Legislature(2013 - 2014)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/17/2014 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved SB 195 Out of Committee
Moved SJR 23 Out of Committee
Moved CSSSSB 100(EDC) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
**Streamed live on AKL.TV**
        SB 100-EDUCATION GRANTS; CORRS STUDY; ALLOTMENTS                                                                    
8:33:22 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS announced the consideration of SB 100, version G.                                                                 
SHEILA  PETERSON,  Staff,  Senator Mike  Dunleavy,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, Juneau,  Alaska, reviewed  the changes in  version G                                                               
of SB  100 on behalf of  the sponsor. She related  that version G                                                               
ensures that the individual learning  plan (ILP) would be created                                                               
with the assistance and approval  of a certified teacher, parent,                                                               
and child. Added in version  G are the following provisions: that                                                               
the progress  of the  student would be  monitored by  the teacher                                                               
and  the vendors  would be  non-sectarian -  public, private,  or                                                               
religious organizations; textbook selection  would have to follow                                                               
the same  criteria that public  schools use; once a  student left                                                               
the  correspondence  program,  any  unexpended  allotment  monies                                                               
would return to the district; and  a family member who is helping                                                               
with instruction could not be reimbursed by the allotment fund.                                                                 
8:35:45 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS asked for the definition of "family members."                                                                     
MS.  PETERSON  said family  members  are  "the student's  spouse,                                                               
guardian,    parent,    step-parent,    sibling,    step-sibling,                                                               
grandparent, step-grandparent, child, uncle, or aunt."                                                                          
CHAIR  STEVENS  asked  if there  are  any  constitutional  issues                                                               
regarding  SB  100.  He  asked   about  allowing  vendors  to  be                                                               
religious institutions.                                                                                                         
SENATOR DUNLEAVY  said many home schools  employ vendors approved                                                               
by the  school district  for the purpose  of supporting  a public                                                               
ILP. Vendors can be private  individuals, such as those that have                                                               
business licenses or are tutors.  The important point is that the                                                               
coursework is being purchased for the support of a public ILP.                                                                  
He  maintained  that  constitutionality is  difficult  to  define                                                               
because one  must almost have  a court action to  determine that.                                                               
He  provided an  example in  the  bill previously  passed by  the                                                               
committee. He understood that if the  purchasing of a course or a                                                               
service supports  a public IEP,  it should  not be a  problem. He                                                               
opined that people can  sue for any reason at any  time to test a                                                               
8:38:55 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GARDNER agreed  that one never knows  until someone takes                                                               
it  to  court.  She  stated,  however,  that  her  office  has  a                                                               
constitutional  opinion   that  SB  100  does   not  violate  the                                                               
SENATOR STEDMAN asked who has that opinion.                                                                                     
SENATOR GARDNER said her office.                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEVENS  asked  the  Department  of  Education  and  Early                                                               
Development (DEED) to respond.                                                                                                  
8:40:06 AM                                                                                                                    
SUSAN MCCAULEY,  Ph.D., Director, Teaching and  Learning Support,                                                               
Department  of Education  and Early  Development (DEED),  Juneau,                                                               
Alaska,  answered questions  related  to SB  195.  She said  that                                                               
quite a few of the provisions  in SB 100 mirror elements that are                                                               
currently  in regulation  regarding  correspondence study  school                                                               
programs.  The   additions  in  version  G   track  closely  with                                                               
regulations,  particularly on  page 4,  line 24,  with regard  to                                                               
textbooks,  services, and  other curriculum  materials. She  said                                                               
the   changes   reflect   on-going  conversations   between   the                                                               
department and the sponsor.                                                                                                     
SENATOR  GARDNER   read  on  page   4,  line  10,   section  (b),                                                               
"Notwithstanding  another provision  of law,  the department  may                                                               
not impose  additional requirements, other than  the requirements                                                               
specified under (a) of this section  and under AS 14.03.320, on a                                                               
student who  is proficient or  advanced on  statewide assessments                                                               
required  under AS  14.03.123(f)."  She asked  whether there  are                                                               
additional requirements that might be imposed.                                                                                  
DR.  MCCAULEY explained  that currently  in regulation  there are                                                               
some restrictions regarding  the use of allotment  funds, such as                                                               
for gym  membership and family travel.  In previous conversations                                                               
there were questions whether or  not the language just referenced                                                               
would restrict  the department from monitoring  whether a student                                                               
used  an allotment  to  pay  for services  provided  by a  family                                                               
member. That language  has now been added to the  bill. Those are                                                               
two  examples   that  would   fall  under   "imposing  additional                                                               
requirements" and would be at odds when a student is proficient.                                                                
SENATOR GARDNER understood  that a student enrolled  in a program                                                               
under this bill  might be able to use allotment  funds for travel                                                               
and for a gym membership.                                                                                                       
DR.  MCCAULEY  said  yes.  She understood  that  those  would  be                                                               
permitted and  are not  restricted and would  fall under  a broad                                                               
category of "imposing additional  requirements" when a student is                                                               
8:44:00 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GARDNER said yet services  and materials would have to be                                                               
a part of the ILP and from an approved vendor.                                                                                  
DR. MCCAULEY said  correct. There is language  that says services                                                               
must be  for an  instructional purpose and  connected to  an ILP.                                                               
There are  still safeguards  that ensure  allotment funds  are to                                                               
support instruction and have an approval process.                                                                               
CHAIR STEVENS asked where that language is found in the bill.                                                                   
DR.  MCCAULEY said  it is  on page  4, line  15, of  the original                                                               
SENATOR DUNLEAVY  opined that the  bill has more  safeguards than                                                               
current K - 12 schools have. It focuses on the ILP and outcomes.                                                                
8:46:24 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS   asked  where   it  says,   "must  be   used  for                                                               
instructional purposes."                                                                                                        
SENATOR DUNLEAVY replied that it is on page 4, lines 17 and 30.                                                                 
SENATOR GARDNER said on page 4, lines 14 and on.                                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS maintained that he  sees the wording "instructional                                                               
expenses", not "instructional purposes."                                                                                        
MS. PETERSON pointed to page 4, line  16, and page 4, line 30; it                                                               
must support a public purpose - the education of the child.                                                                     
CHAIR STEVENS opened public testimony.                                                                                          
8:49:30 AM                                                                                                                    
PETE LEWIS,  Superintendent, Fairbanks North Star  Borough School                                                               
District, Fairbanks, Alaska,  testified in support of  SB 100. He                                                               
said the 80/20 match, innovative  learning grants, and one-to-one                                                               
funding  will be  beneficial to  school  districts. He  mentioned                                                               
support for correspondence study  program funding. He requested a                                                               
phase-in approach to the 1 percent funding ratio.                                                                               
CHAIR STEVENS closed public testimony.                                                                                          
SENATOR DUNLEAVY moved  to report CSSSSB 100  from committee with                                                               
individual recommendations and attached  fiscal note. There being                                                               
no  objection, CSSSSB  100  (EDC) was  reported  from the  Senate                                                               
Education Standing Committee.                                                                                                   

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