Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 106

03/01/2010 08:00 AM EDUCATION

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
             HB 360-YOUTH ACADEMY: STUDENT RECORDS                                                                          
8:04:18 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO.  360,  "An  Act relating  to  the  provision  of                                                               
information  regarding a  student  by a  school  district to  the                                                               
Department of  Military and  Veterans' Affairs,  Alaska Challenge                                                               
Youth Academy."                                                                                                                 
8:04:48 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   NANCY  DAHLSTROM,   Alaska  State   Legislature,                                                               
Introduced  HB 360,  said  it is  the intent  of  the sponsor  to                                                               
provide HB 360  as a means for addressing the  high drop-out rate                                                               
in Alaska's  high schools.   The Alaska Challenge  Youth Academy,                                                               
or Alaska  Military Youth Academy (AMYA),  [hereafter referred to                                                               
as AMYA] is a viable option to help these students, she opined.                                                                 
8:06:10 AM                                                                                                                    
SUSAN  WALLEN,  Staff,  Representative  Nancy  Dahlstrom,  Alaska                                                               
State  Legislature,   presented  HB  360,  paraphrasing   from  a                                                               
prepared statement, which read [original punctuation provided]:                                                                 
     House  Bill 360  simply  requires  school districts  to                                                                    
     provide the  names, addresses, and attendance  dates of                                                                    
     students who  have dropped  out of  high school  to the                                                                    
     Director  of   the  Alaska  Challenge   Youth  Academy,                                                                    
     operated by  the Department  of Military  and Veterans'                                                                    
     The school districts would be  required to provide this                                                                    
     information biannually:  January 15   and  July 15   as                                                                    
     this  will  allow  ample opportunity  for  the  Academy                                                                    
     staff to reach out to potential students.                                                                                  
     The students  whose information is to  be provided must                                                                    
     meet the following requirements:                                                                                           
     They must be between the ages of 15 and 19                                                                                 
     They  must have  been previously  enrolled in  a school                                                                    
     Their plans  to transfer or graduate  were not provided                                                                    
     to the school                                                                                                              
     They have not earned a diploma or GED                                                                                      
     The  second part  of the  bill requires  the school  to                                                                    
     send  notification   in  writing   to  the   parent  or                                                                    
     guardian, or student  if they are 18  years old, before                                                                    
     the  information  is  released  to the  Academy.    The                                                                    
     parent or student  has 10 days to object.   If there is                                                                    
     objection,   the   district   may   not   release   the                                                                    
     The  Academy  will provide  in  writing  to the  school                                                                    
     district that the information will  not be disclosed to                                                                    
     any  other party  except as  necessary  to recruit  and                                                                    
     retain students.                                                                                                           
8:08:05 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER asked  at  what point  a school  district                                                               
categorizes a student as a drop out.                                                                                            
MS. WALLEN said the standard will be provided to the committee.                                                                 
8:08:44 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON  expressed concern for the  ten day written                                                               
notification  requirement, indicating  that it  may be  a problem                                                               
for some communities with limited or remote access.                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  DAHLSTROM  offered  that   the  ten  working  day                                                               
requirement could  be amended, but  opined that it should  not be                                                               
changed to an excessive period of time.                                                                                         
8:10:23 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   EDGMON   paraphrased  the   pertinent   language                                                               
included in the bill, which read:                                                                                               
        If an objection is provided in writing within 10                                                                        
     business days after the notice is mailed, the district                                                                     
     may not provide the information.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON stated his  understanding that a parent, or                                                               
student, would  first receive  a notification,  and then  have 10                                                               
business days to  respond, and maintained his  concern for remote                                                               
communities being able to comply.                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM deferred to the department.                                                                            
8:11:01 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  recalled that the use  of student surveys                                                               
has been  debated, and  the use of  passive permission  versus an                                                               
opt-in action.   She  queried whether  an opt-in  possibility had                                                               
been considered.  Additionally,  she asked why parental objection                                                               
could  not  be in  the  form  of a  phone  call  to the  district                                                               
requesting that the information not be released.                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   DAHLSTROM  reported   that  the   Department  of                                                               
Education and Early  Development (EED) student data  base has the                                                               
capacity  to include  a field  for this  purpose.   When students                                                               
enter  school there  is  a questionnaire  filled  out that  could                                                               
include  a  line to  the  effect  that  should your  student  not                                                               
graduate,  or  not  be  participating,  would  the  parent  allow                                                               
information to be  sent.  She stated her interest  in having such                                                               
a question included, for the  sole purpose of providing a student                                                               
with AMYA specific information.                                                                                                 
8:12:28 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM,  regarding the  question of  allowing a                                                               
parent  to respond  via  oral means  versus  a written  response,                                                               
8:13:23 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON  noted the January 15  and July 15 dates,  and asked                                                               
if these are significant dates to the districts.                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   DAHLSTROM   responded   that   the   dates   are                                                               
significant  because  they  coincide  with  AMYA  session  dates;                                                               
commencing  within 30-45  days.   Further,  she  said the  school                                                               
districts  currently  required  attendance records  should  prove                                                               
adequate  for the  purposes  of  this bill,  thus  no new  record                                                               
keeping procedures would need to be implemented.                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE P.  WILSON recalled that the  academy uses January                                                               
and  July 15th  as the  dates for  determining enrollees  for the                                                               
upcoming sessions, and suggested inserting  January 1 and July 1,                                                               
in the bill.                                                                                                                    
8:15:02 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM  welcomed the  proposal of  an amendment                                                               
should alternative dates prove to be beneficial.                                                                                
8:15:22 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON recalled  opening remarks and the  statement "if the                                                               
student hadn't  provided plans," and  asked what plans  are being                                                               
referenced, and where this aspect resides in the bill.                                                                          
MS.  WALLEN   directed  attention  to   page  1,  line   14,  and                                                               
paraphrased from the language, which read:                                                                                      
      [(3)] has not provided school transfer or graduation                                                                      
     information to a school in the district;                                                                                   
MS. WALLEN  said the assumption  would be  that a student  has no                                                               
further plans to attend school.                                                                                                 
8:16:28 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON asked  whether this  refers to  a written  plan, or                                                               
other method of contacting the district.                                                                                        
MS. WALLEN clarified  that a student planning  to transfer, would                                                               
usually  inform school  with written  or  oral notification,  and                                                               
there would be a communication between the two schools.                                                                         
8:17:15 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON noted  that the  language of  the bill  indicates a                                                               
student's "enrollment" versus "attendance.".   He referred to the                                                               
10 day  provision, which  requires a district  to drop  a student                                                               
from enrollment  if contact  has been severed,  and asked  if the                                                               
intent of the bill is to align with that rule.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM said yes.                                                                                              
8:18:07 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  queried the  manner  in  which the  AMYA                                                               
plans to  contact a student.   She  suggested the process  may be                                                               
simplified by  having the AMYA information  packets available for                                                               
the  school  districts  to  send  directly  to  student's  verses                                                               
providing names and addresses to the academy.                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  DAHLSTROM   suggested  that  EED   could  provide                                                               
further insight, and deferred.                                                                                                  
8:19:34 AM                                                                                                                    
MCHUGH  PIERRE, Deputy  Commissioner, Chief  of Staff,  Office of                                                               
the  Commissioner/Adjutant  General,  Department  of  Military  &                                                               
Veterans'  Affairs (DMVA),  explained that  if a  school district                                                               
discloses the  drop-out information it  will support the  AMYA in                                                               
efforts to target students who  may benefit from the program, get                                                               
back on track, and possibly return  to school.  He confirmed that                                                               
the dates correspond with the  sessions at the academy.  Students                                                               
will  receive  a pamphlet  with  a  postcard attached,  and  they                                                               
merely return the postcard for further action.                                                                                  
8:22:41 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE P. WILSON asked for the session dates.                                                                           
MR. PIERRE  replied that one  begins on  the first of  April, and                                                               
one on the first of October.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE P. WILSON noted that the proposed dates work.                                                                    
MR.  PIERRE   replied  yes,  with   adequate  time   allowed  for                                                               
recruitment,  and  continuity  for  the students  who  choose  to                                                               
return to high school following a 22 week residency.                                                                            
8:24:12 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MUNOZ  asked  for   the  percentage  of  students                                                               
accepted into the academy.                                                                                                      
MR. PIERRE  indicated that it  is generally a high  percentage of                                                               
the applicants.   The incoming April class received  in excess of                                                               
350 applications, and the capacity is for 220 cadets.                                                                           
8:25:30 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  noted the  three pre-challenge  phases, and                                                               
inquired about the retention rate through the phases.                                                                           
MR.  PIERRE said  the first  two weeks  may see  a drop  of 10-20                                                               
percent.   Applicants  are  dismissed for  a  variety of  reasons                                                               
including  negative  social  interactions,   as  well  as  health                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ asked  if there is a cost  to the applicant,                                                               
associated with dismissal.                                                                                                      
MR. PIERRE  replied no, save  airfare home, if  withdrawal occurs                                                               
in the first four weeks.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  opined that the  response time of  ten days                                                               
may need amending.                                                                                                              
MR.  PIERRE said  it was  set based  the legal  minimum, but  the                                                               
department has no  objection to having the timeline  amended.  He                                                               
briefly explained how the timeline was derived.                                                                                 
8:30:26 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON reviewed the  four levels of communications                                                               
proposed:  1)  the school district sends a letter  to the parent,                                                               
guardian, or  student, if  the student  is 18  years old;  2) the                                                               
school district  discloses information to  the AMYA; 3)  the AMYA                                                               
mails a brochure to the  student; and 4) the student communicates                                                               
interest to  the AMYA.   From a practical standpoint,  the actual                                                               
respondent   rate  may   become  narrow,   given  the   level  of                                                               
communication involved, he opined.                                                                                              
MR.  PIERRE  underscored that  the  key  to  the success  of  the                                                               
program, is that  the students who respond possess  an interest a                                                               
desire to  make a life  change.   The current methods  of contact                                                               
are broad,  and often  random, including word  of mouth,  and the                                                               
internet applications of Facebook,  and MySpace, which, he opined                                                               
all may be more inefficient than the proposed legislation.                                                                      
8:32:40 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON  pondered whether  there could be  a better                                                               
means to communicate the AMYA option to at-risk students.                                                                       
8:33:09 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  P.  WILSON  asked  why  the  passive  permission,                                                               
versus the active permission approach  was chosen, speculating it                                                               
may be due to the student not being under parental supervision.                                                                 
8:33:56 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. PIERRE concurred and said  that the commissioner agrees, that                                                               
it is the best approach for allowing  an AMYA flier to be sent to                                                               
a student.                                                                                                                      
8:35:42 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON recalled that three  districts have been cooperating                                                               
with  the academy,  and asked  about the  response received  from                                                               
other districts contacted.                                                                                                      
MR.  PIERRE  stated  that  some  districts  reported  not  having                                                               
information on drop-out  students.  He said that  is erroneous as                                                               
the information  is required  to be reported  to EED  every July.                                                               
Other  districts  were  supportive,   but  there  was  no  follow                                                               
through,  and,  finally,  some districts  declined  to  cooperate                                                               
without cause.                                                                                                                  
8:37:06 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON asked for specific  reasons offered by the districts                                                               
who reported not having information available on drop-outs.                                                                     
MR. PIERRE replied:                                                                                                             
     It wasn't that  specific ... just:   We understand what                                                                    
     you're  looking for,  we don't  keep those  numbers, we                                                                    
     couldn't tell you  who dropped out, so  we're not going                                                                    
     to be able to pass on the information.                                                                                     
CHAIR SEATON  recalled that the committee  experienced difficulty                                                               
when requesting  age specific information for  drop-outs from the                                                               
districts, because the  data is set up according  to grade level.                                                               
The method  used by  districts to maintain  records could  be the                                                               
problem.  Passage of HB  360 will impose specific requirements on                                                               
the part  of the  districts, and he  asked where  legal liability                                                               
will fall for non-compliance.                                                                                                   
MR. PIERRE said there is  no intention of punishing districts for                                                               
non-compliance, because  the expectation  is that  districts will                                                               
want to support the effort, and  see the academy as another means                                                               
to engage drop-outs.                                                                                                            
CHAIR SEATON  agreed that the  support may exist,  but maintained                                                               
that it is important to know the liability repercussions.                                                                       
8:41:08 AM                                                                                                                    
LES  MORSE,  Deputy  Commissioner, Department  of  Education  and                                                               
Early  Development  (EED), stated  that  the  department has  not                                                               
taken an  official position on HB  360.  Referring to  a previous                                                               
question,  clarified that  July  15  as the  due  date for  every                                                               
submit  its annual  enrollment status  report to  the department.                                                               
The  district  report includes  who  was  enrolled, at  any  time                                                               
during  the year,  and,  if  they withdrew,  the  reason for  the                                                               
departure.   He recalled another  question regarding how  a drop-                                                               
out is determined and said there  are several factors.  A student                                                               
may state  that they are leaving,  or a district may  exhaust ten                                                               
days of contact  effort, and not received a  records request from                                                               
another district; in  either case the student will be  coded as a                                                               
drop-out.    Should  transfer  papers  eventually  be  requested,                                                               
perhaps from another  state, the district is able  to convert the                                                               
drop-out code to a transfer status.   He reported that as many as                                                               
30 percent  of students initially coded  as drop-outs, eventually                                                               
re-enroll.    The  January  15  date,  in  the  bill,  may  be  a                                                               
challenging time  for some schools  to generate a report,  and he                                                               
deferred  to the  districts for  a response  on the  viability of                                                               
that date.                                                                                                                      
8:44:18 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.   MORSE,  regarding   information   distribution,  said   the                                                               
department  assumed  AMYA  brochures  would be  included  in  the                                                               
notice  provided to  parents  at the  beginning  of every  school                                                               
year.    At  the  inception  of the  school  year,  every  parent                                                               
receives  a  notice,  which  states   that  the  department  will                                                               
disclose information about you, for  students 18 years of age, or                                                               
your child,  to specific  groups.   A family  or the  student can                                                               
sign to  say that  they deny the  disclosure of  the information.                                                               
The  information  is  generally   directory  oriented,  and  some                                                               
families do  object.   A recent addition  to the  disclosure list                                                               
has  been  for  schools  to   release  directory  information  to                                                               
military  entities.   In order  for AMYA  to be  included on  the                                                               
existing form,  language would need  to be added specific  to the                                                               
8:46:03 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON surmised  that adding  the appropriate  language to                                                               
the  annual  notice would  take  care  of  the concern  for  AMYA                                                               
information distribution.                                                                                                       
MR. MORSE said, with the HB  360 provision in place, the district                                                               
would  be  compelled  to  include language  similar  to  what  is                                                               
included in  the bill on page  1, lines 12-14, and  page 2, lines                                                               
8:47:25 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON asked  whether a request for consent,  in the school                                                               
registration  packet,  would  preclude  the  need  to  provide  a                                                               
written  notice  later,  thus triggering  the  ten  business  day                                                               
response clause.                                                                                                                
MR. MORSE  indicated that further  information would  be provided                                                               
to  the  committee  as  to  whether  the  consent,  made  at  the                                                               
beginning  of  the school  year,  adequately  covers the  written                                                               
notification provision of the bill.                                                                                             
8:48:36 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER inquired  whether the  department expects                                                               
to take  an official position on  HB 360.  Further,  she asked if                                                               
the  July 15  reports are  enrollment totals,  or do  the reports                                                               
include names and addresses of students no longer enrolled.                                                                     
MR. MORSE  offered to  confer with  the commissioner  regarding a                                                               
forthcoming position.   Additionally, he responded  that the July                                                               
15 report  does include identification information,  which is run                                                               
against   other  district   information  to   determine  transfer                                                               
8:50:29 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  questioned why  the department  could not                                                               
make the information directly available  to the academy, from the                                                               
July reports.                                                                                                                   
MR. MORSE explained  that both federal and  state disclosure law,                                                               
requires student consent,  which the state does not  have a means                                                               
to collect,  passive or active,  in all 53 districts;  creating a                                                               
legal concern.                                                                                                                  
8:51:23 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  P. WILSON  noted  that not  every parent  enrolls                                                               
their  student in  person, requiring  forms to  be sent  to their                                                               
home, and asked what percentage are received in return mail.                                                                    
MR. MORSE declined to speculate on the percentage received.                                                                     
CHAIR SEATON  asked whether  the district  report is  provided to                                                               
the department by grade level or age of student.                                                                                
MR.  MORSE answered  that it  is by  grade and  includes date  of                                                               
birth.  It  may not be easy  for a district to  pull certain data                                                               
from  their  system, but  the  departmental  report includes  the                                                               
student's state [identification], name, and  birth date.  A birth                                                               
date, however, is  not always accurate.  He pointed  out that the                                                               
report in  the committee packed  is from the  Anchorage district,                                                               
and differs from what is sent  to the department.  The department                                                               
report does not include all of the reasons for drop-out.                                                                        
CHAIR  SEATON concluded  that  there is  not  a unified  district                                                               
system  in   place,  and   each  district   compiles  information                                                               
MR.  MORSE  said that  is  correct,  because the  information  is                                                               
collected into different systems using a variety of methods.                                                                    
8:55:21 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   SEATON  asked   about  the   anticipated  liability   for                                                               
noncompliance by a district or superintendent.                                                                                  
JEAN  MISCHEL, Attorney,  Legislative Legal  Counsel, Legislative                                                               
Legal  and Research  Services, Legislative  Affairs Agency,  said                                                               
the  liability  is  unspecified  in   HB  360,  but  the  overall                                                               
enforceability  of any  education law  requires state  funding be                                                               
CHAIR SEATON  inquired whether enforcement  is automatic or  on a                                                               
case by case basis.                                                                                                             
MS.  MISCHEL  said  it  is  case by  case,  as  reviewed  by  the                                                               
commissioner.    The department  may  allow  time for  compliance                                                               
prior to taking action.                                                                                                         
8:58:31 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  P.  WILSON  commented how  deliberations  on  the                                                               
topic have  continually indicated that every  drop-out student is                                                               
unique.    It  is  apparent  that  there  are  no  silver  bullet                                                               
solutions,  and AMYA  is one  option for  drop-outs to  consider.                                                               
She stated  support for  the bill and  for retaining  the passive                                                               
permission language.                                                                                                            
CHAIR SEATON indicated  that if the school districts  are able to                                                               
implement  current  data  systems,  the  contact  issue  will  be                                                               
resolved and not represent a burden.                                                                                            
9:00:05 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER asked  the  bill sponsor  to provide  the                                                               
committee with  feedback from the districts  regarding the costs,                                                               
and  difficulties  associated  with supplying  AMYA  information.                                                               
Additionally,   there  are   other  programs   and  high   school                                                               
completion options,  and she asked whether  information for these                                                               
options  are  also presented  to  the  students; suggesting  that                                                               
school counselors  might be an  efficient means  for distribution                                                               
of materials.   Finally, she asked for  information regarding the                                                               
penalty for inappropriate disclosure.                                                                                           
9:01:17 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON announced  that HB  360 would  be held  for further                                                               
The committee took an at-ease from 9:01 a.m. to 9:07 a.m.                                                                       

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 297 Amendment #1.pdf HEDC 2/15/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/1/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 297
HB 297 Amendment #2.pdf HEDC 2/15/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/1/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 297
Amendments 3 through 7.pdf HEDC 2/17/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/1/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 297
Amendments 8 through 11.pdf HEDC 3/1/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 297
Amendments 12 and 13.pdf HEDC 2/26/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/1/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 297
HB 297 GPS Materials.pdf HEDC 2/3/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/12/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/1/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 297
HB 206 Version P February 4, 2010.pdf HEDC 2/5/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/10/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/12/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/19/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/1/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/8/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/17/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 206
HB 206 version P Sponsor Statement February 4, 2010.docx HEDC 2/5/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/10/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/12/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 2/19/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/1/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/8/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/17/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 206
HB 206 Version P Amendment.pdf HEDC 2/19/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/1/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/8/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/17/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 206
Scan001.PDF HEDC 3/1/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 360 Sponsor Statement and Background
count date brief - final.doc HEDC 3/1/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 206
HB 360 DMVA Support Letter.pdf HEDC 3/1/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 360