Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/25/1993 03:00 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
  HB 244:  APPROP:SINGLE-DUAL SCHOOL SITES                                     
                                                                               
  REP. BILL WILLIAMS testified as PRIME SPONSOR of HB 244.  He                 
  read a sponsor statement (which is on file in the committee                  
  room) which said, in summary, that the bill was an effort to                 
  restore funding to nine single-site school districts which                   
  had seen their supplemental funding cut from the FY94 budget                 
  earlier in the 1993 legislative session.  He said the goal                   
  of HB 244 was to ensure that all single-site school                          
  districts would be dealt with in the same manner.                            
                                                                               
  Number 237                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE observed that there were no fiscal notes in the                   
  bill packets, but then commented that the special                            
  appropriations were included in the bill and that there                      
  would be no fiscal notes.                                                    
                                                                               
  Number 244                                                                   
                                                                               
  BILL THOMAS, INDIAN EDUCATION DIRECTOR, KETCHIKAN SCHOOL                     
  DISTRICT and PRESIDENT, SOUTHEAST NATIVE EDUCATION                           
  COMMISSION, testified via teleconference from Ketchikan in                   
  support of HB 244.  He said he was distressed with the state                 
  Senate for making arbitrary cuts in single-site school                       
  districts' budgets.  He said investing in education for                      
  youth was cheaper than trying to repair them later in life.                  
  He encouraged legislators to put politics aside and support                  
  HB 244.                                                                      
                                                                               
  Number 285                                                                   
                                                                               
  REVA SHIRCEL, EDUCATION DIRECTOR, TANANA CHIEFS CONFERENCE,                  
  testified via teleconference from in support of HB 244.  She                 
  said the bill would provide needed supplementary funding for                 
  the nine rural single-site school districts.                                 
                                                                               
  Number 314                                                                   
                                                                               
  JUDY JENKINSON, KETCHIKAN EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, testified                   
  in Juneau in support of HB 244.  She said it was criminal to                 
  balance the budget on the backs of children.  She said                       
  children are at the mercy of their parents and cannot choose                 
  where they attend school.                                                    
                                                                               
  Number 330                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE stated his opposition to the idea of single-site                  
  school districts because he favors children and believes                     
  money spent on small single-site districts is poorly spent.                  
                                                                               
  Number 338                                                                   
                                                                               
  KENT DURAND, ASSOCIATION OF ALASKA SCHOOL BOARDS, testified                  
  in Juneau in support of HB 244.  He said the state                           
  legislature has since 1986 provided supplemental funding for                 
  small single-site school districts.  At its 1992 conference,                 
  the association resolved to support adjusting the foundation                 
  formula to eliminate the disparities in single-site school                   
  district funding.  He said cuts in supplementary funding                     
  before such adjustment was made were unfair.                                 
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE asked if the association supported single-site                    
  schools.                                                                     
                                                                               
  MR. DURAND responded that the association supported HB 244.                  
                                                                               
  Number 345                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE repeated his question.                                            
                                                                               
  MR. DURAND stated, "At this time, yes we do, unless there's                  
  another alt...(unintelligible)."                                             
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE said, "Even if they have an enrollment of three?"                 
                                                                               
  MR. DURAND responded, "Yes, that's correct."                                 
                                                                               
  Number 357                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY noted that Mr. Durand had qualified his answer,                 
  saying that the association supported single-site school                     
  districts "at this time," pending a better solution.                         
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE noted that Anchorage had 40 percent of the                        
  state's school children, but nowhere near 40 percent of the                  
  state's educational operating budget.                                        
                                                                               
  Number 369                                                                   
                                                                               
  BOB ANDERSON, CHAIRMAN, KLAWOCK CITY SCHOOL BOARD, testified                 
  in Juneau in support of HB 244.  He said Klawock, a single-                  
  site school district, saw $147,010 cut from its budget                       
  through HB 45, representing a catastrophic cut of 10.67                      
  percent of the district's FY94 budget.  He said the district                 
  did not have a highly paid superintendent, or a private                      
  plane, but was devoted to teaching 207 students from                         
  kindergarten through 12th grade.  He urged the committee to                  
  rectify the state Senate's error in making the cuts by                       
  passing HB 244.                                                              
                                                                               
  Number 379                                                                   
                                                                               
  CLAUDIA DOUGLAS, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION-                  
  ALASKA (NEA), testified in Juneau in support of HB 244.  She                 
  said children should not be punished through politics, and                   
  while HB 244 addressed the issue of equity, children were                    
  injured by discrimination in supplemental funding.                           
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE asked if the NEA supported single-site schools.                   
                                                                               
  MS. DOUGLAS asked if he meant single-site schools or single-                 
  site school districts.                                                       
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE answered single-site school districts.                            
                                                                               
  Number 385                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. DOUGLAS said that NEA supported supplemental funding for                 
  single-site school sites needing extra money, at least until                 
  the issue of equity had been addressed.  She said NEA also                   
  supported changes in policy if necessary.                                    
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE asked if NEA had a position on school district                    
  consolidation.                                                               
                                                                               
  MS. DOUGLAS answered that she would prepare a position, but                  
  she did not want to comment at that time.                                    
                                                                               
  Number 410                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE called for more public testimony on HB 244 and,                   
  hearing none, closed public testimony.                                       
                                                                               
  Number 412                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BETTYE DAVIS, a CO-SPONSOR of the bill, stated her                      
  support for the bill, saying it was better to provide                        
  funding for single-site school districts later than never,                   
  and if any of such districts were funded, all should be.                     
  She asked Rep. Williams why he thought the legislature would                 
  approve funding for districts which had been removed from                    
  HB 45.                                                                       
                                                                               
  Number 420                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. WILLIAMS answered that he did not know what happened in                 
  the Senate, but he hoped his bill would pass the House.  He                  
  said HB 244 provided a vehicle for the nine single-site                      
  school districts that had seen their supplementary budgets                   
  cut to discover the reason why.                                              
                                                                               
  Number 428                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. B. DAVIS asked if Chair Bunde planned to pass the bill                  
  out of committee that day.                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE answered that he did intend to do so.                             
                                                                               
  Number 433                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. NICHOLIA stated her support for HB 244.  She said                       
  single-site school districts deserved financial support, and                 
  they allowed local control.  She said the existing                           
  foundation funding formula did not address their budget                      
  problems and there should be no cuts in supplemental funding                 
  until the inequities had been addressed.                                     
                                                                               
  Number 445                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. VEZEY moved for passage of HB 244 with individual                       
  recommendations.                                                             
                                                                               
  Hearing no objections, REP. BUNDE declared HB 244 passed                     
  with individual recommendations.  He also commented that the                 
  vote should not be taken as encouragement or endorsement of                  
  single-site school districts.  He encouraged people to work                  
  for different solutions to their financial problems, and to                  
  look toward consolidation, as the issue would probably be                    
  before the committee again in 1994.                                          
                                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE then brought HB 85 to the table.                                 

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