Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/16/1994 03:00 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
           HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES                         
                       STANDING COMMITTEE                                      
                        February 16, 1994                                      
                            3:00 p.m.                                          
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
  Rep. Cynthia Toohey, Co-Chair                                                
  Rep. Con Bunde, Co-Chair                                                     
  Rep. Gary Davis, Vice Chair                                                  
  Rep. Pete Kott                                                               
  Rep. Harley Olberg                                                           
  Rep. Irene Nicholia                                                          
  Rep. Tom Brice                                                               
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
  Rep. Al Vezey                                                                
  Rep. Bettye Davis (excused)                                                  
  OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                    
  Rep. Richard Foster                                                          
  Rep. Lyman Hoffman                                                           
  Rep. Jerry Mackie                                                            
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
  *HB 267:  "An Act increasing elementary and secondary                        
            instructional units for certain school districts                   
            with 800 or fewer students in average daily                        
            membership; and providing for an effective date."                  
            HEARD AND HELD                                                     
  *HB 339:  "An Act relating to the use in public schools of                   
            historical documents without alteration or removal                 
            of religious or secular references when the                        
            references are a part of the text of the document;                 
            providing that the use of historical documents                     
            does not constitute the advocation of partisan,                    
            sectarian, or denominational doctrine; and                         
            providing that public school teachers and                          
            administrators may not be disciplined or otherwise                 
            acted against for using historical documents;                      
            requiring the Department of Education to                           
            distribute copies of the law; and providing for an                 
            effective date."                                                   
            PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                            
  (* First public hearing.)                                                    
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
  LARRY LABOLLE, Legislative Aid                                               
  Rep. Richard Foster                                                          
  Alaska State Legislature                                                     
  State Capitol                                                                
  Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                    
  Phone:  (907) 465-3789                                                       
  Position Statement:  Answered questions on HB 414                            
  MICHAEL MURPHY, Member                                                       
  Nome School Board                                                            
  P.O. Box 1062                                                                
  Nome, Alaska 99762                                                           
  Phone:  (907) 443-2043                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified in support of HB 267                          
                       (Spoke via teleconference)                              
  JUNE WARDLE, Member                                                          
  Nome City Council                                                            
  P.O. Box 489                                                                 
  Nome, Alaska 99762                                                           
  Phone:  (907) 443-5984                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified in support of HB 267                          
                       (Spoke via teleconference)                              
  AL WEINBERG, Chairman                                                        
  Single Site School District Consortium                                       
  985 KSD Way                                                                  
  Chevak, Alaska 99563                                                         
  Phone:  (907) 858-7713                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified in support of HB 267                          
                       (via teleconference from Anchorage)                     
  RALPH TRONRUD, Vice-President                                                
  Skagway School Board                                                         
  P.O. Box 523                                                                 
  Skagway, Alaska 99840                                                        
  Phone:  (907) 983-2960                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified in support of HB 267                          
                       (Spoke via offnet)                                      
  DEBBIE MILLER, Member                                                        
  Nome School Board                                                            
  P.O. Box 1923                                                                
  Nome, Alaska 99762                                                           
  Phone:  (907) 443-3083                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified in support of HB 267                          
                       (Spoke via teleconference)                              
  JOHN HANDELAND, Mayor                                                        
  Nome, Alaska                                                                 
  P.O. Box 281                                                                 
  Nome, Alaska 99762                                                           
  Phone:  (907) 443-5242                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified in support of HB 267                          
                       (Spoke via teleconference)                              
  DUANE GUILEY, Director                                                       
  Division of Education Finance and Support Services                           
  Department of Education                                                      
  801 W. 10th St., Suite 200                                                   
  Juneau, Alaska 99801-1894                                                    
  Phone:  (907) 465-2891                                                       
  Position statement:  Answered questions pertaining to local                  
                       funding of school districts                             
  STEVE McPHETRES, Executive Director                                          
  Alaska Association of School Administrators                                  
  326 4th St. #404                                                             
  Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                         
  Phone:  (907) 586-9702                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified in support of HB 267                          
  WANDA COOKSEY, Representative                                                
  Single Site School District Consortium                                       
  P.O. Box 240052                                                              
  Douglas, Alaska 99824-0052                                                   
  Phone:  (907) 586-9073                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified in support of HB 267                          
  CLAUDIA DOUGLAS, President                                                   
  National Education Association/Alaska                                        
  114 Second St.                                                               
  Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                         
  Phone:  (907) 586-3090                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified in support of HB 267                          
  CARL ROSE, Executive Director                                                
  Association of Alaska School Boards                                          
  316 W. 11th St.                                                              
  Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                         
  Phone:  (907) 586-1083                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified in support of HB 267                          
  THOMAS TILDEN, Mayor                                                         
  Dillingham, Alaska                                                           
  P.O. Box 786                                                                 
  Dillingham, Alaska 99576                                                     
  Phone:  (907) 842-5257                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified in support of HB 267                          
                       (present in Juneau )                                    
  SHEILA PETERSON, Special Assistant to                                        
  Commissioner Covey                                                           
  Department of Education                                                      
  801 10th St., Ste. 200                                                       
  Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                         
  Phone:  (907) 465-2803                                                       
  Position Statement:  Answered questions on HB 339                            
  VERNON MARSHALL, Executive Director                                          
  National Education Association/Alaska                                        
  114 Second St.                                                               
  Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                         
  Phone:  (907) 586-3090                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified in opposition to HB 339                       
  JACK PHELPS, Legislative Aid                                                 
  Rep. Pete Kott                                                               
  Alaska State Legislature                                                     
  State Capitol                                                                
  Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                         
  Phone:  (907) 465-3777                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified in support of HB 339                          
  PREVIOUS ACTION                                                              
  BILL:  HB 267                                                                
  BILL VERSION: SSHB 267                                                       
  SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) FOSTER,Mackie,Menard,Olberg,                   
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  03/31/93       875    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  03/31/93       875    (H)   HES, FINANCE                                     
  01/31/94      2204    (H)   SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE                               
  01/31/94      2204    (H)   HES, FINANCE                                     
  02/02/94      2230    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): OLBERG,NICHOLIA,                   
  02/16/94              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                      
  BILL:  HB 339                                                                
  SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) KOTT,Sanders                                   
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  01/03/94      2016    (H)   PREFILE RELEASED                                 
  01/10/94      2016    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  01/10/94      2016    (H)   HES, JUDICIARY                                   
  01/12/94      2043    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): SANDERS                            
  02/16/94              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                      
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
  TAPE 94-21, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
  CHAIR TOOHEY called the meeting to order at 3:08 p.m., noted                 
  members present and announced the calendar.  She brought                     
  HB 267 to the table for discussion.                                          
  HB 267 - REVISE FOUNDATION FORMULA, SMALL SCHOOLS                            
  Number 053                                                                   
  REP. RICHARD FOSTER, Prime Sponsor of HB 267, said the bill                  
  would increase funding for school districts that are                         
  comprised of one funding community (single site school                       
  districts) and an average daily membership (ADM) of 800 or                   
  less.  He stated that he had a sponsor substitute for the                    
  bill that would change the effective date to July 1, 1994,                   
  preventing small school districts from being paid twice.  He                 
  explained that the change in the formula that is being                       
  proposed would not be an increase in school funding.  He                     
  stated that the funding that was provided as a grant during                  
  the last fiscal year would be transferred to the foundation                  
  formula, subject to the same proration as other funding.                     
  Rep. Foster stated that the legislation was endorsed by the                  
  Department of Education (DOE) and he had many other letters                  
  of support.                                                                  
  Number 152                                                                   
  REP. G. DAVIS asked how the funding for single site school                   
  districts related to the larger school districts, explaining                 
  because the small districts are separated at this time, they                 
  are considered to be funded separately.                                      
  Number 201                                                                   
  LARRY LABOLLE, Legislative Aid to Rep. Jerry Mackie, said                    
  that funding communities assist large school districts with                  
  additional money.  He stated that single site school                         
  districts do not have that type of funding, and HB 267 was                   
  an equity response.                                                          
  (Note:  Rep. Bunde arrived at 3:12 p.m. and assumed the                      
  position of Chairman for the remainder of the meeting.)                      
  Number 234                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE asked Mr. LaBolle to continue with his                           
  Number 238                                                                   
  MR. LABOLLE stated that Rep. G. Davis was correct.  He said                  
  the more funding communities within a district, the greater                  
  the number of foundation units are contributed.  He added                    
  that a single funding community or single site school only                   
  receives the calculation one time.  He said there is a                       
  certain cost factor associated with operating.  He stated                    
  that the ability to absorb administrative costs is accrued                   
  and that he suspected with only one funding community there                  
  would not be enough funding for the basic administrative                     
  costs based on instructional units.                                          
  Number 278                                                                   
  REP. BRICE said that it was his understanding that the                       
  current foundation formula was written with the                              
  understanding that the inequity exists, and it was hoped the                 
  issue would be addressed at a later date.  He asked Mr.                      
  LaBolle to provide the history of that issue.                                
  Number 296                                                                   
  MR. LABOLLE stated that he was the superintendent of Nome at                 
  the time the foundation formula was adopted.  He said that                   
  there was something working consistently in the formula that                 
  worked against single site school districts, but the factor                  
  was not identified, and studies that were supposed to be                     
  done to remedy the problem were never implemented.  He                       
  further stated that instead of finding the problem within                    
  the formula foundation, the solution has been to grant                       
  additional funds to single site school districts.                            
  Number 330                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE stated for the record that Rep. Vezey arrived at                 
  3:16 p.m. and asked for further questions.  He commented                     
  that the school budget that Governor Hickel submitted would                  
  involve a decrease in school funding for urban schools and                   
  that it did not fund single site schools on a supplemental.                  
  Referring to the proportional decrease that urban schools                    
  will incur, Chair Bunde asked Mr. LaBolle what kind of                       
  funding would the single site school districts need.                         
  Number 371                                                                   
  MR. LABOLLE responded by saying that in the past single site                 
  school districts have been identified and given an                           
  additional amount of funds.  He felt that a mechanism must                   
  be put into the foundation formula to address the inequity.                  
  He further stated that they would be subject to proration                    
  under the foundation formula.                                                
  Number 400                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE said "we all have to take our turn, and fair is                  
  Number 405                                                                   
  REP. TOOHEY asked if a supplemental funding was being asked                  
  for this year, instead of new legislation including single                   
  site school districts in the foundation formula.  She then                   
  asked if it would be the same amount as the formula.                         
  Number 415                                                                   
  MR. LABOLLE agreed and said it was the same formula used                     
  last year to derive the supplemental that was granted.  He                   
  indicated a list of single site schools in the bill packet                   
  that showed the total amount as identical to last year's                     
  Number 434                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE said that testimony would be heard via                           
  teleconference from Anchorage, Nome and Skagway.                             
  Number 456                                                                   
  MICHAEL MURPHY, Member, Nome School Board, testified via                     
  teleconference from Nome in support of HB 267.  He stated                    
  that HB 267 was not the perfect solution, but it was a good                  
  Number 479                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE asked Mr. Murphy, if education were to be cut,                   
  would Nome be willing to be subject to proration?                            
  Number 486                                                                   
  MR. MURPHY responded by saying he felt education should not                  
  be cut.  He said the district has made several cuts over the                 
  past few years and should not be penalized again.  He felt                   
  there were districts who have made no cuts that continue to                  
  be "rewarded."                                                               
  Number 521                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE asked Mr. Murphy to tell him which districts                     
  continue to spend and now have too much money.                               
  Number 523                                                                   
  MR. MURPHY suggested that several rural education attendance                 
  areas (REAAs) had access to more funding.  He stated that                    
  Nome has one of the lowest administration costs in the                       
  Number 545                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE thanked Mr. Murphy for being fiscally                            
  responsible.  He further stated that all areas would be                      
  included when balancing the budget, and his intention would                  
  be to reduce as much negative impact on education as a                       
  Number 558                                                                   
  REP. TOOHEY stated that there was, indeed, inequity                          
  regarding the relative amount of funds for single site                       
  school districts.  She asked Chair Bunde in which year the                   
  inequity started.  She was informed by a number of people                    
  that it started in 1978.  She continued on to ask Mr. Murphy                 
  if Nome came to the legislature every year to ask for a                      
  supplemental.  She then asked, if the proposal did pass,                     
  would Nome be willing to take a cut like everyone else?                      
  Number 576                                                                   
  MR. MURPHY replied that he really would not like to take the                 
  cut, explaining that any cut would impact the district                       
  immensely.  He felt as long as the foundation formula was                    
  cut and the cuts were equal across the state, Nome would                     
  have to deal with that.  He challenged all other districts                   
  to be as fiscally responsible as Nome.                                       
  Number 613                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE asked if Mr. Murphy knew the administrative cost                 
  per student for the Nome school district, explaining that                    
  the figure would help in comparing school districts in                       
  regards to efficiency.                                                       
  Number 622                                                                   
  MR. MURPHY answered that in fiscal year (FY) 1993 the budget                 
  was for $6.9 million and the district office administration                  
  runs at 5.8%.  He said total school administration is 12.5%                  
  of the budget.  He found that of the schools that he                         
  compared these figures to, their administrative costs ranged                 
  between 15% and 20% of budget.                                               
  Number 642                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE said those figures reflected well on Nome.                       
  Number 646                                                                   
  MR. MURPHY stated that he would be in Juneau the following                   
  week and would give Chair Bunde a packet of information.                     
  Number 652                                                                   
  JUNE WARDLE, Member, Nome City Council, testified via                        
  teleconference from Nome in support of HB 267.  She said the                 
  legislation was not perfect, but it was a fair proposal.                     
  She hoped the legislation would pass.                                        
  Number 668                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE continued taking testimony.  He introduced Al                    
  Number 677                                                                   
  AL WEINBERG, Chairman, Single Site School District                           
  Consortium, testified via teleconference from Anchorage in                   
  support of HB 267.  He stated that the current foundation                    
  formula went into effect in FY 1987.  At that time, the                      
  legislature recognized an inequity of funding regarding                      
  single site schools.  Subsequently, a separate sum of money                  
  was appropriated to the DOE to allocate to districts that                    
  were suffering the inequity.  In most of the years following                 
  there have been supplemental grants allocated to those same                  
  schools to compensate for the initial error inherent in the                  
  foundation formula.  During the past two years the formula                   
  that was used to appropriate funds was the exact same                        
  formula contained in HB 267.  By enacting HB 267, there                      
  would not be an increase of funding for single site school                   
  districts, but the school districts would maintain the same                  
  total state funding that they had been receiving.                            
  MR. WEINBERG explained that the inequity is caused by the                    
  "front end load" in the foundation formula.  He said "two                    
  instructional units are generated for the first ten                          
  students, actually for up to the first ten students in a                     
  funding community.  Then it drops off dramatically after                     
  that.  So, the more funding communities you have, the more                   
  opportunity you have to take advantage of the front end load                 
  in the formula."  He said he compared two school districts                   
  with the exact ADM and used their projections for the next                   
  fiscal year.  Chugach school district, which is a multiple                   
  site school district, projected 133 students and Skagway,                    
  which is a single site, projected 135 students.  He said if                  
  the area differential was eliminated to equalize dollars                     
  across the state, and the K-12 unit was recognized, the                      
  single site school district would generate approximately 34%                 
  less money than the multiple site school district.  He                       
  explained that the process was a function of the front end                   
  load in the foundation formula as it applies to each funding                 
  community that each district has.  He further stated, if the                 
  single site supplement was added to the foundation formula                   
  in HB 267, multiple site school districts would still                        
  generate 26% more funds than single site school districts.                   
  He felt that the differential in the current formula is too                  
  MR. WEINBERG further stated that equity would need to be                     
  created within the formula before the Kashunamiut school                     
  district would be willing to be subjected to proration.  He                  
  stated that if Chugach was to be prorated, the proration                     
  would reduce funds by 2% next year.  A proration for Skagway                 
  would also mean a reduction of 2%, but if they did not get                   
  the single site funding that they've obtained in the last                    
  few years, they would be prorated an additional 10.5%.                       
  MR. WEINBERG said administrative costs comparisons are                       
  impossible to do because of the varying accounting                           
  procedures within each district.  He further stated that                     
  indirect cost rate is an accepted measure of administrative                  
  overhead.  He said Anchorage has an indirect cost rate of                    
  12.31%, Nome has a 11.17% cost rate, and Kashunamiut has an                  
  indirect cost rate of 13.34%.  He stated that the multiple                   
  site districts that surround Kashunamiut have 18.39% and                     
  16.30% indirect cost rates.                                                  
  MR. WEINBERG also said that he would like to see the Single                  
  Site School Consortium disband as a result of the passage of                 
  HB 267.                                                                      
  Number 903                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE asserted that the public would like every entity                 
  that receives state funds to justify their existence every                   
  year.  He also said the public is insisting that education                   
  be cut, period, and specifically in the area of                              
  administrative costs.  Chair Bunde stated for the record                     
  that Rep. Lyman Hoffman and Rep. Jerry Mackie joined the                     
  Number 935                                                                   
  RALPH TRONRUD, Vice-President, Skagway School Board,                         
  testified via teleconference from Skagway in support of                      
  HB 267.  He said that without the money provided for in                      
  HB 267, Skagway will face severe problems.  When the                         
  foundation formula went into place, Skagway had just shut                    
  down the railroad, which was Skagway's largest employer.  As                 
  a result, there was a decrease in ADM and Skagway was still                  
  undergoing numerous cuts.  He said currently there are 14                    
  teachers who provide instruction for K-12, and they were                     
  projecting a decrease in enrollment next year from 143 down                  
  to 135 students, which will subtract approximately $180,000                  
  from the budget.  He said if the single school site funds                    
  are not received this year, an additional two teaching                       
  positions would have to be dropped, along with one position                  
  already slated to be cut.  He said if there were to be                       
  further cuts, the maintenance and custodial people and                       
  library book reorders would have to be cut almost                            
  completely.  Also, the junior high sports programs, the                      
  community education program, and the new pre-school program                  
  would have to be cut.                                                        
  Number 992                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE asked what would happen to the teacher/pupil                     
  ratio if two teachers were cut.                                              
  Number 993                                                                   
  MR. TRONRUD answered that it would be 12 students per one                    
  Number 031                                                                   
  DEBBIE MILLER, Member, Nome School Board, testified via                      
  teleconference from Nome in support of HB 267.  She said                     
  every year Nome has come down to Juneau to lobby for                         
  supplemental aid for the Nome school district, and each time                 
  Nome has proven that they have continually made cut after                    
  cut to balance the budget.  She felt there were no more cuts                 
  to be made.  She said since 1988 the expense for total                       
  administration was 13.26% to 12.5% of budget.  She said                      
  HB 267 would be a "fix" to the supplemental issue for single                 
  site school districts.                                                       
  Number 052                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE asked what the pupil/teacher ratio is for the                    
  Nome school district.                                                        
  Number 054                                                                   
  MS. MILLER said it was approximately 16 pupils to one                        
  Number 056                                                                   
  JOHN HANDELAND, Mayor, Nome, Alaska, testified via                           
  teleconference in support of HB 267.  He said over the years                 
  the city has worked diligently to contain and cut costs.  He                 
  noted that community funding was doubled last year, and this                 
  year he was projecting that the community funds would be                     
  more than doubled.  He said HB 267 would make funds                          
  equitable within the foundation formula, but he felt more                    
  could be done to help single site school districts.  He                      
  referred to the "front end loading concept," and said that                   
  something is wrong with the formula if there are ways to                     
  manipulate it.  He further stated that as many cuts as                       
  possible have already been made.                                             
  Number 111                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE inquired as to the maximum amount that                           
  communities can fund their districts at.  He asked Mr.                       
  Handeland how it was possible to double the mandatory                        
  Number 123                                                                   
  MAYOR HANDELAND said that Nome is obligated by law to                        
  contribute four mils of property tax to the foundation                       
  program.  He further stated that Nome found it to be                         
  necessary to contribute eight mils of property tax.                          
  TAPE 94-21, SIDE B                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
  MAYOR HANDELAND continued by saying that the community has                   
  recognized its obligation to support education.  He felt                     
  that Nome was doing more than their part.  He said a 1% cut                  
  to a single site school district is more than a 1% cut to                    
  multiple school districts.                                                   
  Number 062                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE acknowledged the efforts Nome has made to carry                  
  their fair share of economic burdens.  He then asked Duane                   
  Guiley about the maximum funds a community can contribute to                 
  a school district.                                                           
  Number 092                                                                   
  DUANE GUILEY, Division of Education Finance and Support                      
  Services, Department of Education, answered questions about                  
  local funding for school districts.  He stated that there is                 
  a requirement in statute that organizes city and borough                     
  school districts, allowing them authority by statute.  They                  
  must contribute a minimum of four mils based upon the                        
  assessed value of real and personal property within the                      
  district.  He further explained that districts are provided                  
  the opportunity to contribute in excess of the four mils in                  
  an amount equal to 23% of the current year's basic need.  He                 
  stated that the current statewide contribution is 7.8 mils,                  
  3.8 mils above minimum.  He commented, indeed, Nome was                      
  above the state average by three-tenths of one mil.  He said                 
  Nome has doubled the minimum required local contribution by                  
  statute.  Mr. Guiley said the total allowable excess across                  
  the state totals $269 million, and local school districts                    
  through cities and boroughs are currently contributing $208                  
  million, allowing for an additional increase in capacity of                  
  $61 million.                                                                 
  Number 138                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE clarified by saying up to 23% of the state funds                 
  is the maximum that local communities can contribute.                        
  Number 145                                                                   
  MR. GUILEY mentioned three exceptions in the state as being                  
  the three wealthy districts which have a different limit.                    
  Number 148                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE listed for the record those exceptions as being                  
  North Slope Borough, Unalaska, and Valdez.                                   
  MR. GUILEY said the three districts' limit is based on 35%                   
  of the current year's basic need plus two mils, regardless                   
  of the value of the two mils.  He explained that North Slope                 
  reaches 35% of their budget with four-tenths of one mil                      
  local contribution rate, hence with a 1.2 mil they reach                     
  100% of their budget.                                                        
  Number 172                                                                   
  STEVE MCPHETRES, Executive Director, Alaska Association of                   
  School Administrators, testified in Juneau in support of                     
  HB 267.  He stated that before legislation for the formula                   
  foundation was passed, it was acknowledged then that there                   
  was an inequity within the formula that was detrimental to                   
  single site school district funding.  It was said that the                   
  problem would be addressed before the legislation was                        
  passed.  He stated that, indeed, the legislation had passed                  
  without being fixed and eight years later the formula is                     
  still trying to be fixed.  He felt that children of Alaska                   
  were held hostage last year over the single site school                      
  district issue.  He said a number of single sites were being                 
  held up for various political reasons in the legislature.                    
  He urged that HB 267 to pass out of committee so that                        
  students are not subject to the same situation as last year.                 
  He said the issue must be resolved this year with the                        
  enactment of HB 267.                                                         
  Number 238                                                                   
  REP. MACKIE asked Mr. McPhetres if he was aware of any                       
  school district or school district administrator that was                    
  unaware of the existing inequity inherent in the current                     
  foundation formula.                                                          
  Number 251                                                                   
  MR. MCPHETRES stated that all administrators are sympathetic                 
  to the "single site cause."                                                  
  Number 257                                                                   
  REP. MACKIE asked if the entire education community was                      
  supportive of HB 267.                                                        
  Number 262                                                                   
  MR. MCPHETRES stated he could speak only for the Alaska                      
  Association of School Administrators.                                        
  Number 267                                                                   
  REP. TOOHEY asked if a supplemental budget was being asked                   
  for this year and how much the grant was for.                                
  Number 272                                                                   
  REP. MACKIE answered that there was a supplemental applied                   
  for by single site school districts, but he did not know how                 
  much the supplemental was for.                                               
  Number 280                                                                   
  REP. TOOHEY said that the problem would continue if nothing                  
  is done.                                                                     
  Number 284                                                                   
  REP. MACKIE said that the single site school districts would                 
  continue to come to the legislature asking for a                             
  supplemental and additional funding, whether it be in the                    
  form of a supplemental grant or through new legislation.                     
  Number 291                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE stated there was a HESS committee substitute                     
  (CS) that would fund single site schools, but it would                       
  require broad base support to pass.                                          
  Number 304                                                                   
  WANDA COOKSEY, Representative, Single Site School District                   
  Consortium, testified in support of HB 267.  She stated that                 
  she could supply further history pertaining to the inequity                  
  in the foundation formula.  She urged the committee to pass                  
  HB 267 out of committee and stated that the passage of the                   
  bill would be in the spirit of the legislative intent of                     
  1987 when they acknowledged the inequity.  She said the                      
  person who authored the foundation formula, Dr. Cole, came                   
  back and studied the effect of the legislation on the 21                     
  districts and recommended changes contained in HB 267.  She                  
  also said that passage of the proposal would end the annual                  
  requests for supplemental funding outside of the foundation                  
  Number 373                                                                   
  CLAUDIA DOUGLAS, President, National Education                               
  Association/Alaska (NEA/AK), testified in support of HB 267.                 
  She felt it was unfair that school districts had to come                     
  every year and undergo extra legislative scrutiny relative                   
  to their basic needs under a formula that should be                          
  equitable for all school districts.  She said she did not                    
  want to experience the same political warfare as last year                   
  in regards to the students, and felt that no district should                 
  have to come to Juneau to "beg" for equal funding.                           
  Number 398                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE asked her to find out from the NEA/AK what their                 
  position would be on supporting maximum local contributions                  
  that might make it easier to address some of the                             
  aforementioned questions.                                                    
  Number 415                                                                   
  CARL ROSE, Executive Director, Association of Alaska School                  
  Boards, testified in Juneau in support of HB 267.  He said                   
  that most of the single site school districts feel like the                  
  world has passed them by since 1987 and that they are being                  
  treated like second class citizens.  He said any increases                   
  that have been given in the absence of a supplemental have                   
  affected them twofold.  First, single site school districts                  
  are not receiving what they should have been receiving; and                  
  secondly, a $1000 increase in the instructional unit does                    
  not have a major impact.                                                     
  MR. ROSE shared an example with the committee.  He said                      
  district A has 127 students in a single site school and one                  
  superintendent/principal.  School district B has 1000                        
  students, five sites, a superintendent, an assistant                         
  superintendent, and a principal at each site.  He referred                   
  to the purpose of administrative cost and equity and stated                  
  that school district A would have one full time                              
  administrator for the entire school of 127 students.  School                 
  district B would have one full time principal at each school                 
  and a superintendent and assistant superintendent to provide                 
  for maintenance and operations of transportation, federal                    
  programs, curriculum, attendance, discipline, personnel, and                 
  program support.  He said clearly the quality of education                   
  in district B would be superior to that of district A, based                 
  on the ability to provide administrative services and                        
  program support.                                                             
  MR. ROSE stated that the inability of single site school                     
  districts to substantiate how much funding they will receive                 
  under the formula is devastating the small districts.  He                    
  felt all districts should be made equal.  He urged the                       
  committee to pass HB 267.                                                    
  Number 534                                                                   
  REP. VEZEY asked why single sites schools do not consolidate                 
  and asked if they choose to be autonomous.                                   
  Number 566                                                                   
  MR. ROSE responded by saying that Yukon Koyukuk is an                        
  organized borough and an REAA.  He said within the REAA                      
  there are first class cities that provide local support                      
  through local city council.  He stated that they are                         
  autonomous in that they are first class cities.                              
  Number 577                                                                   
  REP. VEZEY asked why single site school districts do not                     
  incorporate into larger school districts to solve the                        
  funding problem.                                                             
  Number 588                                                                   
  MR. ROSE said it was his understanding that in an                            
  unorganized borough, one of the main incentives for them to                  
   organize as a borough is obtain to potential revenues that                  
  may be encompassed within the borough.  He said that first                   
  class cities do assess themselves and do pay a portion of                    
  the local contribution, and therefore they want the ability                  
  to operate their schools.                                                    
  MR. ROSE said that questions have come up regarding the                      
  opportunity that may be granted to the first class single                    
  site schools to obtain second class city status, thereby                     
  being included in an REAA.  He said the Department of                        
  Community and Regional Affairs (DCRA) is not in favor of                     
  that movement, and felt that the state government wants to                   
  organize the state instead of allowing for unorganized                       
  Number 631                                                                   
  MR. LABOLLE said if the first class cities within                            
  unorganized boroughs were put into second class status, the                  
  unorganized borough would "pick them up" and they would                      
  become three additional funding communities for the Yukon                    
  Koyukuk School District.  He said the local tax contribution                 
  would be lost and there would be no reduction in                             
  Number 651                                                                   
  REP. VEZEY indicated that the laws can be modified.  He said                 
  the economic forecast for Galena was "dreary" and further                    
  questioned if the basic structures of such school districts                  
  should be fostered and encouraged.                                           
  Number 671                                                                   
  MR. LABOLLE said the proposal was working under the                          
  structure that the state has established.                                    
  Number 685                                                                   
  THOMAS TILDEN, Mayor, Dillingham, Alaska, testified in                       
  Juneau in support of HB 267.  He stated that he had one                      
  child in junior high, one child in senior high, and another                  
  child in third grade.  He stated that presently his son is                   
  attending school in Anchorage because the school in                          
  Dillingham does not provide the sports programs that he                      
  wanted.  He stated that single site school districts have                    
  been impacted in various ways.  Dillingham has been forced                   
  to let good teachers go because they cannot be tenured,                      
  forcing the district to hire "beginning" teachers.  He felt                  
  when teacher quality goes down it affects the students                       
  negatively.  He also said that the school districts are                      
  finding it difficult to maintain the buildings, citing an                    
  overhang that is endangering grade school students.  He said                 
  the city of Dillingham has come forward with funds to fix                    
  the building.  He said not only are books worn and outdated,                 
  but student morale is very low.  He explained that due to                    
  the current financial situation, there are less                              
  opportunities to put on extracurricular activities; i.e.,                    
  alcohol and drug awareness meetings.  He further stated that                 
  a way must be found to increase resources.  He said as a                     
  cost saving measure the administrative offices of the school                 
  district joined offices with the school board, including                     
  maintenance programs.  Still, the school district was forced                 
  to cut basketball, wrestling, and other extracurricular                      
  activities.  He said the citizens of Dillingham came forward                 
  and personally funded those programs.  He felt the students                  
  in single site districts deserve an equal opportunity for a                  
  good education.                                                              
  Number 773                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE asked Mayor Tilden to clarify what was meant                     
  when he said the school district was forced to not give                      
  teachers tenure due to lack of funding.                                      
  Number 779                                                                   
  MAYOR TILDEN said that after three years teachers must be                    
  tenured, and then they become part of the system.                            
  Number 786                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE clarified further by saying it was because of                    
  the uncertainty of future funding that tenure was not being                  
  granted.  He also commented that parents in Anchorage are                    
  paying fees for their children to be involved in school                      
  CHAIR BUNDE closed public testimony and stated that it was                   
  not his intention to pass the proposal out of committee, and                 
  he cautioned that it should not be misconstrued as an                        
  intention to kill the bill.                                                  
  Number 813                                                                   
  REP. OLBERG said, "with respect, what... we're looking at a                  
  bill that's got about four lines to it.  What do we need                     
  further to deliberate about the status of the bill."                         
  CHAIR BUNDE indicated his concern with the lines in the                      
  fiscal note.                                                                 
  Number 819                                                                   
  REP. OLBERG said they were the same as the lines in last                     
  year's note.                                                                 
  Number 823                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE said the legislature may be cutting many things                  
  and HB 267 may be one of them.                                               
  Number 823                                                                   
  REP. OLBERG suggested that the Finance Committee make that                   
  decision, not the Hess Committee.                                            
  Number 830                                                                   
  REP. BRICE suggested that education was not going to be                      
  funded at the $61,000 level.  He felt it would be                            
  appropriate to adjust the foundation formula in statute as                   
  quickly as possible, explaining that if there is to be a                     
  required proration, the single site school districts would                   
  be prorated, but at an equitable level of foundation                         
  formula.  He urged expediency.                                               
  Number 864                                                                   
  REP. MACKIE stated that nine of the school districts                         
  affected by the inequity are in his district.  He stated                     
  that the issue has been around for several years and every                   
  year work has to be done to make single site school                          
  districts part of the budget.  He felt the issue was one of                  
  fairness and asked committee members to put themselves in                    
  the same position as representatives of districts with                       
  single site school districts in them.  He stated that HB 267                 
  is fair and is supported by all facets of the education                      
  TAPE 94-22, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
  REP. MACKIE asserted there was a perception by new and old                   
  members of the legislature who haven't been exposed to                       
  single site school districts that think the problem is that                  
  districts are wasting money.  He said the perception is                      
  unjustified.  He said in the community of Craig, some                        
  classes are held in the hallway or in the lunch room, which                  
  no longer serves lunch.  He said he has seen a                               
  superintendent of a district with approximately 400 students                 
  teaching classes.  He stated that to pass HB 267 would be to                 
  acknowledge the inequity and to ensure that the committee                    
  would not have to hear in the following years the requests                   
  for supplementals and grants.  He reiterated that the single                 
  site school districts are not "fat" school districts, citing                 
  that many districts share teachers and counsellors.  He                      
  urged the committee to act quickly and pass HB 267.                          
  Number 199                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE reiterated that it was not his intention to kill                 
  the bill, and said he was not playing political games with                   
  Rep. Mackie's students.  He further stated that the majority                 
  of people in Alaska do not have children in school and that                  
  there are those who feel that education should be cut,                       
  Number 235                                                                   
  REP. G. DAVIS stated that HB 267 is not a funding bill.  He                  
  indicated that the legislation would include the single site                 
  school districts into the foundation formula, which would                    
  make them accessible to proration.  He felt HB 267 would                     
  simplify the process of the formula and would "get rid of a                  
  Number 290                                                                   
  REP. TOOHEY agreed with Rep. G. Davis.  She felt there was                   
  obvious inequity that was not being addressed.  She said                     
  that by enacting HB 267, they would be on an "even playing                   
  field" when funding cuts are made.  She was surprised that                   
  the legislature has waited seven years to fix the problem.                   
  Number 304                                                                   
  REP. NICHOLIA concurred with Rep. Olberg.  She felt the                      
  committee should not grapple with finance issues.  She                       
  stated that the committee is a health, education, and social                 
  services committee, and should review the proposal in an                     
  educational context and leave the financial decisions to the                 
  Finance Committee.  She felt if committee members had no                     
  problem with the wording of bill, she saw no reason to hold                  
  it.  She also stated that she has never heard anybody from                   
  rural Alaska ask for cuts to education.  She said that not                   
  only do superintendents teach classes in addition to their                   
  administrative duties, but also there are teachers with                      
  three different grades with multi-subjects in the same                       
  Number 369                                                                   
  REP. MACKIE said he agreed with Rep. Davis.  He said HB 267                  
  is not a funding increase for education, it is a bill that                   
  creates equity.  He also felt that HB 267 should be passed                   
  out of committee so that the Finance Committee could handle                  
  the financial issues.                                                        
  Number 422                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE clarified that he did not favor cutting                          
  education.  He specified that it was a large number of                       
  citizens who want the cuts, and he was just giving a voice                   
  to those positions.                                                          
  CHAIR BUNDE brought HB 339 to the table.                                     
  HB 339 - NO CENSORSHIP:  AMERICAN HISTORY DOCUMENT                           
  Number 448                                                                   
  REP. PETE KOTT, Prime Sponsor of HB 339, stated that in                      
  current statute there is a section that would allow public                   
  funding to be withheld from a school or teacher that                         
  advocates a "partisan, sectarian, or denominational                          
  doctrine" during school hours.  He said a copy of the                        
  statute (AS 14. 03.090) was included in the committee bill                   
  packets.  He felt that the statute had a detrimental effect                  
  on the teacher's willingness to supply students with primary                 
  source material from the earliest days of our country, which                 
  contain explicit religious language.                                         
  REP. KOTT stated that HB 339 would add a new section to the                  
  statute which would say that the use of a historical                         
  document cannot be construed to be the advocation of a                       
  "partisan, sectarian, or denominational doctrine."  He said                  
  that the proposal would allow teachers to feel free to                       
  supply students with primary source material without fear of                 
  jeopardizing their school's funding.                                         
  REP. KOTT explained that the proposal applies equally to                     
  Alaskan history and referred to the prayers from the opening                 
  days of Alaska's constitutional convention.  He said the                     
  legislation also applies to Native groups, whose history                     
  cannot be separated from their religion and culture.  He                     
  felt the proposal would also encourage the use of primary                    
  source material in the teaching of history.                                  
  REP. KOTT stressed the importance of HB 339 by stating that                  
  the prevailing concern over church-state separation has led                  
  to a situation where source documents which were commonly                    
  included in textbooks are now routinely left out.  In some                   
  cases they still appear, but religious references are                        
  deleted.  He felt that, as a result, many students receive                   
  an entirely erroneous understanding of the thought and mood                  
  of the 17th and 18th century.                                                
  REP. KOTT offered an example.  He said until recently high                   
  school history textbooks included discussions of the Great                   
  Awakening because it was a time of important social change                   
  in our country.  Often, the texts would include Jonathan                     
  Edwards' famous sermon, "Sinners in the hands of an Angry                    
  God."  He said the sermon typified the preaching of the era                  
  and knowledge of it helps a student to better understand the                 
  period and the debates that occurred in it.  He indicated                    
  that the textbook, "Triumph of the American Nation,"                         
  dismisses the Great Awakening with a single brief paragraph.                 
  REP. KOTT said HB 339 does not require the use of Edwards'                   
  sermon or any other document in Alaska public schools.  He                   
  said the proposal would ensure that a teacher would not be                   
  penalized for acquainting a student with such documents.                     
  REP. KOTT indicated that a copy of the Mayflower Compact was                 
  in members' bill packets and he could not acquire a copy of                  
  the document from any history book that is used for                          
  instruction in the state of Alaska.  He also said that legal                 
  services said the proposal would not violate the                             
  Number 653                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE asked if Rep. Kott knew of any Alaskan teacher                   
  that has been prevented from using certain documents, or if                  
  the proposal was addressing past problems and potential                      
  future problems.                                                             
  Number 667                                                                   
  REP. KOTT agreed that HB 339 was addressing past problems                    
  and would preempt future problems.  He further stated that                   
  the Pledge of Allegiance may face future threat.                             
  Number 685                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE asked if the legislation here in Alaska would                    
  affect those who write the history textbooks.                                
  Number 697                                                                   
  REP. KOTT was not sure how particular texts are chosen for a                 
  curriculum.  He also suggested that perhaps teachers were                    
  providing some of the unavailable text at their own expense.                 
  Number 725                                                                   
  REP. TOOHEY felt it was important to know the position of                    
  the Department of Education (DOE) before any action is taken                 
  on the proposed legislation.                                                 
  Number 730                                                                   
  SHEILA PETERSON, Special Assistant to Commissioner Covey,                    
  Department of Education, stated that the DOE has not                         
  formally taken a position on HB 339.  She said that concerns                 
  were expressed as to whether it is necessary to have this in                 
  statute.  She also stated that by listing documents that are                 
  thought to be censored, a document that may be desired may                   
  have been inadvertently left off the list.                                   
  Number 751                                                                   
  REP. TOOHEY asked if the committee could put some pressure                   
  on DOE to take a position.                                                   
  Number 757                                                                   
  MS. PETERSON said that she could relay the concern to                        
  Commissioner Covey.                                                          
  Number 764                                                                   
  REP. BRICE asked if there were specific textbooks available                  
  that have religiously specific language in them.  He asked                   
  if there were a specific set of textbooks being disallowed                   
  due to state statute.                                                        
  Number 782                                                                   
  REP. KOTT said he was unsure.  He said what he felt was                      
  being restricted was the opportunity to "dig in" to the                      
  documents into detail.  He referred to George Washington's                   
  Farewell Address and stated that some teachers may be                        
  hesitant to use the document in fear of losing funding.                      
  Number 817                                                                   
  REP. BRICE said he was not sure that the constraints for the                 
  university system were the same as those for K-12.                           
  Number 837                                                                   
  VERNON MARSHALL, Executive Director, National Education                      
  Association/Alaska, stated that the NEA/AK did not have a                    
  prepared statement on HB 339, but urged the committee to                     
  oppose the legislation.  He stated that he was unaware of                    
  any teacher having to omit historical information or text                    
  from any historical material.  He said he did support the                    
  concept of separation of church and state.  He further                       
  stated that America is a nation of many religious                            
  backgrounds, but he felt that under the principle of                         
  academic freedom the documents would be considered literary                  
  history and not an opportunity to promote religion.                          
  MR. MARSHALL referred to page 2, line 12, of the proposal                    
  and said he did not understand the definition of "organic                    
  documents" of the American colonies.  He further indicated                   
  that page 2, line 3, allows that an "historical document                     
  used as a part of the public school curriculum may be used                   
  in whole or in part, but may not be altered to remove                        
  religious or secular references, when the religious or                       
  secular references are part of the text of the historical                    
  document."  He inquired as to the definition of historical                   
  document.  He also said page 2, line 9, indicates that a                     
  teacher may not be disciplined for using such a document.                    
  He felt the proposal was broad.                                              
  Number 953                                                                   
  REP. VEZEY read the meaning of organic from a dictionary:                    
  designating or pertaining to the fundamental laws and                        
  principles of a government or organization.                                  
  Number 959                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE referred to the Organic Acts as establishing                     
  many governments and states.                                                 
  CHAIR BUNDE then took a brief at-ease at 4:53 p.m.                           
  CHAIR BUNDE reconvened at 4:55 p.m. and read the calendar                    
  for the following day.                                                       
  Number 001                                                                   
  JACK PHELPS, Legislative Aid to Rep. Pete Kott, said the                     
  essential paragraph in the proposal was page 2, line 6, and                  
  said the mere use of document cannot be construed as                         
  advocating a religious position.  He said nothing in HB 399                  
  prevents a district from identifying a teacher who is using                  
  the document as a platform to advocate sectarian or                          
  religious beliefs.                                                           
  Number 031                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE deferred to the pleasure of the committee.                       
  Number 039                                                                   
  REP. VEZEY made a motion to pass HB 339 out of committee                     
  with individual recommendations.                                             
  Number 043                                                                   
  REP. TOOHEY objected and said she would like to hear from                    
  the DOE before the proposal is passed out of committee.  She                 
  felt if there was not a necessity for the legislation then                   
  it should not be passed out.                                                 
  Number 053                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE called for the roll.  Representatives Bunde,                     
  Gary Davis, Vezey, Kott, Brice voted yea, and Rep. Toohey                    
  voted nay.  Chair Bunde stated that HB 339 passed out of                     
  committee with individual recommendations.                                   
  Seeing no further business before the committee, CHAIR BUNDE                 
  ADJOURNED the meeting at 5:00 p.m.                                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects