Legislature(2019 - 2020)Anch LIO Lg Conf Rm

11/18/2020 08:00 AM House EDUCATION

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Audio Topic
08:01:11 AM Start
08:02:51 AM Presentation(s): Student Enrollments in Alaska's School System
01:01:04 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
Joint with Senate EDC
+ Presentation & Discussion on Enrollments in the TELECONFERENCED
Alaska Public School system by:
8:00 - 9:30 a.m. University of Alaska
- Pat Pitney, Interim UA President
- Dr. Paul Layer, Vice President for Academics,
Students & Research
- Dr. Dan White, UAF Chancellor
- Dr. Cathy Sandeen, UAA Chancellor
- Dr. Karen Carey, UAS Chancellor
9:30 - 9:55 a.m. Assoc. of AK School Boards
- Norm Wooten, AASB Executive Director
10:00 - 11:00 a.m. AK Council of School Admin.
- Dr. Lisa Parady, ACSA Executive Director
- Kerry Boyd, ACSA President, Superintendent
Yukon-Koyukuk School District
- John O'Brien, Superintendent, Kenai Peninsula
Borough School District
- David Jones, Assistant Superintendent, Kenai
Peninsula Borough School District
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Dept. of Ed & Early Dev.
- Dr. Michael Johnson, Commissioner
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
                         JOINT MEETING                                                                                        
              SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
               HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                           KODIAK LIO                                                                                         
                       November 18, 2020                                                                                        
                           8:01 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                              
 Representative Harriet Drummond, Co-Chair (via teleconference)                                                                 
 Representative Andi Story, Co-Chair (via teleconference)                                                                       
 Representative Grier Hopkins (via teleconference)                                                                              
 Representative DeLena Johnson (via teleconference)                                                                             
 Representative Mike Prax (via teleconference)                                                                                  
SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                             
 Senator Gary Stevens, Chair                                                                                                    
 Senator Shelley Hughes, Vice Chair (via teleconference)                                                                        
 Senator John Coghill (via teleconference)                                                                                      
 Senator Mia Costello (via teleconference)                                                                                      
 Senator Tom Begich (via teleconference)                                                                                        
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                              
 Representative Chris Tuck                                                                                                      
 Representative Tiffany Zulkosky                                                                                                
SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                             
 All members present.                                                                                                           
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
Representative Bryce Edgmon                                                                                                     
Representative Dan Ortiz                                                                                                        
Senator Cathy Giessel                                                                                                           
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
PRESENTATION(S): STUDENT ENROLLMENTS IN ALASKA'S SCHOOL SYSTEM                                                                  
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record.                                                                                                   
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
PAT PITNEY, Interim System President                                                                                            
University of Alaska                                                                                                            
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Co-delivered a presentation from the                                                                      
DAN WHITE, PhD, Chancellor                                                                                                      
University of Alaska Fairbanks                                                                                                  
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Co-delivered a presentation from the                                                                      
CATHY SANDEEN, PhD, Chancellor                                                                                                  
University of Alaska Anchorage                                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Co-delivered a presentation from the                                                                      
KAREN CAREY, PhD, Chancellor                                                                                                    
University of Alaska Southeast                                                                                                  
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Co-delivered a presentation from the                                                                      
PAUL LAYER, PhD, Vice President                                                                                                 
Academics, Students and Research                                                                                                
University of Alaska, Fairbanks                                                                                                 
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Co-delivered a presentation from the                                                                      
NORM WOOTEN, Executive Director                                                                                                 
Association of Alaska School Boards                                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Provided an overview of the association.                                                                  
LISA SKILES PARADY, PhD, Executive Director                                                                                     
Alaska Council of School Administrators                                                                                         
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT: Delivered  a presentation  on public  school                                                             
enrollment during the pandemic.                                                                                                 
KERRY   BOYD,   PresidentAlaska    Superintendents   Association,                                                               
SuperintendentYukon-Koyukuk School District                                                                                     
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Provided  a   statewide  and  local  school                                                             
district  overview   on  public  school  enrollment   during  the                                                               
JOHN O'BRIEN, Superintendent of Schools                                                                                         
Kenai Peninsula Borough School District                                                                                         
Soldotna, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided an overview of  the district during                                                             
the pandemic.                                                                                                                   
DAVE JONES, Assistant Superintendent                                                                                            
Kenai Peninsula Borough School District                                                                                         
Soldotna, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided an overview of  the district during                                                             
the pandemic.                                                                                                                   
MICHAEL JOHNSON, PhD, Commissioner                                                                                              
Alaska Department of Education and Early Development                                                                            
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided a departmental overview  related to                                                             
the impact from COVID-19.                                                                                                       
HEIDI TESHNER, Director of Finance and Support Services                                                                         
Alaska Department of Education and Early Development                                                                            
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided a departmental overview  related to                                                             
the impact from COVID-19.                                                                                                       
TIM LAMKIN, Aide                                                                                                                
Senator Gary Stevens                                                                                                            
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented a video.                                                                                        
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:01:11 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  GARY STEVENS  called the  joint meeting  of the  House and                                                             
Senate  Education  Standing  Committees  to order  at  8:01  a.m.                                                               
Present at  the call to  order were Representatives  Hopkins (via                                                               
teleconference),   Johnson   (via  teleconference),   Prax   (via                                                               
teleconference),  Story (via  teleconference), and  Drummond (via                                                               
teleconference);  and Senators  Coghill (via  teleconference) and                                                               
Stevens.  Senators  Costello  (via teleconference),  Begich  (via                                                               
teleconference), and  Hughes (via  teleconference) joined  as the                                                               
meeting as  in progress. Also  present were  Representative Ortiz                                                               
(via     teleconference),      Representative     Edgmon     (via                                                               
teleconference), and Senator Giessel (via teleconference).                                                                      
^PRESENTATION(S): Student Enrollments in Alaska's School System                                                                 
 PRESENTATION(S): Student Enrollments in Alaska's School System                                                             
8:02:51 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS announced  that the  education committees  meeting                                                               
jointly had a quorum to conduct business.                                                                                       
He announced the agenda as follows:                                                                                             
   • University of Alaska                                                                                                       
        o Pat Pitney, UA Interim President                                                                                      
        o Dr. Paul Layer, Vice President for Academics, Students                                                                
          & Research                                                                                                            
        o Dr. Dan White, UAF Chancellor                                                                                         
        o Dr. Cathy Sandeen, UAA Chancellor                                                                                     
        o Dr. Karen Carey, UAS Chancellor                                                                                       
   • Association of Alaska School Boards                                                                                        
        o Norm Wooten, AASB Executive Director                                                                                  
   • Alaska Council of School Administrators                                                                                    
        o Dr. Lisa Parady, ACSA Executive Director                                                                              
        o Kerry Boyd, ACSA President, Superintendent Yukon-                                                                     
          Koyukuk SD                                                                                                            
        o John O'Brien, Superintendent Kenai Peninsula Borough                                                                  
          SD (KPBSD)                                                                                                            
        o David Jones, Asst. Superintendent, KPBSD                                                                              
   • Alaska Department of Education and Early Development                                                                       
        o Dr. Michael Johnson, Commissioner                                                                                     
        o Heidi Teshner, Director of Finance and Support                                                                        
       o Lacey Sanders, Administrative Services Director                                                                        
        o Erin Hardin, Legislative Liaison                                                                                      
CHAIR  STEVENS noted  that Co-Chair  Story planned  to present  a                                                               
video  at the  end  of the  meeting, and  that  it is  accessible                                                               
online as well.                                                                                                                 
CO-CHAIR STORY  said the video is  very moving and she  will show                                                               
it at the end of the meeting.                                                                                                   
CHAIR STEVENS  announced the first  presentation for  the Student                                                               
Enrollments in Alaska's  School System is from  the University of                                                               
Alaska (UA).                                                                                                                    
8:05:14 AM                                                                                                                    
PAT  PITNEY,  Interim  System President,  University  of  Alaska,                                                               
Fairbanks,  Alaska,  referenced  slide 2  from  her  presentation                                                               
entitled, Alaska's  System of  Higher Education.  She said  UA is                                                               
not a university; it is  Alaska's system for higher education. UA                                                               
has three universities, each with very different missions.                                                                      
She detailed that UA has  its research university in Fairbanks at                                                               
the   University   of   Alaska   Fairbanks   (UAF),   its   urban                                                               
comprehensive  university  in  Anchorage  at  the  University  of                                                               
Alaska  Anchorage  (UAA),  and its  small  regional  place-spaced                                                               
university  in  Juneau  at the  University  of  Alaska  Southeast                                                               
She said each of the  universities, unlike most any university in                                                               
the   United  States,   also  has   the  community   college  and                                                               
vocational, technical mission for  their regions that are carried                                                               
out at the main university sites and at the community campuses.                                                                 
PRESIDENT PITNEY  stated that  the UA  higher education  reach is                                                               
essential to  the state and  local economies, especially  now for                                                               
economic recovery. The  degree to which the  state is successful,                                                               
the degree to which industries  are successful, and the degree to                                                               
which communities  are successful  depends on  UA' ability  to be                                                               
completely engaged and working side by side.                                                                                    
8:07:19 AM                                                                                                                    
PRESIDENT  PITNEY said  the  UA presenters  will  talk about  the                                                               
experience with the Coronavirus  Disease (COVID-19) in 2020, some                                                               
of  the unique  research  and service  projects,  the impacts  on                                                               
finances and enrollment,  and how the university  will go forward                                                               
post COVID-19.                                                                                                                  
She  turned to  slide 4,  Serving Students  During COVID-19.  She                                                               
said  like  everybody, early  in  March  2020 when  the  COVID-19                                                               
orders came  down, all the universities  and campuses immediately                                                               
shifted  from  onsite  delivery  to  remote  delivery  via  audio                                                               
conference, web  conference, and Zoom video  conferences. Outside                                                               
of  a  few   allowances  for  things  like   hands-on  labs,  the                                                               
transition in March to remote delivery was remarkable.                                                                          
PRESIDENT PITNEY complemented the UA  faculty and staff for their                                                               
flexibility and hard  work during the summer to  make the courses                                                               
and the  experience for students as  good as possible in  its new                                                               
almost entirely remote delivery.                                                                                                
She  noted that  all  three UA  universities  adjusted their  on-                                                               
campus  housing  occupancy  to   be  public  health  appropriate.                                                               
Dormitories in  Fairbanks and Anchorage, based  on their designs,                                                               
went  to   25-percent  occupancy.   They  currently   have  wings                                                               
available for quarantine and isolation.  In Juneau, the design of                                                               
the dormitories  allows for 50-percent occupancy.  That occupancy                                                               
has been very important because  of their students not having the                                                               
necessary internet and  a safe space to stay. Being  able to keep                                                               
a certain degree of university housing is valuable.                                                                             
CHAIR STEVENS asked if the  universities are encouraging students                                                               
living in dormitories  to stay and not to return  home because of                                                               
the threat of taking COVID-19 with them.                                                                                        
PRESIDENT PITNEY replied each of  the university chancellors will                                                               
respond with their distinct local policies.                                                                                     
8:11:39 AM                                                                                                                    
DAN  WHITE,  PhD,  Chancellor, University  of  Alaska  Fairbanks,                                                               
Fairbanks,  Alaska, said  UAF has  approximately 800  students in                                                               
two  separate  residence  halls  with  100  rooms  available  for                                                               
CHANCELLOR  WHITE  noted  that UAF  encouraged  students  to  not                                                               
travel over  Thanksgiving; they planned activities  for those who                                                               
remain  on campus.  Little student  travel is  expected, and  the                                                               
university asked  those who must  travel to work with  faculty to                                                               
finish out the semester online.                                                                                                 
8:12:58 AM                                                                                                                    
CATHY SANDEEN,  PhD, Chancellor, University of  Alaska Anchorage,                                                               
Anchorage,  Alaska,  said  the   approach  at  UAA  is  virtually                                                               
identical to  UAF in discouraging Thanksgiving  travel. They also                                                               
reinforced their current testing  protocols should someone travel                                                               
and return.                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  STEVENS  asked  how  many   students  are  living  in  UAA                                                               
DR.  SANDEEN  answered UAA  is  trying  to control  and  minimize                                                               
contact with  25 percent  on-campus occupancy.  Approximately 230                                                               
students are living  on the Anchorage campus  where every student                                                               
has  their own  room and  bathroom.  The dining  commons are  not                                                               
open,  and all  food  is  take-out. The  dormitory  at the  Kenai                                                               
Peninsula campus does not have any UA students currently.                                                                       
CHAIR STEVENS said he is sorry  that students are missing a great                                                               
growing up experience by living in dormitories.                                                                                 
8:14:45 AM                                                                                                                    
KAREN  CAREY, PhD,  Chancellor, University  of Alaska  Southeast,                                                               
Juneau, Alaska,  said UAS  has about 120  students living  in its                                                               
dormitory  and  apartments.  The university  kept  one  dormitory                                                               
empty specifically for quarantine.                                                                                              
She noted that UAS also  has strongly encouraged students to stay                                                               
on  campus for  Thanksgiving.  They recommend  that students  who                                                               
must leave remain at home and  work with their faculty members to                                                               
finish the semester.                                                                                                            
8:15:41 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH joined the meeting.                                                                                              
8:15:59 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES joined the meeting.                                                                                              
SENATOR HUGHES expressed concern  about student mental health and                                                               
depression  and said  going home  could provide  students with  a                                                               
"shot  in  the   arm."  She  said  she  would   hate  the  policy                                                               
encouraging  students to  stay  on  campus to  result  in a  poor                                                               
mental health outcome for some of the students.                                                                                 
CHAIR  STEVENS asked  President Pitney  for comments  on concerns                                                               
about student mental health.                                                                                                    
8:17:23 AM                                                                                                                    
PRESIDENT PITNEY  replied the universities have  increased access                                                               
to  mental  health  and  counseling.   None  of  the  chancellors                                                               
mandated people stay  on campus, which serves  to assure students                                                               
that they have an option.                                                                                                       
PRESIDENT  PITNEY  said  faculty have  been  remarkably  flexible                                                               
through the COVID-19 period, not  only revamping their courses to                                                               
be online,  but also setting  protocols for when a  student tests                                                               
positive. For  instance, there was  a student in a  welding class                                                               
that   tested  positive   for   COVID-19,   the  class   shutdown                                                               
immediately  for two  weeks and  they  will make  up their  time.                                                               
Universities  have  emphasized  mental   health  issues  and  the                                                               
availability of counseling.                                                                                                     
SENATOR  HUGHES  restated  concern  for  student  mental  health,                                                               
especially  young people  who are  particularly susceptible.  She                                                               
said campuses being aware and  alert to students making the tough                                                               
choice not to go back to see family is important.                                                                               
CHAIR STEVENS asked Dr. Paul Layer if he had any comments.                                                                      
8:19:51 AM                                                                                                                    
PAUL  LAYER,  PhD, Vice  President  for  Academics, Students  and                                                               
Research,  University of  Alaska,  Fairbanks,  Alaska, said  what                                                               
President  Pitney talked  about regarding  mental health  is very                                                               
important. UA  students are  very aware  of what  is going  on in                                                               
their home  communities as well.  UA wants to keep  both students                                                               
and communities safe.                                                                                                           
SENATOR BEGICH  asked what COVID-19 testing  the universities are                                                               
doing  and if  work has  begun on  a distribution  plan when  the                                                               
vaccine becomes available.                                                                                                      
PRESIDENT  PITNEY  replied  the chancellors  will  address  their                                                               
exact testing protocols. The initial  thought by UA is to develop                                                               
a plan  over time to prioritize  those that need the  vaccine the                                                               
most from a life, health, and safety perspective.                                                                               
8:22:02 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. WHITE explained  that UAF has a two-test  requirement for any                                                               
student living  on campus.  He said all  students have  access to                                                               
the Student Health  and Counseling Center where  they can receive                                                               
tests, and UAF has conducted 1,360 tests to date.                                                                               
DR. WHITE  detailed that  UAF does  a daily  health questionnaire                                                               
screening   of  students,   but  the   university  does   not  do                                                               
asymptomatic  testing unless  students or  employees request  it.                                                               
UAF also  did job-related testing  required for employees  on the                                                               
Research Vessel (RV) Sikuliaq.                                                                                                  
CHAIR  STEVENS  said  one  of the  vaccines  requires  a  holding                                                               
temperature of minus 73 degrees Fahrenheit  and UAF is one of the                                                               
few facilities in the state that has that capability.                                                                           
DR. WHITE  said the Alaska State  Virology Lab is located  on the                                                               
UAF campus and  it is active in vaccine  planning. The university                                                               
has several  facilities on  campus that can  house samples  up to                                                               
minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit.                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS  asked  Chancellor  Sandeen for  her  comments  on                                                               
testing and vaccine distribution.                                                                                               
8:24:10 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  SANDEEN answered  the university's  testing protocol  is the                                                               
same as UAF,  but student athletes receive  more frequent testing                                                               
than   the  general   student  population.   UAA   does  not   do                                                               
asymptomatic testing,  but essential  workers or  students living                                                               
on campus  receive testing if  they were in contact  with someone                                                               
who has tested positive or if they exhibit symptoms.                                                                            
She  said she  is  very pleased  with  the university's  contract                                                               
tracing protocols in the rare event  a student or staff member on                                                               
campus tests positive.                                                                                                          
She stated  that vaccine distribution  is a  new issue and  it is                                                               
too early for the university to make a statement.                                                                               
CHAIR STEVENS asked Chancellor Carey if she has any comments.                                                                   
DR. CAREY  replied UAS does  not have  the same resources  as UAF                                                               
and UAA,  but they have  been working closely with  public health                                                               
and  doing all  required  testing. She  said  she assumes  public                                                               
health will be doing the vaccine distribution for UAS students.                                                                 
8:26:00 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  asked  if anybody  knows  how  the  technical                                                               
school in Seward [Alaska Vocational  Technical Center (AVTEC)] is                                                               
doing. It has a dorm for 120 students.                                                                                          
PRESIDENT  PITNEY   answered  that   she  does  not   know  their                                                               
CHAIR  STEVENS said  his office  will investigate  the status  of                                                               
AVTEC in Seward. He added that  it is a great program through the                                                               
Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOLWD).                                                                   
PRESIDENT PITNEY  turned to slide 5  regarding distance delivered                                                               
courses and  noted that UA  pivoted quickly to  online education.                                                               
As of the  fall 2020, UAA has 80 percent  of their student credit                                                               
hours via distance,  UAF has 76 percent, and UAS  has 81 percent.                                                               
Both UAF  and UAS  have 100 percentage  of their  courses online,                                                               
but much  more lab intensive.  For example, hands-on work  at UAS                                                               
is onsite with a lot of art.                                                                                                    
PRESIDENT PITNEY said communication  is different among the three                                                               
universities. UAA  was very specific  about being online  as much                                                               
as possible. UAF and UAS allowed  for maintaining as much as they                                                               
could   for   face-to-face   courses   that   required   hands-on                                                               
interaction.   However,   those    have   tremendous   mitigation                                                               
protocols,  or they  separate the  desks. There  are labs  in the                                                               
health fields,  a field that makes  up 22 percent of  the courses                                                               
at UAA. The labs use plastic dividers between people.                                                                           
She  expressed  appreciation  for  all the  work  the  facilities                                                               
personnel did  to retrofit the  classrooms to  make it safe  in a                                                               
COVID-19 world.                                                                                                                 
She said because  many of the universities'  programs and faculty                                                               
had experience  in distance  education, UA was  able to  make the                                                               
transition  to online  more systematically  than universities  in                                                               
the Lower 48  that are typically much more face  to face. Because                                                               
UA  has been  pushing for  more online  capabilities, it  has the                                                               
support structure.                                                                                                              
She noted 350  UAA faculty participated in  intensive training to                                                               
move from face to face to  online. UAF's eCampus model allows the                                                               
university to switch  quickly from face to face  into distance if                                                               
needed. However,  the university tried  to maintain as  much face                                                               
to face is they could.                                                                                                          
PRESIDENT   PITNEY  referenced   slide  6   regarding  mitigation                                                               
8:31:15 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS asked  if  she had  ever seen  widespread                                                               
affects  from  lack  of  connectivity   for  eLearning  at  rural                                                               
PRESIDENT PITNEY answered  that because so much  of UA's delivery                                                               
has been via distance for so  long and because of their community                                                               
campus  connectivity,  the  universities   have  dealt  with  low                                                               
bandwidth  issues.  She  added   that  accommodations  for  rural                                                               
campuses  includes  going  to  audio   or  different  packets  of                                                               
She said the Quintillion telecommunications  line has helped some                                                               
with connectivity,  but the cost is  extreme. UA was able  to get                                                               
some cost relief  and increased bandwidth in the  early months of                                                               
the pandemic, but because UA  has dealt with thin connectivity in                                                               
certain areas for so long,  it has different mechanisms via audio                                                               
or  downloading  information   packets.  The  rural  connectivity                                                               
mechanisms are asynchronous rather than synchronous.                                                                            
DR. WHITE said connectivity is  one of the reasons the university                                                               
felt  it  was  important  to  house students  at  UAF  or  Bethel                                                               
residence halls.  Many students could  not rely on  bandwidth for                                                               
eLearning.  He  added  that  UAF's  history  working  with  rural                                                               
students helped a great deal during the crisis.                                                                                 
8:34:25 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS  said he  keeps hearing  that the  higher education                                                               
system  in  the United  States  may  look quite  different  after                                                               
He said  he would  like to  hear how  UA is  going to  respond to                                                               
students that  experienced online  classes as well  as addressing                                                               
nationwide issues  regarding high educational costs  and enormous                                                               
CO-CHAIR  STORY  said  one  concern  she has  had  is  that  some                                                               
students have  had difficulty adjusting  to online  learning. She                                                               
asked if  the UA universities  were reaching out to  students who                                                               
are struggling  with online  learning and  tracking the  ones who                                                               
drop out as a result.                                                                                                           
8:36:32 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  SANDEEN replied  UAA has  a  robust system  with an  attuned                                                               
faculty that  advises its counselor  and care team. The  UAA care                                                               
team is a group of faculty  members who reach out to students who                                                               
are having difficulties or are  in crisis. UAA encourages faculty                                                               
to  assess constantly  what  is  going on  with  students and  to                                                               
connect them  with help support  and services. That  is something                                                               
that has been  in place even before UAA went  online. UAA has its                                                               
faculty participate in professional  development workshops on how                                                               
to increase  the level of  engagement with students in  an online                                                               
DR. SANDEEN said  she believes UAA is doing everything  it can to                                                               
support  students  who may  not  be  comfortable with  an  online                                                               
format. Many  UAA students have  taken online courses  before, so                                                               
fully  remote   delivery  was  easier  for   them.  However,  UAA                                                               
acknowledges that  it has many first-generation  college students                                                               
entering as freshmen and sophomores  who may need more support to                                                               
learn  how to  operate  and  learn in  a  more autonomous  online                                                               
DR. SANDEEN noted  that when UAA changed to  remote delivery, the                                                               
student dropout rate  during the semester was  equivalent to what                                                               
it  usually  is. The  Anchorage  campus  saw  about a  5  percent                                                               
8:39:31 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS said that is good to hear.                                                                                        
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  asked  how  the  Alaska  Native  Science  and                                                               
Engineering Program (ANSEP) is currently operating.                                                                             
DR. SANDEEN replied  ANSEP is operating the same as  much of UAA;                                                               
it is  primarily remote  delivery. She noted  that UAA  does have                                                               
rural Alaska  students who are  involved in  the university-level                                                               
ANSEP and are in student housing.                                                                                               
8:41:18 AM                                                                                                                    
PRESIDENT PITNEY displayed slide  7 regarding enrollment services                                                               
that UA  provides during the  pandemic and commended  the College                                                               
of  Health  (COH)  at  UAA, Chancellor  Sandeen,  and  Dean  Jeff                                                               
She said  that when the  pandemic started, COH  distributed their                                                               
personal  protective  equipment  to areas  throughout  Anchorage.                                                               
They  also built  a  contact tracing  training  program that  has                                                               
trained over  500 contact tracers  to date. COH  graduated nurses                                                               
early to get them on the streets and into care facilities.                                                                      
PRESIDENT  PITNEY  noted  that   UA  also  has  epidemiology  and                                                               
modeling  scientists   throughout  the  system  who   are  paying                                                               
attention to COVID-19. She said  Mr. Mouchine Guettabi, Associate                                                               
Professor  of  Economics  at  the UAA  Institute  of  Social  and                                                               
Economic  Research  (ISER),  has  done  a  tremendous  amount  of                                                               
modeling on  how COVID-19 affected businesses.  Dr. Tom Hennessy,                                                               
Infectious Disease  Epidemiologist with UAA, has  been invaluable                                                               
to UA's COVID-19 mitigation strategy.  He has also been available                                                               
to all communities and schools in the state.                                                                                    
PRESIDENT  PITNEY  said  the Alaska  Small  Business  Development                                                               
Center and the Business Enterprise  Institute at UAA came forward                                                               
immediately to  support businesses  with the  Paycheck Protection                                                               
Program  (PPP) loans,  U.S.  Economic Development  Administration                                                               
funding, and advice.                                                                                                            
PRESIDENT  PITNEY  said  Chancellor White  mentioned  the  Alaska                                                               
State Virology  Laboratory is  on the UAF  campus and  noted that                                                               
the biology programs and researchers  helped expand their testing                                                               
She said there  is a group of faculty members  in COH, Department                                                               
of  Biology,   Anchorage,  and   Institute  of   Arctic  Biology,                                                               
Fairbanks, working on isolating  the COVID-19 strains and looking                                                               
at  how those  strains  have mutated  and  gone through  Alaska's                                                               
8:45:32 AM                                                                                                                    
PRESIDENT PITNEY  referenced slide 8  on the impacts  from COVID-                                                               
19. She said  UA has had significant revenue  impacts from COVID-                                                               
19 that  includes student refunds fall  2020, running dormitories                                                               
at 25-50  percent capacity, and  lower enrollment.  When interest                                                               
rates went to almost zero, UA  lost the normal stream of interest                                                               
PRESIDENT PITNEY said  the UA revenue impact has  been just short                                                               
of  $30 million  with another  $5  million in  direct costs  from                                                               
people  on COVID-19  leave, UA  personnel transitioning  to focus                                                               
completely  on COVID-19,  personal  protective  equipment, and  a                                                               
particularly   large  hit   from  mitigation   strategies  within                                                               
classrooms via barriers to continue to have classes open.                                                                       
8:47:16 AM                                                                                                                    
PRESIDENT PITNEY  reported that  UA has  received $12  million in                                                               
funding for  COVID-19 and another  $4 million from the  CARES Act                                                               
that went  directly to  students during the  abrupt shift  in the                                                               
spring 2020 semester.  UA was able to help  students with refunds                                                               
for some  of their costs  and mitigate a  lot of the  impact, but                                                               
not all of it.                                                                                                                  
She noted UA  has requested a supplemental for  about $17 million                                                               
for COVID-19 impacts on top of  the $25 million reduction in 2020                                                               
and another $20  million reduction in 2021 in the  compact. If UA                                                               
can  get some  mitigation to  its  COVID-19 impact,  it would  be                                                               
CHAIR STEVENS asked  if she expects the  $17 million supplemental                                                               
request to be in the governor's budget.                                                                                         
PRESIDENT PITNEY  replied the UA board  approved the supplemental                                                               
request, but there is no sense of expectation.                                                                                  
CHAIR  STEVENS  replied  he  hopes  the $17  million  is  in  the                                                               
governor's  budget, but  the legislature  can add  it in  to make                                                               
sure it stays in the budget.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS asked  if the  decline in  enrollment was                                                               
equivalent across campuses.                                                                                                     
PRESIDENT PITNEY replied the next slide addresses that question.                                                                
8:49:53 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON  asked  if  UA had  seen  any  hard  cost                                                               
PRESIDENT PITNEY answered  yes; for example, travel  is lower and                                                               
that  has helped  mitigate  some of  the  $25 million  reduction.                                                               
However,  travel  expenses are  not  going  to be  a  sustainable                                                               
change and is small relative to the $17 million.                                                                                
PRESIDENT  PITNEY said  the  slide  illustrating student  support                                                               
during COVID-19 is a breakdown  of the direct funding to students                                                               
that came  from the CARES  Act: UAF is  about $1 million,  UAA is                                                               
$2.7  million,  and UAS  about  $186,000.  She pointed  out  UA's                                                               
increased mental health services.                                                                                               
8:51:46 AM                                                                                                                    
PRESIDENT  PITNEY advised  that UA  main campus  enrollments were                                                               
down  4-6  percent and  community  campus  enrollments were  down                                                               
significantly more.                                                                                                             
She  said  there  are  different  theories  on  community  campus                                                               
enrollment,   but   enrollments   nationwide   have   been   down                                                               
significantly.  One   theory  is  that  many   people  using  the                                                               
community campuses  have children and job  challenges, which does                                                               
not leave a lot of time  for the community campus. UA anticipated                                                               
enrollment   decline  closer   to  20   percent,  so   they  were                                                               
encouraged.  The UA  head count  was  down about  10 percent  and                                                               
student credit hours were down 8 percent.                                                                                       
PRESIDENT PITNEY said  UA is seeing students  taking more classes                                                               
in some places  and for certain programs. For  example, there are                                                               
slightly  fewer  students in  COH,  but  people are  taking  more                                                               
classes related to health care workers.                                                                                         
8:53:57 AM                                                                                                                    
PRESIDENT PITNEY  noted the enrollment  increases in  the College                                                               
of Fisheries  and Ocean Science  programs, School  of Management,                                                               
and COH in Anchorage and the Sitka fisheries tech program.                                                                      
She said  UA freshmen enrolled  in fall 2019 courses  returned at                                                               
the highest  rates in fall 2020  in the last 7-8  years. Overall,                                                               
UA  experienced  one  of  its   worst  enrollment  retention  and                                                               
smallest classes in  the recent past, largely due  to the budget.                                                               
She said  the budget  has been more  problematic than  the virus.                                                               
She  said  the real  lesson  is  UA  needs fiscal  stability  and                                                               
certainty to serve communities by educating the workforce.                                                                      
She noted  UA is seeing  a good sign with  increased applications                                                               
and  admissions  for spring  2021.  They  are  getting a  lot  of                                                               
positive messaging for online distance learning.                                                                                
8:56:31 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH expressed concern  about the dramatic reduction to                                                               
UA programs that have new  importance in the current environment.                                                               
He   highlighted  the   supply  chain   program  that   addresses                                                               
programmatic approaches considering  COVID-19, sociology, veteran                                                               
administration (VA), and hospitality administration.                                                                            
He asked if  UA has reconsidered the 40-plus programs  that it is                                                               
thinking about discontinuing.                                                                                                   
PRESIDENT PITNEY answered that there  were very clear criteria in                                                               
the program  reductions and  eliminations, and  part of  that was                                                               
She said  the commitment  she has given  to the  universities and                                                               
chancellors is to preserve programs,  but UA made the decision to                                                               
go  forward and  rethink the  programs that  make the  most sense                                                               
once  there is  stability.  Revisiting those  decisions until  UA                                                               
gets to stability  is not prudent. UA has more  reductions to go,                                                               
but  the  assurance made  is  to  focus on  maintaining  programs                                                               
because that is where enrollment comes from.                                                                                    
8:59:34 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  asked if UA  has discussed the  impact on                                                               
their  programs   going  forward  from  graduating   high  school                                                               
students who may be losing ground academically.                                                                                 
PRESIDENT PITNEY answered  UA is open access  except for specific                                                               
programs  that have  entrance requirements.  UA  is prepared  for                                                               
students  to go  through  very specific  entry-level testing  and                                                               
placement so they can succeed  at the appropriate level. Students                                                               
may  have to  take  a few  extra courses  initially,  but UA  can                                                               
accommodate them within the system.                                                                                             
PRESIDENT PITNEY  advised that the UA  presentation would address                                                               
some of the great successes  in middle college. Students who have                                                               
gone  through  a  middle  college program  in  the  system  often                                                               
graduate early from  a UA program. Middle  college expansion over                                                               
the  last  several years  is  a  huge  highlight that  will  also                                                               
accommodate many  of the  students impacted  by COVID-19  in high                                                               
9:03:17 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEVENS   thanked  President  Pitney  for   attending  the                                                               
DR.  LAYER displayed  slide  13,  Engineering Bachelor's  Degrees                                                               
Awarded by  UAF (CEM)  and UAA  (CoENG). He  said he  would share                                                               
some longer-term growth and good  news about the key programs the                                                               
university has developed over the last 20 years.                                                                                
He highlighted  UA's engineering programs  and noted the  goal in                                                               
2000 to double the engineering  graduates over time. With support                                                               
from   the  legislature   to  construct   some  new   engineering                                                               
facilities, UA  has been able  to grow those facilities  and have                                                               
engineers  for  Alaska.  He said  UA  engineering  graduates  and                                                               
enrollment is continuing to be strong even now.                                                                                 
DR. LAYER advised  that UA set a goal to  increase both associate                                                               
health  degrees  and bachelor  nursing  degrees.  However, UA  is                                                               
still  not  meeting the  state's  needs  in  those areas  but  is                                                               
working to grow those programs.                                                                                                 
DR. LAYER noted that the  number of health graduates continues to                                                               
grow,  including programs  in allied  health, mental  health, and                                                               
certificate  programs in  dental. UA  offers its  nursing program                                                               
statewide through the  UAA COH and its allied  health programs at                                                               
all three of its universities and many of its rural campuses.                                                                   
DR.  LAYER said  UA's education  and health  programs are  bright                                                               
spots at  the university that are  helping to meet the  state and                                                               
workforce needs going forward.                                                                                                  
CHAIR STEVENS said  he appreciates the news on  UA's bright spots                                                               
in  engineering and  health and  hopes similar  gains will  occur                                                               
soon in teacher education.                                                                                                      
9:06:27 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. LAYER  stated that  UA is the  largest provider  of workforce                                                               
development  training  in  the   state.  They  work  with  DOLWD,                                                               
Alaska's Institute  of Technology (AVTEC), and  other facilities.                                                               
UA works well with its partners  in a coordinated effort to cover                                                               
different areas of the state with different types of programs.                                                                  
DR.  LAYER said  the other  challenge  UA has  is addressing  the                                                               
40,000  Alaskans  who  have  become  unemployed  because  of  the                                                               
pandemic,  how  to develop  programs,  and  fast track  associate                                                               
degree certificates  to retool and  upscale the workforce.  UA is                                                               
working  with  the  state  and municipalities  to  see  what  the                                                               
university  can  do to  provide  support  for those  students  to                                                               
participate. Some  of them have  had some college  experience but                                                               
not a degree, so UA wants to get them back in school.                                                                           
He said  UA can create  very flexible programs to  meet workforce                                                               
needs  and fast  track various  skills in  a post-COVID  economy.                                                               
This  is a  great  time  for people  to  consider  going back  to                                                               
school, especially if UA can provide support for them.                                                                          
DR. LAYER noted one bright spot  in the COVID-19 world is that UA                                                               
has far more courses and  programs online than the university had                                                               
a year ago.  There are challenges with some  of UA's connectivity                                                               
questions,  but  courses  and  programs that  UA  did  not  think                                                               
possible for online access are  now online and could be available                                                               
to students  across the state.  After COVID-19, the hope  is that                                                               
many of  the online  programs will  continue because  an educated                                                               
workforce is necessary for the state.                                                                                           
He  said  he also  wanted  to  mention  the value  of  scientific                                                               
research. UA  has a strong  research mission that  contributes to                                                               
knowledge of the  state to understanding the  state's hazards and                                                               
resources. Scientific  research also is a  direct investment into                                                               
local economies. It  relates directly to community  life in terms                                                               
of the state's fisheries, villages, and health and safety.                                                                      
DR. LAYER  said there  is an economic  benefit to  UA's research.                                                               
Every  dollar of  State  support  for research  brings  in $6  of                                                               
external funding.                                                                                                               
9:09:50 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. LAYER displayed  slide 16 that shows the first  report on the                                                               
oil and  gas industry.  He said  it talks  about the  benefits of                                                               
education for  engineers going into  oil and  gas as well  as the                                                               
two-year process  technology certificate that is  relevant to the                                                               
industry. UA  will be producing  these kinds of reports  for many                                                               
sectors  of the  industry  including  fisheries, mining,  teacher                                                               
education, and  business, among  others. UA  will be  sharing the                                                               
reports with the legislature and local communities.                                                                             
DR.  LAYER  reiterated  that  UA  wants to  be  part  of  getting                                                               
students back in the university to get skills.                                                                                  
SENATOR BEGICH commented that Dr.  Layer chose the example of the                                                               
oil and industry, but his  hope is that everyone understands that                                                               
the  industry has  collapsed worldwide  because  of COVID-19  and                                                               
that has led to an increase  in alternative energies. He said his                                                               
hope  is that  UA will  focus on  what the  future looks  like in                                                               
terms of jobs opportunities instead of looking into the past.                                                                   
DR. LAYER asked Chancellor White  to discuss UA's efforts in that                                                               
area with the Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP).                                                                        
9:11:56 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. WHITE explained  that UA started ACEP nearly a  decade ago to                                                               
look specifically  at and  train people  in renewable  energy and                                                               
its integration into existing carbon-based energy grids.                                                                        
He  explained  that ACEP  has  the  only  grid simulator  in  the                                                               
country specifically designed for the  grids in Alaska. It allows                                                               
many  different renewable  energy technologies  to be  built into                                                               
carbon-based grids for rural  communities, mining operations, and                                                               
military installations where  failure is not an  option. The grid                                                               
simulator allows training of operators  and engineers from across                                                               
the state.                                                                                                                      
He said there  is a lot of work in  petroleum engineering at UAF,                                                               
but  there  is  more  in   the  renewable  energy  area  and  its                                                               
application in Alaska.                                                                                                          
SENATOR BEGICH  said he  looked forward to  seeing a  more robust                                                               
presentation about that in the next legislative session.                                                                        
9:13:36 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  LAYER  emphasized that  UA  has  a  lot of  opportunity  and                                                               
capacity  to increase  enrollment.  He asked  each chancellor  to                                                               
highlight  their efforts  to support  students  going forward  in                                                               
terms of programs, enhanced recruitment, and retention.                                                                         
DR. WHITE  said UAF issued  the Nanook  Pledge, which is  a four-                                                               
year financial aid commitment to students. It commits merit-                                                                    
based  scholarships  to students  for  all  four years  of  their                                                               
education. The  scholarship program  is over-subscribed,  so they                                                               
are  expanding it  to need-based  as  well to  the community  and                                                               
technical college.                                                                                                              
DR.  WHITE  said  another important  program  is  UAF's  military                                                               
pricing package  to address the  needs of military  who represent                                                               
12 percent  of UAF students.  It allows military students  to use                                                               
their  federal support  without any  out-of-pocket cost.  He said                                                               
UAF thinks that  is important for serving  its military community                                                               
in Fairbanks and in Alaska.                                                                                                     
He  noted an  earlier question  on high  school students  and the                                                               
important issue of  taking online courses. He  explained that UAF                                                               
developed the  Alaska Advantage  Program, which  is a  package of                                                               
online  university  courses  for  high schools  to  compete  with                                                               
Arizona State  and many  of the other  online programs  that have                                                               
been selling to Alaska's high schools.                                                                                          
DR. WHITE  said all  three of  the previously  mentioned programs                                                               
will help in  recruiting students in Alaska,  keeping students in                                                               
Alaska, and providing a well-trained workforce for Alaska.                                                                      
9:16:57 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS asked if the  military pricing includes spouses and                                                               
DR. WHITE answered yes.                                                                                                         
9:17:13 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  SANDEEN  highlighted  that  one  of  UAA's  most  successful                                                               
efforts  has  been to  provide  multi-year  funding for  students                                                               
through   the  49th   State   Finishers.   The  program   focuses                                                               
specifically on individuals  who have some college  and no degree                                                               
and  gives them  financial  support to  return  and finish  their                                                               
degree at UAA.                                                                                                                  
She referenced  the unemployment  number related to  COVID-19 and                                                               
explained that  UAA worked with  employers to develop a  group of                                                               
short-term  certificate programs  to train  individuals displaced                                                               
from their  job to retool and  go into an area  with high demand.                                                               
UAA certificate programs include  the university's contact tracer                                                               
program, IT  support specialists, infant-toddler  development for                                                               
childcare,  and  entrepreneurship for  those  who  want to  start                                                               
their own  businesses. These are  certificates from  existing UAA                                                               
courses  for validated  in-demand  areas that  an individual  can                                                               
complete in three semesters or less.                                                                                            
9:19:04 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS asked  her to comment on the  middle school college                                                               
because it should be a highlight.                                                                                               
DR. SANDEEN answered that UAA has  a very robust and large middle                                                               
school college program, the largest  of which is on the Anchorage                                                               
campus.  UAA   also  has  students   coming  from   high  schools                                                               
throughout  the state  participating  in  the ANSEP  acceleration                                                               
programs that are in addition  to the middle college program. The                                                               
university's middle college  program is at all  its campuses, but                                                               
the  largest  are  in  Anchorage,  Mat-Su,  and  Kenai  Peninsula                                                               
College. She said the program  has roughly doubled from last year                                                               
and most middle school college students enroll at a UA campus.                                                                  
DR. CAREY  reported that UAS  has several programs, one  of which                                                               
is a  scholarship program for  any student that is  interested in                                                               
dual  enrollment.  UAS  also  partners with  UAF  on  their  very                                                               
successful  Alaska Advantage  Program. Finish  College Alaska  is                                                               
another successful program  to help people who  have some college                                                               
but no degree.                                                                                                                  
DR.  CAREY  noted   that  UAS  is  partnering   with  the  Alaska                                                               
Association of  School Boards on  a grant called  the [Supporting                                                               
Transitions  and Educational  Promise  Southeast Alaska]  (STEPS)                                                               
Grant,  which  provides scholarships  to  students  that are  low                                                               
income or  Alaska Native. She  said the university is  very proud                                                               
that twenty percent of UAS students are Native.                                                                                 
9:21:14 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  LAYER  said one  last  highlight  is  the AlaskaX  (edX),  a                                                               
national  consortium  of  massive   online  open  access  courses                                                               
founded by  MIT and Harvard.  UAF joined edX  on behalf of  UA to                                                               
provide  the free  and  open  access courses.  To  date, UAF  has                                                               
developed  five  classes  in  several  areas  including:  salmon,                                                               
Arctic  security, health,  and how  to use  data from  the Alaska                                                               
satellite facility.  The edX program  is an  exciting opportunity                                                               
to draw  students to  Alaska while  addressing the  problems that                                                               
Alaska  has  in  the  Arctic.  UA  will  be  evaluating  how  the                                                               
university can use those to  get students interested in issues in                                                               
the Arctic.                                                                                                                     
DR.  LAYER  turned  to  slide  18  on  UA  expanding  partnership                                                               
opportunities  by considering  how to  provide other  support for                                                               
its students  outside of Alaska.  He said  many are aware  of the                                                               
successful  [Washington,  Wyoming,  Alaska, Montana,  and  Idaho]                                                               
(WWAMI)  program  with the  University  of  Washington School  of                                                               
Medicine.  Many good  students from  UA  go to  that program  and                                                               
return to be doctors in Alaska.                                                                                                 
DR.   LAYER  noted   that  UA   has   partnerships  in   chemical                                                               
engineering,  pharmacy, veterinary  medicine,  and  law. He  said                                                               
each  of  those provides  access  for  students through  the  2+2                                                               
Program or similar  partnerships to get those skills.  Due to the                                                               
cost  of   the  program,  the   School  of  Pharmacy   in  Alaska                                                               
successfully partnered with Idaho  State. UA's partnerships are a                                                               
reminder that  the university has  that kind of  access available                                                               
for UA students.                                                                                                                
9:23:53 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  LAYER said  teacher education  is  clearly an  area that  UA                                                               
knows it needs to work on  because there are tremendous needs for                                                               
teachers in Alaska. UA is evaluating  how it can better serve the                                                               
needs of K-12  schools going forward and meeting  those needs. He                                                               
said UA convened its faculty  across the system to collaborate on                                                               
program   development   and   recruitment  to   enhance   teacher                                                               
9:25:12 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. LAYER turned to slide 20  and noted that UA has the advantage                                                               
of several middle college models  that work for different student                                                               
populations in different communities.  He said the middle college                                                               
and ANSEP  programs at UAA's  Anchorage and Mat-Su  campuses have                                                               
been  very successful  in bringing  students  to dual  enrollment                                                               
programs.  UAF partnered  with the  Fairbanks North  Star Borough                                                               
School District  in the fall  of 2020  for their first  cohort of                                                               
middle  college  students.  UAF  capped the  program  at  40  and                                                               
waitlisted many more students and  parents. He reiterated that UA                                                               
believes its middle  college program can help bridge  some of the                                                               
student concerns about being prepared for college.                                                                              
He said he finds that  students who complete UA's middle colleges                                                               
come  to one  of UA's  universities prepared.  Many of  them have                                                               
credits equivalent to  an associate degree and  can be successful                                                               
at  UA universities.  Students can  save money  at the  same time                                                               
because  the  programs  are available  through  the  schools.  He                                                               
reiterated  that middle  colleges work  to address  student debt,                                                               
student retention, and student progress.                                                                                        
9:27:18 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. LAYER  said that in  addition to UA's  face-to-face component                                                               
for  on-campus  middle college,  there  is  the "virtual"  middle                                                               
college called the Alaska Advantage  Program. The virtual program                                                               
is  a partnership  with districts  where UA  solely provides  the                                                               
content. The program  partners with the teachers  and advisors in                                                               
the  district  who work  closely  with  the instructors  in  UA's                                                               
programs and courses  to deliver a full suite of  courses with an                                                               
Alaska focus.                                                                                                                   
DR. LAYER emphasized, "We are  Alaskans, we are Alaska educators,                                                               
we are Alaska professors as opposed  to a package that might come                                                               
from Arizona State  or someplace else. UA can  tailor its courses                                                               
to meet specific  needs of the district." He said  UA already has                                                               
over  30 districts  and home  school programs  participating. The                                                               
advantage of  the virtual program is  a student does not  have to                                                               
be in place with a university  or community campus, a student can                                                               
be  in  a rural  district.  UA  created  the virtual  program  to                                                               
improve student access.                                                                                                         
DR.  LAYER said  UA  has  several other  programs  that are  more                                                               
specific  on  types  of  careers   by  preparing,  educating,  or                                                               
introducing  students  to health  or  teaching  careers. UA  also                                                               
focuses on  getting its  rural students  onto campus  through its                                                               
ANSEP  programs   as  through   the  UAF  [Rural   Alaska  Honors                                                               
Institute]  RAHI program.  He said  the  middle college  programs                                                               
have all been  very successful in encouraging  students who might                                                               
not think  they are  college material to  come to  the university                                                               
and  to be  successful. He  said the  different formats  work for                                                               
different students  and different districts and  UA will continue                                                               
to work with districts in all locations across the state.                                                                       
9:29:38 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR STORY  asked how  the middle  college funding  works and                                                               
whether the district pays UA at a discounted rate.                                                                              
DR.  LAYER  answered that  each  of  the programs  have  slightly                                                               
different funding models. Students  enroll as regular students in                                                               
UA's  programs at  UAA  and  UAF and  they  receive support  from                                                               
districts  for  their  tuition,  fees,  and  books.  He  said  he                                                               
believes  either  districts  or   students  can  participate.  UA                                                               
reduces tuition because districts also provide support.                                                                         
DR. WHITE  said the  exception is when  an individual  chooses to                                                               
take  a course  on  his or  her own.  In  that circumstance,  the                                                               
district assumes most of the cost.                                                                                              
9:31:30 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. LAYER  turned to slide 22,  Reduced BudgetReduced  Footprint.                                                               
He said  UA has been under  the compact for the  last three years                                                               
as it plans  for FY 2022 budgeting. Since FY  2014, state support                                                               
has  dropped $120  million or  one-third. While  they have  still                                                               
been  able  to  provide  quality  programs,  their  footprint  is                                                               
smaller.  They want  to build  on the  high-quality programs  and                                                               
research. UA  faculty are assessing those  high-quality programs,                                                               
whether they  are face-to-face  or online  to ensure  quality and                                                               
accessibility. However, it is important  to recognize that is not                                                               
possible to do what they were doing before.                                                                                     
DR.  LAYER said  UA  would  like to  get  to  stability and  some                                                               
certainty   about  where   it  is   going  with   state  support,                                                               
enrollment,  research efforts,  and  the ability  to attract  and                                                               
retain  faculty. He  emphasized that  a diverse  faculty is  very                                                               
important for UA, as is a diverse student body.                                                                                 
DR. LAYER  said UA is  going to be  smaller. For example,  UA has                                                               
reduced programs. UA faculty, staff,  and chancellors continue to                                                               
do a  deep assessment of all  programs to look at  demand, costs,                                                               
and  meeting  needs in  similar  programs  throughout the  state.                                                               
Reducing  academic programs  is unfortunate  but necessary  given                                                               
the  university's situation.  UA is  also evaluating  how it  can                                                               
reduce  its  footprint  by  reducing the  number  of  leases  and                                                               
looking at all its facilities.                                                                                                  
DR. LAYER  said UA is  also looking at  how to deal  with faculty                                                               
and staff reductions  across the system. UA is  smaller than what                                                               
it  was and  that has  put  a lot  of  strain on  the system.  He                                                               
emphasized that  the key to  success in enrollment,  retention of                                                               
faculty and staff, and research funding is stability.                                                                           
He  said the  conversation about  what the  university will  look                                                               
like with the  smaller budget has been difficult but  each of the                                                               
universities has  come up with robust  plans for how to  meet the                                                               
restrictions and move forward to  develop programs to attract and                                                               
retain students. He concluded that stability  is a key to how the                                                               
university can contribute to Alaska's economic recovery.                                                                        
9:35:33 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS said thanks for  effectively discussing the reality                                                               
of the difficulties  the university has faced,  the problems with                                                               
the  compact, and  the  strain  it has  had  on  the faculty  and                                                               
administrators. It is an important message to receive.                                                                          
He said the committee understands  the issue with stability as it                                                               
continues  to  ask  more  from  UA  even  though  the  university                                                               
receives  fewer  funds.  He  asked  Dr.  Layer  to  continue  the                                                               
discussion and to provide his  thoughts about what the university                                                               
will look like after COVID-19.                                                                                                  
SENATOR  BEGICH asked  if there  has been  any effort  to find  a                                                               
needs-based   scholarship  for   financial   planning  like   the                                                               
University of Michigan.                                                                                                         
SENATOR  BEGICH said  Dr. Layer's  focus in  looking towards  the                                                               
future while dealing  with the current crises  is commendable and                                                               
a testament  to his  work, the  chancellors' work,  and President                                                               
Pitney's work in trying to  refocus on stability while keeping an                                                               
eye on the future.                                                                                                              
SENATOR  BEGICH  said  he  and his  staff  have  been  discussing                                                               
activities at other universities,  particularly what the Michigan                                                               
governor has  done to attract  lower-income students who  want to                                                               
improve their  skills or retool  because of the  COVID-19 issues.                                                               
They have  some college experience but  no degree or they  may be                                                               
older students looking to come back to the system.                                                                              
9:38:09 AM                                                                                                                    
DR.  LAYER  answered  that UA  has  been  evaluating  needs-based                                                               
scholarships  mostly at  the university  level. However,  each of                                                               
UA's universities  have a different  student base. He  asked each                                                               
chancellor to  talk about needs-based scholarships  from a system                                                               
perspective. UA  is considering developing  stronger scholarships                                                               
and developing efforts  to reach those students to  let them know                                                               
of  those options.  In  many  cases, the  UA  population is  very                                                               
vulnerable  and   reaching  those  people  to   provide  economic                                                               
opportunities is important to the university.                                                                                   
DR.   SANDEEN  noted   that  UAA   submitted  fast-track   career                                                               
certificates  to DEED  for those  eligible for  federal financial                                                               
aid and most received approval.  UAA also has local institutional                                                               
financial aid  available. UAA's principle  effort is to  meet the                                                               
needs  of  those  individuals  who have  lost  jobs  during  this                                                               
period. UAA expects  to add more certificates and  to continue to                                                               
push programs like that.                                                                                                        
9:40:05 AM                                                                                                                    
DR. CAREY said UAS has been  working with the City and Borough of                                                               
Juneau  that received  CARE Act  funding. She  said conversations                                                               
with  the mayor  and others  will hopefully  lead to  the federal                                                               
government extending funds beyond  December 31, 2020. The borough                                                               
would very  much like to  make that money  available specifically                                                               
to students  who need to  retool and UAS  is hoping to  get those                                                               
DR. CAREY  advised that UAS  is currently reviewing  its computer                                                               
science  programs  to  help  people   get  a  quick  occupational                                                               
endorsement  and to  provide  several  occupational courses  that                                                               
students  can take  at the  downtown technical  education center.                                                               
UAS is really trying to do an  outreach to get people who need to                                                               
retool back to school.                                                                                                          
DR. WHITE explained  one reason for reduced enrollment  at UAF is                                                               
children being at home for remote  learning or from job loss. The                                                               
University  of Alaska  Fairbanks  (UAF) has  been considering  is                                                               
childcare,  particularly  to  help nontraditional  students.  Not                                                               
only are  children at  home more,  but many  childcare facilities                                                               
shut  down   due  to  COVID-19.  UAF   is  considering  expanding                                                               
childcare access to get the  some-college, no-degree students the                                                               
opportunity  to  finish  their  degree  while  allowing  them  to                                                               
maintain a family and other responsibilities.                                                                                   
9:42:58 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR   DRUMMOND   noted   alternative  energy   systems   are                                                               
increasing  throughout the  state. He  asked Dr.  Layer for  UA's                                                               
role in alternative energy systems.                                                                                             
DR.  LAYER indicated  UA will  provide a  broader, more  in-depth                                                               
presentation on  the university's research and  facilities during                                                               
the  upcoming  legislative  session. He  noted  Chancellor  White                                                               
mentioned  UA's  efforts at  ACEP,  but  UAA is  also  conducting                                                               
research in that area.                                                                                                          
9:44:39 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COSTELLO joined the meeting.                                                                                            
SENATOR COSTELLO asked for  clarification on continuing education                                                               
students where  students are not  limited to take  online courses                                                               
at the  university near their  residences. She  acknowledged that                                                               
each university has a separate  online presence that is sometimes                                                               
tricky to navigate.                                                                                                             
She asked if UA had made  any effort to unify its online presence                                                               
for people who are taking classes.                                                                                              
DR. LAYER answered this process  is one of President Pitney's top                                                               
priorities.  UA  is currently  examining  how  to coordinate  the                                                               
universities'  processes  better  and  exploring  whether  it  is                                                               
restricting  online   participation  since  many   students  take                                                               
courses  at  two  or  more  UA  campuses.  They  have  also  been                                                               
reviewing their Information Technology (IT) operation.                                                                          
9:46:29 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS asked for an  update on UA's presidential selection                                                               
and when can the legislature expect a permanent president.                                                                      
DR. LAYER  responded the [Board  of Regents] will be  making that                                                               
selection. However,  the board did  not discuss the topic  at its                                                               
fall  2020 meeting.  He offered  his view  that the  board wanted                                                               
first to  provide some stability  with Interim  President Pitney.                                                               
Both President  Pitney and the  board are contemplating  that she                                                               
would serve 12-18 months. Thus, the process needs to start soon.                                                                
CHAIR STEVENS said the new  legislature will begin in January and                                                               
his  expectation is  many  committee members  will  be back  with                                                               
great interest in what is happening with UA.                                                                                    
9:48:29 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS  announced Norm Wooten,  Executive Director  of the                                                               
Association  of  Alaska  School Boards  (AASB)  will  provide  an                                                               
9:48:48 AM                                                                                                                    
NORM  WOOTEN, Executive  Director, Association  of Alaska  School                                                               
Boards,   Juneau,  Alaska,   noted  AASB   has  coordinated   its                                                               
presentation with  the [Alaska Council of  School Administrators]                                                               
(ACSA) so there will be no repetition.                                                                                          
He offered  to address the concern  over the loss of  the average                                                               
daily  membership   (ADM)  or  student  population   with  school                                                               
districts across the state.                                                                                                     
He  noted  many have  seen  the  hold  harmless provision  in  AS                                                               
14.17.410(e) as a  solution to the loss of the  ADM in the state.                                                               
The statutory hold harmless provision  applies to those districts                                                               
who are experiencing a reduction in enrollment.                                                                                 
MR.  WOOTEN  explained  the  eligibility  process.  To  determine                                                               
eligibility,  a district  compares its  total in  the school-size                                                               
adjustment  in the  foundation formula  against the  prior fiscal                                                               
year to  determine if a decrease  of five percent or  greater has                                                               
occurred  within  that  district  relative  to  the  school  size                                                               
adjustment. If that occurs, the  last fiscal year will become the                                                               
base   for  determining   that  district's   funding  under   the                                                               
foundation formula. However, there  are several caveats that have                                                               
a direct bearing on the provision.                                                                                              
MR. WOOTEN  said the provision  is available to the  districts up                                                               
to  three years,  provided the  district remains  below the  base                                                               
year.  In  year one,  the  district  retains  75 percent  of  the                                                               
difference  to the  base year,  50 percent  in year  two, and  25                                                               
percent in year three.                                                                                                          
He remarked that  while the hold harmless  provision sounds good,                                                               
districts will  still experience  significant shortfalls  even if                                                               
they qualify.  In 2020, districts  had to plan for  three options                                                               
at  the  beginning  of  the   school  year,  including  in-person                                                               
schooling,  a hybrid  model of  in-person and  distance learning,                                                               
and a distance learning option.                                                                                                 
9:51:59 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. WOOTEN explained that shortfalls  addressed by the foundation                                                               
formula only  make up a  part of district revenue.  For instance,                                                               
the  hold  harmless  provision  does not  consider  the  loss  of                                                               
revenue funding  through the transportation  fund or  through the                                                               
nutrition services  fund, so districts will  experience losses in                                                               
those areas.                                                                                                                    
MR. WOOTEN  noted ASCA  will discuss  data from  districts across                                                               
the state  and their expected  shortfalls, many of which  will be                                                               
He  explained   that  districts  had  already   contracted  their                                                               
teaching staff  for the year  when the pandemic arose,  but there                                                               
has not been any loss of personnel so far.                                                                                      
9:53:02 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  WOOTEN   said  COVID-19   expenditures  have   increased  as                                                               
districts  put their  pandemic plans  into effect,  including in-                                                               
person   learning,  enhanced   cleaning,  establishing   district                                                               
protocols,  purchasing   personal  protective   equipment  (PPE),                                                               
digital  platforms  for  distance  learning,  software  programs,                                                               
hardware for  student access,  and costs  to create  hotspots and                                                               
deliver meals.                                                                                                                  
He pointed out districts using  the hold harmless provision "will                                                               
actually not  be held completely harmless,"  since districts will                                                               
not be afforded protection from those costs.                                                                                    
MR. WOOTEN summarized  his intent was to briefly  review the hold                                                               
harmless provision for committee members.                                                                                       
9:54:29 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS  asked if  the AASB has  discussed the  count dates                                                               
and  if  that will  require  consideration  or changes  when  the                                                               
student population count occurs.                                                                                                
MR.  WOOTEN  deferred  the  technical   question  to  others.  He                                                               
remarked  that the  October count  period has  been in  place for                                                               
several years  and typically would  be appropriate.  However, the                                                               
school  districts may  need  to do  something  different for  the                                                               
student counts.                                                                                                                 
MR.  WOOTEN  explained  AASB  selected Lon  Garrison  to  be  his                                                               
successor as  the executive director.  He described  Mr. Garrison                                                               
as  eminently qualified  to assume  that  position. Mr.  Garrison                                                               
currently  serves as  the AASB  director of  member services  and                                                               
served one  term as  the AASB  president. He  also served  on the                                                               
Sitka school board for many years.                                                                                              
He said that  is assisting with Mr. Garrison's  transition to the                                                               
executive director  position on January  2, 2021. The  AASB board                                                               
has asked him to stay on  through the 2021 legislative session to                                                               
perform advocacy work for AASB.                                                                                                 
9:57:24 AM                                                                                                                    
At ease.                                                                                                                        
10:03:28 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR STEVENS called the meeting back to order.                                                                                 
He  said the  committees will  hear  from the  Alaska Council  of                                                               
School Administrators (ASCA). Dr. Lisa  S. Parady will provide an                                                               
overview entitled, Public School Enrollment During the Pandemic.                                                                
10:03:52 AM                                                                                                                   
LISA SKILES  PARADY, PhD, Executive  Director, Alaska  Council of                                                               
School Administrators,  Juneau, Alaska, noted three  ASCA members                                                               
will share  some impacts on  public school enrollment  during the                                                               
COVID-19 pandemic.                                                                                                              
She  turned  to  the  presentation,   Alaska  Council  of  School                                                               
Administrators  LeadershipUnity  and  Advocacy for  Alaska Public                                                               
Education  on  slide  2.  She  described  ACSA  as  the  umbrella                                                               
organization  for  the  Alaska Superintendents  Association,  the                                                               
Alaska  Association of  Secondary School  Principals, the  Alaska                                                               
Association of Elementary School  Principals, the School Business                                                               
Officials, and  school district administrators across  Alaska who                                                               
serve Alaska's students.                                                                                                        
DR.  PARADY  turned  to  slide  3,  Few  Schools  Are  Open,  But                                                               
Educators  Are Crushed.  She complimented  school administrators,                                                               
teachers, and  all education staff  for working  tirelessly since                                                               
spring  2020  to  provide  students  with  education  during  the                                                               
pandemic. Schools  may be less  visible with virtual  and blended                                                               
learning, but  teachers and  educators are  doing more  work than                                                               
ever to  support students  and communities.  Teachers are  on the                                                               
frontline  and  are  leaders  in  their  communities,  taking  on                                                               
additional  responsibilities and  helping to  make decisions  for                                                               
their  communities.  Superintendents   have  dedicated  staff  to                                                               
address notification related to COVID-19.                                                                                       
10:06:09 AM                                                                                                                   
DR. PARADY  reviewed slide  4, What  Is The  Best Way  To Educate                                                               
Alaska's    Students.    Superintendents,   principals,    Alaska                                                               
Association of  School Boards, and  educational leaders  have met                                                               
weekly   to   establish   unprecedented   levels   of   statewide                                                               
coordination  to   keep  communities   safe  and   support  their                                                               
She  highlighted  that since  March  2020  ACSA has  held  weekly                                                               
superintendent   meetings    with   principals    and   statewide                                                               
educational leaders.  She commended Commissioner Johnson  and Dr.                                                               
Anne Zinc  [Chief Medical  Officer for  the Alaska  Department of                                                               
Health and  Social Services]  for their work  with the  ACSA. The                                                               
ASCA has  hosted these  meetings to help  ensure its  members and                                                               
students  receive the  best possible  levels of  coordination and                                                               
collaboration during the pandemic.                                                                                              
She  referred to  slide 5,  The  Lasting Impact  of a  Continuing                                                               
Pandemic,  which  read:  Alaska's  second  wave  of  COVID-19  is                                                               
delaying return to  school and is closing schools  that have been                                                               
in person  until now,  with many schools  delaying return  to in-                                                               
person instruction.                                                                                                             
DR. PARADY said educators must  respond to the current crisis and                                                               
plan for the  long-term impact of the pandemic.  The pandemic has                                                               
led to a full year of diminished learning.                                                                                      
10:08:51 AM                                                                                                                   
DR. PARADY reviewed slide 6,  COVID-19 Concerns About Enrollment.                                                               
She said the Alaska  Superintendents Association (ASA) leadership                                                               
drafted  the August  7, 2020  letter to  Commissioner Johnson  to                                                               
enlist  his support  to  use the  November  19 estimated  student                                                               
count data for education funding for FY2021.                                                                                    
DR. PARADY stated  educational leaders are taking  an active role                                                               
to  protect Alaska's  schools,  highlighting  a secondary  crisis                                                               
that will  arise with uncertain and  inadequate funding. Unstable                                                               
funding  will  not  improve the  situation  schools  are  facing.                                                               
Action to  provide funding stability  is necessary as  ASCA hopes                                                               
to highlight in today's presentation.  She agreed with Mr. Wooten                                                               
that current  statues may be  insufficient to handle  the current                                                               
10:10:35 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  said Mr. Wooten previously  explained the                                                               
hold harmless provision does not  hold districts harmless because                                                               
the districts lose funding when  their population drops. He asked                                                               
whether the provision's formula  helps address the rapid decrease                                                               
in  student  enrollment at  schools  versus  a gradual  community                                                               
population decline.                                                                                                             
DR.  PARADY  thanked  the  legislature   for  the  hold  harmless                                                               
legislation  that  has  helped districts  deal  with  periods  of                                                               
population change.  However, the  legislature did not  design the                                                               
policy  for short-term  budget stabilization  in times  of crisis                                                               
that districts currently face throughout Alaska.                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  noted the Fairbanks school  district lost                                                               
2,000  students, or  10 percent  of  its students,  who left  for                                                               
various  reasons.   Further,  Fairbanks  has   been  experiencing                                                               
declining  enrollment  and  increased COVID-19  costs  that  have                                                               
devasted several  school districts. He emphasized  the importance                                                               
of  the August  7, 2020  ASA letter,  which would  hold districts                                                               
harmless by  using the 2019  figures to compensate  for declining                                                               
enrollment and increased costs.                                                                                                 
10:12:48 AM                                                                                                                   
DR.  PARADY explained  that  ASA represents  all  regions in  the                                                               
state and  districts unanimously supported sending  the letter to                                                               
Commissioner  Johnson.  Eighty  percent of  superintendents  from                                                               
large and small  districts responded to a  survey regarding their                                                               
enrollment issues and noted a consensus  to set a floor but not a                                                               
cap because of the varying  range of changes in enrollment across                                                               
the state.                                                                                                                      
10:14:10 AM                                                                                                                   
DR.  PARADY turned  to  slide  7 and  explained  that this  slide                                                               
contains the language  in AS 14.17.600(a) related  to the student                                                               
enrollment count used for public  school funding. Schools already                                                               
completed  their  student  enrollment   counts  for  FY  2021  as                                                               
mandated by  the Alaska  statutes, and  DEED just  received those                                                               
figures, she said.                                                                                                              
She detailed the  first day of the student count  for the FY 2021                                                               
school year was September 28,  2020. However, many of the schools                                                               
were still  navigating distance and  safe learning due  to COVID-                                                               
19.  While  some  students were  returning  to  classrooms,  some                                                               
schools and most  rural schools were distance  learning with some                                                               
families transitioning to homebased programs.                                                                                   
DR.  PARADY reviewed  the  hold harmless  provision  on slide  8,                                                               
which  provides enrollment  stabilization  funding for  districts                                                               
experiencing loss  in enrollment  as previously  stated. However,                                                               
the provision only applies to  districts that lose more than five                                                               
percent by adjusted ADM  in a single year and it  acts as a step-                                                               
down to allow districts more time to adjust to funding loss.                                                                    
DR. PARADY  explained the provision's  design aids  districts for                                                               
gradual  population   change,  but  not  for   short-term  budget                                                               
stabilization in times  of crisis. That is a real  take away from                                                               
ASCA's  presentation   because  that   is  the  place   in  which                                                               
superintendents,  school   districts,  and  school   boards  find                                                               
themselves.  The provision  also does  not specifically  apply to                                                               
loss of intensive needs students and their funding.                                                                             
10:16:24 AM                                                                                                                   
DR. PARADY  reviewed slide 9,  showing five other  states' policy                                                               
responses  to support  schools  through  the pandemic.  Arizona's                                                               
Governor Ducey took executive action  to provide additional grant                                                               
funding, specifically to stabilize funding  but not to change the                                                               
foundation  formula or  ADM process.  The grants  provide stopgap                                                               
funding  to allow  districts to  continue operations  as expected                                                               
during the crisis.                                                                                                              
DR. PARADY said  the North Carolina General  Assembly amended its                                                               
foundation  formula  statutes specific  to  FY  2021 funding  for                                                               
allocation according to  the greater of actual  or anticipated FY                                                               
2021  enrollment  to  provide  stabilization  to  districts  with                                                               
enrollment  losses without  negatively impacting  the budgets  of                                                               
districts   of   higher   than  anticipated   enrollment,   which                                                               
Representative Hopkins indicated Alaska also faces.                                                                             
DR.  PARADY noted  other  statesincluding  Michigan,  California,                                                               
and Coloradohave   seen near universal decreases  in district ADM                                                               
and have responded by basing FY  2021 funding on FY 2020 ADM. The                                                               
next slide shows Alaska is  not alone. Other districts across the                                                               
United States  are addressing the  same issue and  ASCA certainly                                                               
appreciates the legislature's consideration.                                                                                    
10:18:03 AM                                                                                                                   
DR.  PARADY  addressed slide  10  and  noted her  previous  slide                                                               
mentioned  states  have recognized  the  need  to take  emergency                                                               
action  and   support  schools  through  budget   stability.  She                                                               
cautioned  that  failing to  support  schools  through this  time                                                               
would have lasting  impact. The budget crisis  the districts face                                                               
today is  an acute emergency. She  said the state did  not design                                                               
the hold harmless provision to address the current situation.                                                                   
10:19:24 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR HUGHES  expressed concern that Dr.  Parady's presentation                                                               
focused on the need for money  rather than on student needs. Some                                                               
parents have  voiced concern about  the education  their children                                                               
are getting during  the pandemic. Over time,  the legislature has                                                               
put more  money into  education but has  not observed  a parallel                                                               
change in student achievement. The  current situation is creating                                                               
situations where some  students are failing because  they are not                                                               
receiving instruction.                                                                                                          
SENATOR HUGHES noted Dr. Parady  indicated that the districts are                                                               
facing financial  difficulties because  of COVID-19.  She related                                                               
her understanding that  the Mat-Su School District  saw a savings                                                               
in  its spring  2020  because the  students  were not  physically                                                               
attending schools.                                                                                                              
SENATOR HUGHES pointed out Dr.  Parady did not mention additional                                                               
federal funding. Although AASB wants  the hold harmless provision                                                               
for districts,  the association  is asking the  state to  pay for                                                               
students  who  are  no  longer  at the  district  and  are  in  a                                                               
homeschool program or attend school  at a new location. She asked                                                               
if she  has the data  to show that  districts are in  a financial                                                               
crisis.  Parents   are  going  to   be  livid  if   suddenly  the                                                               
legislature  is putting  a whole  lot more  money into  districts                                                               
without demonstrated results.                                                                                                   
10:22:56 AM                                                                                                                   
DR.  PARADY stated  that  the association's  focus  is not  about                                                               
money  but on  stabilizing  school districts  to  allow focus  on                                                               
students' needs, health, safety, and on their outcomes.                                                                         
She explained  the data  is not consistent  by district.  In some                                                               
cases, there have been gains  like the Mat-Su School District and                                                               
in  other  cases, there  have  been  great loses.  Although  AASB                                                               
agrees that there is a not a  loss across the entire state, it is                                                               
important  that districts  apply the  hold harmless  provision to                                                               
provide  stability for  focusing  on students  and their  safety,                                                               
wellbeing,   and   instruction.   She   emphasized   that   every                                                               
administrator,  teacher and  educator she  has worked  with since                                                               
March 2020 is primarily concerned about the students.                                                                           
DR.  PARADY  described  her  own experience  with  the  level  of                                                               
education provided by the Juneau  School District, where her four                                                               
daughters  attend  school.  She  commended the  time  and  effort                                                               
teachers  put forth  to make  sure students  receive the  highest                                                               
caliber academic  experience. Her youngest daughter  is in middle                                                               
school on  Zoom every day  and she  has never worked  harder. She                                                               
offered her  view that administrators and  teachers across Alaska                                                               
are doing more to ensure a quality experience for students.                                                                     
DR. PARADY emphasized  the cost of running a  school district has                                                               
not  shifted because  many  contracts were  signed  prior to  the                                                               
pandemic, including transportation costs.                                                                                       
DR.  PARADY said  the next  speakers, superintendents  Kerry Boyd                                                               
and John  O'Brien, will provide  specific situations  of variance                                                               
from a rural, urban, and homeschool perspective.                                                                                
10:28:06 AM                                                                                                                   
KERRY  BOYD,   President,  Alaska   Superintendents  Association,                                                               
Superintendent,   Yukon-Koyukuk   School   District,   Fairbanks,                                                               
Alaska, noted  her service on  the ASA  board for over  a decade.                                                               
She has  served as superintendent  with the  Yukon-Koyukuk School                                                               
District (YKSD) since 2008.                                                                                                     
She said she  will share with committee members  a statewide lens                                                               
as well  as an  individual perspective  as superintendent  from a                                                               
rural district with a statewide homeschool program.                                                                             
MS.   BOYD  reviewed   slide  12,   EnrollmentThe   Big   Picture                                                               
Statewide. She  said ASA surveyed  all 53 of  its superintendents                                                               
to document  the diverse situations  each district  faces. Eighty                                                               
percent  of districts  responded  and  demonstrated their  unique                                                               
concerns  and challenges.  The pandemic  affected some  districts                                                               
more than others.  Unlike other states, Alaska does  not have any                                                               
uniform,  statewide  trend  in  enrollment.  Many  districts  are                                                               
taking enrollment losses,  but the magnitude ranges  from over 50                                                               
percent in some districts to less  than 1 percent in others. Over                                                               
30 percent of  the districts have seen enrollment gains  of up to                                                               
10 percent.                                                                                                                     
MS.  BOYD said  that the  Alaska Department  of Education  (DEED)                                                               
recently  received  the  final   count  information  and  she  is                                                               
uncertain if  the department  had a chance  to analyze  the data,                                                               
which takes time.                                                                                                               
MS. BOYD highlighted ASA's goal is  to raise awareness of how the                                                               
pandemic not  only affects districts but  also Alaskans. Families                                                               
struggle  with the  decision whether  to send  their children  to                                                               
school or  to keep  them at  home. Both  rural and  urban working                                                               
families have childcare concerns.                                                                                               
10:31:43 AM                                                                                                                   
MS.  BOYD reviewed  slide 13,  Statewide Enrollment  Changes. She                                                               
said   there  is   an  unprecedented   growth   in  this   year's                                                               
correspondence  program enrollment  in Alaska.  Multiple programs                                                               
have  experienced over  1,000 percent  growth in  a single  year.                                                               
Preliminary  data  from  DEED shows  27,702  homeschool  students                                                               
statewide, which is a significant increase from last year.                                                                      
MS. BOYD  reviewed slide 14, Shifting  Enrollments for 2020/2021.                                                               
She said superintendents across  the state have expressed concern                                                               
about whether homeschool or in-school  is the best way to educate                                                               
students during the pandemic. While  some can districts offer in-                                                               
person, meaningful, quality  education, some unequipped districts                                                               
can better  provide that quality  education in a  remote learning                                                               
model, while other districts do not have internet.                                                                              
MS.  BOYD reviewed  slide 15,  Large District  Impact. She  noted                                                               
some   larger   districts   have  seen   considerable   loss   in                                                               
neighborhood school enrollment and  most have seen enough decline                                                               
to qualify for the hold  harmless provision. Many creative larger                                                               
districts have  shifted to correspondence  programs. The  ASA was                                                               
impressed with  the programs these districts  created in response                                                               
to students enrolling in homeschooling programs.                                                                                
MS.  BOYD  agreed  with  Senator Hughes  about  the  concern  for                                                               
providing a  meaningful education during the  pandemic. She noted                                                               
that the  pandemic has forced  everyone to review  the districts'                                                               
responses and to prepare for distance and remote learning.                                                                      
10:34:52 AM                                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND highlighted  the  shifting enrollment,  noting                                                               
there  are 27,000  homeschool students  statewide, with  about 21                                                               
percent  of   Alaska's  K-12   students  currently   enrolled  in                                                               
homeschool programs.                                                                                                            
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND asked her for  the current number of homeschool                                                               
students the K-12 system.                                                                                                       
MS. BOYD  answered the  DEED did not  provide the  information to                                                               
her, but  she surmised  the number  is around  10,000-15,000. She                                                               
deferred to the department to respond.                                                                                          
10:37:03 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. BOYD said that most large  districts have seen enough loss in                                                               
neighborhood school  enrollment to qualify for  the hold harmless                                                               
provision. As a  result, many large districts  have created their                                                               
own  homeschool programs.  Uncertainty  exists statewide  whether                                                               
these  students  will  return to  in-person  instruction  and  if                                                               
enrollment will  return to previous  levels. ASA is not  sure how                                                               
enrollment will shift for next year's start.                                                                                    
MS. BOYD  reviewed slide  16, Rural  District Impact.  She stated                                                               
that there  has not been  a consistent  trend in small  and rural                                                               
districts  and most  rural districts  have seen  relatively small                                                               
enrollment  changes.   One  challenge   for  the   smaller  rural                                                               
districts  is  to  provide  a strong  education  program  if  the                                                               
infrastructure is not available.  When many rural districts close                                                               
their  doors  to  in-school  learning,  these  districts  provide                                                               
remote  school  through paper  and  pencil  packets or  computers                                                               
loaded with assignments. However,  remote school does not replace                                                               
in-person or  Zoom classes. Further, many  rural districts cannot                                                               
provide ongoing,  meaningful contact with families.  Parents have                                                               
experienced difficulties  trying to  homeschool and  work without                                                               
adequate support.                                                                                                               
She   noted  some   small  districts   have  seen   unprecedented                                                               
enrollment  drops  of  up  to 40  percent.  Rural  districts  not                                                               
offering  in-person  instruction  have   experienced  a  loss  to                                                               
homeschooling  programs. She  said DEED  will provide  additional                                                               
enrollment data later.                                                                                                          
10:41:13 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. BOYD turned to slide  17, Correspondent Enrollment, which she                                                               
said has  seen unprecedented increases.  Many programs  have seen                                                               
significant enrollment gains, requiring  districts to shift their                                                               
focus  and   expand  staff.  Some  staff   report  their  biggest                                                               
challenge  is to  provide support  to homeschool  programs. Since                                                               
many families  are trying to  homeschool for the first  time, ASA                                                               
wants to make  sure these parents have what they  need to provide                                                               
meaningful  education at  home until  they decide  whether to  go                                                               
back to brick-and-mortar schools.                                                                                               
MS. BOYD  reviewed slide 18,  Staffing Concerns.  One significant                                                               
statewide challenge is trying to  find qualified teachers to fill                                                               
positions to  provide guidance to families  in the correspondence                                                               
program. Districts  must be  clear when  hiring teachers  that no                                                               
guarantees  are  made for  their  positions  beyond a  year.  She                                                               
acknowledged that  once teachers  are hired,  they often  have an                                                               
opportunity  to stay.  The  hired teachers  are  not immune  from                                                               
feeling the strain of delivering education during this time.                                                                    
10:43:43 AM                                                                                                                   
MS.  BOYD reviewed  slide 19  and reiterated  the concerns  about                                                               
staffing  and  turnover.  She  noted   her  appreciation  to  the                                                               
governor  and  DEED  for  putting   together  a  task  force  for                                                               
retention and recruitment, something  much needed in Alaska. Last                                                               
year  there  were  only  10 vacancies  for  elementary  and  high                                                               
school,  and  104 vacancies  for  special  education. This  year,                                                               
there are over 100 elementary,  middle, and high school positions                                                               
still open, and over 100 open special education positions.                                                                      
MS. BOYD  noted turnover  for a typical  rural district  is 15-35                                                               
percent. Turnover in her district  for the homeschool program has                                                               
been  virtually  zero unless  a  teacher  retires. However,  this                                                               
year,  it has  been a  struggle to  find new  homeschool teachers                                                               
because people are understandably afraid to travel.                                                                             
MS.  BOYD  noted  an  ISER  [Institute  of  Social  and  Economic                                                               
Research] report showed the average  cost of replacing a teacher,                                                               
including  providing  orientation,  hiring, and  offering  career                                                               
fairs is  about $20,000, although  that figure  varies, depending                                                               
on the area of the state.                                                                                                       
10:46:26 AM                                                                                                                   
MS.  BOYD  reviewed slide  20,  Turnover,  which illustrates  the                                                               
turnover differences  across the state. Rural  Alaska experiences                                                               
higher turnover rates  of 36 percent for teachers  and 38 percent                                                               
for principals  as compared to  19 percent in urban  areas. There                                                               
has been an  uptick in teacher turnover in the  last eight years.                                                               
Still,  more educators  are considering  leaving the  profession.                                                               
According  to  the State  Division  of  Retirement and  Benefits,                                                               
2,800  educators  are  eligible   for  retirement  this  year  as                                                               
compared  to  the  4,700  retirements   between  2010  and  2020.                                                               
Additionally,  a study  conducted  on  rural-remote, remote,  and                                                               
urban regions  clearly identifies the percentage  of turnover and                                                               
staffing  concerns.   Superintendents  are  working   with  their                                                               
districts  and  staff  to  make   sure  teachers  receive  enough                                                               
support. Currently  families and teachers are  feeling the strain                                                               
of the ongoing COVID-19 concerns.                                                                                               
MS.  BOYD  said  teachers  must  perform  more  tasks,  including                                                               
screening students, educating families,  and dealing with schools                                                               
opening and closing due to  COVID-19 concerns. Teachers must also                                                               
learn  how to  teach  remotely,  which is  a  statewide trend  to                                                               
address the needs of families.                                                                                                  
10:49:38 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. BOYD reviewed slide 21,  Looking Ahead, The Cost of Recovery.                                                               
She  said that  learning loss  is an  important concern.  Someone                                                               
saying there  has not been  a learning  loss is hard  to believe.                                                               
Schools closed  in March 2020  and the transition to  virtual and                                                               
distance   instruction  has   been  challenging   all  districts.                                                               
Further, for  many students, distance  delivery has  not replaced                                                               
direct,  in-person   instruction.  Districts   continuously  seek                                                               
solutions  to  meet the  ever-changing  needs  in Alaska  due  to                                                               
COVID-19.  Some districts  are better  equipped  and have  better                                                               
connectivity.  Other districts  that  even without  connectivity,                                                               
are innovating ways to deliver education to the students.                                                                       
MS.  BOYD said  Commissioner Johnson  has been  meeting regularly                                                               
with  superintendents  to find  solutions  and  work together  to                                                               
provide education.  Districts want to ensure  the education level                                                               
is the highest level and focus for the state moving forward.                                                                    
She  noted  some  districts  have  developed  special  plans  and                                                               
programs for  their special education  students by  providing in-                                                               
classroom  times. That  has been  hard, but  it has  been working                                                               
across  the   state.  Many  districts  that   have  lost  special                                                               
education to homeschool programs are  concerned about how to make                                                               
sure special  education students  have their  equitable education                                                               
needs met.                                                                                                                      
10:53:11 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. BOYD  reviewed slide  22, Equity in  Education. She  said the                                                               
digital  divide  has become  more  apparent  under COVID-19.  She                                                               
thanked the  legislature for passing [Senate  Bill 74] introduced                                                               
by Senator  Hoffman. She  noted [the  companion bill,  House Bill                                                               
75] was introduced by Representative  Rasmussen, and will provide                                                               
up to  25 [megabytes (MB)]  bandwidth, which will be  an enormous                                                               
help statewide.                                                                                                                 
She explained  reaching students who lack  reliable home internet                                                               
is  a challenge  and those  families receive  paper packets,  and                                                               
computers with  downloaded materials. Without Zoom,  students are                                                               
not able  to take  the university-level  courses in  their homes.                                                               
She compared the  monthly cost in the Juneau  school district for                                                               
100 MB  is $1,050 whereas  the monthly  cost in Allakaket  in her                                                               
district for 25 MB is $40,000.                                                                                                  
10:55:12 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. BOYD  reviewed slide  23, COVID-19  Impact on  Enrollment for                                                               
Yukon-Koyukuk. Superintendents,  teachers, and support  staff are                                                               
working hard  to adapt. She  compared the Y-K  homeschool program                                                               
with 135  percent increase  to the  rural school  enrollment with                                                               
little change.                                                                                                                  
She explained  that districts typically start  offering contracts                                                               
in  January, but  due to  uncertainty must  wait. Superintendents                                                               
want to  keep their staff to  avoid the costs of  recruiting. She                                                               
said YKSD  has nine rural-remote  communities with just  over 300                                                               
students and  a homeschool  program with  4,300 students  and six                                                               
statewide  offices. Last  year YKSK  had  about 300  rural-remote                                                               
students;  enrollment  did  not   shift.  However,  the  district                                                               
homeschool program has increased  so dramatically, the district's                                                               
focus is to work with families to make sure the program works.                                                                  
MS.  BOYD noted  YKSD partners  with  other districts  on how  to                                                               
provide  special  education  services, especially  since  special                                                               
education student numbers for YKSD have tripled.                                                                                
MS.  BOYD  reviewed the  YKSD  rural  school fall  schedule.  The                                                               
district  started  on  September  8,  about  a  month  late.  The                                                               
district started  its [COVID-19]  Smart Plan  in the  "green" for                                                               
in-person learning.  Recently, it became necessary  to close five                                                               
school  buildings  and  shift  to   remote  learning  because  of                                                               
increased  COVID-19 virus  outbreak in  employees, students,  and                                                               
community members.  However, the  district had  strong mitigation                                                               
efforts at schools, which limited the spread of the virus.                                                                      
MS.  BOYD explained  YKSD  does not  have  the infrastructure  to                                                               
provide  Zoom  classes.  The  district   has  been  working  with                                                               
internet  providers to  provide the  much-needed services  to its                                                               
families. The district  has doubled its staffing  at YKSD's Raven                                                               
program, but it has struggled to fill teacher positions.                                                                        
10:59:48 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  PRAX asked  if the  district is  hiring certified                                                               
MS. BOYD  answered that the  district follows state  guidance and                                                               
only hires certified  teachers. The district was  able to recruit                                                               
some teachers from other districts.                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE PRAX asked her if she  has an estimate of how many                                                               
teachers came  from other districts  versus how many were  new to                                                               
the Alaska school system.                                                                                                       
MS. BOYD  offered to  research and report  back to  the committee                                                               
with the information.                                                                                                           
CHAIR  STEVENS   asked  her  to   provide  his  staff   with  the                                                               
information and his office will make sure everyone receives it.                                                                 
11:03:34 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. BOYD reviewed  slide 24, COVID-19 Economic  Impact for Yukon-                                                               
Koyukuk.  Homeschool enrollment  increases  will result  in a  54                                                               
percent  increase  in revenue,  resulting  in  an additional  $12                                                               
million for 2020/2021. The district  worked with the DEED to make                                                               
sure it had  allotments for the families and  funds for internet.                                                               
DEED  made the  district aware  of  a statute  to help  districts                                                               
experiencing an economic impact with forward funding.                                                                           
MS. BOYD said the district  has not had any significant increases                                                               
to  its district  office staff.  They are  working on  a rotating                                                               
basis to  help the  district during the  pandemic. The  staff for                                                               
the Raven program primarily work  from home and work minimally in                                                               
the office.                                                                                                                     
11:05:04 AM                                                                                                                   
MS.  BOYD reviewed  slide 25,  Stabilizing Schools  for Students.                                                               
While stabilizing funding  is important, her priority  as the ASA                                                               
president and the  focus for superintendents across  the state is                                                               
to provide a focused delivery  of high-quality instruction during                                                               
the  pandemic.  ASA will  continue  to  work  with DEED  and  the                                                               
districts to do what it can to help students.                                                                                   
SENATOR BEGICH  expressed concern the legislature  will only have                                                               
time in the  upcoming session to address  budget issues. However,                                                               
he acknowledged  she raised  important issues,  including teacher                                                               
retention.  He  asked for  clarification  on  the district  needs                                                               
beyond the budget.                                                                                                              
MS. BOYD  suggested the legislature  look statewide  at education                                                               
policy, connectivity  issues, and  how districts  provide reading                                                               
instruction. She  said the  ASA and  department are  available to                                                               
11:08:16 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  STEVENS remarked  he realizes  that  things are  different                                                               
with kids  not receiving the  education that they  might normally                                                               
get.  He  noted his  seven-year-old  grandchild  tells him  about                                                               
students who just do not show up  to her online class and are not                                                               
doing the work.                                                                                                                 
CHAIR STEVENS asked if the children  that are missing out will be                                                               
able to catch up.                                                                                                               
MS.  BOYD answered  that  even  though students  are  not in  the                                                               
building,  districts   must  address  issues  that   will  affect                                                               
students  for  the  rest  of their  lives.  Students  must  build                                                               
routines  and responsibilities  to focus  and do  their homework.                                                               
That is their job right now  until they graduate from high school                                                               
and  districts  must  continue  to  emphasize  that  through  the                                                               
pandemic as schools close.                                                                                                      
MS. BOYD acknowledged that some  children and parents do not have                                                               
the  same level  of expectations  with closed  schools. She  said                                                               
that superintendents must ensure  that education expectations are                                                               
even  higher  during the  pandemic  while  children are  learning                                                               
11:10:22 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE PRAX noted earlier commentary  on having to take a                                                               
new look on  how to provide new services. He  asked Dr. Parady if                                                               
there has  been consideration  of a  force majeure  provision for                                                               
all their contracts  such as employee unions and  bus service. In                                                               
most private industry contracts, there  is a force majeure clause                                                               
for something  beyond a party's  control that causes the  need to                                                               
change a contract.  He said it seems that there  was some mention                                                               
of  contracts  inhibiting flexibility  and  he  was wondering  if                                                               
there was consideration of force majeure.                                                                                       
DR.  PARADY answered  she understands  what force  majeure is  in                                                               
terms  of unforeseeable  circumstances which  districts certainly                                                               
find themselves  in. She deferred  to the next  presentation from                                                               
the Kenai Peninsula Borough School  District (KPBSD) will address                                                               
She  further  added  that the  collective  bargaining  agreements                                                               
(CBAs)  for  personnel  represents  about 80-90  percent  of  the                                                               
districts'  budget across  the state.  Some  districts have  been                                                               
working with  their respective  union representatives  to address                                                               
specific  situations  and she  cannot  speak  to each  district's                                                               
issues.   She  deferred   to  KPBSD   regarding  their   contract                                                               
situations to provide clarity to the question on force majeure.                                                                 
11:13:52 AM                                                                                                                   
JOHN O'BRIEN, Superintendent of  Schools, Kenai Peninsula Borough                                                               
School  District (KPBSD),  Soldotna,  Alaska, stated  he and  his                                                               
colleague will  focus their KPBSD presentation  on enrollment and                                                               
how   COVID-19  has   affected  enrollment   in  brick-and-mortar                                                               
schools,  the  Connections  Homeschool   program,  and  the  out-                                                               
migration  of students  who otherwise  would have  been attending                                                               
school in other statewide programs: Idea and Raven.                                                                             
He explained  when KPBSD, under  the guidance of  DEED, developed                                                               
its Smart Start program, the  district felt strongly in providing                                                               
parents  and  students  with  choices   and  options,  given  the                                                               
uncertainty from COVID-19.                                                                                                      
MR.  O'BRIEN said  when KPBSD  built  its Smart  Start plan,  the                                                               
district provided parents with  options: enrolling their students                                                               
fulltime  in their  neighborhood  brick-and-mortar school;  using                                                               
the   district's  Connections   Homeschool  Program;   or  remote                                                               
enrollment through their neighborhood school.                                                                                   
MS.  BOYD  noted  each  district   has  green,  yellow,  and  red                                                               
thresholds. While KPBSD  was in the green  and yellow thresholds,                                                               
things  were going  extremely well.  However, due  to a  spike in                                                               
COVID-19 cases  in mid-October 2020,  the district had  to switch                                                               
from in-school options  to 100 percent remote  for most students.                                                               
Even though the  district was 100 percent remote  in its eastern,                                                               
southern, and central  regions, they were still  serving some in-                                                               
person special education and intensive-needs students every day.                                                                
He  explained the  district was  also servicing  pre-kindergarten                                                               
students because  the district felt strongly  that those literacy                                                               
building blocks are so important  that if students fall behind in                                                               
those  early years,  it will  take  them their  entire career  to                                                               
regain those learning loses.                                                                                                    
11:18:32 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. O'BRIEN  said currently,  KPBSD is  the third  highest region                                                               
for COVID-19 cases. On the  southern peninsula, the region is 4.5                                                               
times over  the number that  would allow  the region to  get back                                                               
into the yellow threshold for  in-person learning. The district's                                                               
eastern  peninsula region,  which includes  Seward, is  4.5 times                                                               
over  the  threshold.  More  troubling are  the  numbers  in  the                                                               
district's  central  region,   which  includes  Kenai,  Soldotna,                                                               
Nikiski, Sterling, and Kasilof. Currently  the region is 11 times                                                               
over the yellow threshold.                                                                                                      
MR.  O'BRIEN  explained  that  the district  has  begun  work  on                                                               
reexamining  its   Smart  Start   plan  by   creating  additional                                                               
mitigations and safety  measures to try during  the red threshold                                                               
to bring more students into  schools. Unfortunately, the district                                                               
moved to 100  percent remote learning because the  numbers in the                                                               
district reached a  point where in-person learning  was not safe,                                                               
even  for  pre-kindergarten,  kindergarten, and  intensive  needs                                                               
MR.  O'BRIEN explained  that in  the early  part of  the COVID-19                                                               
spike,  the  district was  in  the  middle  of its  October  DEED                                                               
[Online Alaska School Information  System] (OASIS) student count.                                                               
The  division saw  a tremendous  migration from  brick-and-mortar                                                               
schools   to  homeschool   programs   and  statewide   homeschool                                                               
MR.  O'BRIEN  noted  during the  red  threshold,  the  district's                                                               
pandemic  team had  to grapple  daily with  hundreds of  positive                                                               
COVID-19 cases  for students and staff  members, contact tracing,                                                               
and quarantine.  COVID-19 cases would  be higher if  the district                                                               
maintained in-person  learning. Since March with  the uncertainty                                                               
of the  COVID-19 pandemic, 2020  is the most difficult  year. The                                                               
district   is  doing   the  best   it  can.   Its  teachers   and                                                               
administrative staff are working hard, he said.                                                                                 
CHAIR  STEVENS  agreed  that  it is  shocking  to  realize  where                                                               
everyone is right now.                                                                                                          
11:23:45 AM                                                                                                                   
DAVE  JONES, Assistant  Superintendent,  Kenai Peninsula  Borough                                                               
School  District  (KBSD),  Soldotna,  Alaska,  noted  his  school                                                               
finance background in both the Kodiak and Kenai districts.                                                                      
He reviewed slide 28, FY21  Student Count. He explained each year                                                               
the KBSD needs to project the  enrollment and submits the data to                                                               
DEED by November 5 so the  department can project the budget cost                                                               
for  the   governor  and  the  legislature.   Student  enrollment                                                               
increased in  the Connections Homeschool Program  and that helped                                                               
the district  mitigate some of  its revenue losses.  The district                                                               
had  an  814-student  outflow  with  the  majority  to  statewide                                                               
correspondence programs.                                                                                                        
MR. JONES  stated the important  thing about the  intensive needs                                                               
students is  they receive funding through  the foundation program                                                               
at  13-times  a regular  student  so  losing 21  intensive  needs                                                               
students is a significant loss.                                                                                                 
11:28:46 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. JONES  reviewed slide 29,  FY21 General Fund Budget  State of                                                               
Alaska (SOA)  Foundation Revenue. This  shows the effects  of the                                                               
KPBSD  enrollment  changes.  Most  of  the  difference  from  the                                                               
original  budget  is  funding  that  the  district  lost  by  the                                                               
decrease in intensive needs students.                                                                                           
MR. JONES pointed  out the hold harmless provision  is 75 percent                                                               
of a district's brick-and-mortar  schools. However, the provision                                                               
does not address  a loss of intensive needs  students. He thanked                                                               
the  legislature  for  having  the  forethought  of  putting  the                                                               
provision in  place in  AS 14.17.410 to  help districts  in these                                                               
He referred  to line 2, which  shows the district had  over a $12                                                               
million deficit  and would not  have had the ability  to continue                                                               
operations. However,  the district  is only  dealing with  a $1.4                                                               
million deficit due to the hold harmless provision.                                                                             
11:31:37 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  JONES   turned  to   slide  30,   which  shows   that  pupil                                                               
transportation  receives  funding  separately  from  the  general                                                               
fund.  Transportation funding  is  based  on neighborhood  school                                                               
enrollments.   Each  district   receives   funding  through   the                                                               
transportation program  as a dollar  amount per  student enrolled                                                               
in neighborhood  brick-and-mortar schools. However,  districts do                                                               
not receive  funding for transportation  for students who  are in                                                               
the correspondence programs.                                                                                                    
He said  the district contacted  DEED to  confirm the use  of its                                                               
brick-and-mortar schools enrollment  figure after the application                                                               
of the  75-percent credit from  the hold harmless  provision. The                                                               
department  response was  the hold  harmless enrollment  increase                                                               
does not apply  to transportation and the district  will be using                                                               
the 6,015-student count.                                                                                                        
MR. JONES  said Representative Prax previously  asked about force                                                               
majeure clauses.  DEED helped the  district develop  its contract                                                               
several  years  ago  with its  transportation  company  when  the                                                               
legislature  tasked  the  department  to  address  transportation                                                               
costs  and  to bring  in  additional  vendors  to the  state.  He                                                               
explained  that contracts  issued in  the state  subsequently are                                                               
standard  contracts with  a guarantee  to the  vendors that  they                                                               
would receive payment,  at least for KPBSD,  170 student daysthe                                                                
district's student calendar.                                                                                                    
MR. JONES said the district was  able to attract a new vendor and                                                               
realized  a $1  million savings  in its  transportation contract.                                                               
The  district  needs  to  make  sure they  still  have  a  vendor                                                               
contract once COVID-19 goes away.                                                                                               
MR. JONES explained that the KPBD  was able to reach an agreement                                                               
with its  vendor. In the spring  2020, when the district  did not                                                               
need  transportation, the  district  used some  of  the buses  to                                                               
deliver  meals.  However,  because   the  buses  were  idle,  the                                                               
district  did not  experience  fuel or  mileage  costs for  those                                                               
buses. The  district paid 90 percent  of the costs and  is in the                                                               
process of trying to reach the same agreement.                                                                                  
MR. JONES said  the district is currently trying  to pursue other                                                               
revenue  sources. The  district began  preliminary work  with the                                                               
Kenai  Peninsula Borough  to see  if it  was eligible  to receive                                                               
some of the  CARES Act funding. However,  districts are concerned                                                               
that  funding will  come from  the neighborhood  brick-and-mortar                                                               
schools and statewide those are down tremendously.                                                                              
11:37:02 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  JONES  reviewed slide  31,  FY21  Quick Budget  Summary,  as                                                               
   • FY 2021 Deficit without Revenue Loss: ($942,778)                                                                           
        o Deficit: ($942,778)                                                                                                   
   • Governor Veto of Legislative One-Time funding: ($2,072,133)                                                                
        o Deficit: ($3,014,911)                                                                                                 
   • KPB COVID-19 Revenue related decrease (July 2020):                                                                         
        o Deficit: ($5,791,384)                                                                                                 
   • AK Foundation Enrollment Revenue decrease (November 2020):                                                                 
        o Deficit: ($7,261,655)                                                                                                 
   • Pupil Transportation: ($1,767,228)                                                                                         
        o Deficit: ($9,028,883)                                                                                                 
He  referred to  the  first  line, the  FY  2021 deficit  without                                                               
revenue loss.  There was a short  period in the spring  2020 when                                                               
the Kenai Peninsula Borough (KPB)  agreed to fund the district at                                                               
the cap.  In addition, the  legislature passed early  funding and                                                               
an additional  $30 million  in one-time  funding. At  that point,                                                               
the district  was looking at  a funding deficit of  $942,000, and                                                               
the KPBSD  board said the  district was  going to spend  its fund                                                               
balance to cover the deficit.                                                                                                   
MR. JONES  remarked there was  a short  window of time  in spring                                                               
2020  when   the  district  thought   it  had  a   shiny  future.                                                               
Unfortunately, the governor vetoed  the one-time funding and said                                                               
the  CARES  Act  fund  would  replace  the  $2,072,000  that  the                                                               
district lost.  However, when the  regulations and  controls came                                                               
out on the CARES  Act fund, the district was unable  to use it to                                                               
replace  its   lost  funding.   The  district's   budget  deficit                                                               
increased to  $3,014,000. At  that time,  the district  had taken                                                               
some action because  the legislature acted, and  the district was                                                               
trying  to maintain  and recruit  teachers.  The district  issued                                                               
contracts  in spring  2020 to  its non-tenured  teachers a  month                                                               
earlier  than  the  district  ever  had in  the  past.  Once  the                                                               
district has  issued contracts to  its non-tenured  teachers, the                                                               
district issued contracts to everyone.                                                                                          
Turning to the  earlier question about force  majeure clauses, he                                                               
explained  that  districts  are  hiring  teachers  in  March  and                                                               
signing  contracts  with  teachers  in March  for  the  following                                                               
fiscal year.  Districts are unique because  the districts receive                                                               
funds based  on 20 days in  October. The KPBSD signs  a contract,                                                               
teachers start teaching  in August, and the  district knows where                                                               
its funding is going to be by the end of October.                                                                               
MR. JONES  said under current  state statutes, KPBSD is  not able                                                               
to say,  "Sorry, we don't  have the  students we thought  we had,                                                               
and  you  no longer  have  a  contract  with the  district."  The                                                               
district needs to honor its  teacher contracts, but it limits the                                                               
district's ability  to react. When  the governor vetoed  the one-                                                               
time funding, the  KPBSD board responded by directing  use of the                                                               
fund  balance because  the district  cannot make  cuts to  people                                                               
already hired.                                                                                                                  
MR. JONES  noted COVID-19  started hitting the  Kenai in  May and                                                               
the KPBSD board  said most of the funding for  the district would                                                               
come from sales  tax revenue. However, the  impacts from COVID-19                                                               
greatly reduced the  borough's sales tax revenue  over the summer                                                               
and into  the coming year. As  a result, the borough  reduced the                                                               
funding to the district by  $2,776,000. In May 2020, the district                                                               
issued contracts and hired people  with the feeling that it would                                                               
have  students  coming in  the  fall.  The deficit  increased  to                                                               
$5,791,000. The  KPBSD board, after  much discussion,  because of                                                               
their concern  about the  fund balance  agreed that  the district                                                               
would use fund balance.                                                                                                         
MR. JONES  said after  the district  sent its  budget to  DEED in                                                               
July with  a $5.7 million  deficit, the district sent  its 20-day                                                               
count to  DEED in  November with  an additional  $1,470,000 loss,                                                               
putting the deficit at $7.2 million.  If the district is not able                                                               
to get  additional revenue for transportation,  the district will                                                               
be at a $9 million deficit.                                                                                                     
MR. JONES  said at  this point  if the  district covers  the $1.4                                                               
million from  the loss in  enrollment with the fund  balance, the                                                               
district  will have  used its  entire amount  of unassigned  fund                                                               
balance.  To fund  the transportation  deficit,  the KPBSD  board                                                               
will have  to get  into the  fund balance that  is set  aside for                                                               
dire emergencies. The district is hoping  that it will be able to                                                               
save  some  money  out  of  the  general  fund  to  provide  some                                                               
additional pupil transportation.                                                                                                
He turned  to Senator Hughes's  earlier remarks about  the Mat-Su                                                               
District's fund  balance increase at  the end of the  last fiscal                                                               
year. KPBSD's fund  balance increased, but the  district will use                                                               
the  increased amount  from  last year  to  cover its  enrollment                                                               
revenue  loss  and other  matters.  Right  now, the  KPBSD  board                                                               
believes the district  is going to be able to  make it through FY                                                               
11:44:48 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. JONES reviewed  slide 32, Projected FY22  enrollment. He said                                                               
the KPBSD is going to make it  through FY 2021, but its bank will                                                               
be  empty at  the  end of  FY  2021. Because  of  that, when  the                                                               
district  looks  at  FY  2022,  the district  is  taking  a  very                                                               
conservative approach.                                                                                                          
He   noted  the   districts  have   some  optimistic   principals                                                               
projecting that all students will  be back by fall 2021. However,                                                               
the district's conservative projection  for student enrollment in                                                               
FY 2022 is 7,861 students.                                                                                                      
He  said  the  district's  enrollment  projection  is  above  its                                                               
previous year. However, because the  number of contracts that the                                                               
district  issues  is  based  on   the  pupil-teacher  ratio,  the                                                               
district  cannot afford  to be  optimistic with  its numbers  and                                                               
hire more  teachers than it  needs in its classrooms  because the                                                               
district does not  have the ability to remove  teachers once they                                                               
sign their contracts.                                                                                                           
MR. JONES explained  that the district has told  its schools that                                                               
in  late March  or early  April 2021,  the district  is going  to                                                               
reevaluate where  it is in  terms of the COVID-19  situation. The                                                               
districts  will  ask principals  and  their  school personnel  to                                                               
contact parents  whose students  are no  longer in  the buildings                                                               
and ask  them if they  plan to return  in fall 2021.  If families                                                               
plan to  return at that  point in time,  the district will  do an                                                               
internal  budget  adjustment and  commit  to  hiring more  staff.                                                               
However,  the district  is currently  projecting a  significantly                                                               
lower FY  2022 enrollment than  what the district came  into this                                                               
year believing where it would be.                                                                                               
11:48:15 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS said Fairbanks  is facing a situation like                                                               
KPBSD. He referred  to the August 2020 letter from  ASA that asks                                                               
that the October  2019 student enrollment count be  used for next                                                               
year's budget  and noted  that additional  costs will  occur from                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  thanked KPBSD  for detailing  the impacts                                                               
of the  COVID-19 reductions in enrollment,  an important reminder                                                               
that a  lot more goes into  districts' budgets than just  the BSA                                                               
and the foundation formula.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS said  the  Fairbanks  North Star  Borough                                                               
School  District  (FNSBSD) reviewed  the  same  numbers in  their                                                               
school  board  meeting  yesterday, noting  their  overall  impact                                                               
doubled  from $9  million to  nearly  $20 million.  He noted  the                                                               
impact is for both the current and following school years.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE   HOPKINS  recalled   earlier   comments  on   the                                                               
importance of  students and the education  system receiving funds                                                               
now.  He  agreed with  Senator  Hughes  on  the need  to  protect                                                               
student  access  and  not  having them  lose  ground  this  year.                                                               
However, everyone  must also look  towards next year.  There will                                                               
be many  additional costs  to help  students recover  and rebound                                                               
from  the impacts  of this  year,  especially in  the social  and                                                               
emotional category regarding trauma from COVID-19.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS, referring  to the  ASA letter  regarding                                                               
their request  to use the  numbers from the October  2019 student                                                               
enrollment  count  for next  year's  budget,  indicated that  the                                                               
legislature will address  that in the upcoming  session. He asked                                                               
Mr.  Jones to  clarify whether  the districts  will use  the hold                                                               
harmless provision  or the FY  2020 numbers from October  2019 in                                                               
FY 2021 or FY 2022.                                                                                                             
11:50:38 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  JONES  explained  his  understanding  that  the  ASA  letter                                                               
requested the use  of the FY 2019 counts for  the FY 2021 budget.                                                               
However, the district could clarify the item for the committee.                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  asked if the legislature  does not change                                                               
the statute and  uses past numbers, then the  districts would set                                                               
numbers at a floor from  the hold-harmless provision currently in                                                               
statute for next year's numbers.                                                                                                
MR. JONES  answered that is  correct. When the  district projects                                                               
its budget for  next year, the projection uses  the hold harmless                                                               
provision  found   in  current   statute.  He  stated,   "We  are                                                               
projecting that it  will still be less than we  projected, but it                                                               
will be a lot better than it would be without it."                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  referenced the ASA letter  and quoted the                                                               
first sentence that read:                                                                                                       
     On  behalf of  the Alaska  Superintendents Association,                                                                    
     we are writing to express  strong support for using the                                                                    
     November 2019 estimated student  count to determine the                                                                    
     amount of state aid  under the public education funding                                                                    
     formula for FY2021.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS said that would  be for the current school                                                               
year.  However, without  a floor,  district enrollments  would be                                                               
set dramatically  lower than the actual  enrollments expected for                                                               
next year as students come back from correspondence schools.                                                                    
11:52:50 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  PRAX noted  Mr. Jones  said districts  receive 13                                                               
times the  base student cost  for special needs students  and the                                                               
district was  going to lose  quite a  bit of money  because there                                                               
was a decline  in special needs student  enrollment. However, the                                                               
district did  not speak  to the expected  lower cost  if students                                                               
are not present. He asked Mr.  Jones if the district has analyzed                                                               
the KPBSD's cost savings.                                                                                                       
MR.  JONES explained  that in  the foundation  formula after  the                                                               
student  count,  the  district   multiplies  the  number  of  its                                                               
intensive-needs students  by 13, and then  multiplies that number                                                               
by the BSA value to  determine the additional funding required to                                                               
hire additional teachers  and staff to provide  for the students'                                                               
MR. JONES  said he  spent a  couple of  hours yesterday  with the                                                               
district's  director of  special education  to discuss  what will                                                               
happen  when the  intensive-needs students  return. The  district                                                               
lost  half  of  that  student population  and  currently  has  no                                                               
contact with them.                                                                                                              
He  added the  district  also  has a  problem  with students  who                                                               
transferred to a statewide  correspondence school. These families                                                               
tell  them   their  children  will  return   after  the  COVID-19                                                               
situation resolves, but the district  is going to have to provide                                                               
the services to those students  without receiving the funding for                                                               
them for  the period they  were gone.  He remarked, "If  they are                                                               
not here,  you would think that  we would be able  to just reduce                                                               
cost  and  move  on."  However,   the  district  has  contractual                                                               
stipulations and  negotiated agreements that somewhat  ties their                                                               
hands on  how to address that  during the school year  He said he                                                               
would be glad to follow up and discuss this further.                                                                            
11:56:50 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  PRAX agreed  because  it seems  odd  that in  the                                                               
meantime the district has a  considerable number of teachers that                                                               
are  not teaching,  particularly with  special needs.  That seems                                                               
like  an onerous  position  in the  contract  that might  require                                                               
additional review.                                                                                                              
MR. O'BRIEN  assured the  members that there  is not  a situation                                                               
where the district  has teachers that have no  students. KPBSD is                                                               
a district with 42 schools  and 8,500 students. When the district                                                               
sees a  reduction in intensive-needs students,  the district does                                                               
not  have   intensive-needs  teachers  sitting  somewhere   in  a                                                               
classroom  teaching zero  students,  there  still are  intensive-                                                               
students  who  need  instruction.  The  district  has  contracted                                                               
teachers, speech language  pathologists, occupational therapists,                                                               
physical therapists,  and all  other auxiliary  service personnel                                                               
who normally  service a student  with intensive needs,  there are                                                               
just fewer of them.                                                                                                             
11:59:16 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR BEGICH commented as follows:                                                                                            
     This is  about a  singular pandemic  that has  caused a                                                                    
     change in  our structuring. To create  stability, these                                                                    
     issues of  whether there are enough  students this year                                                                    
     or  next year,  are not  about long-term  changes, they                                                                    
     are about structural change caused by a pandemic.                                                                          
SENATOR BEGICH  said there should  not be a debate  about whether                                                               
to  reduce  school  budgets drastically  because  of  a  monetary                                                               
crisis. Rather,  the committee should be  talking about long-term                                                               
SENATOR HUGHES, in  terms of stability and the  count, noted that                                                               
KPBSD has  its own homeschool  program. She recalled  Mr. O'Brien                                                               
noted the district  lost several students to  other programs. She                                                               
asked Mr. O'Brien  if he had any discussions with  the parents to                                                               
determine  why  they did  not  choose  the district's  homeschool                                                               
MR.  O'BRIEN answered  the district  routinely has  conversations                                                               
with parents  when students exit  either neighborhood  schools or                                                               
its Connections  Homeschool program.  The district  has struggled                                                               
with whether  to take their  homeschool program statewide  and go                                                               
in  direct  competition with  Idea,  Raven,  and other  programs.                                                               
However,  the district  knows  it offers  a  quality program  and                                                               
feels to do  so would take away from the  quality provided to its                                                               
own students,  and the district  did not want to  pilfer students                                                               
from other districts. The district  made the decision to maintain                                                               
its own program.                                                                                                                
MR. O'BRIEN  said the problem  that the KPBSD almost  tripled the                                                               
district's homeschool program. The  district needed to hire staff                                                               
or shift staff  from its brick-and-mortar schools  to provide the                                                               
needed support  through its Connection Homeschool  program, which                                                               
was a  very difficult ramp  up. He applauded his  colleagues that                                                               
run the  Idea and Raven  homeschool programs on their  ability to                                                               
ramp up their  support level when their  enrollments increased by                                                               
two to four times.                                                                                                              
MR. O'BRIEN  noted the district  made a valiant effort  to remind                                                               
parents that  if they take  their students out of  the district's                                                               
Connections  Homeschool  program, not  a  single  penny of  those                                                               
funds would come back to KPBSD.                                                                                                 
MR. O'BRIEN  said parents have  a choice  and they talk  to other                                                               
parents who had  a good experience with  another program, whether                                                               
Idea, Raven,  or other statewide  programs. Parents are  going to                                                               
exercise their choices and the  district respects their rights to                                                               
do  so. However,  in spring  2021,  after the  resolution of  the                                                               
COVID-19  situation, when  parents  suddenly  decide to  reenroll                                                               
their  students back  into KPBSD  schools, the  district may  not                                                               
have  the  programming and  staffing  to  provide them  with  the                                                               
quality education  because those  dollars went to  another school                                                               
12:04:04 PM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  STEVENS said  he appreciates  the discussion  and realizes                                                               
the quandary  the school districts  are in and the  problems they                                                               
are facing. He thanked all participants and their contributions.                                                                
CHAIR  STEVENS   invited  Commissioner  Johnson  to   provide  an                                                               
overview  from  the  Alaska Department  of  Education  and  Early                                                               
Development (DEED).                                                                                                             
12:05:42 PM                                                                                                                   
MICHAEL   JOHNSON,  PhD,   Commissioner,  Alaska   Department  of                                                               
Education and  Early Development,  Juneau, Alaska. He  said, "Our                                                               
work together  over the last  few months has been  something that                                                               
we can truly hold up as an  example for Alaska students, it is an                                                               
example  of the  character and  hard  work it  takes to  overcome                                                               
challenges from partnerships."                                                                                                  
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON   said  DEED  is  presenting   its  initial                                                               
enrollment  numbers. The  department appreciates  the opportunity                                                               
to share the  information currently and looks  forward to sharing                                                               
more details as it continues the annual count process.                                                                          
12:07:04 PM                                                                                                                   
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  referred to  slide 2,  Agenda. He  said the                                                               
education  committees asked  DEED to  address student  enrollment                                                               
and the  Alaska school  system based on  the initial  numbers the                                                               
department collected  a week  or so ago  from the  current year's                                                               
count.  In the  coming weeks,  DEED will  be reviewing  the data,                                                               
checking for  duplicates and other  areas, errors,  and analyzing                                                               
the data for the legislature and others.                                                                                        
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON asked the department  has a lot more work to                                                               
do in the next several weeks with its partners.                                                                                 
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON  thanked  the department's  school  finance                                                               
team who worked through the weekend  to compile the data. Many do                                                               
not  realize that  the departmental  student count  process is  a                                                               
manual  process.   The  teams  get  separate   spreadsheets  that                                                               
requires collating and combining  data into a single spreadsheet.                                                               
In  the  coming  weeks,  the departmental  teams  will  be  going                                                               
through  the data  line-by-line, school-by-school,  and district-                                                               
by-district for over 125,000 students.  The student count team is                                                               
incredibly  experienced, but  the  count process  is tedious  and                                                               
hard work,  and he appreciates  their commitment to  accuracy and                                                               
He said  the information that  the committee will see  includes a                                                               
couple of snapshots just to  show how the impacts looks different                                                               
in   different  district   contexts.  The   information  is   not                                                               
comprehensive, but it is instructive via examples.                                                                              
12:08:43 PM                                                                                                                   
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON  referred  to  slide 3,  Our  Mission;  Our                                                               
Vision.  He thanked  all  the  public educators,  administrators,                                                               
local  tribes,  fellow  citizens,  and parents  for  keeping  the                                                               
department's mission front and center  during the pandemic, which                                                               
is "an  excellent education  for every  student, every  day." The                                                               
struggles the  department hears  about are  an indication  of how                                                               
important education is to Alaskans.                                                                                             
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON   noted  today   happens  to   be  National                                                               
Education  Professional Day,  so a  special shoutout  to all  the                                                               
teachers' aides and other education  professionals, they often do                                                               
not get enough recognition for the role they play.                                                                              
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON  said  the   public  education  system  has                                                               
partnered  with parents  this  year  in ways  it  has never  done                                                               
before.  He expressed  appreciation to  parents and  students for                                                               
adapting  and being  willing participants  in all  the mitigation                                                               
efforts. He frequently  heard how willing students  are to follow                                                               
district guidelines for safety.                                                                                                 
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON remarked  he  often thinks  of this  year's                                                               
kindergartners,  their   first  year  of   school  has   been  so                                                               
challenging, yet  their enthusiasm for learning  has not suffered                                                               
a bit, the virus has not dimmed their enthusiasm.                                                                               
He thanked all  students for doing their part  to make everything                                                               
work during a  challenging year. He noted earlier  in the morning                                                               
he  joined  with students  online  from  a south  Anchorage  high                                                               
school  and thanked  them  for putting  their  show together  and                                                               
exhibiting their inspiring can-do attitude.                                                                                     
12:10:35 PM                                                                                                                   
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON referred  to  slide  4, Alaska's  Education                                                               
Challenge that  lists five shared  priorities. He said  that 2020                                                               
has been  a tough  time. However, with  vaccines on  the horizon,                                                               
many are beginning to think about the road ahead.                                                                               
He  said the  "five shared  priorities" that  DEED has  addressed                                                               
multiple times in  the Alaska education challenge  and the shared                                                               
commitment that the department has  with so many school districts                                                               
are still  the pathway forward, even  more so now because  of all                                                               
that everyone has been through.                                                                                                 
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON stated a meaningful  effort to support early                                                               
learners after  COVID-19 must center on  reading proficiently. An                                                               
effective  reading  bill  is  still important  if  not  more  so.                                                               
Additionally,  culturally  relevant and  indigenous  skills-based                                                               
instruction  will be  more important  than ever  for high  school                                                               
students.  The shared  priorities provide  a pathway  through the                                                               
innovation and modernization that will come post-COVID-19.                                                                      
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON said  he will turn the  presentation over to                                                               
Director Teshner to present enrollment data.                                                                                    
CHAIR STEVENS said  he sees students who are not  keeping up will                                                               
probably not make  the level of reading that they  need to by the                                                               
end of the third grade. He  asked if these children can make that                                                               
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON answered yes, but  that will depend on every                                                               
student.  The  department will  talk  later  in its  presentation                                                               
about the  federal government considering providing  more aid for                                                               
public schools.  Districts could  apply to summer  school options                                                               
and add time  to the school year specifically to  address some of                                                               
the challenges that students have  faced. The department recently                                                               
worked on  waivers for after-school  programs for  application in                                                               
different ways to help make up the difference.                                                                                  
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  said addressing the challenges  will not be                                                               
easy, but kids  are super resilient. If the  education system can                                                               
be as  equally resilient  it will take  time, but  the department                                                               
can address some of the shortcomings that has happened in 2020.                                                                 
CHAIR STEVENS said summer school  does seem appropriate for those                                                               
kids left behind.                                                                                                               
12:13:26 PM                                                                                                                   
HEIDI TESHNER,  Director of Finance and  Support Services, Alaska                                                               
Department of  Education and  Early Development,  Juneau, Alaska,                                                               
referred to  slide 5, Public  School Funding. She  explained that                                                               
the legislature  has provided  a formula  in statute  for funding                                                               
school operational  costs, also referred to  as the public-school                                                               
funding  formula  or  more  commonly   known  as  the  foundation                                                               
formula. The  legislature adopted  the formula under  Senate Bill                                                               
36 in 1998 and implemented it in 1999 as defined in AS 14.17.                                                                   
MS.  TESHNER  noted  the  funding   for  school  districts  is  a                                                               
combination  of  state  aid,  required  local  contribution,  and                                                               
federal  impact   aid.  Regional  Educational   Attendance  Areas                                                               
(REAAs)  do not  have  a  local contribution  since  they lack  a                                                               
taxing  authority.  Just  one district  does  not  receive  local                                                               
contribution or impact  aid, she said. A school  district is only                                                               
eligible for foundation funding  as calculated under the formula,                                                               
set out  in AS 14.17.410,  and explained in AS  14.17.400(a). The                                                               
first  step in  determining state  aid for  a school  district is                                                               
determined  by  the  average  daily  membership  (ADM)  for  each                                                               
12:15:11 PM                                                                                                                   
MS. TESHNER reviewed slide 6,  Annual Count Period. She explained                                                               
ADM is the defined term for  student count data and is the number                                                               
enrolled  students during  the 20-day  count  period, ending  the                                                               
fourth Friday  of October.  For the  2020-2021 school  year, that                                                               
20-day count period was September 28 to October 23, 2020.                                                                       
She explained that to determine  state aid, districts must submit                                                               
their ADM within  two weeks after the count  period in accordance                                                               
with  AS  14.17.600(a).  For  the  2020-2021  school  year  count                                                               
period, those numbers  were due to the department  by November 6,                                                               
MS.  TESHNER said  based on  statute, the  student data  from the                                                               
count period is the starting  point for all the calculations that                                                               
lead to the determination of state aid to school districts.                                                                     
12:17:09 PM                                                                                                                   
MS.  TESHNER  reviewed  slide  7,  FY2021  Preliminary  Statewide                                                               
Count. She explained  that the FY 2021 projected data  is a total                                                               
of  the projected  student count  the districts  provided to  the                                                               
department  in November  2019 in  accordance  with AS  14.17.175.                                                               
Preparation for the  FY 2021 operating budget  used these counts.                                                               
In  addition, districts  provided the  FY 2021  preliminary data,                                                               
also known  as preliminary  actuals, to  the department  from the                                                               
results of the 20-day student  count period that ended on October                                                               
23, 2020 in accordance with AS 14.17.600(a).                                                                                    
She said the  received numbers are preliminary  actuals which are                                                               
subject  to   change  once  the  department   has  completed  its                                                               
reconciliation.  This  process  includes   the  clearing  of  all                                                               
duplications and assuring that no  student accounts for more than                                                               
one ADM  across the state  and conducting the  special education                                                                
intensive student reviews.                                                                                                      
MS.  TESHNER  explained that  the  FY  2021 preliminary  ADM  for                                                               
brick-and-mortar schools has decreased  15,202.70 or 13.2 percent                                                               
compared  to the  FY 2021  projection. In  addition, the  FY 2021                                                               
preliminary  for Correspondence  ADM has  increased 13,540.81  or                                                               
95.6 percent  over the FY  2021 projected. The shift  from brick-                                                               
and-mortar  to correspondence  aligns  with  what districts  have                                                               
communicated  to  the  department  over the  past  three  months.                                                               
Netting  the   shift  from  brick-and-mortar   to  correspondence                                                               
results in  an overall total ADM  decrease of 1,661.89, or  a 1.3                                                               
percent decrease compared to the FY 2021 projected figures.                                                                     
12:19:00 PM                                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR STORY asked  if she has data that shows  where the 1,661                                                               
students have gone.                                                                                                             
MS. TESHNER  answered the department has  not had a chance  to do                                                               
analyze the data to determine  where those students may have gone                                                               
but it will do in the coming weeks.                                                                                             
CHAIR STEVENS said  the committee looks forward  to learning more                                                               
as time passes.                                                                                                                 
MS. TESHNER said  the adjusted ADM has increased  5,946.69 or 2.3                                                               
percent  compared  to FY  2021  projected.  A  table on  slide  9                                                               
provides the factors used to determine the adjusted ADM.                                                                        
She  said the  shift from  brick-and-mortar to  correspondence is                                                               
the main factor  affecting the ADM total. The shift  in count has                                                               
a  direct   impact  on  the   school-size  ADM   calculation  and                                                               
determines if  the comparison with  the prior year's  school size                                                               
triggers  the   hold  harmless  provision.   All  of   these  are                                                               
compounding factors early in the foundation formula.                                                                            
12:20:55 PM                                                                                                                   
MS. TESHNER reviewed  slide 8, Hold Harmless  Provision. She said                                                               
the hold harmless  provision has been discussed  by districts and                                                               
other  stakeholders since  the  late spring  2020.  In 2008,  the                                                               
legislature enacted  the provision in  House Bill 273  for school                                                               
districts  experiencing  a  reduction in  their  brick-and-mortar                                                               
schools'  ADM  after  an  adjustment   for  school  size  in  the                                                               
foundation formula.                                                                                                             
She  explained eligibility  for  the hold  harmless provision  is                                                               
determined  after the  districts adjusted  for the  total school-                                                               
size  ADM  are  calculated  and totaled  for  all  schools.  This                                                               
represents  an overall  district change  in school-size  ADM. The                                                               
district compares its  total adjusted-for-school-size ADM against                                                               
the  prior fiscal  year's total  adjusted-for-school-size ADM  to                                                               
determine if a decrease of  five percent or greater has occurred.                                                               
If so,  the district  locks in  the prior fiscal  year as  a base                                                               
year for  the next  three years. The  new school  size adjustment                                                               
with the  hold harmless provision continues  through the formula,                                                               
which results in  the restoration of approximately  75 percent of                                                               
the basic need calculation in the first year.                                                                                   
MS.  TESHNER said  the hold  harmless provision  is available  to                                                               
school districts  over a three-year  stepdown: 75 percent  in the                                                               
first year, 50 percent in the  second year, and 25 percent in the                                                               
final  year, provided  that the  adjusted-for-school-size ADM  is                                                               
below the established base year.                                                                                                
MS.  TESHNER  explained  that when  the  legislative  task  force                                                               
implemented  the   hold  harmless  provision,  it   was  not  its                                                               
intention to hold  districts 100 percent harmless,  but rather to                                                               
provide  a  three-year  stepdown  process that  allows  time  for                                                               
districts' budgets to  adjust to a decreased funding  that due to                                                               
the reduction in their brick-and-mortar schools' ADM.                                                                           
12:23:08 PM                                                                                                                   
MS.  TESHNER reviewed  slides  9 and  10,  Public School  Funding                                                               
Formula. She noted the tables only  provide a quick glance at the                                                               
foundation formula  component and  multipliers used  to determine                                                               
each district's state aid total.                                                                                                
She  said  slide  9  shows   the  multipliers  that  determine  a                                                               
district's adjusted ADM. These include  the district cost factor,                                                               
special   needs  factor,   vocation  education   factor,  special                                                               
education intensives, and correspondence ADM.                                                                                   
MS.  TESHNER  explained  that  after  the  district  reports  its                                                               
student-count  data, the  ADM for  each school  is calculated  by                                                               
applying the  school-size factor  to the student  count according                                                               
to a  table in AS 14.17.410.  The district then uses  the product                                                               
of that  calculation as a factor  in the next steps  shown in the                                                               
slide. The  steps include going  through a  district-cost factor,                                                               
the  special-needs   factor,  the   vocational-education  factor,                                                               
special-needs intensive, and correspondence  ADM, as shown in the                                                               
She turned  to slide  10 that shows  the remaining  component and                                                               
multipliers that  determine state aid.  As slides 9 and  10 show,                                                               
Alaska statutes define  the formula. Absent a  change in statute,                                                               
the  DEED  does  not  have  authority  to  amend  or  modify  any                                                               
component or multiplier of the foundation formula.                                                                              
12:24:44 PM                                                                                                                   
MS.  TESHNER  reviewed  slide 11,  FY2021  Preliminary  Statewide                                                               
Comparison. She said  her focus will be on the  bottom portion of                                                               
the slide related to the funding of the foundation formula.                                                                     
MS. TESHNER  explained the FY  2021 preliminary  figures compared                                                               
to the FY 2021 projected show  a net increase of $26.5 million or                                                               
2.2  percent, reflected  in  the $26.5  million  increase in  the                                                               
current fiscal year's budget. The  department anticipates that 26                                                               
school   districts   will    receive   increased   aid   totaling                                                               
approximately $55.1 million and  28 school districts will receive                                                               
reductions  to  their  state  aid  totaling  approximately  $28.6                                                               
She  reviewed the  FY 2021  preliminary data  versus the  FY 2020                                                               
actual,  which shows  a  net  increase of  $39.5  million or  3.2                                                               
percent.  She  said that  the  DEED  anticipates that  34  school                                                               
districts   will    receive   increased   state    aid   totaling                                                               
approximately  $57.4  million,  with 20  districts  will  receive                                                               
decreased state aid totaling approximately $21 million.                                                                         
12:26:51 PM                                                                                                                   
MS. TESHNER  reviewed slides 12-16,  which are snapshots  of five                                                               
districts.  Slide  16,  District  Snapshot:  Delta/Greely  School                                                               
District  (DGSD), reviews  a regional  education attendance  area                                                               
(REAA)   district.   The   district  does   have   one   district                                                               
correspondence program: Delta/Greely Homeschool.                                                                                
She  explained the  district's FY  2021 data  shows a  25-percent                                                               
decrease in the DGSD's regular  brick-and-mortar ADM, with a 247-                                                               
percent  increase in  its  correspondence ADM  from  the FY  2021                                                               
projected  figures. This  district  triggered  the hold  harmless                                                               
provision  with  a  20.41  percent reduction  from  the  FY  2020                                                               
school-size ADM. In  addition, DGSD reported a  decrease of seven                                                               
intensive special  education students. The district  is showing a                                                               
small reduction  in its basic need  total with a $70,300  or 0.70                                                               
percent decrease from FY 2021 projected figures.                                                                                
She said  since the  district is  an REAA  district, it  does not                                                               
have taxing  authority, so  it does not  have any  required local                                                               
contributions. Therefore,  the required local  effort highlighted                                                               
on  the  slide  is  zero. Overall,  the  district  anticipates  a                                                               
$175,200 or  1.70 percent reduction  in state aid compared  to FY                                                               
2021 projected state aid figures.                                                                                               
12:28:37 PM                                                                                                                   
MS. TESHNER reviewed slide 13,  District Snapshot: Mat-Su Borough                                                               
School District  (MSBSD). She  said the  MSBSD is  a city-borough                                                               
district. This  district has two correspondence  programs: Mat-Su                                                               
Central, a  statewide correspondence program, and  Twindly Bridge                                                               
Charter, a district correspondence program.                                                                                     
MS. TESHNER said the district's FY 2021 data indicates a 14.30-                                                                 
percent decrease in  its regular ADM from the  FY 2021 projected,                                                               
and  a  45.10-percent increase  in  the  correspondence ADM.  The                                                               
MSBSD  district triggered  the hold  harmless  provision with  an                                                               
11.44 percent  reduction from  the FY  2021 school-size  ADM. The                                                               
district's  intensive special  education student  count increased                                                               
by 37  from the  FY 2021 projected.  The district  experienced an                                                               
increase in  its basic  need total  with a  $3.1 million  or 1.50                                                               
percent  increase from  the FY  2021 projected  figures. Although                                                               
the  district  is  a  city-borough  school  district  and  has  a                                                               
required local  effort, the  MSBSD does  not receive  any federal                                                               
impact  aid  funding,  so  the Deductible  Impact  Aid  is  zero.                                                               
Overall,  the  district  anticipates receiving  $3.1  million  or                                                               
1.80-percent increase in state aid in FY 2021.                                                                                  
12:30:19 PM                                                                                                                   
MS. TESHNER  reviewed slide 14, District  Snapshot: Unalaska City                                                               
School District (UCSD). She said  this district is a city-borough                                                               
district. The UCSD's FY 2021  data shows a 10-percent decrease in                                                               
its  regular ADM.  The district  does not  have a  correspondence                                                               
program  and  the   UCSD  did  not  trigger   the  hold  harmless                                                               
The UCSD's  FY 2021  school-size ADM  experienced a  4.91 percent                                                               
reduction,  just  shy  of  the 5  percent  reduction,  needed  to                                                               
trigger  the hold  harmless provision.  The district's  intensive                                                               
special  education   decreased  by  one.  The   UCSD  experienced                                                               
decrease  in its  basic need  total of  $561,600 or  9.10 percent                                                               
decrease from the FY 2021 projected figures.                                                                                    
MS. TESHNER  explained the UCSD  must provide the  required local                                                               
contribution  and  the  district  receives  federal  impact  aid.                                                               
Overall,  the district  anticipates a  $561,000 or  13.10 percent                                                               
decrease in  state aid  compared to the  FY 2021  projected state                                                               
MS.  TESHNER  reviewed  slide  15,  District  Snapshot:  Wrangell                                                               
Public Schools (WPSD).  She said this district  is a city-borough                                                               
school  district. The  district's  FY 2021  data  showed a  41.20                                                               
percent decrease in its regular  brick-and-mortar ADM compared to                                                               
the  FY  2021  projected  figures.  The  WPSD  does  not  have  a                                                               
correspondence program. The district  triggered the hold harmless                                                               
provision  with  a  33.46  percent reduction  from  the  FY  2020                                                               
school-size ADM.                                                                                                                
MS.  TESHNER reported  that the  WPSD was  one of  four districts                                                               
that experienced  a school-size  ADM reduction  of 30  percent or                                                               
more from the  FY 2020 school-size ADM.  The district's intensive                                                               
special  education student  count  decreased by  2. The  district                                                               
experienced a  $559,000 or  12.60 percent  decrease in  its basic                                                               
need total.                                                                                                                     
MS.   TESHNER  explained   the  WPSD   has  the   required  local                                                               
contribution  and  receives  federal  impact  aid.  Overall,  the                                                               
district anticipates a $561,000 or  14.50 percent decrease in its                                                               
state aid in FY 2021.                                                                                                           
12:33:22 PM                                                                                                                   
MS. TESHNER  reviewed slide 16, District  Snapshot: Yukon-Koyukuk                                                               
School District.  She said the  district is a REAA  district. The                                                               
district   has  one   statewide  correspondence   program:  Raven                                                               
Correspondence.  The  district's  FY  2021  data  indicates  a  3                                                               
percent increase in its brick-and-mortar  ADM compared to FY 2021                                                               
projected, and a 133-percent increase  in its correspondence ADM.                                                               
The district did not trigger hold harmless provision in FY 2021.                                                                
MS. TESHNER  said the YKSD  reported an increase of  16 intensive                                                               
special  education students  compared to  FY 2021  projected. The                                                               
district experienced an  increase in its basic need  total with a                                                               
$13.155  million  or 74.20  percent  increase  from its  FY  2021                                                               
projected figures.  The YKSD  is a  REAA district  without taxing                                                               
authority  or  any local  contribution.  The  YKSD anticipates  a                                                               
$12.9 million or 77.20 percent increase in state aid.                                                                           
CHAIR   STEVENS   thanked   Director  Teshner   for   doing   the                                                               
calculations  and giving  the committees  an idea  of the  actual                                                               
impact on districts.                                                                                                            
12:35:23 PM                                                                                                                   
MS. TESHNER reviewed slide 17,  Foundation Payments Process. This                                                               
slide  shows  how  districts  receive   state  aid  payments.  AS                                                               
14.17.610  outlines the  distribution  process  for a  district's                                                               
state aid.  Districts received  monthly payments  by the  15th of                                                               
each month based on the prior  year's student count for the first                                                               
nine  months  of  the  school year  per  AS  14.17.610(a).  Final                                                               
payments  for the  last  three months  of the  school  year is  a                                                               
recalculation  based   on  the  finalized  actual   current  year                                                               
foundation  formula  to "true  up"  the  remaining three  months:                                                               
April-June.  This ensures  that  when the  fiscal  year ends  the                                                               
districts receive what  is due based on the current  year FY 2021                                                               
actual reconciled ADM count.                                                                                                    
MS. TESHNER reviewed slide 18,  Foundation Payments: Advances. AS                                                               
14.17.610(c)  allows for  advances on  foundation payments.  If a                                                               
school district is  experiencing a large increase  in its student                                                               
enrollment  and  the  district   anticipates  a  shortfall,  this                                                               
provision allows the district to  request an advance on its state                                                               
aid    funding   after    providing    bank   statements,    cash                                                               
reconciliation, and a list of investments with maturity dates.                                                                  
12:37:33 PM                                                                                                                   
MS.  TESHNER  reviewed slide  19,  Federal  Impact Aid  Disparity                                                               
Test. She  explained in order  to qualify for the  provision, the                                                               
state  must demonstrate  an equalized  funding  formula in  which                                                               
there is not more than  a 25 percent disparity between districts'                                                               
revenue  per  adjusted  average   daily  membership  (AADM).  The                                                               
federal government allows  the state to deduct 90  percent of the                                                               
allowable impact  aid from the  amount of foundation  formula the                                                               
state  allocates  to  districts.   Failure  to  pass  the  annual                                                               
disparity test  has resulted in a  cost of at least  $255 million                                                               
to the state.                                                                                                                   
MS. TESHNER  detailed AS  14.17.410 equates  to basic  need minus                                                               
required  local contribution,  minus the  90 percent  of eligible                                                               
impact aid,  equals state aid.  This reduces the state's  cost by                                                               
an  average  of  $85  million  per  year.  However,  the  federal                                                               
government only  allows the  state to  deduct via  federal impact                                                               
aid if  it has  an equalized formula  in accordance  with federal                                                               
MS. TESHNER explained pursuant to  section 7009(c)(1)(b) of Title                                                               
7Impact   Aid  Programs,  the  state   of  Alaska  must  ask  for                                                               
permission  from  the  federal  government  to  take  impact  aid                                                               
payments  into  account  in  determining   state  aid  to  school                                                               
districts. This  is an  annual certification,  and it  must occur                                                               
not later than 120 days prior to the next fiscal year.                                                                          
She said that by the end  of January, DEED must submit their test                                                               
to   the  federal   government.  The   department  performs   its                                                               
certification  every year,  which compares  the high  per revenue                                                               
and  low per  revenue districts  to  each other.  If the  funding                                                               
differential is  not more than  25 percent disparity  between the                                                               
district revenue per AADM, then  the federal government considers                                                               
the funding formula  equalized and allows the State  of Alaska to                                                               
deduct that  $85 million  in federal impact  aid in  the formula.                                                               
This is  also the reason  for the  23-percent cap in  the maximum                                                               
local  contribution because  its  intent is  to  ensure that  the                                                               
disparity does not go over 25 percent.                                                                                          
MS. TESHNER  said if the state  were to fail the  disparity test,                                                               
the federal  government does not consider  the formula equalized,                                                               
Since the  disparity test occurs  after the fiscal year  is over,                                                               
the  state would  owe the  $85  million for  multiple years.  For                                                               
example, if  the state fails  for FY  2021, the results  would be                                                               
determined in FY  2022 and recertification would  not occur until                                                               
at  least FY  2024. Failing  the  disparity test  would cost  the                                                               
state at  least $255 million based  on $85 million for  each of 3                                                               
She  referred to  an earlier  about  the request  to establish  a                                                               
floor for funding using FY  2021 projected figures. She cautioned                                                               
that there are increasing funding  needs for schools experiencing                                                               
increased  enrollment such  as the  YKSD. In  the DEED's  initial                                                               
analysis if the  legislature were to fund districts  with a floor                                                               
without  establishing  a  ceiling,  the  state  would  break  the                                                               
disparity test and face the $255 million in penalties.                                                                          
12:41:07 PM                                                                                                                   
MS.  TESHNER reviewed  slides  20-23. Additional  Considerations.                                                               
Changes in  the ADM affect other  state-funded programs including                                                               
pupil transportation and residential schools.                                                                                   
She reiterated that the DEED  recently received the count data so                                                               
it  has not  had  time to  conduct  analysis but  will  do so  to                                                               
determine the overall impacts on programs.                                                                                      
She  explained that  these slides  outline the  support that  the                                                               
state and  the governor  put into place  to allow  for additional                                                               
carryovers at  the district level  as well as  additional funding                                                               
provided to districts.                                                                                                          
MS. TESHNER  directed attention  left side  of slide  21 outlines                                                               
the operating budget carryover.  The governor issued the COVID-19                                                               
Disaster Order of Suspension No.  3, which suspended AS 14.17.505                                                               
and regulation 4  AAC 09.160. The suspension of  this statute and                                                               
regulation allowed  districts to retain  more than 10  percent of                                                               
their unreserved  operating funds  for the following  year. After                                                               
an initial review of the 40  district audits received so far, the                                                               
most districts were able to carry over their funds.                                                                             
12:43:37 PM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  BEGICH  referred to  the  snapshot  slides from  various                                                               
districts and  noted those figures  were from one year.  He asked                                                               
her to confirm that the department  expects the data to reflect a                                                               
pandemic and not an ongoing trend.                                                                                              
MS. TESHNER answered that is correct.                                                                                           
SENATOR BEGICH  asked the record  to reflect that piece.  He also                                                               
noted that  she previously described the  possibility of creating                                                               
a disparity  that would  cost the state  $255 million  in federal                                                               
funds.  He pointed  out  districts proposed  a  solution for  the                                                               
disparity, but the  department said the solution  would not work.                                                               
He asked if the department has  an approach to solve the issue of                                                               
the structural  breakdown of local district  budgets and maintain                                                               
a  level of  stability.  He further  inquired  if the  department                                                               
anticipates a federal  waiver related to the  disparity issue for                                                               
change or  a temporary  suspension for  the disparity  test given                                                               
every state probably is probably  suffering the same thing Alaska                                                               
12:45:21 PM                                                                                                                   
MS. TESHNER answered  Alaska is only one of three  or four states                                                               
that  have an  equalized  funding formula.  This  issue will  not                                                               
affect all  states. She said  she is  unaware of any  instance in                                                               
which  the  federal  government  would  allow  a  waiver  on  the                                                               
disparity  issue nor  does not  have any  recommendation at  this                                                               
time. However,  providing additional funding to  districts should                                                               
be   based  on   the  ADM   because  that   distribution  ensures                                                               
equalization across the state.                                                                                                  
12:47:06 PM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR BEGICH asked her for  the recommended policy or method to                                                               
stabilize that  would be  based on  the ADM.  He inquired  if the                                                               
department  will   be  analyzing   how  that  would   affect  the                                                               
districts' ability  to ensure maintaining  the disparity  for the                                                               
more adversely impacted districts.                                                                                              
SENATOR BEGICH remarked  that this left him with  the belief that                                                               
districts are  going to face  significant uncertainty  and unless                                                               
there is  a recommended  policy from  DEED, every  district could                                                               
propose a different policy that ultimately will not work.                                                                       
He  asked   Commissioner  Johnson  if  the   department  will  be                                                               
developing  a recommended  policy  approach in  concert with  the                                                               
school districts  to allow some  level of certainty for  them. He                                                               
explained his  intent is to  try to  determine where the  data is                                                               
leading us.                                                                                                                     
12:48:43 PM                                                                                                                   
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON  replied the  department does  not currently                                                               
have a  recommendation because  it has not  yet reviewed  all the                                                               
data  and there  are other  important data  elements to  consider                                                               
before the department offers any recommendations.                                                                               
He  said the  disparity test  is a  conundrum. Any  solution will                                                               
pull one  string that pulls  another. However, the  department is                                                               
will  analyze   all  relevant  data  points   before  making  any                                                               
He noted one  strategy, not a specific solution  yet, pertains to                                                               
federal money  coming in for  COVID-19 relief. To  his knowledge,                                                               
federal money does  not break the disparity test  because it does                                                               
not  come through  state funding.  This avenue  warrants analysis                                                               
for  consideration. At  this time,  the department  has only  had                                                               
preliminary conversations  with the  federal government.  He said                                                               
he wanted to  inform the committees that the disparity  test is a                                                               
12:50:22 PM                                                                                                                   
MS. TESHNER directed attention to the  right side of slide 21, to                                                               
the  CARES Act  Funds for  districts. Per  Title I,  51 districts                                                               
received  the Elementary  and Secondary  School Emergency  Relief                                                               
Funds  (ESSERF).   Based  on  the   department's  21   CARES  Act                                                               
allocations  and carryover  report,  approximately $31.4  million                                                               
will  be available  for  school districts  in  FY 2021,  although                                                               
there might  be obligations for  the carryover. In  addition, the                                                               
Governor's Emergency  Education Relief  Funds (GEERF)  total $3.7                                                               
million,  of which  approximately  $3.1 million  is available  to                                                               
districts for FY 2021.                                                                                                          
12:52:31 PM                                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  asked if  the approximate  $31 million  of the                                                               
$34 million  in ESSERF and  $3.1 million  of the $3.7  million in                                                               
GEERF  are still  unspent or  are they  committed for  the school                                                               
districts' current fiscal year.                                                                                                 
MS. TESHNER answered districts only  spent a small portion at the                                                               
end of FY  2020. Most districts saved those  funds for additional                                                               
COVID-19 response in FY 2021.                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND asked  if  the department  will  have to  wait                                                               
until the  end of  the fiscal  year to  know how  districts spent                                                               
those funds.                                                                                                                    
MS.  TESHNER replied  the department  receives budgets  outlining                                                               
how  districts plan  to  spend the  funds.  The department  could                                                               
provide  data to  show how  districts spend  the funds,  but that                                                               
data is currently not available.                                                                                                
12:54:01 PM                                                                                                                   
MS.  TESHNER  displayed slide  22  and  explained that  the  U.S.                                                               
Department of  Education (ED) approved a  DEED waiver application                                                               
in  April  2020.  The  federal pilot  programs  listed  are  ones                                                               
covered under the  funding waiver that DEED  received. That means                                                               
there  were  no restrictions  on  the  amount of  Elementary  and                                                               
Secondary  Education  Consolidation  Application funding  that  a                                                               
district could carryover from FY 2020 to FY 2021.                                                                               
She explained  that under  normal circumstances  Title I,  Part A                                                               
funds have a 15 percent carryover  limit that is based in Section                                                               
11-27-A  of the  Elementary and  Secondary Education  Act (ESEA).                                                               
However, the  funding waiver  allows a  district to  carryover 25                                                               
percent without penalty.                                                                                                        
CHAIR  STEVENS   thanked  Director  Teshner  for   providing  the                                                               
information, noting the  department has not had a  chance to look                                                               
at all  the material and data,  but the legislature will  get the                                                               
recommendations later.                                                                                                          
He asked Commissioner Johnson if he had any concluding thoughts.                                                                
12:55:37 PM                                                                                                                   
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON reviewed  future  COVID-19 Federal  relief.                                                               
Nationally, $30.75  billion in  K-12 CARES  Act funding  has been                                                               
allocated  to date.  Current  congressional discussions  indicate                                                               
additional funding  ranging from $58  billion to $175  billion in                                                               
additional  K-12 relief.  He related  his understanding  that the                                                               
forthcoming relief  packages will  not break the  disparity test.                                                               
The  relief packages  do not  solve  every problem,  but it  does                                                               
provide one pathway forward.                                                                                                    
12:57:03 PM                                                                                                                   
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON directed attention  to the helpful resources                                                               
on  slide  24,  with  updated links  to  the  foundation  funding                                                               
formula, the  public-school funding program overview,  and the FY                                                               
2021 student count period and hold harmless provision documents.                                                                
COMMISSIONER  JOHNSON remarked  that many  students and  families                                                               
have chosen correspondence programs.  Unlike other states, Alaska                                                               
has a  rich history  of providing  distance education.  The state                                                               
has  some robust  and wonderful  programs  with many  experienced                                                               
educators. Though  distance learning  has been difficult,  and it                                                               
has not  worked in  every situation, he  was grateful  for Alaska                                                               
COMMISSIONER JOHNSON,  in closing, said  that COVID-19 has  had a                                                               
big impact on  students, but the department  remains committed to                                                               
an education  system that  works for kids  and prepares  them for                                                               
any future pandemic. He expressed  confidence that these students                                                               
will have on  the future, which gives him great  optimism even as                                                               
the  state  suffers  through  the  consequences  of  the  current                                                               
12:58:40 PM                                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR  STORY  asked  members to  consider  the  importance  of                                                               
parents  and  school  board  members  to  provide  stability  and                                                               
certainty  to  deliver a  quality  education  for Alaskans.  Many                                                               
parents desperately  want their children  to come back  into more                                                               
learning,   in-person   school.  Considering   alternatives   and                                                               
providing   certainty  are   important  aspects   when  in-person                                                               
learning returns.                                                                                                               
CHAIR STEVENS  thanked everyone, noting the  information from the                                                               
meeting was extremely valuable.                                                                                                 
CO-CHAIR STORY  said she had a  one-minute video to share  to end                                                               
the meeting on  a high note. There are many  good things going on                                                               
in schools and with what  teachers are doing with their students.                                                               
The video is from a seven-year-old student.                                                                                     
1:00:15 PM                                                                                                                    
TIM LAMKIN,  Committee Aide, Senator  Gary Stevens,  Alaska State                                                               
Legislature, Juneau,  Alaska, said  Co-Chair Story's  office will                                                               
present their  video. It  is also  available via  the legislative                                                               
BASIS documents file associated with the meeting.                                                                               
CHAIR STEVENS  said members  were welcome to  stay and  watch the                                                               
1:01:04 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
the joint meeting of the Senate and House Education Standing                                                                    
Committees adjourned the meeting at 1:01 p.m.                                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
02_ACSA_Enrollments_Joint-Ed-Cmte_18Nov2020_r.pdf JEDC 11/18/2020 8:00:00 AM
00_Agenda_Joint-Ed-Cmte_18Nov2020_Final.pdf HEDC 11/18/2020 8:00:00 AM
03_DEED_Enrollments_Joint-Ed-cmte_18Nov2020.pdf HEDC 11/18/2020 8:00:00 AM
01_UnivAK_Enrollments_Joint-Ed-Cmte_18Nov2020.pdf HEDC 11/18/2020 8:00:00 AM