Legislature(2017 - 2018)BUTROVICH 205
04/03/2017 08:00 AM EDUCATION
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SB 96-EDUCATION: SCHOOLS/TEACHERS/FUNDING 12:06:18 PM CHAIR HUGHES brought the meeting back to order at 12:06 p.m. and announced that the final order of business would be SB 96. 12:06:43 PM SENATOR GIESSEL moved to adopt the CS for SB 96, labeled 30- LS0452\M, as the working document. CHAIR HUGHES objected for discussion. 12:07:12 PM JOSHUA HUGHES, Staff, Senator Shelley Hughes, Alaska State Legislature, presented changes in SB 96 from version T to version M. 1. Page 1, Lines 1-12: Multiple changes were made to the title in order for the title to focus on the specific issues effected by the bill. 2. Page 3, Line 6: Adds language to allow a student to challenge out of a career and technical education course. 12:08:10 PM SENATOR STEVENS asked how to ensure standards are used when students challenge out of a course. MR. BANKS said he understands that the standards will be set by school districts; several schools already allow this. SENATOR STEVENS hoped there would be serious standards. 12:08:58 PM MR. BANKS described the third change: 3. Page 3, Line 11 through Page 4, Line 21: Changes to the annual report filed by school districts in Section 5 of Version T are deleted. Language is added to the report required by the Department of Education and Early Development (DEED) in order for DEED to compile information reported on by school districts. The ratios to be reported on in Version T are also reported on in Version M: • Administrative employees to students • Administrative employees to teachers • Teachers to students DEED will send this report to school districts who will make available to the public the portion of the report relating to their district on their website or by another easily accessible method. "Administrative employee" is defined as a certificated employee that does not provide direct classroom instruction for students. 12:10:27 PM CHAIR HUGHES asked what page it is on. MR. HUGHES said page 4, lines 19-21. 12:10:47 PM SENATOR BEGICH brought up the issue of some employees being federal employees. 12:11:21 PM MR. BANKS agreed that they had discussed it and it was inadvertently left out of Version M. 12:11:42 PM CHAIR HUGHES said that Department of Education and Early Development (DEED) could address that. 12:12:00 PM SENATOR BEGICH said it was inadvertent and we will figure it out. 12:12:17 PM MR. BANKS turned to the fourth change: 4. Page 5, Line 12: The pooling of health insurance is taken out of the definition of "administrative services" under AS 14.14.110 in order to avoid the possibility of the State requiring districts to pool health insurance. 12:13:36 PM MR. BANKS reported on the fifth and sixth changes: 5. Page 6, Line 3: The reference to a self-insurance policy under AS 39.30.091 is deleted as this type of health insurance is only offered to State employees. The cooperative grant can still be used for a district to participate in a group health insurance policy under AS 39.30.090. 6. Page 6, Line 13: Sections 10 and 11 of Version T are deleted. 12:14:31 PM MR. BANKS described the seventh change: 7. Page 13, Line 11: Sections 20 and 21 in Version T is deleted relating to the utilization of income of the Public School Trust Fund. 12:15:12 PM He said in the eighth change a new section is added: 8. Page 13, Lines 25-30: Adds a new section relating to the Public School Trust Fund allowing the Legislature to appropriate 4.75% of the Fund's market value. This section also requires that the appropriation be used only for supporting the state public school program and to cover the administrative costs of the fund. 12:15:37 PM He described the ninth change: 9. Page 14, Line 14: AS 37.14.140 is repealed as the additional section added under point 8 directs how the Public School Trust Fund appropriations may be spent. 12:15:55 PM MR. BANKS described the last change: 10. Page 14, Line 15 through Page 15, Line 15: Requires DEED to analyze schools that are under 70% capacity and within 25 miles by road of one or more schools within the same district. The report will be due by the beginning of the 2018 Legislative Session and will look at the feasibility of merging schools within a district with consideration given to the following variables: • If merging schools would result in overcrowding of schools. • If facility design for each school under consideration will be appropriate for all grade levels within the schools under consideration. • The estimated savings and costs associated with the merging of schools. • Any legal and financial liabilities that a school district and the state could incur due to the closure of a school. 12:17:35 PM SENATOR STEVENS had concerns about merging schools with different grade levels. MR. BANKS explained that the school design and remodel cost would be considered, as stated on page 15. SENATOR STEVENS assumed there would be separation of grade levels. MR. BANKS agreed that could be considered. 12:18:50 PM SENATOR BEGICH clarified that Commissioner Johnson expressed an interest in addressing all of those factors over the interim and then reporting back in order to prevent unintended consequences. The section provides for that to happen. MR. BANKS said that was correct. The purpose of the analysis is to avoid any unintended consequences. 12:19:47 PM CHAIR HUGHES said the department is reaching out to districts and may travel to districts to assess facilities. She encouraged districts to bring their concerns to the department. 12:20:19 PM CHAIR HUGHES removed her objection. CHAIR HUGHES held SB 96 in committee.