Legislature(1993 - 1994)
01/26/1994 03:00 PM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 84 - IMPLEMENTATION ALASKA 2000 RECOMMENDATIONS Number 112 REP. TOOHEY asked all present to observe the art work that was sent to the committee by Turnagain Elementary School in Anchorage. Number 145 CHAIR BUNDE brought to the floor HB 84 and asked for the first witness. Number 151 CARL ROSE, Executive Director, Association of Alaska School Boards, felt he would be testifying inappropriately on HB 84 as he had signed up to testify for the committee substitute (CS). Number 170 CHAIR BUNDE apologized and clarified by asking Rep. Toohey if she had a motion. Number 174 REP. TOOHEY made a motion to accept CSHB 84 as a working draft. (Rep. Brice arrived at 3:17 p.m.) Number 196 CHAIR BUNDE stated that the work draft was dated 1/20/94, identification #8-GH1033/O. He asked Mr. Rose to continue. Number 222 MR. ROSE testified in support of the work draft and shared comments on the CS for HB 84. He expressed sadness at the elimination of charter schools from the CS. He said the portion on grants was supported by his association, but there were concerns. He felt that organizing the PTAs and school district boards together to form advisory boards for individual schools was a good idea, unless it was a cost item. Mr. Rose continued on, stating that the extension to five years for acquiring tenure was favorable. The application, as well as the acquisition process, would be movement away from an "automatic tenure system." The longer length of time could possibly save many careers. Mr. Rose found that the advisory committee would actually be involved in some evaluations. He felt that regulations as to what role the committee would fulfill, what process they would use, and what assistance they would receive would be helpful. Mr. Rose suggested that the cost factor would increase as there would be one advisory committee for small districts and in large districts perhaps many. Number 388 (CHAIR BUNDE noted that Rep. Bettye Davis arrived at 3:14 p.m. and Rep. Tom Brice at 3:17 p.m.) CHAIR BUNDE addressed the cost factor that Carl Rose had referred to by stating that there would be a cost to employ a substitute teacher while teachers attended their advisory duties, but he felt there wouldn't be a significant impact on the district. CHAIR BUNDE stated that there were oversights on his part and subsequently some language was left out of the CS. He moved to amend by putting the language back in and added that Sheila Peterson had additional language to put back into the working draft. Number 475 SHEILA PETERSON, Special Assistant to Commissioner Covey, Department of Education (DOE), testified from Juneau in support of CSHB 84. Ms. Peterson began by expressing disappointment that charter schools had been dropped in the CS. She named California and Minnesota as leaders in adopting charter schools and mentioned that eight more states were considering legislation to allow for charter schools and requested that the committee consider charter schools at a later date. Ms. Peterson said the DOE was pleased that tenure was being addressed and said the proposal was an excellent start. She did suggest the addition of a parent on the "tenure reform committee." She felt the public should have a chance to participate in the tenure process. She said she submitted a proposed amendment regarding the fund for school improvement. She said clarifications were needed to ensure a more equitable approach in distribution. She said the clarification would allow the $50,000 cap to apply to the applicant and not to the district. She stated that currently the $50,000 cap was per district. Ms. Peterson continued on to say that the language inadvertently left out of the proposal dealt with under subparagragh A. She asked the committee to consider adding the language "including appropriations from the earnings of the public school trust fund, AS 37.14.110". She stated that the aforementioned language was in HB 84 but it wasn't in the proposed amendment that she submitted. Number 577 CHAIR BUNDE confirmed that the committee had a copy of the proposed amendment and a copy of the CS 10033-A that indicated Section 4. He then asked Ms. Peterson if her amendment was in addition to Section 4. Number 604 MS. PETERSON answered yes, and continued to say that the amendment had four subsections that would rewrite the language and allow for the applicant to have a $50,000 cap and not the school district, but the applicant would have to go through the school district to apply for the grant. The restriction to three of the five years would apply to the applicant and not the school district. Number 620 CHAIR BUNDE asked Ms. Peterson what specific occurrences happened during the grant procedure that warranted the amendment. Number 626 MS. PETERSON stated that applications were ranked on merit, and that Mat-Su and Anchorage could not be awarded grants above the $50,000 cap, yet they ranked higher than other school districts. Number 647 CHAIR BUNDE said that, as he understood it, the various schools within a district could apply up to a $50,000 cap. Number 650 MS. PETERSON agreed and said that current law states that a governing body, an advisory board, a non-profit organization, or a teacher or principal employed by a public school in the state, may apply for a grant. The $50,000 cap would apply to the aforementioned applicants. Number 660 CHAIR BUNDE clarified again by stating that rather than a district receiving $50,000, several schools within the district would be allowed to apply for the grant. Number 665 MS. PETERSON agreed. Number 672 CHAIR BUNDE asked Mr. Peterson to give an example of a grant that was applied for and was received. Number 676 SHEILA PETERSON referred to a hand out (attachment 1) that outlined 25 programs that had been awarded, citing the Craig, Hydaburg and Klawock School districts that had joined together to offer interactive, computer assisted classrooms. Number 706 REP. VEZEY asked MS. Peterson if she helped draft the CS the committee was working with. Number 710 MS. PETERSON replied that she had worked on the proposed amendments to the CS. Number 715 REP. VEZEY asked if the DOE excluded for-profit organizations from applying for the grant. Number 729 MS. PETERSON said the decision of whether to allow for- profit organizations to apply for grants would be best left up to the legislature. Number 740 REP. VEZEY stated that at the proper time he would like to make a motion to amend the wording to include "a person." Number 747 CHAIR BUNDE replied, saying that change was discussed last year, and thanked Rep. Vezey for resuming the point. Number 750 REP. B. DAVIS asked Ms. Peterson what the total amount spent on grants was last year and how many school districts received funds. Number 755 MS. PETERSON stated that over $500,000 was granted to 16 school districts - 25 applicants. Number 761 REP. B. DAVIS asked if the grant money came from the school trust fund or the general fund. Number 764 MS. PETERSON said it was a reappropriation by the legislature from Pupil Transportation. Half the funds left over from Pupil Transportation was reappropriated by Rep. Larson and the other half was appropriated to the fund for school improvement. Number 783 REP. B. DAVIS asked for clarification, saying that there was a school improvement fund and a school trust fund. Number 784 MS. PETERSON answered yes. REP. B. DAVIS asked Ms. Peterson what her intentions were for the school trust fund. Number 802 MS. PETERSON stated that the amendment would allow for a portion of interest earnings from the public school trust fund, which now totalled $6.8 million, to be used for the grant program. She continued by saying that currently the interest from the public school trust fund was going to the foundation formula. She wanted the legislature to know the fund was there and that it was to be used for improving school performance. Number 823 REP. B. DAVIS asked if $500,000 was the cap for the total amount granted each year. Number 826 MS. PETERSON said that would be favorable, but it would depend on the appropriations by the legislature. Number 829 REP. B. DAVIS clarified by stating that if there was no money appropriated, there would be no grants. Number 830 MS. PETERSON agreed. She said the current budget did not include any funds for the grant program and applications were sent out January 15, 1994, but the school districts were told there were no funds to award grants. Number 840 CHAIR BUNDE clarified by stating that the amendment was a mechanism for distributing funds if and when they were available. Number 845 REP. G. DAVIS asked if the grants were direct proposals to the DOE without any supporting resolutions from the school districts. Number 849 MS. PETERSON answered, no, and followed by saying the grants must be signed off by the school superintendent. The DOE wanted direct involvement and the encouragement of the school districts. Number 858 REP. B. DAVIS made a motion to move the amendment. Number 875 REP. OLBERG objected to the motion for purposes of discussion. Number 878 CHAIR BUNDE asked for further discussion. Number 879 REP. OLBERG stated that it was a curious time to be developing new ways to give away money. Number 881 CHAIR BUNDE said the committee was trying to tailor an existing way to provide grants for schools. Number 887 REP. OLBERG stated that it was "sort of new" and asked if it had been done once before. Number 888 MS. PETERSON said that was correct. Number 893 REP. VEZEY said he would be interested to hear comments from Chair Bunde. Number 896 CHAIR BUNDE stated, again, that the amendment was a mechanism for providing grants to individual schools when the legislature chooses to fund the grants. He said it was not his intention, in this "fiscal crisis," to recommend that money be placed in the grant program at this time. Number 908 REP. VEZEY said he was interested in Chair Bunde's comments on the proposed amendment. Number 912 CHAIR BUNDE expressed his support and accepted the proposed amendment, saying the mechanism would be available to distribute funds at a future time when funds were available. Number 919 REP. VEZEY made a motion to amend the amendment. Number 933 CHAIR BUNDE stated that for housekeeping purposes the amendment needed to be adopted so it could be further amended. Number 940 REP. OLBERG clarified by saying that the committee should adopt the amendment. Number 949 CHAIR BUNDE asked for a roll to be called to adopt the amendment before the committee. Rep. Toohey Yea Rep. Bunde Yea Rep. G. Davis Yea Rep. Vezey Yea Rep. Kott Yea Rep. Olberg Nay Rep. B. Davis Yea Rep. Nicholia Excused Rep. Brice Yea Number 965 CHAIR BUNDE stated that the adoption was passed and the amended CS was before the committee. He urged the committee to continue on with further amendments for discussion. Number 967 REP. VEZEY asked for clarification of the adopted amendment, stating that as he understood it the committed had amended the CS for HB 84 so that Section 2 would read as per the amendment. Number 996 CHAIR BUNDE, after some discussion, stated that Rep. Vezey was correct. Number 997 REP. VEZEY made a motion to amend Section 2 by deleting the words "a governing body, district advisory board, or non- profit organization," and replace them with "a person." Number 004 REP. TOOHEY said for further clarification, that the words "a teacher, a principal" might be added. Number 006 REP. VEZEY indicated that his change did not go as far into Section 2 as Rep. Toohey was indicating in her response. Number 010 CHAIR BUNDE clarified, stating that the amended portion to be accepted would be Section 2, subsection B. It would read, "a person located in a state, or a person or a principal employed by a public school in the state..." may apply for a grant. Number 018 REP. VEZEY said that was the intent, but it was not read correctly. Number 017 CHAIR BUNDE asked Rep. Vezey to read it correctly. Number 018 REP. VEZEY replied, "...a person located in the state or a teacher or a principal employed by a public school in the state...may apply through a district for a grant of up to $50,000 to improve public school performance by submitting an application to the commissioner. The application must be signed by the superintendent the district that agrees to receive and administer the grant and be accountable for the disbursement." Number 029 CHAIR BUNDE asked Rep. Vezey to speak to his amendment. Number 030 REP. VEZEY said he suggested the amendment because the statutory definition of "person" is much broader than the three organizations mentioned. He felt that the previous language might exclude a resource that might be available. Number 037 REP. TOOHEY asked if there were caps put on individual grants relative to the total amount in the fund, questioning with the example that if there were only $50,000 in the account, would there only be $10,000 grants. Number 049 MS. PETERSON said that a grant cannot receive more than $50,000. If there was only $50,000 in the fund and ten applications, the DOE would rank the applications according to merit and disburse the money accordingly. Number 061 REP. BRICE asked Rep. Vezey what the statutory definition of "person" was and what type of definition he would intend to use in the amendment. Number 079 After some discussion, an at-ease was taken to ascertain the statutory definition of "person." TAPE 94-03, SIDE B Number 000 CHAIR BUNDE called the meeting back to order and asked Rep. Vezey to share the statutory definition of "person." Number 010 REP. VEZEY read directly from the statute, Title 01.10.060, Paragraph 8: "person includes a corporation, a company, partnership, firm, association, organization, business trust, or society, as well as a natural person." He stated that he felt there was no entity that was not included in the definition. Number 040 REP. BRICE stated that the entities listed seem to be outside the realm of public government and felt they may refer to specific private organizations. He felt that other public entities should be included. Number 073 CHAIR BUNDE asked Rep. Vezey if his purpose would be accomplished "if you added to a governing body...a district advisory board, a non-profit organization, or a person." Number 082 REP. VEZEY felt that it would not be contrary to the intent of his motion, but perhaps it would be redundant. Number 090 CHAIR BUNDE stated that he shared some of the concerns that Rep. Brice had stating that the statutory definition seemed to be in the commercial and private aspect. Chair Bunde asked if his proposed amendment to Rep. Vezey's proposed amendment would not defeat Rep. Vezey's purpose. Number 111 REP. VEZEY said he wanted to withdraw his amendment and move that Paragraph B in Section 2 be amended to read: "a governing body, district advisory board, or a person located in the state, or a teacher or principal employed by a public school in the state may apply through a district..." Number 143 CHAIR BUNDE stated that the definition of person includes non-profit. He asked for further discussion on Rep. Vezey's amendment. The amendment was adopted with no objections to the motion. Chair Bunde asked for Ms. Peterson's response on the newly amended CS. Number 188 MS. PETERSON stated that the DOE was pleased with the amendment. Number 207 REP. TOOHEY questioned Ms. Peterson as to whether the DOE would send out invitations to bid for the grants, knowing that there were no funds. Number 216 MS. PETERSON said that regulations state that on January 15 the DOE shall send out applications. The DOE honored that regulation, sent out the applications, and made the school districts aware that there were no available funds. Number 234 REP. TOOHEY felt that there should be a little more "house work" to avoid the cost of sending out grant requests when there are no funds available. Number 248 REP. G. DAVIS stated that, indeed, it would be a regulatory issue. Number 254 CHAIR BUNDE said, "we don't have to send the message: Yes, we have no bananas." Number 259 REP. VEZEY noted for clarity that the amendment has amended the committee substitute in Section 2, and Section 3, and has added two additional sections. Number 276 CHAIR BUNDE stated that Rep. Vezey was correct. He then asked for teleconference testimony. Number 303 JIM SIMEROTH, Teacher, Kenai Middle School, testified via teleconference from Kenai. He felt that the grant system was inequitable, saying that grants often went to the more "well-to-do" schools. He felt grants could be distributed in another more equitable manner. He expressed his concern about the tenure clause. Mr. Simeroth felt the present tenure law was effective, and he opposed peer review. He said that the peer review system was based on a university system and he felt that the environment was vastly different than that of a university. He also felt there would be additional costs. Number 419 CHAIR BUNDE said that Mr. Simeroth was in the minority as a person who felt that the present tenure system was effective. Number 448 REP. G. DAVIS stated, in regards to Mr. Simeroth's concerns about the grant system, that the local districts should approve grants to make sure they are equitable. Rep. G. Davis felt that the problem with tenure was public perception. Number 474 CHAIR BUNDE asked for further testimony. Number 480 STEVE McPHETRES, Executive Director, Alaska Council of School Administrators, testified in Juneau in support of CSHB 84. He stated that the tenure proposal would allow for creativity. In regards to the advisory school boards, he said the council met with the state PTA and, as a whole, they felt the proposal would encourage parental involvement. The council was encouraged by the amendment for the acquisition of tenure. He felt the five year tenure review was a professional approach to the teaching profession by allowing peer review. However, the principal should be a strong part in the tenure review. Number 552 CHAIR BUNDE asked if it was Mr. McPhetres' assumption that principal participation in tenure review had been excluded from the amendment. Number 555 MR. McPHETRES stated that he assumed the amendment included principal involvement. Number 559 CHAIR BUNDE said that his intention was not only for principal participation, but also a vice-principal who would work in that capacity. Number 574 REP. BRICE inquired if there would be one committee per school. Number 585 MR. McPHETRES responded to the question by saying building sites in the larger school districts would have the tenure review committees. Number 599 REP. BRICE asked approximately how many teachers were brought up for tenure review each year. Number 602 MR. McPHETRES said it was difficult to respond to that question. Number 606 REP. BRICE asked approximately how much time it took administrators to review a tenure application. Number 611 MR. McPHETRES asserted that, at a minimum, the administrator was in the classroom twice. Number 618 REP. BRICE asked if it was approximately six to seven hours. Number 620 CHAIR BUNDE interjected by saying that with all the other demands on a principal, in actuality, that figure would probably be closer to two or three hours, maximum. Number 628 REP. BRICE clarified by saying two hours were for observation along with two 30 minute conferences. Number 630 CHAIR BUNDE said that it varied. Number 638 REP. BRICE asked how long it would take to review a tenure applicant under the proposed new system. Number 659 CHAIR BUNDE stated that, as he envisioned it, if there were five members on the tenure committee, each would observe the applicant, therefore amounting to at least five hours twice a year. Then there would be a few hours of thorough discussion. Number 677 MR. McPHETRES concurred with Chair Bunde's scenario. He furthered by saying that the CS would impose additional time requirements for members of the committee and the administrator. Mr. McPhetres emphasized that there still had to be due process of law. Number 697 REP. BRICE asked how the time requirement would impact the teacher. Number 706 CHAIR BUNDE said the teacher participating on a tenure committee, involved in the observation, would be relieved by a substitute teacher. He did not anticipate additional compensation to the teacher on the tenure review board, but foresaw the expense of hiring a substitute. Number 724 REP. BRICE said he would assume the burden of being on the committee would be evenly delegated. Number 732 CHAIR BUNDE stated that the members would be elected. Number 736 MR. McPHETRES said he felt it was a two way dialogue. The teacher would be going into the classroom not only to observe, but also perhaps to learn and to share ideas. Number 755 CHAIR BUNDE assured all those participating that HB 84 would not be moved out of committee that day. He asked for further testimony. Number 766 ALEXANDER McFARLANE, President, Fairbanks Education Association, testified via teleconference from Fairbanks in opposition to the proposed CSHB 84 and specifically to the section dealing with the acquisition of tenure. He felt the CS would usurp the efforts of the Fairbanks school district, who at that time was putting together a new plan for tenure evaluation for the next school year. He felt the CS would not help in the process of training or eliminating a deficient teacher. He felt there was no criteria within the CS for the committee to judge the teacher. Mr. McFarlane asked what the role of the principal would be if non-tenure teachers were being reviewed each year and tenured teachers reviewed every five years. The bill did not offer the freedom teachers required to teach. Number 830 CHAIR BUNDE stated that the CS would mandate that a school administrator (principal) be part of the tenure review committee. He also indicated to the HESS Committee that in their packets was an endorsement of the five year tenure proposal. Number 851 SUE HALL, President, Alaska Parent/Teacher Association, stated via teleconference from Fairbanks that there were two particular items that they found troublesome in the bill. She felt that there did not have to be an advisory board for parents to be involved. She felt the advisory school board would be another level of bureaucracy. She further stated that the role of the PTA would be changed in a negative way by politicizing it. Ms. Hall felt that the proposal for tenure would reduce the principal's role in school accountability. She felt it would be costly in terms of relief time to allow for evaluation. Ms. Hall encouraged the committee to recognize the risk involved in the proposed legislation. Number 945 CHAIR BUNDE asked if Ms. Hall was testifying as a representative of the Alaska PTA and if it was the PTA's official position. Number 948 MS. HALL stated that no position had been taken by the PTA, but her comments were based on the PTA's legislative program and were in line with positions taken previously. Number 953 CHAIR BUNDE further asked if the Alaska PTA would be taking a position. Number 954 MS. HALL said a position would be taken on February 14. Number 964 CHAIR BUNDE asked, if there was to be a separate parent advisory board, how would she view that board's relationship with the PTA, and would it seem competitive? Number 970 MS. HALL said she felt the two could co-exist, but she felt there would be a better way to go about it. Number 986 CHAIR BUNDE requested Willie Anderson to come forward with testimony. Number 991 WILLIE ANDERSON, Representative, National Education Association of Alaska (NEA-AK), stated from Juneau that NEA- AK had major concerns as to the expense that would be incurred by implementing the proposals. He felt that in the short term few people would be impacted, but in the long term, one-half of the teacher population would be subject to review by the tenure committee. The time dedicated by the teachers would "exponentially expand" and it would cost more and more money each year to make the committee work. Mr. Anderson felt that the new proposal left the tenure review committee open for litigation if a teacher were granted tenure by the committee and then denied by the advisory board. He felt additional costs would be inevitable. He asked Chair Bunde what would be the outcome regarding tenure rights for teachers hired prior to July 1, 1994. He asked if they would be subject to the new legislation. NEA-AK felt the bill was lacking as there was no clear procedure stating how to implement the proposal. He asked how the new proposal would interface with existing legislation, stating that the term "deficiency", used in the new proposal, is not used in the current legislation. TAPE 94-04, SIDE A Number 000 CHAIR BUNDE made the committee and witnesses aware of the time constraint and asked for questions. Number 037 LARRY WIGET, Director, Government Relations/Legislative Liaison, Anchorage School District, stated via teleconference from Anchorage that there should be a more thorough analysis of the proposed legislation. In regards to school advisory boards, he felt that the schools should voluntarily participate in shared decision-making/site based management, and further stated that the Anchorage school district supported the establishment of site council with the PTA remaining the most "viable parent organization." He stated concerns "about the membership of the Local Tenure Review Committees and whether by having included a majority of tenured teachers currently employed in the district creates a conflict of interest with NEA-Alaska which has a legal obligation to fairly represent its members." The NEA- AK did not support expiration after seven years of tenure. Mr. Wiget said that a sound annual evaluation process that would eliminate poor teachers from the classroom was needed. He furthered stated that if change was sought, the NEA-AK would prefer it be directed toward reducing the burden imposed on districts which attempt to non-retain or dismiss tenured teachers. Mr. Wiget expressed the NEA-AK's intention to work with the legislature to seek further solutions. Number 224 JOHN CYR, President, National Education Association - Alaska, stated via teleconference from Anchorage that NEA-AK was opposed to CSHB 84. He stated that if a private corporation or a "money-making concern" could siphon school dollars from the school district under the proposed amendment by Rep. Vezey, within the definition of "person," there would be problems. He said it would be too costly to proceed with the proposed legislation for establishing a new tenure review committee. He pointed out the enormous amount of time and cost that would be spent on review committee meetings in the large school districts and the cost for air travel for rural communities. Mr. Cyr felt tenure protection would be lost. He questioned the process, asking if a teacher could apply who already gained tenure to a new school district. He stated that the proposed legislation would make the process secretive, political, and a popularity contest. Number 364 CHAIR BUNDE observed that there were varying opinions regarding the effectiveness of the current tenure and stated that there was considerable public interest in eliminating tenure completely. Number 384 LORRA KEENAN, Concerned Citizen, stated via Anchorage her opinions on the original HB 84. Number 417 CHAIR BUNDE told Mr. Keenan that her testimony did not pertain to CSHB 84 or the discussions at hand. He continued on with testimony from Anchorage. Number 459 LUCILLE HOWITT, Tenured Teacher, Anchorage School District, testified on behalf of herself via teleconference from Anchorage. She felt that Anchorage currently had an effective evaluation system involving principals and teachers. She thought undue stress would be created by having the public involved in the review process. Number 477 CHAIR BUNDE stated that there was no provision in the CS to have parents on a tenure review committee. Number 491 MS. HOWITT continued on with other comments by saying that taking a teacher out of the classroom would directly affect the students' learning environment. She felt peer review would be effective if it was non-threatening. She asked if, under Sec. 14.20.153 (d), it would allow for public comment on teachers applying for tenure. Number 532 CHAIR BUNDE said that in that aspect her assumption was correct. Number 540 MS. HOWITT felt parent comments should be directed, in private, with the principal regarding their child's needs and which teacher would best meet the child's needs. Number 557 CHAIR BUNDE asked for testimony from Mat-Su. Number 566 ERNEST LINE, Concerned Citizen, questioned via teleconference the performance standards of Alaska 2000. Number 590 CHAIR BUNDE said that the HESS Committee was not involved in that issue. He briefly outlined the proposal of CSHB 84. Number 604 MR. LINE asked if the proposed bill was going to be a part of Alaska 2000. Number 607 CHAIR BUNDE answered no. Number 610 MR. LINE suggested the committee watch the video, "Who Controls the Children." He also suggested further analysis of the proposed legislation and Alaska 2000. He further commented on the grant program, asking if it was not the purpose of the school district and school administrators to improve school performance, and questioned the need for additional grants. Number 670 CHAIR BUNDE said it was necessary to fund specific projects and that the grants would only be approved by the local school board. Number 683 MIKE WILEY, Member, Kenai Peninsula School Board, testified on behalf of himself via teleconference from Kenai. He expressed his concerns in regards to the advisory boards. He suggested site council as a better decision-making process. He felt that there needed to be changes in the tenure process and he needed further time to look at the new proposal. Number 744 CHAIR BUNDE closed public testimony on CSHB 84, stating that the bill would be carried over until the following Monday. Seeing no further business from the committee, Chair Bunde ADJOURNED the meeting at 4:52 p.m.