Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 106

03/08/2010 08:00 AM EDUCATION


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 360 YOUTH ACADEMY: STUDENT RECORDS TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 360(EDC) Out of Committee
+= HB 297 POSTSECONDARY SCHOLARSHIPS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HB 206 HIGH SCHOOL ASSESSM'T/POSTSECONDARY CLASS TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled But Not Heard
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
             HB 360-YOUTH ACADEMY: STUDENT RECORDS                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:07:40 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."                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:08:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  moved to adopt  CS for HB  360, 26-LS1482\P                                                               
as the working document.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:09:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SUSAN  WALLEN, Staff  to Representative  Nancy Dahlstrom,  Alaska                                                               
State   Legislature,  informed   the   committee  the   Committee                                                               
Substitute   (CS)   addressed  questions   concerning   "opt-out"                                                               
notification   to   parents   and  students   by   changing   the                                                               
notification time to the beginning of  the school year.  She said                                                               
this change would also reduce mailing costs to school districts.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:10:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON drew  attention to  the written  comments submitted                                                               
from  school  districts  that  were  provided  in  the  committee                                                               
packet.    Also  included  was  a legal  opinion  from  Ms.  Jean                                                               
Mischel, Attorney,  Legislative Legal Counsel,  Legislative Legal                                                               
and  Research  Services,  Legislative Affairs  Agency,  regarding                                                               
consequences to a school district  for failure to comply with the                                                               
records provisions contained in the bill.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:11:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON noted  the comments  in opposition  to the                                                               
bill  from   rural  school  districts,  and   asked  whether  the                                                               
provisions  in the  bill created  an unfunded  mandate to  school                                                               
districts.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. WALLEN  expressed the  sponsor's hope  that the  CS addressed                                                               
the  concerns  from school  districts.    In  fact, most  of  the                                                               
expenses  borne by  a school  are mailing  costs associated  with                                                               
notifications sent out  after a student drops out.   Changing the                                                               
notification to the beginning of  the school year would alleviate                                                               
that  issue.   Although  an additional  reporting  date would  be                                                               
required of  school districts, she  opined this should  not prove                                                               
to be a burden.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:13:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  pointed  out  that  the  testimony  from                                                               
Woodie Wilson, Superintendent, Wrangell  Schools, stated that the                                                               
information required by  the bill was already  available from the                                                               
Department  of  Education  and Early  Development  (EED)  on  its                                                               
[Report Card to the Public].                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:14:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MCHUGH PIERRE, Deputy Commissioner/Chief  of Staff, Office of the                                                               
Commissioner/Adjutant   General,   Department   of   Military   &                                                               
Veterans'  Affairs  (DMVA),  informed   the  committee  EDD  does                                                               
receive that  information; however, the department  does not have                                                               
parental consent to share the  information with the Department of                                                               
Military &  Veterans' Affairs  (DMVA).   House Bill  306 provides                                                               
this authorization.   He further  explained that  the information                                                               
could be  provided by  the school districts  in July,  but DMVA's                                                               
goal was  to also  have the  information in  January in  order to                                                               
contact drop-outs from the first and second semesters.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:15:28 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON opened public testimony.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:15:54 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER  GENERAL  TOM  KATKUS,  Adjutant  General/Commissioner,                                                               
Department of  Military & Veterans'  Affairs (DMVA),  stated that                                                               
the  Alaska  Military  Youth  Academy   (AMYA)  "falls  under  my                                                               
section."  He  stressed the importance of the need  to be able to                                                               
contact  at-risk youth  at the  earliest  opportunity after  they                                                               
have decided to  leave school.  House Bill 360  does not call for                                                               
a recruiting effort, but does  provide a good opportunity to make                                                               
contact and help at-risk youth make a change.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:18:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. PIERRE  added that the  CS addressed the  concerns previously                                                               
identified by school districts, EED, and legislators.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:18:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CAROL  COMEAU,  Superintendent,  Anchorage  School  District                                                               
(ASD), stated  the Anchorage School  District is  very supportive                                                               
HB  360.   However, given  that many  parents of  seniors do  not                                                               
attend registration,  she questioned whether the  amendment would                                                               
require schools to  mail a request for parental  consent to every                                                               
senior over  18 years  of age.   Although  in agreement  with the                                                               
idea of  the bill, the mechanics  and cost of mailing  would be a                                                               
burden to her school district.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:19:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  P.   WILSON  asked   for  Ms.   Comeau's  opinion                                                               
regarding the  possible cost  of an  unfunded mandate  created by                                                               
the bill.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. COMEAU said she was unsure  of the cost.  Her biggest concern                                                               
would be  that parents of  seniors do not attend  registration to                                                               
complete the  directory information  form, but then  question why                                                               
the school supplied information about their student to AMYA.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:21:54 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ asked how parental  consent was obtained for                                                               
other things such as medication.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. COMEAU said  the school attempts to get  parental consent for                                                               
directory information  to "opt in or  opt out."  She  warned this                                                               
could become a  big issue for parents with  strong feelings about                                                               
recruiting, even though recruiting is not the intent of AMYA.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:22:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER asked whether  there are other programs of                                                               
which these students need to be aware.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. COMEAU  responded that the  high school  education department                                                               
was a strong  supporter of the AMYA, but once  students who leave                                                               
school are located, graduation coaches  provide them with a range                                                               
of options.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:23:37 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER asked what the range of options includes.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. COMEAU answered that the  options include Nine Star Education                                                               
&  Employment Services,  independent on-line  study courses,  the                                                               
King  Career  Center,  and  other  continuation  and  alternative                                                               
programs that provide individual learning plans.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  then asked how the  school district would                                                               
comply with [subsection] (b) of the bill.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  COMEAU envisioned  that the  directory information  parental                                                               
permission form  would be revised  to include AMYA.   The biggest                                                               
challenge would be having the permission forms returned.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:26:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON  referred   to  page  2,  line   4,  and  suggested                                                               
alternative language.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. COMEAU  clarified that  the form  must be  provided annually,                                                               
and said, "So  I think it's fine, the way  it reads."  Permission                                                               
for students  arriving during the  school year would  be included                                                               
in the registration packet.   She asked whether all students aged                                                               
15 and over were affected by the provisions in the bill.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:28:20 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON acknowledged that a  compulsory age was a concern as                                                               
many  schools track  by grade  versus age.   He  returned to  the                                                               
situation of  a continuing senior without  parental permission on                                                               
file at the school                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:29:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. COMEAU  further explained that  every fall, for  every grade,                                                               
every student fills  out a directory information  form.  However,                                                               
many seniors do  not bring their parents, thus  the consent forms                                                               
are not signed  on an annual basis without a  concerted effort by                                                               
the school.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:30:14 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON surmised there was  no problem with the structure of                                                               
the  CS,  but whether  there  was  a penalty  for  non-compliance                                                               
remains a question.  He advised  that the intent of the committee                                                               
was for the school district to make "a good faith effort."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  COMEAU asked  for assurance  that the  district can  "do the                                                               
best we can,  but without basically putting somebody  on point to                                                               
go after 500 kids who didn't turn back their form."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON asked whether the  committee interpretation was that                                                               
the  district will  make  a  good faith  effort.    There was  no                                                               
objection from committee members.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:32:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON  expressed his  strong support of  AMYA and                                                               
the intent of the bill.   He asked whether a brochure received in                                                               
the  mail with  an alternative  to  school may  have a  different                                                               
impact in Anchorage than in rural Alaska.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. COMEAU noted that the  Anchorage high school division and its                                                               
graduation  coaches  are  supportive  of the  benefits  of  AMYA.                                                               
Sending notification in the mail  is not always the best approach                                                               
even  in Anchorage  due to  the great  cultural diversity  of the                                                               
student  population.    Personal   contact  is  always  the  best                                                               
approach,  although  the  most  effective  communication  may  be                                                               
different in rural communities.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:35:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON  observed there  might be a  more effective                                                               
means  to  inform rural  students  about  the AMYA,  rather  than                                                               
sending  a  brochure.   He  suggested  this requirement  may  not                                                               
"measure up" for all districts.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  COMEAU   acknowledged  AMYA   has  many  means   to  provide                                                               
information   about  its   program,  including   statements  from                                                               
successful graduates.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:37:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON   related  that   he  had   spoken  with   a  rural                                                               
superintendent and  discovered that annual intake  forms were not                                                               
being completed in some schools.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:39:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
EDDY  JEANS, Director,  School  Finance  and Facilities  Section,                                                               
Department of  Education and  Early Development  (EED), expressed                                                               
his  understanding   that  if  parents  do   not  "opt-out,"  the                                                               
directory information is provided at  the beginning of the school                                                               
year.  On the other hand,  for the youth behavior survey, parents                                                               
must "opt-in."   Thus, if there is no  written consent, directory                                                               
information can  be published.   In terms  of the  penalty phase,                                                               
EED has broad  sanctions for school districts that  do not comply                                                               
with state  laws and regulations.   Mr. Jeans advised  AMYA would                                                               
inform the department of a  school district's non-compliance, and                                                               
EED would contact the district.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON assumed EED would  provide notice and an opportunity                                                               
for  the  school  district  to   take  corrective  action  before                                                               
withholding state funds.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEANS indicated yes.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:41:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  concluded that if  a parent  does not sign  to opt-                                                               
out, the information would be provided.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:42:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JACK WALSH, Superintendent, Bristol  Bay Borough School District,                                                               
said  that although  there are  only 150  students in  his school                                                               
district,  "we  pay close  attention,  like  Anchorage does,  and                                                               
every other  district, to  where each of  those children  are and                                                               
the kinds  of things that they  are doing."  Compliance  with the                                                               
provisions in  the bill  would not  be as  great a  challenge for                                                               
smaller  school  districts;  however,   his  school  district  is                                                               
already staying  in contact  with students  who did  not continue                                                               
through school.   Mr. Walsh  pointed out  that AMYA would  not be                                                               
the program  for every student,  but military academies  are able                                                               
to provide what many  "need to get on to the  next steps in their                                                               
lives."   He  agreed  with the  previous  witness that  providing                                                               
directory  information  on every  15-19  year  old student  is  a                                                               
concern for  his district;  however, he  expressed his  desire to                                                               
cooperate with AMYA and other  programs that could serve students                                                               
who have left the school system.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:44:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON  asked whether the bill  would help promote                                                               
a program  like this  to drop-outs  in a  school district  of 150                                                               
students.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WALSH  indicated yes.    A  small  school  does not  have  a                                                               
counselor  on staff  to assist  students who  are at-risk  of not                                                               
finishing  school,  and AMYA  offers  opportunities  and hope  to                                                               
families.   Although  schools do  their best,  he concluded  that                                                               
schools are not perfect for every child and every family.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON  then asked  whether  are  there any  AMYA                                                               
graduates formerly from the Bristol Bay Borough School District.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. WALSH  said he was unsure.   He added that  students who fail                                                               
to  graduate  from  his  school  district  often  move  to  other                                                               
communities, raising the cost to "track them."                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:48:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON remarked:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     I think  the question of  all 15  year olds is  off the                                                                    
     table,  because it  had to  have been  someone who  was                                                                    
     enrolled  but  is  no  longer   enrolled.    ...  [For]                                                                    
     clarification  for your  question from  the sponsor  as                                                                    
     well,  that we  are talking  about students  [who] were                                                                    
     enrolled  in that  year, and  then  dropped out  during                                                                    
     that time  and ...  not a  cumulative number  of people                                                                    
     that were enrolled at some  time and left, so that this                                                                    
     would be  a cumulative  growing list.... I  don't think                                                                    
     that is the intent.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. WALSH  agreed the sponsor  and AMYA  presented the bill  as a                                                               
way  to contact  students  about  an opportunity,  but  not as  a                                                               
vehicle to "push them in the direction of military service."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:49:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON closed public testimony.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:50:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON confirmed  that the  intention of  the bill  was to                                                               
affect students that were enrolled  at the start of the reporting                                                               
period, and are  no longer enrolled at the end  of that reporting                                                               
period.   Furthermore, the reporting  period does not  carry over                                                               
to subsequent reporting periods.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. WALLEN said that was her understanding.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:51:21 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON  moved  to  report  the  CS  for  HB  360,                                                               
[Version  P], out  of committee  with individual  recommendations                                                               
and the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:51:36 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  objected for the purposes  of discussion.                                                               
She then directed  attention to a letter in  the committee packet                                                               
suggesting  a reference  to whether  a student  is deceased,  and                                                               
questioned if this reference should be added to the bill.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:52:16 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WALLEN advised  that  students who  are  deceased are  coded                                                               
differently in  the school  enrollment system,  and would  not be                                                               
indicated on the roll as a drop-out.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:52:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER removed her objection.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:52:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
There being no further objection,  CSHB 360, Version P, was moved                                                               
from the House Education Standing Committee.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:58:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was recessed to a call of the chair.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:37:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON called the committee back  to order.  Present at the                                                               
call back to order were  Representatives Seaton, Gardner, Edgmon,                                                               
P. Wilson, and Munoz.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
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
CS HB 297 GPS Work-Draft.pdf HEDC 3/8/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/10/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 297
HB 360 Work-Draft.pdf HEDC 3/8/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 360
HB 297 ACPE response.pdf HEDC 3/8/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 297
HB 360 legal opinion.pdf HEDC 3/8/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 360
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