Legislature(2019 - 2020)SENATE FINANCE 532

02/26/2020 09:00 AM Senate FINANCE

Note: the audio and video recordings are distinct records and are obtained from different sources. As such there may be key differences between the two. The audio recordings are captured by our records offices as the official record of the meeting and will have more accurate timestamps. Use the icons to switch between them.

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

Audio Topic
09:02:27 AM Start
09:03:00 AM SB6
10:54:26 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
SENATE BILL NO. 6                                                                                                             
     "An Act  relating to early education  programs provided                                                                    
     by  school districts;  relating  to  funding for  early                                                                    
     education programs;  and relating to the  duties of the                                                                    
     state Board of Education and Early Development."                                                                           
9:03:00 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair von  Imhof read  the title of  the bill.  She noted                                                                    
that the  bill was the only  item on the agenda.  It was the                                                                    
first hearing on the bill.                                                                                                      
9:03:51 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR TOM  BEGICH, SPONSOR, commented that  the complexity                                                                    
of the  bill title underscored  the complexity of  the bill.                                                                    
He discussed  the process by which  the bill came to  be. He                                                                    
had  introduced  SB 99  three  years  previously, which  was                                                                    
directly related  to Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K)  education. He                                                                    
had  consulted with  a  variety  of stakeholders  including:                                                                    
early  education specialists,  the  Department of  Education                                                                    
and   Early   Development   (DEED),    and   a   number   of                                                                    
superintendents, school  board members and educators  in the                                                                    
state. He  had discovered that research  showed there needed                                                                    
to  be a  strong  reading  program to  go  along with  Pre-K                                                                    
education, or educational gains  would be lost. The previous                                                                    
year SB  6 had  been introduced  as a  universal, voluntary,                                                                    
evidence-based Pre-K bill.                                                                                                      
Senator  Begich   noted  that   the  previous   October  the                                                                    
commissioner   of   Department   of  Education   and   Early                                                                    
Development  (DEED)  had approached  him  on  behalf of  the                                                                    
governor  and  had  discussed   the  bill.  Principals  were                                                                    
discussed  such  as  strong evidence,  cultural  basis,  and                                                                    
local control.  He emphasized  the evidence-based  nature of                                                                    
the  bill.  The sponsor  did  research  in other  states  to                                                                    
identify  best  practices. He  had  also  looked at  efforts                                                                    
within  the  department   for  intensive  intervention  with                                                                    
largely failing schools in order  to perhaps gain insight or                                                                    
use resources.                                                                                                                  
9:07:20 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator Begich  discussed the  concept for  SB 6,  which was                                                                    
intended  to  be a  template  and  conversation starter.  He                                                                    
relayed that prior  to the introduction of the  bill, he had                                                                    
met with stakeholders  to get as much input  as possible. In                                                                    
the process  of developing the initial  template, the Senate                                                                    
Education Committee  had considered  the bill  through eight                                                                    
hearings in  which the bill  was substantively  changed. The                                                                    
committee substitute  included 34 changes from  the original                                                                    
bill. He  stressed that there  had been input  from hundreds                                                                    
of educators, school board members, and superintendents.                                                                        
9:09:10 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator  Begich read  from the  Sponsor  Statement (copy  on                                                                    
     Early  education  is  imperative for  our  state.  When                                                                    
     examining  Alaska's long-term  economy and  opportunity                                                                    
     for all  Alaskans, it is  essential to consider  how we                                                                    
     can  both increase  Alaskan's productivity  as well  as                                                                    
     reduce potential  drains resulting from  the unrealized                                                                    
     potential  of our  citizens.  Early  education and  the                                                                    
     ability to read is an important part of that equation.                                                                     
     The  markers  for success  develop  early  in life  and                                                                    
     brain science  underscores that how  we use  our brains                                                                    
     at   those  crucial   early  years   before  we   enter                                                                    
     Kindergarten   as  well as how prepared we  are when we                                                                    
     enter our K   12 education    have a dramatic impact on                                                                    
     how well we will do  in school and life. Research shows                                                                    
     us that  those who live  in poverty have  an incredibly                                                                    
     difficult time catching up with  others if they come to                                                                    
     school  ill-prepared.  That  same research  shows  that                                                                    
     those who  have a high-quality preschool  experience go                                                                    
     on  to future  academic and  personal success.  Studies                                                                    
     such as  the Perry  Preschool Project Study  and others                                                                    
     report that every dollar invested  in high quality pre-                                                                    
     K can save up to  $7 in long-term government expense by                                                                    
     reducing   the  need   for   remedial  education,   and                                                                    
     involvement   in  the   criminal  justice   and  public                                                                    
     assistance systems.                                                                                                        
     High   quality   early   education  programs   are   an                                                                    
     investment  in our  future.  Universal voluntary  early                                                                    
     education  available  to  students  before  they  enter                                                                    
     kindergarten   improves   school   readiness,   reading                                                                    
     levels, and  long-term economic performance.  Long term                                                                    
     studies,  again such  as  the  Perry Preschool  Project                                                                    
     Study,  also  suggest  students  with  access  to  high                                                                    
     quality preschool  are less  likely to  be incarcerated                                                                    
     and  less likely  to receive  government assistance  as                                                                    
     adults.  Alaska's current  pre-Kindergarten programs                                                                       
     such  as   those  in   Anchorage,  Mat-Su,   The  Lower                                                                    
     Kuskokwim  School District  and  Nome    and our  early                                                                    
     education   programs   including   Head   Start,   Best                                                                    
     Beginnings, and Parents as  Teachers, provide access to                                                                    
     families  for such  high quality  early education,  but                                                                    
     are,  according  to  our Department  of  Education  and                                                                    
     Early  Development (DEED),  only  available  to 10%  of                                                                    
     Alaska's  4  year-olds.  CS   SSSB6  (EDU)  would  take                                                                    
     lessons  learned from  those programs  and provide  all                                                                    
     school districts  with the opportunity to  provide high                                                                    
     quality early  education to their  students if  they so                                                                    
     CS  SSSB   6  (EDU)  also  establishes   new  statewide                                                                    
     literacy  program  and intensive  reading  intervention                                                                    
     services    for     students    experiencing    reading                                                                    
     deficiencies  starting  in Kindergarten  through  grade                                                                    
     three.  Initially, up  to ten  struggling schools  will                                                                    
     have  the opportunity  to  apply  for an  on-the-ground                                                                    
     reading  intervention  specialist  to  be  engaged  and                                                                    
     present in their school for an entire year.                                                                                
     DEED  funded  reading   intervention  specialists  will                                                                    
     support  existing   school  staff,  engage   and  build                                                                    
     community understanding  in evidence-based  reading and                                                                    
     work with  local teachers and support  staff to improve                                                                    
     reading scores  and assessments  through evidence-based                                                                    
     reading instruction.                                                                                                       
     Thrice   annual  reading   proficiency  screenings   or                                                                    
     assessments provide teachers  and school officials with                                                                    
     the  required  insight   into  each  student's  reading                                                                    
     proficiency.   For    students   experiencing   reading                                                                    
     deficiencies,  each student  will receive  personalized                                                                    
     and  individual  attention  to  improve  their  reading                                                                    
     There is  much to  be said  about early  education, but                                                                    
     the  critical   piece  is   that  children's   pace  of                                                                    
     intellectual  development  potential peaks  before  age                                                                    
     six,  making  those   years  especially  important  for                                                                    
     future  success.  An  important partnership  between  a                                                                    
     parent  and  child  begins   before  the  child  enters                                                                    
     kindergarten, when  the parent helps the  child develop                                                                    
     rich   linguistic  experiences   that  help   form  the                                                                    
     foundation for reading and writing,  which are the main                                                                    
     vehicles for content acquisition.                                                                                          
     High  quality  early  education prepares  students  for                                                                    
     reading   readiness,   allowing   students   to   enter                                                                    
     kindergarten  armed with  the knowledge  and tools  for                                                                    
     future academic success.                                                                                                   
Senator Begich  affirmed that  under the  legislation, local                                                                    
school  districts would  still be  able to  use high-quality                                                                    
screening instruments and would  not replace existing texts.                                                                    
He referenced the  Moore v. State of Alaska  lawsuit [a 2004                                                                    
lawsuit  in which  a variety  of  plaintiffs challenged  the                                                                    
adequacy   of  the   education   system   under  the   state                                                                    
constitution], and  identified that  one of the  judge's key                                                                    
findings was that the support  by DEED had been insufficient                                                                    
to  help  school  districts teach  children  to  learn.  The                                                                    
lawsuit had  focused on  low-performing districts.  He noted                                                                    
that  the  bill  would  provide additional  support  at  the                                                                    
departmental  level. The  bill  would identify  a number  of                                                                    
reading  specialists that  would  be  available within  each                                                                    
district. The legislation would  provide the opportunity for                                                                    
reading specialist  training and other  supplemental support                                                                    
from the department.                                                                                                            
Senator Begich  emphasized that investment in  education was                                                                    
important.  He believed  the bill  would  transform the  way                                                                    
children were  educated in  the state, in  a way  that would                                                                    
add to the state's economic and overall success.                                                                                
9:13:49 AM                                                                                                                    
L?KI TOBIN, STAFF, SENATOR TOM BEGICH, addressed a                                                                              
Sectional Analysis (copy on file):                                                                                              
     CS Sponsor Substitute Senate Bill 6 (EDU)                                                                                  
     Version: 31-LS0159\O                                                                                                       
     Section 1.                                                                                                                 
     Establishes this Act as the Alaska Reads Act.                                                                              
     Section 2.                                                                                                                 
     Amends AS 14.03.060(e) to  include an Alaska Department                                                                    
     of  Education and  Early  Development (the  department)                                                                    
     approved  early   education  program,   including  head                                                                    
     start, as part of an elementary school.                                                                                    
     Section 3.                                                                                                                 
     Amends AS 14.03.072(a)  to include reading intervention                                                                    
     services  in addition  to  intervention strategies  for                                                                    
     early literacy.                                                                                                            
     Section 4.                                                                                                                 
     Amends AS 14.03.078(a) which  directs the department to                                                                    
     include  information  collected   under  AS  14.03.120,                                                                    
     Parent as  Teachers, and AS 14.30-760    14.30.775, the                                                                    
     Alaska Reads  Act, including data on  how districts use                                                                    
     their  professional  service   days,  in  their  annual                                                                    
     report to the legislature.                                                                                                 
     Section 5.                                                                                                                 
     Amends AS  14.03.080(d) by changing the  date a student                                                                    
     is eligible  to enter  kindergarten and  establishes an                                                                    
     eligibility waiver process.                                                                                                
     Section 6.                                                                                                                 
     Amends AS 14.03.080 by adding  new subsection (g) which                                                                    
     changes the date a child  is eligible to enter a public                                                                    
     early education program.                                                                                                   
     Section 7.                                                                                                                 
     Amends AS 14.03.120 by adding  new subsection (h) which                                                                    
     establishes  annual reporting  requirements for  school                                                                    
     districts  regarding  student  performance  metrics  in                                                                    
     grades K-3. This includes data  relating to class size,                                                                    
     the number  and percentage of  students in K-3  who are                                                                    
     proficient  at grade-level  skill  reading, and  number                                                                    
     and  percentage  of  students  who  are  retained  from                                                                    
     advancing in grades K-3.                                                                                                   
     Section 8.                                                                                                                 
     Creates  AS14.03.410 which  codifies a  statewide pre-K                                                                    
     program,  providing  a  stair-step,  three  year  grant                                                                    
     program to  provide training  and assistance  to school                                                                    
     districts  in  developing  their local  pre-K  program.                                                                    
     Over  six  fiscal  years,   all  school  districts  are                                                                    
     offered the opportunity to participate.                                                                                    
     AS  14.03.420 codifies  the Parents  As Teachers  (PAT)                                                                    
     program  as   a  program  of   the  state   within  the                                                                    
     department,   and  specifies   criteria   for  PAT   to                                                                    
     demonstrate   its   efficacy   in   supporting   school                                                                    
     districts with pre-K education.                                                                                            
     Section 9.                                                                                                                 
     Amends AS  14.07.020(a) and  directs the  department to                                                                    
     supervise all  early education programs,  approve those                                                                    
     early   education   programs   established   under   AS                                                                    
     14.03.410,  establishes  a   new  reading  program,  AS                                                                    
     14.07.065,   and  reading   intervention  programs   of                                                                    
     participating schools, AS 14.30.770.                                                                                       
9:17:12 AM                                                                                                                    
Ms. Tobin continued to address the Sectional Analysis:                                                                          
     Section 10.                                                                                                                
     AS  14.07.020(c)   is  amended  to  define   an  "early                                                                    
     education  program" as  a  pre-K  program for  students                                                                    
     three  to five  years old  if its  primary function  is                                                                    
     educational. The  3-year-old students are  not included                                                                    
     in the program  this bill proposes but  are included to                                                                    
     ensure they  are not excluded  from existing  State and                                                                    
     Federal programs.                                                                                                          
     Section 11.                                                                                                                
     Amends AS  14.07.050 to allow the  department to supply                                                                    
     supplemental  reading textbooks  and materials  related                                                                    
     to   intervention   services   established   under   AS                                                                    
     14.30.765 and AS 14.30.770.                                                                                                
     Section 12.                                                                                                                
     Amends AS  14.07.165(a), relating to the  duties of the                                                                    
     state  Board of  Education  and  Early Development,  by                                                                    
     adding  to  those  duties a  requirement  to  establish                                                                    
     regulations  for  Pre-K  standards  and  pre-K  teacher                                                                    
     certification requirements.                                                                                                
     Section 13.                                                                                                                
     Amends AS  14.17.500 by adding new  subsection (d) that                                                                    
     establishes  an   early  education  student   shall  be                                                                    
     counted   in  the   school  district's   average  daily                                                                    
     membership (ADM) as  a half day student  once the early                                                                    
     education program has been approved by the department.                                                                     
     Section 14.                                                                                                                
     Amends  AS 14.17.905(a)  to include  students in  early                                                                    
     education programs  approved by  the department  in the                                                                    
     definition of an elementary school.                                                                                        
     Section 15.                                                                                                                
     Amends  AS 14.17.905  by adding  new subsection  (d) to                                                                    
     avoid  letting school  districts  count pre-K  students                                                                    
     twice in Foundation Formula ADM calculations.                                                                              
     Section 16.                                                                                                                
     Amends AS  14.20.015(c) to ensure  teaching certificate                                                                    
     reciprocity for teachers moving  to Alaska from out-of-                                                                    
     state  and adds  that  such teachers  must complete  at                                                                    
     least  three credits  or equivalency  in evidence-based                                                                    
     reading  instruction in  order  to be  eligible for  an                                                                    
     Alaska teaching endorsement in elementary education.                                                                       
     Section 17.                                                                                                                
     Amends AS  14.20.020 by adding new  subsection (l) that                                                                    
     requires  all  teachers  to  complete  at  least  three                                                                    
     credits  or   equivalency  in   evidence-based  reading                                                                    
     instruction in order to be  eligible for an endorsement                                                                    
     in elementary education.                                                                                                   
     Section 18.                                                                                                                
     Establishes Article 15, Reading Intervention Programs.                                                                     
     Establishes AS 14.30.760,  which directs the department                                                                    
     to  establish   a  statewide  reading   assessment  and                                                                    
     screening  tool  to   identify  students  with  reading                                                                    
     deficiencies;  assist  teachers in  monitoring  student                                                                    
     progress  in reading  proficiency and  provide training                                                                    
     to teachers in reading intervention tools.                                                                                 
     Establishes  AS 14.30.765,  which  directs each  school                                                                    
     district  to   offer  intensive   reading  intervention                                                                    
     services   to  K-3   students   exhibiting  a   reading                                                                    
     deficiency. Services  must be  implemented in  a manner                                                                    
     to  include  a  high amount  of  communication  between                                                                    
     teachers,  parents,  administrators  and  the  student.                                                                    
     Considerable detailed attention,  including written and                                                                    
     verbal  parental  notification   is  given  under  this                                                                    
     section  for  instances  when   a  student  failing  to                                                                    
     progress toward reading proficiency  that may result in                                                                    
    the student not advancing to the next grade level.                                                                          
     Establishes AS 14.30.770,  which directs the department                                                                    
     to establish a  statewide reading program, specifically                                                                    
     to  assist school  districts in  a variety  of ways  to                                                                    
     affect the  reading intervention services  described in                                                                    
     AS 14.30.665,  above. The  department shall  employ and                                                                    
     deploy  reading specialists  to districts,  in addition                                                                    
     to   making  complementary   tools  and   resources  to                                                                    
     districts in addressing student reading proficiency.                                                                       
     AS 14.30.775 aligns use of  the word "district" in this                                                                    
     Act  with the  definitions given  elsewhere in  statute                                                                    
     when referring to a school district.                                                                                       
9:21:38 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator Olson asked  about the issue of  retention and asked                                                                    
how the  sponsor could allay  concerns about  children being                                                                    
held back.                                                                                                                      
Senator  Begich referenced  page  2, line  19  of the  bill,                                                                    
which showed current  state policy. The bill  did not change                                                                    
current  retention standards  in state  law, but  did change                                                                    
the parameters around reporting.  Currently there was no law                                                                    
to require  retention reporting.  He asserted that  the bill                                                                    
also   strengthened   the  relationship   between   parents,                                                                    
teachers, and  the administration,  which was not  a current                                                                    
requirement.  He referenced  page 17,  line 6  of the  bill,                                                                    
which  had  new  language  pertaining  to  demonstration  of                                                                    
reading  capability. There  was no  requirement in  the bill                                                                    
that  a  student  be   mandatorily  retained.  He  discussed                                                                    
exceptions listed on page 19 of the bill.                                                                                       
Senator   Begich  continued   to  address   Senator  Olson's                                                                    
question. He  thought there was  a number of  protections in                                                                    
the bill.  He reiterated that  the bill did not  do anything                                                                    
to add  retention language to  existing law. He  thought the                                                                    
bill would ensure the final  retention decision was informed                                                                    
and  was a  joint decision.  He  mused that  there could  be                                                                    
stronger protection for parents in the bill.                                                                                    
9:25:14 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  von  Imhof  referenced reporting  requirements  in                                                                    
Section 7.  She asked if  there was  intent to create  a new                                                                    
series of  tests or if  the intent  was to use  the existing                                                                    
MAP testing.                                                                                                                    
Senator  Begich understood  that existing  programs such  as                                                                    
MAP testing would be acceptable under the bill.                                                                                 
Co-Chair  von  Imhof  asked  who   would  receive  the  data                                                                    
mentioned in the bill and what would be done with it.                                                                           
Senator  Begich reported  that the  data  would be  received                                                                    
annually by the  department as well as the  House and Senate                                                                    
Education  Committees. There  was  a provision  in the  bill                                                                    
that would  create a review  group of  parents, instructors,                                                                    
and principals;  that would also  review data  produced from                                                                    
the report and would report on  the efficacy of the act. The                                                                    
provision  had  been an  addition  in  the Senate  Education                                                                    
Co-Chair  von  Imhof  referenced  continuing  education  and                                                                    
teacher  certification  in  early   reading.  She  asked  if                                                                    
teachers would need to pay for the certification.                                                                               
Senator  Begich  noted  that  currently  every  teacher  was                                                                    
required to recertify and was  responsible for the cost. the                                                                    
bill required that three credits  of the required continuing                                                                    
education would  have to be  in reading education.  The bill                                                                    
would  not   change  the  current  policy   on  payment  for                                                                    
continuing education.                                                                                                           
Senator  Wielechowski  mentioned   a  constituent  that  had                                                                    
worked on the  bill with the sponsor.  He referenced Section                                                                    
18,  pertaining to  the  department  adopting an  assessment                                                                    
tool  to  administer  to students  in  kindergarten  through                                                                    
third grade. There was a suggestion  to move the age back to                                                                    
Pre-K. He asked for the sponsor to comment.                                                                                     
Senator Begich  stated that  initially the  stakeholders had                                                                    
discussed screening at the Pre-K  level to identify learning                                                                    
disabilities.  There  was  federal law  that  required  some                                                                    
screening. There  were two reasons  the change was  not made                                                                    
in the  bill: not  every child  had Pre-K,  and there  was a                                                                    
question whether  the screening was age  appropriate. He was                                                                    
unfamiliar with  the screening tools  for the Pre-K  age. He                                                                    
was not averse  to the idea and deferred  further comment to                                                                    
a subject matter professional.                                                                                                  
9:29:50 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator  Wielechowski had  a question  about  Section 14  on                                                                    
page  20,  which  required the  department  to  establish  a                                                                    
reading  program for  the lowest-performing  ten percent  of                                                                    
schools. There had been a  suggestion to increase the number                                                                    
to 40 or 50 percent.                                                                                                            
Senator Begich  stated that  the matter had  come up  in the                                                                    
Senate Education Committee. He  thanked Senator Gary Stevens                                                                    
and staff  for their  work. There  had been  discussion that                                                                    
the pool  of 10 percent  of schools  might be too  small for                                                                    
the intensive effort. He had  spoken to the commissioner and                                                                    
the governor  about the issue  of potentially  expanding the                                                                    
size of the  pool. He suggested that the program  be open to                                                                    
the bottom  25 percent of  lower performing schools.  He had                                                                    
read a note from  Senator Wielechowski's constituent earlier                                                                    
in  the day.  He shared  a concern  about the  suggestion of                                                                    
larger  groups that  all the  money would  go to  those that                                                                    
needed the money less than  others. He affirmed that he felt                                                                    
the  pool should  be  larger,  and a  former  member of  the                                                                    
Alaska  Board  of  Education  had   suggested  the  same  in                                                                    
Co-Chair  von  Imhof commented  that  any  increases in  the                                                                    
number  of  schools  would  change   the  fiscal  note.  She                                                                    
reminded that there  were many competing needs  in the state                                                                    
(including   school  bond   debt  reimbursement),   and  the                                                                    
committee  would  need  to prioritize.  She  referenced  the                                                                    
price of oil.                                                                                                                   
9:32:07 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator  Wielechowski discussed  teacher  education and  how                                                                    
the state educated teachers to teach reading.                                                                                   
Senator Begich  stated that  the bill  included a  number of                                                                    
provisions related to teacher  education and how reading was                                                                    
taught. There was a  number of departmental responsibilities                                                                    
that were identified, such as  paying for teachers to attend                                                                    
regional  conferences.  He  continued that  specificity  was                                                                    
spoken  to in  a  number of  provisions  regarding what  was                                                                    
entailed  in   reading  comprehension  and   the  additional                                                                    
required credits for teachers. He  stated that he had worked                                                                    
with teachers on the provisions.                                                                                                
Senator Begich spoke to Co-Chair  von Imhof's comment on the                                                                    
expanding  pool.  He asserted  that  the  bill provided  for                                                                    
intensive support for up to  ten schools, and the cost would                                                                    
not change.  He thought there would  not be a change  to the                                                                    
fiscal  note if  the number  of eligible  schools increased;                                                                    
there would  only be increased  competition for  the grants.                                                                    
He  estimated that  there was  a  total of  505 schools.  An                                                                    
expanded pool would increase the  number of eligible schools                                                                    
from 50 to about 150.                                                                                                           
Co-Chair  von  Imhof  understood  that  Senator  Begich  was                                                                    
referring  to increasing  the number  of schools  that would                                                                    
qualify for  the grants,  but not  increasing the  number of                                                                    
schools that would receive the grants.                                                                                          
Senator Begich agreed.                                                                                                          
Senator  Bishop asked  about teacher  retention  and if  the                                                                    
subject had been discussed.                                                                                                     
Senator  Begich stated  that teacher  retention had  come up                                                                    
numerous  times  in  the  work  on the  bill.  There  was  a                                                                    
provision in the bill related to the topic.                                                                                     
Ms. Tobin  specified that the  provision was in  Section 22,                                                                    
which established a teacher retention working group.                                                                            
Senator Begich  stated that the provision  had been proposed                                                                    
in committee by  Senator Mia Costello. The group  would be a                                                                    
task   force  and   would   include  teachers,   principals,                                                                    
superintendents,  and board  of  education members  to do  a                                                                    
deep  dive  on the  issue.  The  group  would come  up  with                                                                    
strategies  for recruitment  and retention.  He thought  the                                                                    
provision was a critical component of the bill.                                                                                 
Senator  Bishop wanted  to expand  on  Co-Chair von  Imhof's                                                                    
earlier  comments   regarding  data  when  DEED   staff  was                                                                    
testifying on the bill.                                                                                                         
Co-Chair  von Imhof  understood that  rural teacher  housing                                                                    
was  a challenge  and thought  that there  had been  several                                                                    
ideas in  the past  to build rural  housing for  teachers in                                                                    
areas  where  it was  needed.  She  thought it  was  another                                                                    
funding question.                                                                                                               
9:36:42 AM                                                                                                                    
Ms. Tobin continued to address the Sectional Analysis:                                                                          
     Section 19.                                                                                                                
     Directs early  education program  staff to  be included                                                                    
     in those  organizations required to report  evidence of                                                                    
     child abuse.                                                                                                               
     Section 20.                                                                                                                
     Repeals  AS   14.03.410,  the  early   education  grant                                                                    
     program,  in 11  years once  all school  districts have                                                                    
     had the opportunity to participate.                                                                                        
     Section 21.                                                                                                                
     Establishes a Teacher Retention  Working Group as a new                                                                    
     uncodified law of the State of Alaska.                                                                                     
     Section 22.                                                                                                                
     Is applicability language,  relating to endorsements in                                                                    
     elementary education  issued on or after  the effective                                                                    
     date of this act.                                                                                                          
     Section 23.                                                                                                                
     Is  transition language,  directing  the department  to                                                                    
     use   2018-19   school  accountability   rankings   for                                                                    
     purposes  of determining  the  first  cohort of  lowest                                                                    
     performing  schools,  to  identify  their  pre-K  grant                                                                    
     eligibility for FY 21.                                                                                                     
     Section 24.                                                                                                                
     Establishes an effective date of July 1, 2020.                                                                             
Co-Chair von Imhof  asked about Section 19. She  asked if it                                                                    
would  be a  criminal offense  if a  teacher did  not report                                                                    
evidence of child abuse.                                                                                                        
Senator Begich did not know  the answer to the question with                                                                    
regard  to criminality,  but the  situation would  place the                                                                    
organization under a reporting  requirement. The section was                                                                    
conforming language to the statute.                                                                                             
Co-Chair von Imhof asked if  the sponsor could look into the                                                                    
matter and let the committee know.                                                                                              
Senator Begich agreed to provide the information.                                                                               
Senator  Bishop brought  up the  issue  of teacher  training                                                                    
with regard to Section 19.                                                                                                      
Senator  Hoffman   referenced  Section  23  and   using  the                                                                    
information  from 2018-19  for school  ranking. He  asked if                                                                    
the  ranking had  been completed  and  when the  information                                                                    
would be available.                                                                                                             
Senator Begich  thought the ranking  had been  completed. He                                                                    
thought the commissioner could speak to the topic.                                                                              
9:40:29 AM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL JOHNSON,  COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF  EDUCATION AND                                                                    
EARLY DEVELOPMENT,  thanked the bill sponsor,  the governor,                                                                    
Senator  Gary  Stevens,   the  Senate  Education  Committee,                                                                    
staff,  and  anyone  that  had  contributed  to  the  bill's                                                                    
development.   He  stated   that   the   Alaska  Reads   Act                                                                    
represented multiple  years of work. He  mentioned the state                                                                    
board  of  education's  strategic  planning  process,  which                                                                    
resulted in  the priority of increased  reading proficiency.                                                                    
He thought there had been  thoughtful dialogue over a number                                                                    
of years.  The bill  was a  comprehensive approach,  and had                                                                    
three   main   parts:   a   Pre-K   section,   K-3   reading                                                                    
interventions, and resources and  support for low performing                                                                    
schools.  He thought  the bill  provided  the structure  and                                                                    
support to help students.                                                                                                       
Commissioner Johnson continued his  remarks. He thought that                                                                    
the  bill gave  everyone  a voice.  The  bill required  that                                                                    
parents  be part  of the  decision-making process.  The bill                                                                    
allowed  a  number of  interventions  by  teachers to  serve                                                                    
students. The bill  provided a process by  which a principal                                                                    
or   superintendent  had   a  consistent,   thoughtful,  and                                                                    
effective  decision-making  process for  student's  progress                                                                    
toward   reading  proficiency.   The   bill  would   provide                                                                    
legislators with annual progress reports.                                                                                       
Commissioner  Johnson  thought  most importantly,  the  bill                                                                    
provided   students   multiple   pathways   to   demonstrate                                                                    
proficiency  in reading,  and  would provide  evidence-based                                                                    
interventions   if  needed.   The  bill   provided  students                                                                    
multiple safeguards.  He summarized  that the  bill provided                                                                    
and opportunity for everyone involved  to have the structure                                                                    
and support needed to make the best decisions for students.                                                                     
9:44:56 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator Bishop  asked the commissioner if  he could identify                                                                    
one thing to improve the bill.                                                                                                  
Commissioner  Johnson  stated he  would  pass  the bill.  He                                                                    
referenced  increasing the  pool  of schools  that could  be                                                                    
eligible for  increased resources  and supports.  He thought                                                                    
that by  expanding the  pool there was  a greater  chance of                                                                    
applying  the   resources  effectively  and   reaching  more                                                                    
schools over time.                                                                                                              
Senator  Hoffman   recalled  that  several  years   ago  the                                                                    
administration intervened in  administering education in the                                                                    
Yupik School District. He asked  if there was information as                                                                    
to how the  department had improved education  for the Yupik                                                                    
School District.                                                                                                                
Commissioner Johnson  agreed to provide the  information. He                                                                    
thought   the   bill   envisioned  a   different   type   of                                                                    
intervention that  what Senator Hoffman was  referencing. He                                                                    
asserted  that   the  bill   proposed  a   more  cooperative                                                                    
arrangement with schools.                                                                                                       
Senator  Hoffman  referenced Section  23  and  asked if  the                                                                    
commissioner  could provide  school accountability  rankings                                                                    
for 2018-19.                                                                                                                    
Commissioner  Johnson  stated   that  the  department  could                                                                    
provide the information. He informed  that the data was part                                                                    
of the Every  Student Succeeds Act, which was  in its second                                                                    
Co-Chair von Imhof OPENED public testimony.                                                                                     
9:49:20 AM                                                                                                                    
DIANNE  SHIBE,  MAT-SU  EDUCATION ASSOCIATION,  PALMER  (via                                                                    
teleconference), testified  in support of the  bill. She had                                                                    
been  a   high  school  English  teacher   since  1993.  She                                                                    
encouraged the  committee to support  the idea  that parents                                                                    
should  have  the  final   decision  on  matters  concerning                                                                    
students.  She commented  on reduced  funding in  education.                                                                    
She  pondered what  would happen  with the  passage of  SB 6                                                                    
with no  increase in funding  for districts  to successfully                                                                    
implement the  program. She cited kindergarten  classes with                                                                    
a size  of 27 to  28 students. She  noted that the  State of                                                                    
Florida  was  a  success  model  and  had  a  constitutional                                                                    
amendment  limiting kindergarten  through third  grade class                                                                    
sizes   to  18.   She  asked   the  committee   to  consider                                                                    
appropriate funding.                                                                                                            
9:51:26 AM                                                                                                                    
SANDI RYAN,  SELF, FAIRBANKS (via teleconference),  spoke in                                                                    
favor  of the  bill. She  was  a math  and computer  science                                                                    
teacher  and  served  as  the  president  of  the  Fairbanks                                                                    
Education Association. She  was happy to see  that the state                                                                    
recognized   the  importance   of  reading   education.  She                                                                    
emphasized the importance of Pre-K  education. She hoped the                                                                    
committee  was considering  the strain  of placing  unfunded                                                                    
mandates on  school districts. She asserted  that if funding                                                                    
continued  to decrease,  or if  a program  was added,  class                                                                    
sizes  would  be  impacted.  She   was  concerned  with  the                                                                    
prescriptive  nature of  the current  bill.  She noted  that                                                                    
public education  was facing  a $30  million cut  across the                                                                    
state. She  asked members to  keep in mind that  schools had                                                                    
reached  a point  where it  was impossible  to do  more with                                                                    
9:53:58 AM                                                                                                                    
JUDY   ELEDGE,   SELF,   ANCHORAGE   (via   teleconference),                                                                    
testified in  support of  the bill. She  had been  a teacher                                                                    
since 1981. She had worked  in the lowest performing schools                                                                    
since  2003.  She had  been  a  principal and  teacher.  She                                                                    
questioned  whether  more  money  would  make  schools  more                                                                    
successful. She asserted that the  bill could be implemented                                                                    
without additional  funds. She thought there  was nothing in                                                                    
the bill that  could be considered an  unfunded mandate. She                                                                    
reminded  that  all  five  of  the  state's  largest  school                                                                    
districts  supported  the   bill,  including  the  retention                                                                    
component.  She did  not support  retention unless  supports                                                                    
were  ensured,  which she  thought  the  bill included.  She                                                                    
agreed  with the  commissioner in  expanding  the number  of                                                                    
low-performing   schools   that   would  be   eligible   for                                                                    
additional supports to 25 percent.                                                                                              
9:56:25 AM                                                                                                                    
MIKE  BRONSON,   ANCHORAGE  BRANCH  NAACP,   ANCHORAGE  (via                                                                    
teleconference), spoke  in support  of the bill.  He thanked                                                                    
Senator  Gary Stevens  and Senator  Cathy Giessel  for their                                                                    
work on  the bill. He thought  the bill brought to  bear two                                                                    
or three  important tactical  approaches to  helping improve                                                                    
students'  reading. He  expressed concern  about the  fiscal                                                                    
note addressing  the scale  and urgency  of the  concern and                                                                    
that the  number of interventions  provided to  schools were                                                                    
too little.  He mentioned concern  about the number  of pre-                                                                    
schools allocated around the state.                                                                                             
9:57:48 AM                                                                                                                    
BOB   GRIFFIN,   ALASKA   POLICY   FORUM,   ANCHORAGE   (via                                                                    
teleconference),  spoke in  support  of the  bill. He  noted                                                                    
that Alaska  was one  of 14  states without  a comprehensive                                                                    
reading policy.  He cited that  Alaska rated 51st  in fourth                                                                    
grade scores  for low-income  and upper-middle  income kids.                                                                    
The point spread indicated a  grade level of achievement. He                                                                    
recalled that  someone had testified  that poverty  rate was                                                                    
to blame  for the  test scores but  cited other  states with                                                                    
higher  poverty  rates  and higher  scores.  He  cited  that                                                                    
Alaska  was  near the  bottom  in  eighth-grade reading.  He                                                                    
mentioned  reading  improvements  in  Florida  after  a  law                                                                    
similar to the  proposed bill was enacted.  He thought there                                                                    
were a least  14 improvement strategies in the  bill, and he                                                                    
thought the  retention provision  was the  most contentious.                                                                    
He referenced improvements in  states with retention models.                                                                    
He hoped that SB 6 would  be effective, however if the state                                                                    
continued to  show scores far below  average, he recommended                                                                    
that a stronger retention element be considered.                                                                                
10:00:46 AM                                                                                                                   
JODI TAYLOR, SELF, ANCHORAGE  (via teleconference), spoke in                                                                    
support of  the bill.  She had  helped facilitate  a college                                                                    
prep  testing  course  and   had  discovered  that  children                                                                    
started  lagging behind  in third  grade. She  was a  parent                                                                    
working  on the  advisory board  for her  children's school,                                                                    
and she felt the bill gave  parents a voice. She thought the                                                                    
bill  would  hold  the   schools  accountable.  She  thought                                                                    
reading  should  be  a  core   function  of  a  school.  She                                                                    
discussed the  importance of reading  in life  outcomes. She                                                                    
discussed  the success  of her  daughter being  retained one                                                                    
10:02:23 AM                                                                                                                   
DEENA  BISHOP,  SUPERINTENDENT, ANCHORAGE  SCHOOL  DISTRICT,                                                                    
ANCHORAGE (via  teleconference), testified  in favor  of the                                                                    
bill.  She  communicated  that the  bill  aligned  with  the                                                                    
Anchorage School District's (ASD)  strategic plan to have 90                                                                    
percent  of third  grades students  reading at  grade level.                                                                    
She thought  that the legislation would  empower teachers to                                                                    
ensure  students  learned  to  read. She  commented  on  the                                                                    
difference in  student's abilities in Alaska  as compared to                                                                    
other states.  She was not  interested in a  consensus bill.                                                                    
She preferred  a bill based  on research and one  that would                                                                    
make positive  change. She thought continued  forward motion                                                                    
would provide  clarification of  student needs.  She thought                                                                    
the sponsor  had heard from  stakeholders that  would inform                                                                    
the  process. She  understood the  need  for assessment  and                                                                    
reporting. She commented on the importance of literacy.                                                                         
10:06:09 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  von Imhof  disclosed that  she had  served on  the                                                                    
Anchorage School Board from 2012  to 2013. She discussed the                                                                    
work  of the  board. She  believed that  reading performance                                                                    
had  improved  after  the   board  president  increased  the                                                                    
reading requirement by 90 minutes  for elementary schools in                                                                    
10:06:46 AM                                                                                                                   
PETER   HOEPFNER,  CORDOVA   SCHOOL   BOARD,  CORDOVA   (via                                                                    
teleconference), discussed  his concerns  with the  bill. He                                                                    
supported additional  Pre-K funding. He was  concerned about                                                                    
the funding level for Pre-K,  which he thought would lead to                                                                    
larger  classes.   He  thought   the  retention   piece  was                                                                    
bothersome because of all the  exceptions. He cited research                                                                    
that  indicated  retention  regressed  students  up  to  two                                                                    
years. He was  concerned about school capacity  for fill out                                                                    
grants. He wondered what would  happen when the bill was not                                                                    
successful in  increasing scores.  He commented on  the size                                                                    
and complexity of  the bill and thought there  were good and                                                                    
bad parts.  He was concerned  that the Alaska Reads  Act was                                                                    
putting the cart  before the horse. He  mentioned the effect                                                                    
of Adverse  Childhood Experiences.  He wondered if  the bill                                                                    
would address the issues students had.                                                                                          
10:09:43 AM                                                                                                                   
ELLIS OTT,  FAIRBANKS NORTH STAR SCHOOL  DISTRICT, FAIRBANKS                                                                    
(via teleconference),  spoke to his concerns  with the bill.                                                                    
He  had  serious  concerns with  the  third-grade  retention                                                                    
component of  the bill. He  thought evidence  clearly showed                                                                    
that  there  was  damage caused  by  retention.  He  thought                                                                    
evidence-based  policy  should  dictate that  retention  was                                                                    
used a rare  last resort. He thought  if followed statewide,                                                                    
the  retention  provision could  cause  Alaska  to have  the                                                                    
highest  rate of  third-grade retention  in the  country. He                                                                    
recommended  that  the  third-grade retention  component  be                                                                    
removed  from  the  bill. He  thought  fourth-grade  reading                                                                    
assessments  had  been   contaminated.  He  discussed  urban                                                                    
versus  rural   school  district  achievement.   He  thought                                                                    
legislation should avoid being over prescriptive.                                                                               
10:12:15 AM                                                                                                                   
MELANIE  HADAWAY,   EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR  FOR   TEACHING  AND                                                                    
LEARNING,  FAIRBANKS NORTH  STAR SCHOOL  DISTRICT, FAIRBANKS                                                                    
(via teleconference),  testified in opposition to  the bill.                                                                    
She thought  the intent  of the bill  was admirable  but had                                                                    
concerns with the  prescriptive nature of the  bill. She was                                                                    
worried about the  ability of small rural  districts to meet                                                                    
the requirements  of the  legislation. She  was glad  to see                                                                    
the  inclusion of  evidence-based  reading instruction.  She                                                                    
referenced  statewide screening  and  pointed  out that  the                                                                    
process  of administering  state assessments  was labor  and                                                                    
time  intensive.  She  hoped  the  cost  impact  on  smaller                                                                    
districts  would  be  considered.   She  thought  a  missing                                                                    
component  was how  proficiency would  be reported  to align                                                                    
with  other assessment  systems.  She  recommended adding  a                                                                    
fifth  consideration  on  page  15  of  the  bill.  She  had                                                                    
considerable  concern  with  Section  18 of  the  bill,  and                                                                    
thought  the   prescriptive  nature  was   problematic.  She                                                                    
thought the phrases "daily  targeted instruction" and "small                                                                    
group  reading instruction"  was too  prescriptive. She  had                                                                    
problems  with  the  retention provision.  She  thought  the                                                                    
approach  to  retention  presented  limited  exceptions  and                                                                    
ignored  the long-term  evidence of  negative outcomes.  She                                                                    
thought retention  also contributed to  misrepresentation of                                                                    
achievement  scores.  She  thought  the  sponsor  should  be                                                                    
Co-Chair von Imhof encouraged  testifiers to provide written                                                                    
testimony if the time allotted was not sufficient.                                                                              
10:15:45 AM                                                                                                                   
NICK   SCHOLLMEIER,   DILLINGHAM   CITY   SCHOOL   DISTRICT,                                                                    
DILLINGHAM  (via teleconference),  testified  in support  of                                                                    
the bill.  He was  an elementary  principal. He  thanked the                                                                    
legislature for  recognizing the  importance of  reading. He                                                                    
was  concerned with  Section 18  of the  bill pertaining  to                                                                    
progress  reports, and  felt it  was cumbersome.  He had  57                                                                    
students  that  scored  below  the   30th  percentile  on  a                                                                    
national  assessment test.  He  thought line  27 would  have                                                                    
required  a  progress  report for  each  student  every  two                                                                    
weeks, which  would result  in many  hours being  spent away                                                                    
from  teaching  students.  He  highly  recommended  for  the                                                                    
provision to provide for  sending progress reports quarterly                                                                    
or annually to ensure teachers could maximize content time.                                                                     
10:17:27 AM                                                                                                                   
POSIE BOGGS, SELF, ANCHORAGE  (via teleconference), spoke in                                                                    
support of  the bill.  She had submitted  written testimony.                                                                    
She  agreed  with  Commissioner Johnson  in  that  the  bill                                                                    
should be  amended to  increase the  number of  schools that                                                                    
were  eligible for  the  three-year  grant. She  recommended                                                                    
that  to keep  the  integrity of  reading  program that  the                                                                    
grants  include  a couple  of  schools  at each  performance                                                                    
level.  She recommended  aligning  the  Parents as  Teachers                                                                    
Program with  evidence-based early reading  instruction. She                                                                    
wanted to  add terminology  found in federal  law pertaining                                                                    
to reading  and evidence  components. She cited  that having                                                                    
books  in  the  house  and  being  read  to  increased  oral                                                                    
comprehension but  did not help  pre-reading skills  as much                                                                    
as  educating  parents. She  thought  the  state could  save                                                                    
money if it took a  deeper look at not duplicating screening                                                                    
efforts and asking DEED and  school districts to partner via                                                                    
the federal reading mandate.                                                                                                    
10:21:25 AM                                                                                                                   
BRAD GALBRAITH,  FOUNDATION FOR  EXCELLENCE IN  EDUCATION IN                                                                    
ACTION,  PHOENIX,  ARIZONA  (via teleconference),  spoke  in                                                                    
support  of  the  bill.  He  recognized  the  importance  of                                                                    
reading  achievement  by the  third  grade  as a  skill  for                                                                    
success.  His organization  had worked  on reading  policies                                                                    
throughout   the  country   and   had   identified  14   key                                                                    
principles. He was encouraged that  the bill covered many of                                                                    
the  principals;  some of  which  focused  on strategies  to                                                                    
support students, home reading strategies, and retention.                                                                       
10:23:03 AM                                                                                                                   
TOM  KLAAMEYER, ANCHORAGE  EDUCATION ASSOCIATION,  ANCHORAGE                                                                    
(via teleconference), spoke  in support of the  bill. He had                                                                    
worked for  24 years  teaching social studies  in Anchorage.                                                                    
He  appreciated the  collaborative  bipartisan  work on  the                                                                    
bill. He  did not think  there was debate on  the importance                                                                    
of  student reading.  He commented  on the  Anchorage School                                                                    
District (ASD) budget and thought  it was difficult to focus                                                                    
on   new   demands   while  struggling   to   meet   current                                                                    
requirements. He  was excited by the  Pre-K opportunities in                                                                    
the  bill.  He  was  worried  that  rather  than  empowering                                                                    
teachers to  be better  at teaching  reading; it  would make                                                                    
jobs  more  difficult  with larger  class  sizes,  increased                                                                    
demands, and less resources. He  implored the legislature to                                                                    
fund  school   districts  for   reducing  class   sizes  and                                                                    
increasing educational efficacy.                                                                                                
10:25:31 AM                                                                                                                   
STEPHANIE    BERGLUND,   CEO,    THREAD,   ANCHORAGE    (via                                                                    
teleconference),  supported the  bill.  She thought  current                                                                    
Pre-K  resources were  working,  and  thought expanding  the                                                                    
services  would better  maximize parental  choice and  early                                                                    
learning options. Her organization  estimated that there was                                                                    
currently  only   half  the   capacity  for   quality  early                                                                    
childhood   programs  that   were  needed.   She  encouraged                                                                    
diversity of services  through collaborative, mixed-delivery                                                                    
systems.  She  emphasized  the  importance  of  high-quality                                                                    
programs. She  discussed teacher education. She  was worried                                                                    
that  degreed teachers  would gravitate  to Pre-K  and leave                                                                    
fewer  highly educated  teachers  in  other early  childhood                                                                    
settings. She  thought quality pre-K education  needed to be                                                                    
a part of the state's economic infrastructure.                                                                                  
10:27:42 AM                                                                                                                   
DONNA MCCARREY, SELF,  ANCHORAGE (via teleconference), spoke                                                                    
to the  retention provision of  the bill. She was  a retired                                                                    
teacher in ASD. She  discussed her sons' positive experience                                                                    
with  being  retained.  She  did  not  think  all  cases  of                                                                    
retention should be considered negative.                                                                                        
10:29:00 AM                                                                                                                   
CHRISTINE  VILLANO,  SELF, FAIRBANKS  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
shared  her  concerns  with  the bill.  She  was  a  retired                                                                    
teacher that  had taught in  Fairbanks and rural  areas. She                                                                    
had focused on teaching reading  and writing. She loved many                                                                    
components  of the  bill such  as additional  Pre-K funding.                                                                    
She was  concerned about potential unfunded  mandates in the                                                                    
bill.  She questioned  whether districts  would reprioritize                                                                    
spending. She wondered how much  time and materials would be                                                                    
needed.  She  asserted  that early  primary  teachers  often                                                                    
faced large class sizes and would  be hard pressed to do the                                                                    
extra components  in the bill.  She thought there  were many                                                                    
prescriptive elements  in the bill.  She was  concerned with                                                                    
Section 14.3 on page 15.  She thought educators needed to be                                                                    
involved  with the  selection  of  materials, training,  and                                                                    
other elements  in the bill.  She believed that  people with                                                                    
classroom  experience in  the state  had much  to offer  the                                                                    
legislature on the matter. She  thought teachers had to be a                                                                    
part of the  process of how the legislation  evolved and how                                                                    
it would  look in the  future. She mentioned  the importance                                                                    
of class size.                                                                                                                  
10:32:38 AM                                                                                                                   
DENISE LISAC,  SELF, DILLINGHAM (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in support of  the bill. She was a  retired reading teacher.                                                                    
She  had been  involved in  writing standards  for No  Child                                                                    
Left  Behind  and  testifying  for   the  Common  Core.  She                                                                    
questioned how  the bill was  different. She  referenced low                                                                    
teacher  retention  in  rural Alaska.  She  discussed  class                                                                    
sizes.  She  thought it  seemed  like  there  was a  lot  of                                                                    
accountability and  communication in  the bill,  which could                                                                    
be  accomplished in  smaller classes.  She spoke  to teacher                                                                    
improvement  and thought  teachers  should agree  on a  good                                                                    
reading program. She stressed  the importance of students in                                                                    
grade 4  through 12.  She mentioned  the importance  of math                                                                    
and science.                                                                                                                    
10:35:08 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair von Imhof CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                     
Co-Chair von Imhof wanted to address the fiscal notes.                                                                          
HEIDI  TESHNER,  DIRECTOR,  FINANCE  AND  SUPPORT  SERVICES,                                                                    
DEPARTMENT  OF EDUCATION  AND  EARLY DEVELOPMENT,  explained                                                                    
that she would  address five fiscal notes.  She addressed FN                                                                    
1 from  the Department  of Education and  Early Development,                                                                    
OMB Component  141. She explained  that the fiscal  note did                                                                    
not  show any  costs  as the  note  involved the  foundation                                                                    
program  and was  a General  Fund transfer  from the  Public                                                                    
Education Fund. She  stated that FN 5 would  show the actual                                                                    
costs  related   to  students  that  would   flow  into  the                                                                    
foundation formula  after the costs  had flowed  through the                                                                    
three-year  early  education  grant   program  once  it  was                                                                    
approved. The  fiscal notes assumed that  the programs would                                                                    
be approved, and  the students would flow  into the formula.                                                                    
Starting in  FY 24, there  would be  a $1.7 million  cost to                                                                    
the foundation formula.                                                                                                         
10:37:05 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Stedman asked  for more  explanation  of the  bill                                                                    
mechanics  within  Base  Student  Allocation  (BSA)  formula                                                                    
Ms. Teshner stated that the  $4,685 referenced in the fiscal                                                                    
note was an  estimated average cost per  student. The actual                                                                    
students,   once   districts   submitted   counts   to   the                                                                    
department, would be put into the formula.                                                                                      
Co-Chair   Stedman  asked   if  the   number  went   through                                                                    
Ms. Teshner answered in the affirmative.                                                                                        
Co-Chair Stedman asked for details on the estimated $4,685.                                                                     
Ms. Teshner  relayed that the  department had looked  at the                                                                    
FY 21  state entitlement projected  amount of a  little over                                                                    
$1.2  billion,  divided  the amount  by  the  total  project                                                                    
average daily membership, and then halved the number.                                                                           
Co-Chair von Imhof  referenced FN 4, which had  a table that                                                                    
broke down the numbers further. She  thought FN 1, FN 4, and                                                                    
FN 5 were discussing the same numbers.                                                                                          
Ms. Teshner answered in the affirmative.                                                                                        
Senator Bishop thought there were  5 fiscal notes. He looked                                                                    
at the analysis on page 2 of  FN 4, and thought the bill was                                                                    
creating three new programs.                                                                                                    
Ms.  Teshner  stated that  all  the  fiscal notes  and  bill                                                                    
covered three new programs.                                                                                                     
Senator Bishop asked  if the fiscal notes all  rolled into a                                                                    
total. He asked for a more detailed explanation.                                                                                
Co-Chair von  Imhof asked  if Ms. Teshner  had a  summary of                                                                    
the fiscal notes with totals.                                                                                                   
Ms.  Teshner stated  that  the projected  total  of all  the                                                                    
fiscal notes  for FY 21  was $6,347,700. By 2026,  the total                                                                    
for all fiscal notes was  $91,356,900 over the span of time.                                                                    
She offered  to provide a chart  that went from FY  21 to FY                                                                    
29,  when the  proposed education  grants were  projected to                                                                    
Co-Chair von Imhof asked to address FN 2 and FN 3.                                                                              
10:41:51 AM                                                                                                                   
Ms. Teshner addressed  FN 2, OMB Component  2796. The fiscal                                                                    
note  reflected   the  costs  associated  with   the  School                                                                    
Improvement Literacy  Program and the  Comprehensive Reading                                                                    
Intervention Program. She  read from the Analysis  on page 2                                                                    
of the fiscal note:                                                                                                             
     The school improvement  literacy program, created under                                                                    
     AS  14.30.770,  is  established in  the  Department  of                                                                    
     Education &  Early Development (DEED)to  provide direct                                                                    
     support  and   intervention  in  district   and  school                                                                    
     literacy  programs. During  the  first year,  up to  10                                                                    
     schools  identified  from  the  lowest  10  percent  of                                                                    
     schools,  would  each  be served  directly  by  Reading                                                                    
     Specialists  employed  by DEED  and  up  to 20  schools                                                                    
     would  be  served  in  the   second  year  and  beyond.                                                                    
     Depending on  school size and  need, either one  or two                                                                    
     Reading Specialists  would be assigned to  each school.                                                                    
     DEED  anticipates  employing  from1  0  to  20  Reading                                                                    
     Specialists  in   year  one   and  20  to   40  Reading                                                                    
     Specialists in the subsequent years.                                                                                       
Ms. Teshner  noted that salary  and benefit costs  for staff                                                                    
were  reflected in  the fiscal  note: there  were department                                                                    
charge-back costs of $9,600 per  student, and one-time costs                                                                    
of $5,000  per person for  supplies and equipment. In  FY 21                                                                    
there  was a  one-time  cost for  legal services  associated                                                                    
with  regulation  adoption.  The  purchase  of  supplemental                                                                    
reading textbooks  and materials for the  School Improvement                                                                    
Literacy Program would be $255,000.                                                                                             
Ms.  Teshner continued  to address  FN  2 and  spoke to  the                                                                    
Comprehensive Reading  Intervention Program as  described in                                                                    
Analysis on  page 2  and page  3 of  the note.  She detailed                                                                    
that DEED  would manage  and support  the program  and would                                                                    
provide direct support  and training for all K  - 3 teachers                                                                    
on the  use of the  statewide screening or  assessment tool.                                                                    
The  staff  reflected in  the  fiscal  note was  four  staff                                                                    
members as well as the  department chargebacks for the staff                                                                    
and  one-time costs  for supplies  and equipment.  The staff                                                                    
would be  required to participate  and present  at statewide                                                                    
professional development,  and there were  associated travel                                                                    
costs of $1000 per employee.                                                                                                    
Ms. Teshner detailed that there  was funding of $320,000 for                                                                    
the  program's  adoption  of   the  statewide  screening  or                                                                    
assessment  tool.  There was  a  projected  cost of  $53,000                                                                    
associated  with  a  grant  for   districts  to  attend  the                                                                    
statewide professional  development to learn the  use of the                                                                    
tool. The fiscal  note showed an overall  estimated cost for                                                                    
FY 21  of $4,221,700. She  noted that  there was a  chart on                                                                    
page 3  of the  fiscal note that  outlined the  two programs                                                                    
and funding by line item, as well as combined totals.                                                                           
10:45:10 AM                                                                                                                   
Senator Bishop asked  for reasoning as to why  there was not                                                                    
a geographic cost differential included  in the fiscal note.                                                                    
He referenced the  second paragraph of the  Analysis on page                                                                    
Ms. Teshner  noted that it  was not known where  staff would                                                                    
be  located,  and therefore  it  was  hard to  estimate  any                                                                    
geographic cost differential.                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  von   Imhof  observed  that  there   would  be  an                                                                    
additional approximately $25 million  per year going towards                                                                    
education if the  bill were to pass. She  thought the fiscal                                                                    
note  indicated  a BSA  increase  on  an annual  basis.  She                                                                    
emphasized  that  the  fiscal notes  represented  a  pivotal                                                                    
change and  a financial commitment rather  than a short-term                                                                    
10:46:56 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Stedman  commented  on   the  sensitivity  of  the                                                                    
education funding  formula and  thought it  would be  a good                                                                    
idea  for  the committee  to  examine  the calculations.  He                                                                    
wanted  the  committee  to  be familiar  with  how  the  BSA                                                                    
formula worked.  He commented  on the  political sensitivity                                                                    
of the issue.  He wanted to see the  proposed funding within                                                                    
the formula.                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair von  Imhof noted that  the committee  modelled many                                                                    
fiscal  scenarios. She  asked if  the  commissioner had  the                                                                    
ability to  model different student demographics  within the                                                                    
education formula and show how it might change the formula.                                                                     
Co-Chair Stedman wanted to examine  a potential reduction in                                                                    
the BSA.                                                                                                                        
Co-Chair  von Imhof  thought  the funding  in  the bill  was                                                                    
focused.  She pointed  out  that  there were  accountability                                                                    
mechanisms in the bill. She  wondered if the bill was slowly                                                                    
moving  the BSA  to more  focused funding.  She thought  the                                                                    
committee should consider how  class sizes affected the BSA.                                                                    
She  wanted   committee  members  to  mull   over  the  bill                                                                    
presentation.  She asked  members  to  communicate with  her                                                                    
office regarding any thoughts on the bill.                                                                                      
10:50:00 AM                                                                                                                   
Ms. Teshner addressed  FN 3, OMB Component  2912. The fiscal                                                                    
note   addressed  costs   associated  with   early  learning                                                                    
coordination.  The costs  were  for operation  of the  Early                                                                    
Education Grant  Program, as well as  providing training and                                                                    
support for  the grantees. There were  three estimated staff                                                                    
members  to  operate  and manage  the  program.  Aside  from                                                                    
salary and benefits, there  were department chargeback costs                                                                    
of $9,600  per person. There  was a one-time cost  of $5,000                                                                    
per person for supplies and  equipment. There was a one-time                                                                    
cost for  $6,000 for  the state  board to  adopt regulations                                                                    
for standards. In FY 21, it was estimated to be $401,900                                                                        
Ms. Teshner addressed  FN 4, OMB Component  3028. The fiscal                                                                    
note  addressed costs  associated with  the early  education                                                                    
program grants.  She referenced the  table on page 3  of the                                                                    
fiscal  note,  which  provided a  breakdown  of  costs.  The                                                                    
fiscal  note estimated  participation  from 10,000  students                                                                    
from a four-year-old cohort. There  were an additional 3,675                                                                    
students that  would be served  by the legislation.  Table 2                                                                    
showed costs  of when different  cohorts would  flow through                                                                    
the program. Table 3 showed  which students in cohorts would                                                                    
be  included in  the  math.  Table 4  showed  the number  of                                                                    
students that  would be served.  It was estimated  that over                                                                    
the course of  the three-year grant program,  starting in FY                                                                    
21 and going to FY 29,  there was an estimated total cost of                                                                    
Senator  Bishop  assumed  the   Parents  As  Teachers  (PAT)                                                                    
Program would  be inside the  bill. He referenced FN  3. The                                                                    
appropriation for PAT was currently  housed in Department of                                                                    
Health and Social Services.                                                                                                     
Senator Wilson  thought the PAT Program  federally qualified                                                                    
the  state  for  funding  for the  Families  First  Services                                                                    
Initiative  through the  Office of  Children's Services.  He                                                                    
was not sure the moving the  program would have an effect on                                                                    
Co-Chair von Imhof set the bill aside.                                                                                          
SB  6   was  HEARD  and   HELD  in  committee   for  further                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 6 Sectional Analysis v. O 2.20.2020.pdf SFIN 2/26/2020 9:00:00 AM
SB 6
SB 6 Sponsor Statement v.O 2.20.2020.pdf SFIN 2/26/2020 9:00:00 AM
SB 6
SB 6 Explanation of Changes v. O 2.20.2020.pdf SFIN 2/26/2020 9:00:00 AM
SB 6
SB 6 v.O Fiscal Summary 2.21.2020.pdf SFIN 2/26/2020 9:00:00 AM
SB 6
11_SB006_AK-Reads-Act_Background_DEED_What-and-Why_23Jan2020.pdf SEDC 1/23/2020 3:30:00 PM
SFIN 2/26/2020 9:00:00 AM
SB 6
15_SB006_AK-Reads-Act_Support_Superintendents' Letter Advocating for Reading Initiative_11Dec2019.pdf SEDC 1/23/2020 3:30:00 PM
SFIN 2/26/2020 9:00:00 AM
SB 6
SB 6 Public Testimony - V. Brooks 2.18.2020.pdf SFIN 2/26/2020 9:00:00 AM
SB 6