Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/13/1995 05:05 PM MLV

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 HMLV - 03/13/95                                                               
 HB 166 - APPROP: CONSTRUCT/UPGRADE ON-BASE SCHOOLS                          
 Number 030                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE ELDON MULDER, Sponsor, stated HB 166 appropriates              
 $6,800,000 (or a lesser amount, contingent upon what the federal              
 government agrees to match on a dollar for dollar basis) from the             
 general fund to the Department of Education to fund the                       
 construction of a new elementary school at Eielson Air Force Base.            
 This school would replace Taylor and Pennell elementaries, which              
 are too deteriorated for upgrades.  In Section 2, HB 166                      
 appropriates $17,700,000 (or a lesser amount, contingent upon what            
 the federal government agrees to match on a dollar for dollar                 
 basis) from the general fund to the Department of Education to fund           
 upgrades on the 6 schools remaining on the task force construction            
 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER said in 1993, the Alaska Legislature                    
 established a Military Schools Task Force.  The task force reviewed           
 maintenance requests, cost estimates and other pertinent                      
 information.  The Department of Defense owns the facilities,                  
 partial maintenance funding comes through the U.S. Department of              
 Education, which grants to the state department of Education, who             
 then pass the funds to the local school district.  The task force             
 determined the schools should be controlled locally.  Prior to                
 this, the districts want the schools upgraded to meet health and              
 safety codes.  It was determined to cost approximately $49 million            
 to upgrade all the schools to meet the required codes.  Local                 
 school districts cannot bond to secure funding to upgrade the                 
 facilities due to the federal government owning the facilities.  In           
 response to this dilemma, the 1994 legislature passed a resolution            
 to Congress stating should the posts remain open, Alaska would be             
 favorable toward a matching funding program.  Alaska has received             
 $7 million from the U.S. Department of Defense with an additional             
 $20 million appropriation that is currently in the budget.  It has            
 been indicated, Alaska would have priority for $10 million to $12             
 million providing we match funds.  The effected schools that need             
 to be upgraded include Aurora Elementary, Orion Elementary, Mt.               
 Spurr Elementary (Elmendorf), Ben Eielson Junior/Senior High School           
 (Eielson), Ursa Minor Elementary, JF Kennedy Elementary (Fort                 
 Richardson) and replacing Taylor and Pennell with a new facility on           
 Eielson Air Force Base.  HB 166 is a focal point to draw attention            
 to the problem and to give opportunities for those schools and for            
 those affected families.  It also gives impact back to the                    
 legislature on how important this issue is and places the funding             
 into the capital budget.                                                      
 CO-CHAIRMAN PETE KOTT asked if this was a continuation of last                
 year's proposal?                                                              
 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER responded last year's proposal was for $52              
 million, we did receive $3.5 million.                                         
 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN asked if the federal allocations were                     
 transferred through the state's Department of Education and what is           
 the status of that funding?                                                   
 Number 124                                                                    
 MR. DUANE GUILEY, Director, Division of School Finance, Department            
 of Education, stated in regards to the recent allocations received            
 for repair of military schools, each school district is working               
 directly with the federal agency.  The funds received from the                
 Department of Defense and U.S. Department of Education have been              
 direct appropriations to the individual school districts.  Although           
 there is an agreement with the districts that Department of                   
 Education will serve as the intermediary, the districts have                  
 requested and are allowed to negotiate directly and independently             
 of the Department of Education.  The impact aid funds which are               
 available for operation and routine maintenance, do flow through              
 the state Department of Education based upon a single application             
 representing Kodiak, Fairbanks and Anchorage school districts.                
 Impact aid funds are received by the Department of Education, who             
 allocates the funds to the three school districts and submits a               
 check within 45 days of receipt of funds.  Impact aid funds routine           
 operation and maintenance where HB 166 addresses capital repairs.             
 Number 149                                                                    
 CO-CHAIRMAN KOTT asked last year when the appropriation measure was           
 passed asking for $52 million, we only received $3.5 million from             
 the federal government and we matched those funds, did the                    
 remaining funds revert back into the general fund?                            
 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER responded we received $7 million from the               
 federal government.  The language in the appropriation bill                   
 designates the funds to be used for upgrades of base schools.  Top            
 priority was given to upgrade Taylor and Pennell elementaries when            
 actually phasing the school out and building a new school facility            
 is needed.  As the federal appropriation language states upgrade,             
 the funds could not be used to build a new facility.  The state               
 used half of the funds to upgrade another facility in Anchorage and           
 hopes to use the remaining funds for the new elementary school at             
 CO-CHAIRMAN KOTT asked if the remaining $3.5 million dollars in               
 federal funds is still available?                                             
 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER responded the $3.5 million are funds that               
 have been obligated and will be in addition to other funds that               
 would be appropriated.                                                        
 Number 173                                                                    
 MR. GUILEY stated they are anticipating additional funding for                
 Eielson.  The state has provided $600,000 to the Fairbanks school             
 district for the design of the new Eielson elementary school.  They           
 are awaiting the balance of the funds to be able to construct the             
 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN asked if this appropriation bill is anticipated           
 by the House Finance Committee in the FY 96 capital budget?                   
 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER responded no.  Our goal and objective is to             
 get $10 million in the capital budget, this has been discussed with           
 the Governor.  It is not anticipated to be a major component in the           
 capital budget.  If we can get partial funding to match the federal           
 dollars, Senator Stevens believes the process can be continued.               
 Operated under local school districts and owned by the federal                
 government, these facilities never received continued upgrading.              
 Consequently, the facilities deteriorated causing possible safety             
 and health hazards.                                                           
 CO-CHAIRMAN KOTT asked as this is an appropriation bill, does it              
 require a fiscal note?                                                        
 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER responded no, the fiscal note is the amount             
 included at the top of the bill.                                              
 Number 236                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE ED WILLIS made a motion to move HB 166 out of                  
 committee with individual recommendations.                                    
 CO-CHAIRMAN KOTT asked if there were any objections.  Hearing none,           
 the motion passed.                                                            
 There being no further business to come before the House Special              
 Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs, Co-Chairman Kott                  
 adjourned the meeting at 5:17 p.m.                                            

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