic forms of 02 animal and vegetable life; 03 (3) an individual employed in the hand picking of shrimp; 04 (4) an individual employed in domestic service, including a baby- 05 sitter, in or about a private home; 06 (5) an individual employed by the United States or by the state or a 07 political subdivision of the state, [EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN AS 23.10.065(b),] 08 including prisoners not on furlough detained or confined in prison facilities; 09 (6) an individual engaged in the nonprofit activities of a nonprofit 10 religious, charitable, cemetery, or educational organization or other nonprofit 11 organization where the employer-employee relationship does not, in fact, exist, and 12 where services rendered to the organization are on a voluntary basis and are related 13 only to the organization's nonprofit activities; for purposes of this paragraph, 14 "nonprofit activities" means activities for which the nonprofit organization does not 15 incur a liability for unrelated business income tax under 26 U.S.C. 513, as amended; 16 (7) an employee engaged in the delivery of newspapers to the 17 consumer; 18 (8) an individual employed solely as a watchman or caretaker of a 19 plant or property that is not in productive use for a period of four months or more; 20 (9) an individual employed 21 (A) in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional 22 capacity; 23 (B) in the capacity of an outside salesman or a salesman who is 24 employed on a straight commission basis; or 25 (C) as a computer systems analyst, computer programmer, 26 software engineer, or other similarly skilled worker; 27 (10) an individual employed in the search for placer or hard rock 28 minerals; 29 (11) an individual under 18 years of age employed on a part-time basis 30 not more than 30 hours in a week; 31 (12) employment by a nonprofit educational or child care facility to
01 serve as a parent of children while the children are in residence at the facility if the 02 employment requires residence at the facility and is compensated on a cash basis 03 exclusive of room and board at an annual rate of not less than 04 (A) $10,000 for an unmarried person; or 05 (B) $15,000 for a married couple; 06 (13) an individual who drives a taxicab, is compensated for taxicab 07 services exclusively by customers of the service, whose written contractual 08 arrangements with owners of taxicab vehicles, taxicab permits, or radio dispatch 09 services are based upon flat contractual rates and not based on a percentage share of 10 the individual's receipts from customers, and whose written contract with owners of 11 taxicab vehicles, taxicab permits, or radio dispatch services specifically provides that 12 the contract places no restrictions on hours worked by the individual or on areas in 13 which the individual may work except to comply with local ordinances; 14 (14) a person who holds a license under AS 08.54 and who is 15 employed by a registered guide-outfitter or master guide-outfitter licensed under 16 AS 08.54, for the first 60 workdays in which the person is employed by the registered 17 guide-outfitter or master guide-outfitter during a calendar year; 18 (15) an individual engaged in activities for a nonprofit religious, 19 charitable, civic, cemetery, recreational, or educational organization where the 20 employer-employee relationship does not, in fact, exist, and where services are 21 rendered to the organization under a work activity requirement of AS 47.27 (Alaska 22 temporary assistance program); 23 (16) an individual who 24 (A) provides emergency medical services only on a voluntary 25 basis; 26 (B) serves with a full-time fire department only on a voluntary 27 basis; or 28 (C) provides ski patrol services on a voluntary basis; 29 (17) a student participating in a University of Alaska practicum 30 described under AS 14.40.065; 31 (18) an individual who is employed by a motor vehicle dealer and
01 whose primary duty is to 02 (A) receive, analyze, or reference requests for service, repair, 03 or analysis of motor vehicles; 04 (B) arrange financing for the sale of motor vehicles and related 05 products and services that are added or included as part of the sale; or 06 (C) solicit, sell, lease, or exchange motor vehicles. 07 * Sec. 18. AS 37.10.071(d) is amended to read: 08 (d) In exercising investment, custodial, or depository powers or duties under 09 this section, the fiduciary or the fiduciary's designee is liable for a breach of a duty 10 that is assigned or delegated under this section, or under AS 14.40.255, 14.40.280(c), 11 14.40.400(b), AS 37.10.070, AS 37.14.160 [AS 37.14.110(c), 37.14.160], or 12 37.14.170. However, the fiduciary or the designee is not liable for a breach of a duty 13 that has been delegated to another person if the delegation is prudent under the 14 applicable standard of prudence set out in statute or if the duty is assigned by law to 15 another person, except to the extent that the fiduciary or designee 16 (1) knowingly participates in, or knowingly undertakes to conceal, an 17 act or omission of another person knowing that the act or omission is a breach of that 18 person's duties under this chapter; 19 (2) by failure to comply with this section in the administration of 20 specific responsibilities, enables another person to commit a breach of duty; or 21 (3) has knowledge of a breach of duty by another person, unless the 22 fiduciary or designee makes reasonable efforts under the circumstances to remedy the 23 breach. 24 * Sec. 19. AS 37.14.130 is amended to read: 25 Sec. 37.14.130. Powers and duties of board. The board created in 26 AS 37.14.120 has the following powers and duties: 27 (1) to hold regular meetings and special meetings considered 28 necessary; and 29 (2) to have prepared an annual accounting of the [PRINCIPAL AND 30 INCOME OF THE] fund established in AS 37.14.110. 31 * Sec. 20. AS 37.14.160 is amended to read:
01 Sec. 37.14.160. Duties of the commissioner of revenue. The commissioner of 02 revenue is the treasurer of the trust fund created in AS 37.14.110 and shall 03 (1) in carrying out investment duties under this section, exercise the 04 same powers and duties established for the Alaska Retirement Management Board in 05 AS 37.10.220; 06 (2) deposit the principal and income from investments into [IN 07 SEPARATE PRINCIPAL AND INCOME ACCOUNTS FOR] the fund; 08 (3) invest and maintain accounting records [THAT DISTINGUISH 09 BETWEEN THE PRINCIPAL AND INCOME] of the fund; 10 (4) provide reports to the board established under AS 37.14.120 on the 11 condition and investment performance of the fund; 12 (5) determine, on July 1 of each year, the monthly average market 13 value of the fund for the previous three fiscal years. 14 * Sec. 21. AS 37.14 is amended by adding a new section to read: 15 Sec. 37.14.165. Use of the public school trust fund. Each year, the legislature 16 may appropriate 4.75 percent of the amount determined by the commissioner of 17 revenue under AS 37.14.160(5) for the following purposes: 18 (1) funding support of the state public school program; and 19 (2) reimbursement of the costs of administration of the fund. 20 * Sec. 22. AS 37.14.170 is amended to read: 21 Sec. 37.14.170. Investments. The commissioner of revenue is the fiduciary of 22 the trust fund and shall invest the fund to provide increasing returns from capital 23 appreciation and net income over long-term periods to the fund's current 24 [INCOME] beneficiaries. The commissioner may invest the money in the fund on the 25 basis of probable total rate of return to promote the long-term generation of capital 26 appreciation and income. In managing the trust fund, the commissioner shall 27 (1) consider the status of the fund's capital and the income generated 28 on both a current and a probable future basis; 29 (2) determine the appropriate investment objectives; 30 (3) establish investment policies to achieve the objectives; and 31 (4) act only in regard to the financial interests of the fund's
01 beneficiaries. 02 * Sec. 23. AS 14.20.470(a)(7); AS 23.10.065(b), and 23.10.065(c) are repealed. 03 * Sec. 24. AS 37.14.110(c) and 37.14.140 are repealed. 04 * Sec. 25. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to 05 read: 06 APPLICABILITY. The repeals of AS 23.10.065(b) and (c) by sec. 23 of this Act 07 apply to a contract entered into on or after the effective date of sec. 23 of this Act. 08 * Sec. 26. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to 09 read: 10 CONDITIONAL EFFECT. Sections 18 - 22 and 24 of this Act take effect only if a 11 court of competent jurisdiction enters a final judgment on the merits that is no longer subject 12 to appeal that provides instruction to the state under AS 13.36.035 or other trust common law 13 that the combining of the income and principal in the public school trust fund and the 14 authorization to appropriate funds from the principal of the public school trust fund under 15 secs. 18 - 22 and 24 of this Act do not violate trust duties of the state regarding the grants of 16 land for the benefit of public schools made in Section 6(k) of the Alaska Statehood Act. As 17 soon as practicable after a final judgment described under this section is entered and is no 18 longer subject to appeal, the commissioner of education and early development shall certify to 19 the lieutenant governor and the revisor of statutes that the final judgment has been entered. 20 * Sec. 27. If secs. 18 - 22 and 24 of this Act take effect under sec. 26 of this Act, they take 21 effect on the day after the commissioner of education and early development makes a 22 certification to the revisor of statues under sec. 26 of this Act. 23 * Sec. 28. Sections 1 - 17, 23, and 25 of this Act and take effect June 30, 2017.