Legislature(1993 - 1994)

04/02/1993 03:00 PM House HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  HB 210:  HIRING OF CHIEF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS                               
  Number 432                                                                   
  SPONSOR, presented and distributed to the committee an                       
  amendment to HB 210.                                                         
  REP. BRICE, speaking by teleconference, asked the chair to                   
  read the amendment or to have a copy of the amendment faxed                  
  to him.                                                                      
  CHAIR BUNDE said the amendment would amend page 1, line 9,                   
  of the bill to delete the numeral "500" and insert the                       
  numeral "1,000."                                                             
  REP. BRICE indicated that he was satisfied with that                         
  CHAIR BUNDE invited Mr. Anderson to speak to the amendment.                  
  MR. ANDERSON said that since he and Rep. Martin last                         
  presented HB 210, they had tried to find other ways to                       
  change the bill, and might not have changed it to the liking                 
  of all representatives.  He said that Rep. Martin felt there                 
  were problems with the way chief school administrators were                  
  paid and the way they dealt with their administrative                        
  payrolls and retirement benefits.  He said Rep. Martin felt                  
  it might be better to amend the bill to raise the number of                  
  students that would be the minimum needed to require a chief                 
  school administrator.  He said there were advantages to                      
  having smaller school districts share administrators.                        
  Number 284                                                                   
  REP. NICHOLIA voiced disagreement with Mr. Anderson's                        
  assertions, saying the bill would not save money.  She said                  
  that rural school districts had large expenses, including                    
  the costs for charter flights for administrators and board                   
  members.  She mentioned the benefits of having                               
  administrators on-site.                                                      
  REP. TOOHEY asked whether administrators could still travel                  
  among the different schools in a district under HB 210.                      
  MR. ANDERSON answered yes.  He also acknowledged that                        
  superintendents do travel around rural districts and would                   
  have to continue to do so under the bill.  He pointed out                    
  the close proximity of some school districts and said it                     
  would not hurt them to have a single superintendent.                         
  Number 512                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE noted that Rep. Brice had received an illegal                    
  (legal) opinion from the legislative Legal Services which                    
  indicated that committee members participating in a meeting                  
  by teleconference could vote on amendments but not on the                    
  final action on a bill.                                                      
  REP. OLBERG asked if an amendment had been moved and                         
  objected to.                                                                 
  CHAIR BUNDE answered no, the amendment had been offered.  He                 
  asked the pleasure of the committee.                                         
  REP. TOOHEY moved the amendment.                                             
  REP. OLBERG objected.                                                        
  CHAIR BUNDE noted the objection and called for a roll call                   
  vote.  Those voting yes were Reps. Kott, Toohey and Bunde.                   
  Those voting no were Reps. Vezey, Olberg, B. Davis, Nicholia                 
  and G. Davis.  The motion failed 3-5.                                        
  CHAIR BUNDE noted that the committee was then considering                    
  the bill without amendments.  He invited Carl Rose to                        
  testify and noted that there were people waiting to testify                  
  from Kuspuk, Anchorage and Petersburg.                                       
  Number 543                                                                   
  SCHOOL BOARDS, testified in Juneau in opposition to HB 210,                  
  saying that the association supported local control of                       
  school districts.  He said that school boards have legal                     
  responsibility for all of a district's activities and have                   
  large legal exposure.  He said school boards are elected to                  
  establish policy under the direction of their local                          
  communities, and school administrators are hired to                          
  administer the execution of such policies.  He said                          
  superintendents in smaller districts also serve as teachers                  
  or principals, as opposed to superintendents in larger                       
  school districts, where superintendents are more like chief                  
  executive officers.  He said that having one administrator                   
  could not carry out the spirit of the policies established                   
  by five different school boards.  He said school districts                   
  needed an administrator on-site to deal with negotiation,                    
  grievances, policies, budgeting and other issues.  He said                   
  first-class cities which tax for schools, or communities                     
  which qualified for PL-874 funds in lieu of taxes, therefore                 
  had a right to have their own school districts.  He offered                  
  to work with the sponsor or committee to address the issue                   
  of educational service delivery and administration, saying                   
  that all issues had not been addressed.  He said he was not                  
  sure of the bill's objective, and said that there would be                   
  other ways to save money.                                                    
  Number 593                                                                   
  REP. TOOHEY noted that there was a push on for the state to                  
  get its spending in line with its income.  She said that                     
  bills such as HB 210 were an effort to cut the budget.  She                  
  asked Mr. Rose to come back with other suggestions as to how                 
  to cut government expenses because the state was not going                   
  to find another Prudhoe Bay.                                                 
  TAPE 93-57, SIDE B                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
  MR. ROSE said he would be glad to do so, as he had many                      
  recommendations, though some people might not like them.                     
  REP. TOOHEY reminded him that the bottom line was that the                   
  state was running out of money.                                              
  Number 006                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE said he would support the bill if it saved                       
  money.  He said he was interested in getting more money in                   
  the classroom and allowing less money to leak into other                     
  costs along the way to the classroom.  He said there were 11                 
  schools which spent more than 10 percent of their budgets on                 
  administrative payroll, compared to 3 percent in the                         
  Anchorage School District.  He noted one school district                     
  which served fewer than 500 students but which had 27 people                 
  on an administrative payroll earning $1 million in a                         
  district with less than 500 students.  He said the committee                 
  did not hate small school districts, but noted that the                      
  state just did not have as much money available as it once                   
  did.  He apologized if he appeared adversarial, but said his                 
  intention was to ensure more money reached classrooms.  He                   
  said the state took many steps to cut costs, such as holding                 
  meetings by teleconference, and suggested remote school                      
  districts should try such methods.  He acknowledged that                     
  school boards needed to be accountable to local communities,                 
  but said superintendents are simply employees and could be                   
  shared by more than one district.                                            
  Number 068                                                                   
  MR. ROSE said he might have questions about the figures                      
  Chair Bunde had cited, and expressed a preference for using                  
  his own figures.  He said that some of the information he                    
  had provided in response to questions from Rep. Martin                       
  involved executive-level and director-level positions, not                   
  administrative positions.                                                    
  REP. G. DAVIS said he did not support the bill, but did                      
  support its aim of making the educational system aware of                    
  the need for changes.  He said that if schools could always                  
  get whatever money they wanted from the state, there would                   
  be no possibility of change.  He said if people knew the                     
  days of unlimited money were gone, they might be more likely                 
  to examine the operations of the educational system.  He                     
  said he doubted whether Alaska 2000 addressed that issue, as                 
  it was likely to result in more educational spending.  He                    
  said he still had faith in the system and the ability of the                 
  educational community to abide by the demands of the public.                 
  CHAIR BUNDE invited those at remote sites to testify by                      
  Number 125                                                                   
  testified via teleconference from Aniak in opposition to                     
  HB 210.  He doubted that a single superintendent could serve                 
  the districts of Iditarod or Kuspuk as they were too large                   
  and diverse.  He said individual school sites feel neglected                 
  within these large school districts.  He said linking more                   
  than one together would raise too many problems.  He said                    
  the districts would resist the bill, and predicted many                      
  lawsuits if HB 210 passed.                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE said he had been to Aniak, Bethel, Stony River,                  
  Sleetmute and Red Devil and he thought he had some feeling                   
  for conditions and diversity.  He said he felt that the                      
  difference between Aniak and Bethel was no greater than that                 
  between Eagle River and Girdwood, or between Spenard and                     
  Muldoon, which are all served by one school district and one                 
  superintendent.  He said he understood the diversity of                      
  different areas, but asked him to understand the need for                    
  REP. NICHOLIA noted that Girdwood and Eagle River were on                    
  the road system, while Bethel was not, and therefore had                     
  higher expenses.                                                             
  Number 167                                                                   
  REP. VEZEY pointed out that there were some school districts                 
  that covered hundreds of miles.                                              
  REP. NICHOLIA pointed out that the Yukon Flats and Yukon                     
  Koyukuk school districts were in regions.                                    
  CHAIR BUNDE, hearing no further requests to testify, closed                  
  public testimony on HB 210 and asked the will of the                         
  Number 186                                                                   
  REP. TOOHEY asked Mr. Rose to return in a week or two to                     
  discuss revisions to the bill with the sponsor and possibly                  
  with a subcommittee of the HESS Committee.                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE asked Mr. Rose if he had time and interest in                    
  such a meeting.                                                              
  MR. ROSE replied,  "I would do so willingly."                                
  Number 200                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE appointed a subcommittee of the HESS Committee,                  
  consisting of Rep. Toohey as chair, with Rep. Nicholia and                   
  Rep. G. Davis as members.  He asked Rep. Toohey to convene a                 
  meeting at a suitable time such that it could report back to                 
  the HESS Committee within a week, and invited anyone else                    
  who wanted to attend to do so.  He also asked that Rep.                      
  Martin be notified of those plans.                                           
  REP. B. DAVIS said the state needed to have more efficient                   
  school operations, but said she did not think HB 210 would                   
  save money.  She suggested volunteer workers might help make                 
  changes.  She also said that one superintendent could not                    
  serve four or five school districts at a time, and that                      
  superintendents did not last more than three years even when                 
  they were responsible for one school district.                               
  CHAIR BUNDE brought HB 195 to the table and noted that the                   
  teleconferenced portion of the meeting was at an end.                        

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