Legislature(2013 - 2014)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/25/2013 08:00 AM Senate EDUCATION

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Audio Topic
08:01:17 AM Start
08:01:38 AM SB82
08:31:17 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
             SB 82-BROADBAND DISCOUNTS FOR SCHOOLS                                                                          
8:01:38 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS announced that the  only order of business would be                                                               
SB 82.                                                                                                                          
DAVID   SCOTT,  Staff,   Senator   Donny   Olson,  Alaska   State                                                               
Legislature,  presented  SB  82  on behalf  of  the  sponsor.  He                                                               
related that the intent of the bill  is to have the state pick up                                                               
the  local share  of  broadband  that is  not  covered under  the                                                               
current  federal  E-Rate Program.  The  E-Rate  Program picks  up                                                               
anywhere  from   20  percent   to  90   percent  of   all  modern                                                               
telecommunications - internet - for schools.                                                                                    
8:02:23 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS announced the arrival of Senator Huggins.                                                                         
He asked if E-Rate applies to all districts.                                                                                    
MR. SCOTT explained  that it affects most  districts. He referred                                                               
to  a   list  that  shows  which   districts  qualify,  including                                                               
Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, and many rural school districts.                                                                  
MR.  SCOTT continued  to  explain  SB 82.  He  addressed the  200                                                               
megabyte cap explained on page 1,  line 9. He said the reason for                                                               
the cap  is to  prevent "gaming  the system."  He noted  that the                                                               
fiscal  note is  indeterminate. The  sponsor will  work with  the                                                               
Department  of Health  and  Social Services  on  a more  narrowly                                                               
defined fiscal note.                                                                                                            
8:04:29 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS requested  a clear fiscal note prior  to moving the                                                               
bill out of committee.                                                                                                          
MR. SCOTT agreed.                                                                                                               
8:05:21 AM                                                                                                                    
EVA KINNEEVEAUK, School Board Member,  North Slope Borough School                                                               
District, addressed  the positive impact of  internet services on                                                               
the  district.   She  testified   in  support  of   higher  speed                                                               
connectivity for their region.                                                                                                  
8:11:13 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS  asked  about Ms.  Kinneeveauk's  connection  with                                                               
MS. KINNEEVEAUK said  she was a school board  member. She invited                                                               
committee members to visit the villages.                                                                                        
8:12:25 AM                                                                                                                    
ARNOLD  BROWER, JR.,  School Board  Member,  North Slope  Borough                                                               
School District,  testified in support  of SB 82. He  agreed with                                                               
the former  speaker's testimony  and spoke  of the  advantages of                                                               
having broadband services in remote communities.                                                                                
8:14:51 AM                                                                                                                    
STEVE  NOONKESSER,   Technology  Coordinator,   Southwest  Region                                                               
Schools, spoke  in support  of SB  82. He spoke  of the  issue of                                                               
equity  in  rural Alaska  and  how  technology lags  behind.  The                                                               
current problem is  lack of enough bandwidth and the  cost to buy                                                               
more.  Adequate  bandwidth  will   be  required  for  new  online                                                               
standards-based assessment.                                                                                                     
8:19:09 AM                                                                                                                    
PEGGY COWAN, Superintendent, North  Star Borough School District,                                                               
testified  in support  of SB  82. She  thanked Senator  Olson for                                                               
sponsoring the  bill. She said  she believes that  every district                                                               
in the state  gets E-Rate, both rural and urban.  She agreed that                                                               
broadband availability is  an equity issue. She  noted the intent                                                               
of the  bill was to  have the state pick  up the local  match for                                                               
the E-Rate.                                                                                                                     
She  spoke of  other financial  challenges districts  are facing.                                                               
She pointed  out that  the bill would  result in  districts being                                                               
able to leverage federal money.                                                                                                 
8:21:19 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS  asked  if  the  local  match  comes  out  of  the                                                               
district's budget.                                                                                                              
MS.  COWAN  said yes.  It  comes  out  of  the general  fund  for                                                               
telephone bills, internet, and email services.                                                                                  
CHAIR  STEVENS   asked  what  the   North  Star   Borough  School                                                               
District's costs have been for the match.                                                                                       
MS. COWAN replied that internet  service costs were $540,000 this                                                               
8:22:32 AM                                                                                                                    
WASSILLIE GUST, Southwest Regional  School District, testified in                                                               
support of SB  82. He pointed out that most  internet services in                                                               
the  villages   are  located  only  in   the  schools.  Expanding                                                               
broadband services would benefit the  communities, as well as the                                                               
8:24:51 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GARDNER noted  that schools are closed in  the summer and                                                               
libraries and  gyms are not  available to local  communities. She                                                               
asked if that was true in New Stuyahok.                                                                                         
MR. GUST said when the schools  shut down the community must rely                                                               
on local offices for internet access.                                                                                           
8:26:00 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GARDNER stressed  the  importance of  the internet  when                                                               
doing taxes.                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS agreed.                                                                                                           
8:27:26 AM                                                                                                                    
PAM LLOYD, representing  herself, testified in support  of SB 82.                                                               
She  spoke of  research  she did  regarding  online resources  in                                                               
rural  schools. She  described  the  technological inequities  in                                                               
rural Alaska.                                                                                                                   
8:29:55 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS  asked  if  SB  82  would  provide  any  financial                                                               
benefits for Anchorage schools.                                                                                                 
MS. LLOYD  answered yes.  She noted that  she was  the technology                                                               
coordinator for the  Anchorage School District six  years ago. At                                                               
that time, the E-Rate match was  about $1 million per year. Every                                                               
district  in Alaska  receives some  E-Rate funding,  depending on                                                               
the level of poverty - free and reduced lunches.                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS  held SB  82 in committee.  He noted  the committee                                                               
would await  a new  fiscal note  before passing  the bill  out of                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
03252013_SB82 - Erate share & total cost.PDF SEDC 3/25/2013 8:00:00 AM
SB 82
03252013_SB82_BillText_VersionN.PDF SEDC 3/25/2013 8:00:00 AM
SB 82
03252013_SB82_2012-2013 Title I Schools Simple List.pdf SEDC 3/25/2013 8:00:00 AM
SB 82
03252013_SB82_Erate brief.PDF SEDC 3/25/2013 8:00:00 AM
SB 82
03252013_SB82_FiscalNote.pdf SEDC 3/25/2013 8:00:00 AM
SB 82
03252013_SB82_LegislativeResearch_Erate section.pdf SEDC 3/25/2013 8:00:00 AM
SB 82