Legislature(2017 - 2018)CAPITOL 106
03/20/2017 08:00 AM EDUCATION
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HB 135-SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION GRANT PROGRAM 8:04:00 AM CHAIR DRUMMOND announced that the first order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 135, "An Act relating to school district participation in the school construction grant program." 8:04:31 AM REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO moved Amendment 1, labeled 30- LS0549\A.1, Glover, 3/9/17, which read: Page 1, lines 11 - 13: Delete all material and insert: "(g) The commissioner may extend the time allowed for a district to provide the required participating share if the district (1) applies to the commissioner in writing to request an extension; (2) demonstrates good cause for the requested extension; (3) pays a portion of the district's participating share that is based on available funds; and (4) provides the commissioner with a plan for paying the remaining portion as soon as possible." REPRESENTATIVE FANSLER objected for discussion purposes. 8:05:48 AM The committee took an at-ease from 8:05 a.m. to 8:06 a.m. REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO read Amendment 1 [text previously provided]. 8:07:37 AM REPRESENTATIVE DEAN WESTLAKE, Alaska State Legislature, sponsor of HB 135, read Amendment 1 [text previously provided]. 8:08:46 AM JESSE LOGAN, Staff, Representative Dean Westlake, Alaska State Legislature, on behalf of Representative Westlake, sponsor of HB 135, explained Amendment 1 allows for a waiver if there is a plan that a portion of the matching grant will be paid [by a school district]; the Department of Education and Early Development (DEED) would decide if available funds are sufficient, and would approve a payment schedule. He acknowledged there is concern from some school districts regarding the requirement of available funds. Mr. Logan stated the intent is for the department to clarify "what available funds would mean" and what portion the district would pay. REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON concurred with the concern and confusion expressed by the districts because it seems the department would decide whether a project is viable and warrants an extension, based on the local contribution and a district's long-term plan. MR. LOGAN agreed. REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON surmised a community may not wish to tie up their funds on hand, and might ask for minimum participation. MR. LOGAN said correct. 8:11:17 AM REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO explained he offered Amendment 1 in the hope school districts could set aside designated construction funds for the purpose of leveraging grant funds; however, noting school districts are unsure of the effect of the amendment, he offered to withdraw Amendment 1. REPRESENTATIVE FANSLER withdrew his objection to Amendment 1. 8:12:08 AM REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO withdrew Amendment 1. 8:12:19 AM The committee took an at-ease from 8:12 a.m. to 8:13 a.m. 8:13:09 AM REPRESENTATIVE PARISH moved Amendment 2, labeled 30-LS0549\A.2, Glover, 3/13/17, which read: Page 2, line 4: Delete "on" Insert "before, on," REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON objected for discussion purposes. REPRESENTATIVE WESTLAKE explained Amendment 2 would direct that the current language of the bill would not be applicable to any current active or issued grants. If Amendment 2 is adopted, school districts and boroughs with active grants may apply for an extension under the provisions of HB 135. There are two schools with active grants; Amendment 2 would only apply to current, active grants that have been recently appropriated, and which would lapse after three years if participating shares have not been identified. 8:15:02 AM REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON withdrew her objection. There being no further objection, Amendment 2 was adopted. CHAIR DRUMMOND, after ascertaining no one else wished to testify, closed public testimony on HB 135. 8:16:04 AM REPRESENTATIVE PARISH moved to report HB 135, as amended, out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes. There being no objection, CSHB 135(EDC) was reported from the House Education Standing Committee. 8:16:23 AM The committee took an at-ease from 8:16 a.m. to 8:19 a.m.