Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/14/1996 02:12 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 HB 452 - CALCULATION OF STATE AID TO EDUCATION                              
 Number 453                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE explained that HB 452 addressed disparity funding              
 and funding for single site school districts.  It included the                
 single site districts in part of the foundation formula, and                  
 personally he would rather the single sites be addressed                      
 individually.  He pointed out he had an amendment that would take             
 the single sites out of HB 452 and allow them to be addressed                 
 separately as they had been in the past.                                      
 Number 506                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY moved to adopt Amendment 1, 9-GH2043\A.1, dated               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON objected for discussion purposes.                     
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE reiterated that Amendment 1 would remove the single            
 site funding and require the single sites to be funded as a                   
 separate entity; essentially it would maintain the status quo.                
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked if there was other legislation that                
 addressed this question specifically.                                         
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE replied no, it had been funded as part of the budget           
 in the past.                                                                  
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS believed he heard that someone had considered            
 introducing legislation that would roll the single sites into the             
 foundation formula, which he certainly favored because of the                 
 hassles every year with the foundation formula and then the single            
 sites.  He felt it would be a simpler process to combine them, but            
 acknowledged there were differences in the structures,                        
 pupil/teacher ratios, etc.                                                    
 Number 715                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked if the committee could get the                  
 department's reaction to the amendment.                                       
 Number 735                                                                    
 JIM ELLIOTT, Acting Director, School Finance, Department of                   
 Education, introduced Eddy Jeans who administers the foundation               
 Number 741                                                                    
 EDDY JEANS, School Foundation, School Finance, Department of                  
 Education, testified it was the department's recommendation that              
 the section remain with the bill.  The current foundation program             
 has been in place since 1988, and the single site school districts            
 have continued to receive supplemental allocations outside of the             
 formula, with the exception of one year.  House Bill 452 places the           
 funding allocation within the parameters of the foundation formula.           
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said the question is whether or not it should be in            
 the formula and this amendment would take it out of the formula.              
 Number 790                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE TOM BRICE testified via teleconference from                    
 Fairbanks in strong opposition to Amendment 1.  He pointed out it             
 has always been a point of contention every year when education               
 funding was discussed.  The drafters of the current formula                   
 basically understood it would need to be addressed again and in his           
 opinion the sooner it is dealt with, the less contention there will           
 be regarding funding for the single sites.                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE stated there were two ways to deal with the single             
 site issue.  One would be to roll it into the formula and allow               
 these small, inefficient operations to continue.  The second option           
 would be to eliminate single site schools.  This amendment would              
 leave the option open.                                                        
 Number 914                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON expressed her intention to maintain her               
 objection.  Every year the smaller school districts come before the           
 legislature to lobby for adequate funding, and she agreed with the            
 Department of Education that it was time to fix the problem once              
 and for all.                                                                  
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE repeated there were two ways to fix it:  Make them             
 more efficient or throw money at them.                                        
 Number 953                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked for further explanation on Section 4               
 from a representative of the department.                                      
 MR. JEANS said Section 4 places a new table in the foundation                 
 formula which increases the instructional units allotted to single            
 site school districts.  It does not increase or decrease the number           
 of school districts in the state; it simply moves the funding                 
 mechanism into the statute.                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS commented from that standpoint some people               
 think there are some single site schools overly funded, while other           
 single site schools could use a little more money.  Section 4 would           
 put the funding in statute, and would continue to be perceived as             
 over funded by some people.                                                   
 MR. JEANS pointed out the table in HB 452 funds the same single               
 site districts that were funded through the legislature last year.            
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked how many school districts that included?                 
 MR. JEANS said he believed it was 22 school districts.                        
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE commented that was 22 superintendents of schools               
 that were hired through this funding.                                         
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE closed public testimony.  He said there was a motion           
 to adopt Amendment 1 and an objection had been raised.  He asked              
 for a roll call vote.  Voting in favor of Amendment 1 were                    
 Representatives Vezey, Davis, Rokeberg, Toohey and Bunde.  Voting             
 against the adoption of Amendment 1 were Representatives Brice and            
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY objected for a point of order.  Discussion               
 ensued regarding Representative Brice's right to vote via                     
 teleconference.  HESS Committee Aide, Lynne Smith, informed the               
 committee that Legislative Legal had advised that a committee                 
 member in attendance of a committee meeting via teleconference was            
 allowed to vote on amendments, but could not vote to pass a bill              
 out of committee.                                                             
 Number 1127                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS moved to pass CSHB 452(HES) out of committee             
 with individual recommendations and attached fiscal notes.  Hearing           
 no objection, it was so ordered.                                              

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