Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/04/1996 08:05 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 HB 452 - CALCULATION OF STATE AID TO EDUCATION                              
                                                                               
 The next order of business to come before the House State Affairs             
 Committee was HB 452.                                                         
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES called on Richard S. Cross, Department of Education, to           
 present the bill.                                                             
                                                                               
 Number 0112                                                                   
                                                                               
 RICHARD S. CROSS, Deputy Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner,            
 Department of Education, said he was here to discuss the committee            
 substitute for HB 452 (9-GH2043/C).  He explained the committee               
 substitute was essentially the same system in place today for                 
 calculating state aid to schools except for one notable exception.            
 The exception was the payment to regional education attendance                
 areas (REAA) of $500 per unit to ensure that the state met the                
 federal disparity test for the 1996 to 1997 school year.                      
 Furthermore, in-order-to recover the money that was required to               
 make that $500 payment, the committee substitute increased the                
 deductible federal impact aid for those districts by 5 percent.               
 Therefore, by increasing the deductible, the state recovered a                
 large portion of the payment that would be made to increase the               
 value of the unit in those districts.  Moreover, he explained in              
 the original bill the calculation for the single site school                  
 districts was included in the foundation.  The department strongly            
 recommended that it be placed back into the bill for two reasons.             
 The first was based on the calculation of the federal disparity               
 test.  The federal government had looked at the single site issue             
 for a number of years now and had encouraged the state to                     
 incorporate an all encompassing calculation for the foundation                
 payment.  The second was based on the payment.  It had become a               
 consistent course of business.  He reiterated the department                  
 recommended replacing the single site calculation back into the               
 bill.  He thanked the committee members for their time.                       
                                                                               
 Number 0355                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES asked Mr. Cross to respond to the fiscal note.  She               
 wondered if more money was being added to the formula funding.                
                                                                               
 Number 0379                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. CROSS replied the calculation of increasing from 90 percent to            
 95 percent for the deduction did not exactly match the payment to             
 the REAA's.  Therefore, the fiscal note represented the difference            
 between the $500 payment unit and what would be recovered from the            
 deductible increase.                                                          
                                                                               
 Number 0439                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES asked Mr. Cross if the amount given to the single site            
 school districts affected the disparity test?                                 
                                                                               
 MR. CROSS deferred to Eddy Jeans, Department of Education, to                 
 answer the question.                                                          
                                                                               
 Number 0465                                                                   
                                                                               
 EDDY JEANS, School Foundation, School Finance, Department of                  
 Education, explained the single site allocation was based on a                
 formula that had been before the legislature a number of times.               
 The table (Sec. 4) was deleted from the original bill (9-GH2043.A)            
 creating the committee substitute (CSHB 452(HES) 9-GH2043/C).  He             
 reiterated the department would like to reinstate that section back           
 into the bill.  The single site allocations did affect the                    
 disparity test because they were not associated with the                      
 instructional units.  Therefore, they increased the unit value of             
 those school districts.  Whereas, if the table was adopted and put            
 back into the foundation formula, the instructional units then                
 generated those dollars.  Those dollars would not have any value              
 outside of the unit value itself, however.                                    
                                                                               
 Number 0538                                                                   
 CHAIR JAMES said she understood the formula, but had never                    
 understood how the single site formula affected the disparity test.           
                                                                               
 Number 0580                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. CROSS replied disparity did not depend on the amount of units             
 received.  It depended on the value of the unit.  Therefore, if a             
 district was given more units, a disparate situation was not always           
 the case.  If the unit value was increased, however, then a problem           
 existed.  If more units were paid as opposed to increasing the                
 value of a unit then a wide disparity was not being created.                  
                                                                               
 Number 0648                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE CAREN ROBINSON explained she objected to deleting              
 Sec. 4 in the original bill (9-GH2043.A) when it was in the House             
 Health, Education and Social Services Committee.  She wondered what           
 the ramifications were by not including the table in the bill.                
                                                                               
 Number 0666                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. JEANS replied the Department of Education was put on notice by            
 the U.S. Department of Education to include the payments in the               
 foundation formula.  The payments that were being made outside of             
 the formula were circumventing the equalized plan.  That was why              
 the department recommended that those payments be included in the             
 bill.  Furthermore, it increased the value of the unit.  The                  
 appropriation was made outside of the formula now so that the                 
 districts still had the same number of units.  However, the                   
 additional revenue outside of the formula increased the unit value            
 which was what caused the disparity.                                          
                                                                               
 Number 0724                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES asked Mr. Jeans what was the support for the difference           
 in a unit value for a single site school district and a non-single            
 site school district?  She further wondered why a single site                 
 school district needed more money.  She asked, was it because of              
 the geographical location, for example?                                       
                                                                               
 Number 0800                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. JEANS said it was based on an economy of scale.  The foundation           
 program provided instructional units for a site.  It was not enough           
 for a single site school district to cover administrative expenses,           
 for example.  In the case of a multiple site school district there            
 was enough front loading to provide additional money for its                  
 administrative expenses.  A single site school district, on the               
 other hand, did not have the benefit of using the table more than             
 once.                                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 0862                                                                   
 CHAIR JAMES wondered if there were ways for a single site school              
 district to reduce its costs by combining administrative services,            
 for example.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 0907                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. JEANS replied many of the superintendents of single site school           
 districts also taught classes and acted as the business manager,              
 for example.  Whereas, in a larger school district those functions            
 were specialized.                                                             
                                                                               
 Number 0929                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES wondered where were the additional administrative                 
 expenses.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 0945                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. CROSS replied it was the ratio of the administrative cost to              
 the total cost of the operation.  Therefore, the larger a district,           
 the smaller the ratio.  The department preferred to compensate                
 those districts with more units.  The district, however, needed to            
 makeup that ratio.  Therefore, the percentage of a district's total           
 business function, as a percentage of its' total operation, must be           
 higher.                                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 0997                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ED WILLIS asked Mr. Cross if the changes in the                
 committee substitute tilted towards the rural school districts                
 compared to the urban school districts?                                       
                                                                               
 Number 1029                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. CROSS replied the single site calculation would not cause a               
 tilt.  The only change in the bill that shifted funds was the                 
 payment to the REAA's to meet the disparity requirements, and the             
 department proposed a mechanism to try to recover those dollars.              
 The only real shift would be the $223,800 in the fiscal note, out             
 of an over $600 million program.                                              
                                                                               
 Number 1078                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES wondered if there would have been a fiscal impact by              
 taking out the single site school districts because the bill would            
 cover more.  She thought there should have been a reduction in the            
 fiscal note.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 1116                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. JEANS replied the Department of Education did not build the               
 single site table in HB 452 (9-GH2043.A).  It was currently built             
 into the department's budget.  Therefore, it was an appropriation             
 made by the legislature annually.  The fiscal note dealt only with            
 the adjustments to the REAA school districts and the increase in              
 the $500 per instructional unit.                                              
                                                                               
 Number 1145                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES said, for the record, she was interested in fairness              
 and equity throughout the state for education.  She did not want              
 her questions to be construed that she separated the urban and                
 rural school districts.  However, she wanted to understand this               
 issue to answer to her constituents in her district.  She stated              
 she understood the concerns in the urban areas, but was very                  
 sensitive to the needs in the rural areas.                                    
                                                                               
 Number 1192                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN wondered why the administrative services             
 in the single site school districts could not be combined.                    
                                                                               
 Number 1223                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. CROSS replied that issue had been studied before.  He said he             
 would be glad to forward the results of the most recent study to              
 him.  In theory, one would think it would save money, when in fact            
 it really did not.                                                            
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if it would save $223,800?                         
                                                                               
 Number 1269                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. JEANS replied the $223,800 addressed the change in the formula            
 that increased the deductible impact aid to regional education                
 attendance areas.  It did not have to do with the single site                 
 school district issue.  He said the single site was already built             
 into the budget for FY 97.  Moreover, the legislature had been                
 appropriating funds annually to the single site school districts              
 since 1988, with the exception of 1991.  He reiterated the fiscal             
 note dealt with the change to the REAA's to meet the federal                  
 disparity test.  He reiterated it did not deal with the single site           
 issue.                                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 1310                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES asked if there were any superintendents for a rural               
 school district not located in the same area?                                 
                                                                               
 Number 1333                                                                   
                                                                               
 JAMES ELLIOTT, Acting Director, School Finance, Department of                 
 Education, replied, "yes."  He cited a superintendent for the                 
 Chugach School District that lived in Anchorage.  He also cited a             
 superintendent for the Yukon-Koyukuk School District that lived in            
 Fairbanks.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 1349                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN IVAN wondered if the bill was being amended to            
 include the single site school districts.                                     
                                                                               
 Number 1373                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES explained the section (Sec. 4) that dealt with the                
 single site school districts was deleted from the original bill in            
 the House Health, Education and Social Services Committee.  If the            
 committee substitute was to pass, the single site school districts            
 would continue to be funded as they were currently.                           
                                                                               
 Number 1400                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. CROSS stated there were only three states in the country that             
 included their federal payments as a part of their foundation.  He            
 cited Alaska was the biggest player at $35 million, out of a more             
 than $600 million program.  He cited Kansas was only $8 million,              
 out of a more than $1 billion program.  Therefore, it was a high              
 stake for Alaska.  He asserted the state must meet the disparity              
 test.                                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 1444                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES said, for the record, her district was concerned how              
 the impact aid was divided among the districts.  She thanked the              
 department for its cooperation by providing information to help her           
 understand this issue.  She explained the state applied for the               
 impact aid as a whole for a larger portion compared to each                   
 district applying individually.  Therefore, when the formula                  
 funding was presented to each district, the difference was reduced.           
 She believed the calculations were equitable, and explained it was            
 more of a control issue for the districts.                                    
                                                                               
 Number 1532                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said he would appreciate a copy of that                  
 formula explanation to take back to his constituents in his                   
 district.  His constituents believed there was a funding disparity            
 between the rural and urban school districts.                                 
                                                                               
 Number 1554                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES said it was a fact that it was more expensive per unit            
 for smaller operations.  If the state would stop dividing the                 
 school children between rural and urban, and start concentrating on           
 the cost of an equitable education for each student, the cost of              
 the rural school districts would not be an issue.  She said, "if I            
 had my choice to put kids in rural schools or urban schools.  I               
 would choose urban schools, any day."                                         
                                                                               
 Number 1596                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN agreed that no child should be deprived of an            
 education because of funding when another child received a benefit            
 as a result of funding.  He suggested that the House State Affairs            
 Committee make sure that the single site school districts were                
 doing all that they could to streamline the administrative                    
 expenses.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 1624                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. ELLIOTT said a number of the single site school districts                 
 contracted their services to economize.  Furthermore, it was                  
 important to remember that the dollar value was different in the              
 rural areas compared to the more urban areas.                                 
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES called on the first witness in Juneau Virgie Fryrear,             
 Hoonah City Schools.                                                          
                                                                               
 Number 1666                                                                   
                                                                               
 VIRGIE FRYREAR, Superintendent, Hoonah City Schools, thanked the              
 committee members for their attention today.  She said the single             
 site school districts were discouraged that Sec. 4 was deleted from           
 the original bill because it was a good "fix" for the foundation              
 formula.  The single site school districts wanted to stop coming to           
 the legislature to "whine" for their money.  There were 21 school             
 districts impacted by this piece of legislation.  She explained she           
 had worked in both REAA and single site school districts, and                 
 stressed it was important to consider the special services of a               
 school district.  She cited the Hoonah City Schools spent $47,000             
 per year to contract for special services - psychologists and                 
 speech therapists, for example.  Moreover, the section (Sec. 4)               
 that was deleted from the original bill was supported by a variety            
 of education associations, such as the National Education                     
 Association - Alaska.  She urged the committee members to reinstate           
 the section.                                                                  
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES called on the first witness via teleconference in                 
 Kentucky, Wanda Cooksey.                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 1808                                                                   
                                                                               
 WANDA COOKSEY said the amount of money in the budget this year                
 would not be taken from new legislation.  She explained the cost              
 was in the Governor's budget.  She further explained the                      
 legislature had funded the single site school districts every year,           
 except one, since the formula was on the books.  Furthermore, the             
 table in the section that was deleted had been used for several               
 years to calculate the grant amount that went to school districts.            
                                                                               
 Number 1902                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON moved to reinstate the original Sec. 4 back           
 into the bill.  She did not understand why it was removed                     
 originally.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 1928                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES said unless we adopt the CSHB 452(HES), the original              
 bill was before the committee members.  Therefore, the motion might           
 not be necessary.  She asked her staff to check the proper                    
 procedure.                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES suggested a motion to adopt the original bill, to make            
 it perfectly clear, for the record.                                           
                                                                               
 Number 2006                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON moved to adopt HB 452 (9-GH2043.A) for                
 consideration.  Representative Green objected, of which discussion            
 followed.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 2027                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN said he was effected by this piece of                     
 legislation.  He supported the language to include the table for              
 the single site school districts and would vote accordingly.                  
                                                                               
 Number 2045                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said HB 452 (9-GH2043.A) was a fiscal issue           
 as well.  It was in the best interest of all the school districts             
 that the bill move to the House Finance Committee where there was             
 more knowledge of the budget to make the final decision.                      
                                                                               
 Number 2076                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN objected to moving the original bill because             
 it already passed the House Health, Education and Social Services             
 Committee that dealt directly with education issues.  He felt it              
 was undoing the committee process and stated "you might as well               
 just bring everything to the Floor."                                          
                                                                               
 Number 2100                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES replied that was why multiple committees existed.  Each           
 committee was responsible for passing a bill that felt it was the             
 best.                                                                         
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES recognized the presence of Representative Con Bunde,              
 Co-chair, House Health, Education and Social Services Committee,              
 and asked him to join the committee members at the table.                     
                                                                               
 Number 2128                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN stated the committees were named accordingly,            
 and each should deal with the portion of a bill it was named for.             
 The process was not established to redo the changes of a committee.           
                                                                               
 Number 2154                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE explained the single site school districts           
 were rolled into the formula to camouflage or lower the level of              
 discussion.  A decision had not been made, however.  Therefore, it            
 should be considered separately until an overall policy decision              
 was made.  There were two issues involved, the formula and the                
 single site school districts.  He recognized the roll of each                 
 committee, and he would not be offended if the House State Affairs            
 Committee wanted to change the bill.                                          
                                                                               
 Number 2205                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES said the House of Representatives just passed the FY 96           
 budget this week which included the Governor's budget on funding              
 for education including the single site school districts.                     
 Therefore, it appeared, the Majority had approved single site                 
 school districts already.  She could not predict the next                     
 legislature, however.  She wondered, if by including the                      
 calculation for single site school districts in the bill, did it              
 become a part of the formula unit amount to allow for disparity.              
                                                                               
 Number 2254                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE replied the question was whether to continue             
 funding single site school districts as a separate item, as in the            
 past, or to submerge them into a formula so that they were less               
 visible.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 2278                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES asked the Department of Education if she explained the            
 formula issue correctly?                                                      
                                                                               
 MR. CROSS replied, "you were real close."  He explained there was             
 no difference in the amount of money paid to a single site school             
 district.  However, the difference was they would be included in              
 the formula to allow for additional units.  If they were out of the           
 formula, the unit value would increase.  Furthermore, increasing              
 the unit value affected disparity, while paying for more units did            
 not affect disparity.  Therefore, the department preferred that the           
 calculation be made within the formula.                                       
                                                                               
 Number 2323                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE stated if the unit value went up they received           
 more money.                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES replied so does everyone else.                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE replied, "I know."  He asked, do we want to              
 continue to pay for the expensive units?                                      
                                                                               
 Number 2328                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES explained funding for single sites was like political             
 "football."  Sometimes it was approved as part of the budget, and             
 sometimes it was not.  Therefore, "do we really want to continue              
 playing football or do we want to include them in the formula?"               
 Furthermore, the question was also did it have meaning or no                  
 meaning?  If it did have meaning, it should be included.  If it did           
 not have meaning, it should not be included.                                  
                                                                               
 Number 2372                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE replied Chair James summed the issue up as he            
 saw it.  By including the single site school districts in the                 
 formula, it "blessed" them so that it was not necessary to worry              
 about the issues of high administrative expenses, the inequity                
 between urban and rural school districts, and the inefficiencies,             
 for example.  By not including the single site school districts in            
 the formula, it left the issues visible to be addressed by the                
 legislature.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 2388                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON stated, by keeping the single site school             
 district table in the bill, policy was being set.                             
                                                                               
 Number 2396                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE said the House State Affairs Committee would,            
 yes, be setting policy that single site school districts were good            
 and needed to be taken off the "burner."                                      
                                                                               
 Number 2404                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON reiterated the bill would be forwarded to             
 the House Finance Committee that would make the final decision.               
                                                                               
 Number 2415                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE replied the House Finance Committee could also           
 choose to not include the single site table as well.                          
                                                                               
 Number 2418                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said she also believed that there were                
 urban communities that could "tighten their belts."  The rural                
 communities should not always be blamed.                                      
                                                                               
 Number 2436                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE replied that was not what he said.  He cited             
 the Juneau School District was asking its teachers to take a 6                
 percent decrease.  However, he believed the money should be taken             
 out of the administrative budget of which single sites had a larger           
 budget for compared to other sites.  It was a local call, however.            
                                                                               
 Number 2455                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN said he did not agree with Representative Bunde           
 that single site school districts had a high overhead cost.  He               
 said it was a given in a state the size of Alaska that the strength           
 of the dollar in the urban areas versus the rural areas would be              
 different, for example.                                                       
                                                                               
 TAPE 96-46, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 0015                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN stated he understood there was a difference in           
 cost between the urban and rural areas.  He was concerned, however,           
 that each single site school district had a superintended when it             
 was not necessary, for example.  He said it appeared a                        
 superintended could cover several rural sites, for example, which             
 was part of the administrative expenses.                                      
                                                                               
 Number 0078                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES explained the Fairbanks area was sympathetic to the               
 rural areas because it felt disenfranchised at times because it was           
 not located in Anchorage.  She cited when the state budget was cut            
 the state offices in Fairbanks were closed and moved to Anchorage.            
 Furthermore, testimony regarding a new correctional facility in               
 Anchorage indicated it would cost less there.  She said, "we can't            
 move the whole state to Anchorage."  She further stated, people               
 lived where they lived, and the services they needed should be                
 addressed.  Therefore, the House State Affairs Committee was an               
 appropriate place to address that issue.                                      
                                                                               
 Number 0123                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE said he did not disagree with most of what he            
 heard here today.  He further stated there was a finite amount of             
 money for education.  He cited the single site school district in             
 Galena where the superintendent spent most of his time writing                
 grants so that the students received a power notebook computer.  He           
 wondered if a grant writer that made $100,000 per year was needed?            
 He said it was a policy decision.  He further cited there were two            
 single site school districts in Southeast that were separated                 
 because of the clans.  He believed, educationally, single site                
 school districts were not defensible.                                         
                                                                               
 Number 0196                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES stated it was possible to legislate to merge single               
 site school districts.  She felt Representative Bunde was comparing           
 apples and oranges.  She agreed with Representative Green and                 
 Representative Bunde regarding the administrative expenses,                   
 however.  The expenses should be as minimal as possible.  She said            
 she was going to further research the issue of the location of the            
 superintendent to determine if it was more cost effective for one             
 to live in a urban community, for example.                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES thanked Representative Bunde for his time.                        
                                                                               
 Number 0264                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE replied, "thank you."  He said the House State           
 Affairs Committee had a good grasp of the issue.                              
                                                                               
 Number 0271                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said she was glad to finally understand               
 what was done in the House Health, Education and Social Services              
 Committee even though she was a member.  She asked the Department             
 of Education to come to the table to further address the issues               
 Representative Green discussed.                                               
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES asked Mr. Cross to join the committee members at the              
 table.                                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 0295                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES asked Representative Green to restate his concerns for            
 the department.                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 0303                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said, due to today's communication technology,           
 it should be possible to combine the functions of the                         
 superintendent between single site school districts.  There was an            
 economy of scale issue also involved.                                         
                                                                               
 Number 0332                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. JEANS replied the law stated that every school district should            
 have a superintendent.                                                        
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said that needed to be changed.                          
                                                                               
 MR. JEANS further stated a balance was necessary regarding                    
 Representative Green's economy of scale concern.  He did not know             
 what was the exact balance, but would support any discussion and              
 study to determine that.  He further explained the superintendents            
 that lived in Anchorage and Fairbanks mentioned earlier were not              
 for single site school districts.                                             
                                                                               
 Number 0407                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said she was aware of bills that were                 
 completely changed as a result of the committee process then gutted           
 to return to the original bill in the House Finance Committee, for            
 example.  It was the prerogative of the committees to make changes.           
 She believed the responsibility of the House State Affairs                    
 Committee was to reinstate Sec. 4 in the bill because it was a                
 responsible state issue.  She had no doubt it would be removed if             
 the House Finance Committee did not agree with it.                            
                                                                               
 Number 0443                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES said she agreed with Representative Robinson that her             
 scenario was a possibility.  She said, however, if there was a                
 problem, this was the wrong way to address it.  There was the                 
 possibility to change the law to combine single site school                   
 districts, for example.                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 0487                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said he agreed with Representative Green.  He             
 said this issue was controversial and he was concerned about                  
 "locking" it into a piece of legislation.  He agreed it needed to             
 be addressed in the future with legislation.  He would vote against           
 the motion.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 0546                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN asked for an at ease.                                     
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES called for a five minute at ease.                                 
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES called the House State Affairs Committee meeting back             
 to order and asked for a roll call vote to adopt the original                 
 version of HB 452 (9-GH2043.A).  Representatives Ogan and Green               
 voted against the motion.  Representatives James, Ivan, Robinson              
 and Willis voted in favor of the motion.  The original version of             
 HB 452 (9-GH2043.A) was adopted.                                              
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness in Juneau, Vernon Marshall.            
                                                                               
 Number 0582                                                                   
 VERNON MARSHALL, Executive Director, National Education Association           
 - Alaska (NEA - Alaska), said the association supported HB 452 as             
 an opportunity to correct the federal disparity issue.  He                    
 explained that NEA - Alaska had produced materials and a position             
 statement to help further explain this issue.  The association was            
 concerned if the disparity was not corrected there would be a pro-            
 ration impacting the instructional units and the school districts.            
 He cited there would be a $2,800 impact on the instructional unit.            
 There had only been one increase in the instructional unit which              
 occurred in 1992, and raised the unit by $1,000.  He said this                
 impacted the children.  A child did not choose where he was born,             
 and the impacts were real for both urban and rural Alaska.  The NEA           
 - Alaska, therefore, encouraged the committee members to not loose            
 ground on the fight to maintain the $61,000 instructional unit.               
 Furthermore, if the value of the instructional unit was adjusted              
 for inflation it was only worth $48,000.  He reiterated the                   
 association supported HB 452.                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 0712                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES asked if there was any more discussion.  Hearing none,            
 she called for a motion to move the bill from the committee.                  
                                                                               
 Number 0720                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON moved that HB 452 (9-GH2043.A) move from              
 the committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal             
 notes.  Representative Ogan objected.  A roll call was taken.                 
 Representatives Ogan and Green voted against the motion.                      
 Representatives James, Ivan, Robinson and Willis voted in favor of            
 the motion.  The bill was passed out of the House State Affairs               
 Committee.                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects