Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/13/1995 02:07 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                                      
                         April 13, 1995                                        
                           2:07  p.m.                                          
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
 Representative Cynthia Toohey, Co-Chair                                       
 Representative Con Bunde, Co-Chair                                            
 Representative Al Vezey                                                       
 Representative Gary Davis                                                     
 Representative Caren Robinson                                                 
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                
 Representative Norman Rokeberg                                                
 Representative Tom Brice                                                      
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
 * HB 156:   "An Act relating to access to extracurricular school              
             programs by home schooled students."                              
             HEARD AND HELD                                                    
 * HB 35:    "An Act relating to the grounds for imposing                      
             disciplinary sanctions on persons licensed by the                 
             Sate Medical Board."                                              
             PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                           
 HB 217:     "An Act relating to employment of teachers."                      
             PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                           
 HB 172:     "An Act relating to kindergarten programs and                     
             compulsory education; to identification required upon             
             enrollment in a public school; to those grades that               
             constitute elementary, junior, and secondary school;              
             and providing for an effective date."                             
             PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                           
 * HB 229:   "An Act prohibiting certain amplified sounds from                 
             automobiles; and providing for an effective date."                
             SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                           
 (* First public hearing)                                                      
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
 JOHN DAHLGREN, Associate Superintendent of Schools                            
 Kenai Peninsula Borough School District                                       
 148 N. Binkley                                                                
 Soldotna, AK  99669                                                           
 Telephone:  (907) 262-5846                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 156.                                      
 MARYJEAN YRAGUI                                                               
 P.O. Box 1290                                                                 
 Kenai, AK  99611                                                              
 Telephone:  (907) 283-4947                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 156.                           
 ISABEL HUESTIS                                                                
 P.O. Box 1886                                                                 
 Soldotna, AK  99669                                                           
 Telephone:  (907) 262-2868                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 156.                           
 GISELLE BERGERON                                                              
 Huntwood Christian School                                                     
 12570 Northern Raven                                                          
 Anchorage, AK  99516                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 345-1010                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 156.                           
 SANDY BLOMFIELD                                                               
 7610 Wildwood Circle                                                          
 Anchorage, AK  99516                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 346-2738                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 156.                           
 STEVEN PORTER                                                                 
 10420 Loan Tree Drive                                                         
 Anchorage, AK  99516                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 265-6269                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 156.                           
 DR. BILL MELL, Director of Secondary Education                                
 Anchorage School District                                                     
 4600 DeBarr Road                                                              
 P.O. Box 196614                                                               
 Anchorage, AK  99519-6614                                                     
 Telephone:  (907) 333-9561                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 156.                                 
 JUSTIN WALTON, Home school student                                            
 P.O. Box 221166                                                               
 Anchorage, AK  99522                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 248-1323                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 156.                           
 JOSHUA WALTON, Home school student                                            
 P.O. Box 221166                                                               
 Anchorage, AK  99522                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 248-1323                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 156.                           
 JONATHAN WALTON, Home school student                                          
 P.O. Box 221166                                                               
 Anchorage, AK  99522                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 248-1323                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 156.                           
 PAIGE WALTON, Parent                                                          
 P.O. Box 221166                                                               
 Anchorage, AK  99522                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 248-1323                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 156.                           
 SARAH WALTON, Home school student                                             
 P.O. Box 221166                                                               
 Anchorage, AK  99522                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 248-1323                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 156.                           
 JERRY WALTON, Parent                                                          
 P.O. Box 221166                                                               
 Anchorage, AK  99522                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 248-1323                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 156.                           
 LAUREL TATSUDA, Attorney                                                      
 Representing the Anchorage School District                                    
 510 L Street, Suite 500                                                       
 Anchorage, AK  99501                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 278-8533                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 156.                                 
 MARY HUTCHINSON, Parent                                                       
 HC 2, Box 389                                                                 
 Soldotna, AK  99669                                                           
 Telephone:  (907) 262-4260                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 156.                           
 MAGGIE REILLY, Parent                                                         
 P.O. Box 847                                                                  
 Kasilof, AK  99610                                                            
 Telephone:  (907) 262-1835                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 156.                           
 SYLVIA REYNOLDS, Assistant Principal                                          
 Juneau Douglas High School                                                    
 10014 Crazy Horse Drive                                                       
 Juneau, AK  99801                                                             
 Telephone:  (907) 463-1900                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 156.                                 
 SHEILA PETERSON, Special Assistant to the Commissioner                        
 Department of Education                                                       
 801 W. 10th Street, Suite 200                                                 
 Juneau, AK  99801                                                             
 Telephone:  (907) 465-2803                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 156 and HB 172.                
 REPRESENTATIVE SEAN PARNELL                                                   
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 515                                                       
 Juneau, AK  99801                                                             
 Telephone:  (907) 465-2995                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided sponsor statement for HB 35.                     
 CATHERINE REARDON, Director                                                   
 Division of Occupational Licensing                                            
 Department of Commerce                                                        
 State Office Building, 9th Floor                                              
 Juneau, AK  99801                                                             
 Telephone:  (907) 465-2534                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 35.                            
 JAYNE ANDREEN, Executive Director                                             
 Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault                               
 P.O. Box 111200                                                               
 Juneau, AK  99811                                                             
 Telephone:  (907) 465-4356                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 35.                            
 DR. DAVID McGUIRE, Chairman                                                   
 Alaska State Medical Board                                                    
 3601 C Street, Suite 722                                                      
 Anchorage, AK  99503                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 561-2878                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 35.                            
 CARL ROSE, Executive Director                                                 
 Association of Alaska School Boards                                           
 316 W. 11th Street                                                            
 Juneau, AK  99801                                                             
 Telephone:  (907) 586-0183                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 217.                           
 VERNON MARSHALL, Executive Director                                           
 National Education Association - Alaska                                       
 114 Second Street                                                             
 Juneau, AK  99801                                                             
 Telephone:  (907) 586-3090                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 217.                           
 STEVE McPHETRES, Executive Director                                           
 Alaska Council of School Administrators                                       
 364 4th Street, Suite 404                                                     
 Juneau, AK  99801                                                             
 Telephone:  (907) 586-9702                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 217.                                      
 THOMAS WRIGHT, Legislative Assistant                                          
 Representative Ivan Ivan                                                      
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 503                                                       
 Juneau, AK  99801                                                             
 Telephone:  (907) 465-4942                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 217.                                      
 DEE HUBBARD                                                                   
 4251 Pinnacle Drive                                                           
 Anchorage, AK  99504                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 337-6370                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 172.                           
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
 BILL:  HB 156                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: STUDENT ACCESS TO SCHOOL PROGRAMS                                
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                      
 02/06/95       252    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/06/95       252    (H)   HES, FIN                                          
 04/13/95              (H)   HES AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 BILL:  HB  35                                                                
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) PARNELL,Bunde,Robinson                          
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                      
 01/06/95        29    (H)   PREFILE RELEASED                                  
 01/16/95        29    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/16/95        29    (H)   HES, JUD, FIN                                     
 01/19/95        90    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): BUNDE                               
 02/06/95       256    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): ROBINSON                            
 04/13/95              (H)   HES AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 BILL:  HB 217                                                                
 SHORT TITLE: EMPLOYMENT RIGHTS OF TEACHERS                                    
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) IVAN                                            
 JRN-DATE      JRN-PG              ACTION                                      
 03/01/95       531    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 03/01/95       531    (H)   HES, JUDICIARY                                    
 03/07/95              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 03/07/95              (H)   MINUTE(HES)                                       
 03/29/95              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 04/11/95              (H)   HES AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 04/13/95              (H)   HES AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 BILL:  HB 172                                                                
 SHORT TITLE: KINDERGARTEN & MISC. EDUC                                        
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                      
 02/10/95       302    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/10/95       302    (H)   HES, FINANCE                                      
 03/02/95              (H)   HES AT 02:30 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 03/02/95              (H)   MINUTE(HES)                                       
 04/11/95              (H)   HES AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 04/13/95              (H)   HES AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 BILL:  HB 229                                                                
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) ROKEBERG,Toohey,Bunde                           
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                      
 03/03/95       565    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 03/03/95       566    (H)   STATE AFFAIRS, HES, JUDICIARY                     
 04/05/95      1039    (H)   STA REFERRAL WAIVED                               
 04/13/95              (H)   HES AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
 TAPE 95-35, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR CON BUNDE called the meeting of the House Health,                    
 Education and Social Services standing committee to order at 2:07             
 p.m.  Present at the call to order were Representatives Bunde,                
 Toohey, Vezey, and Davis.  A quorum was present to conduct                    
 business.  Co-Chair Bunde read the calendar and announced the order           
 of the bills.  He also announced that HB 229, Prohibit Loud Vehicle           
 Sound Systems, would be heard on April 20, 1995.                              
 HB 156 - STUDENT ACCESS TO SCHOOL PROGRAMS                                  
 Number 087                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced that HB 156 was introduced by the HESS               
 committee by request.  This bill aims to benefit students who                 
 participate in the Alaska State Centralized Correspondence School             
 (CCS).  This is also commonly known as "home school."  In addition,           
 it aims to benefit private school students and independent home               
 school students.  Currently, these students do not have access to             
 public school co-curricular programs, including drama, debate,                
 music, band, and sporting events.                                             
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said the Anchorage School District (ASD), among                
 other districts, offers educational alternatives such as "back to             
 basics" elementary programs, foreign language immersion programs,             
 "school within a school," and "stellar and polar alternatives."               
 Students who attend district-sponsored alternatives are allowed               
 access to co-curricular programs.  This discriminatory practice of            
 locking out students who are not enrolled in public education                 
 fosters a system of education which allows for complacency and                
 Number 202                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted competition in any monopoly is healthy and can           
 assist in providing the best possible education for Alaska's                  
 students.  Alaska's Department of Education (DOE) has held public             
 hearings on this issue.  The Alaska School Activities Association             
 (ASAA) and the ASD strive to enforce rules and regulations that               
 prevent private, home-schooled and CCS students from participation            
 in these extracurricular activities.                                          
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said this legislation would provide equal access to            
 all programs for all students regardless of enrollment.                       
 Number 262                                                                    
 JOHN DAHLGREN, Associate Superintendent of Schools, Kenai Peninsula           
 Borough School District, testified via teleconference that the                
 participation of home-schooled students, i.e., those students who             
 are not enrolled in the district correspondence, is something the             
 school board has wrestled with over the last year.  Although the              
 district has tried to provide access to home-schoolers that are in            
 specialized classes, those stipulations are being laid out at this            
 particular time.                                                              
 MR. DAHLGREN said the district does allow home-school students to             
 take and participate in the co-curricular activities and                      
 competitions as long as the students are associated with that                 
 class.  Classes may include the district honor band, choir, and               
 music.  It is very important to provide parents and students with             
 a choice.  However, Mr. Dahlgren is somewhat apprehensive to begin            
 running "boys and girls clubs" for students who are not enrolled in           
 a particular school.                                                          
 MR. DAHLGREN said participation is one thing, representation is               
 another.  The district is attempting to follow school board                   
 guidelines.  If students are enrolled in one course, the district             
 obtains a .25 full-time equivalent student (FTE).  If the student             
 is enrolled in two courses, the district obtains a half-time FTE.             
 Three courses obtain a .75 FTE, and four or more obtains a full               
 FTE.  A three-quarters or full-time FTE is counted in the                     
 foundation formula.  That has not been put forth yet, although it             
 has been acted upon.  It is the understanding of Mr. Dahlgren that            
 this issue is still in the Attorney General's Office.                         
 Number 394                                                                    
 MR. DAHLGREN said the district is going to propose to the school              
 board that all students who are enrolled in district correspondence           
 be allowed to participate.  Students that are enrolled in at least            
 three classes will be allowed to participate and represent the                
 school, except in programs that are extensions of the classroom               
 such as music and band.                                                       
 MR. DAHLGREN hoped the legislature would look at this issue                   
 carefully.  There is a difference between participating and                   
 representing.  There needs to be guidelines.  Mr. Dahlgren was very           
 apprehensive to open up the interscholastic program to anybody that           
 says they are home-schooled.  Obviously, a curriculum must be laid            
 out.  Students who are on state correspondence used to be able to             
 participate because the state paid the activity fees for those                
 students.  Budget reductions have eliminated that option.                     
 Number 486                                                                    
 MR. DAHLGREN noted that even private and home schools, by state               
 statute, are private schools.  There are many private schools in              
 Alaska that are also members of the Activities Association.  They             
 offer an interscholastic program.  Mr. Dahlgren hoped HESS                    
 Committee members would make sure HB 156 contains very specific               
 parameters so districts can have some guidelines to function                  
 within.  He did not wish for activities to be opened to any party             
 across the board.                                                             
 Number 543                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE thanked Mr. Dahlgren for his testimony, and asked              
 that subsequent testimony be limited to three minutes.  Co-Chair              
 Bunde asked if, when Mr. Dahlgren spoke of representation, that he            
 was speaking of, for example, basketball teams that represent                 
 various school sites and competitive teams.                                   
 MR. DAHLGREN said that is what he was referring to.  He said it is            
 one thing to participate in a class.  However, when someone puts on           
 a uniform, they are then representing their community and the                 
 school they are attending.  There are certain responsibilities that           
 go with that representation.  He is very concerned with the fact              
 that there may be many students asking to participate, and that the           
 district does have eligibility standards.  The district has been to           
 the board on several instances when parents have challenged the               
 district's grade requirements.                                                
 MR. DAHLGREN does not want to see students opting out of the                  
 district's program in favor of a home-school program and have                 
 grades be assigned by parents.  He was not saying that occurred               
 often, but that was a point of concern.                                       
 Number 668                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE would expect that any student participating in a               
 public school program would have to abide by the same requirements.           
 Number 679                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR CYNTHIA TOOHEY asked if Mr. Dahlgren was referring to the            
 CCS, or any home-school program.                                              
 MR. DAHLGREN said the CCS did, at one time, pay dues to the Alaska            
 School Activities Association.  Those students were then able to              
 participate in the public school setting.  When Mr. Dahlgren refers           
 to home-schooling, he refers to students who participate in CCS.              
 His district has students participating in the district's                     
 correspondence that are home-schooled.  Those students are still              
 members of the Kenai Peninsula Borough District.                              
 MR. DAHLGREN said the district contains some individuals that apply           
 directly to various correspondence courses throughout the country.            
 All of those students must be participating in some sort of                   
 approved program.  When using the term "home-schooled," he refers             
 to any student who is not taking district correspondence school.              
 Number 770                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE GARY DAVIS asked if the school board feels it could            
 implement such a participation program without HB 156, considering            
 it has been studying this topic for some time.                                
 MR. DAHLGREN said he has discussed this topic with the school                 
 board, and the board is trying to make access for home-schoolers.             
 There has been several instances in which students participating in           
 choir had gone to all-state.  Currently, those students can be                
 counted as enrolled students.  The state school board is attempting           
 to "better define" what a student is.                                         
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted for the record that Representative Robinson              
 joined the meeting at 2:12 p.m.                                               
 Number 858                                                                    
 MARYJEAN YRAGUI, testifying via teleconference from Kenai, spoke on           
 behalf of her husband and herself.  She said they support HB 156.             
 Their tax dollars are used for the benefit of the public school               
 system as a whole.  If her children are excluded from participating           
 in extracurricular activities, then her tax dollars should also be            
 MS. YRAGUI and her husband have elected to teach their children at            
 home for a number of reasons.  They strive to customize their                 
 children's education according to their beliefs, and to provide the           
 uninterrupted educational benefit of a one-on-one student-teacher             
 ratio.  Separation of church and state, which is required by law in           
 public schools, is another reason why the Yraguis chose home-                 
 Number 897                                                                    
 MS. YRAGUI said her family supports the public school system with             
 money generated from her household with no benefit anticipated                
 other than the right for her children to participate in                       
 extracurricular activities when desired.  The Yraguis will continue           
 to support the process and hope legislators will be amenable to the           
 needs of all children, including those who are home-schooled.                 
 MS. YRAGUI said her children have grown up in a very positive and             
 loving atmosphere, and she believes their participation in                    
 extracurricular activities would only enhance the learning process            
 of all children involved.                                                     
 Number 929                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY urged the Yraguis not to take on the IRS, because             
 that is a losing battle.  This problem needs to be solved in                  
 MS. YRAGUI assured Co-Chair Toohey that was not her family's                  
 Number 949                                                                    
 ISABEL HUESTIS testified via teleconference from Kenai.  She said             
 her tenth-grade son is presently enrolled in an excellent                     
 accredited college preparatory course for home study.  Ms. Huestis            
 pays for that program.  Her son's choice was to home-school after             
 attending Skyview his freshman year.                                          
 MS. HUESTIS'S son loves basketball.  In order to develop his                  
 athletic talent by taking extracurricular basketball at the varsity           
 level, he is currently required to take three courses at Skyview              
 High School.  This makes a total of eight classes each day for her            
 son.  This disrupts the boy's educational schedule at home.  As a             
 committed parent, Ms. Huestis feels he should have a choice and not           
 be denied access to the school sport program, as her son is                   
 currently meeting all the state's requirements for his education.             
 Therefore, Ms. Huestis is in favor of the passage of HB 156.                  
 Number 1003                                                                   
 GISELLE BERGERON spoke on the behalf of Huntwood Christian School.            
 She said her school is administered as a private home school as               
 provided by AS 14.45.100, and has been since 1984.  Currently,                
 there is one student enrolled.  That student has desired, for a               
 number of years, to cross-country ski at the high school level.               
 This was an expensive venture.  The school paid over $250 for                 
 membership fees to the ASAA, only to find out the school must also            
 be paid $150 for regional fees.                                               
 MS. BERGERON said this $400 gained the child access to ten ASAA               
 sponsored ski meets.  That equals $40 per meet for one student.               
 This figure does not include other charges involved in the sport,             
 such as the $350 coaching fee, $200 travel fee, and $1,000 in                 
 equipment and clothing.                                                       
 MS. BERGERON and her husband pay taxes to support the local school            
 system.  They have not asked the ASD to educate their children.               
 They have exclusively educated the children themselves.  She has              
 only asked that the students in her school be able to participate             
 in one sport each year.  The ASD denied that request, in part                 
 because of the ASAA enrollment policy.  Several years ago, Huntwood           
 Christian submitted a waiver to ASAA asking the organization to               
 exempt the home school students from the enrollment policy.  That             
 waiver was denied.                                                            
 MS. BERGERON said for a number of years, her children were caught             
 in a no-win situation.   They were denied access to sports with               
 children their own age.                                                       
 Number 1092                                                                   
 MS. BERGERON said ASAA was joined out of desperation, but members             
 of the legislature must agree that $400 is an unfair price for one            
 student to gain access to a few ski meets.  Oregon has had a law              
 since 1991 allowing home-schoolers access to interscholastic                  
 activities.  In a recent study done by the Oregon School Activities           
 Association, it was found that out of 5,000 home-schooled students,           
 only 40 participated in interscholastic activities.                           
 MS. BERGERON continued that the fear that home-schooled students              
 will displace public school students is blown out of proportion.              
 The ASD says there are 500 home-schooled children in Anchorage, but           
 only a small portion of those are high school children.  The exact            
 number breakdown was not given.  Even a smaller portion of the high           
 school kids in Anchorage will be interested in interscholastic                
 MS. BERGERON stated the ASD also said it would be a logistical                
 nightmare to account for home-schooled students participating in              
 public school activities.  Discipline and attendance are two major            
 concerns for the ASD.  These aspects can be dealt with in an                  
 equitable manner that will put the burden on home-schooled students           
 and their parents.  Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado,                 
 Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Iowa, Minnesota and Vermont are             
 some of the states that have given home-schoolers access to                   
 interscholastic activities.                                                   
 MS. BERGERON asked the HESS Committee members to please pass HB
 Number 1170                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted that concern was expressed that a child who              
 was only going to high school for sports could drop out and say he            
 or she was being home-schooled.  Then, their parents could give the           
 child all "A"s, so the student would remain scholastically                    
 eligible.  He asked Ms. Bergeron how she would address that                   
 MS. BERGERON doubted that any home-school parent would find                   
 themselves in that situation.  Most home-schooled parents are                 
 completely dedicated.  They would not allow such a situation.                 
 Number 1216                                                                   
 SANDY BLOMFIELD testified via teleconference from Anchorage.  She             
 praised HESS Committee members for introducing HB 156.  Competition           
 is the key.  If the state allows areas of competition into the                
 public education system, all will benefit.  Instead of locking out            
 alternative education students from co-curricular activities, the             
 existing system will have committed students and correspondingly              
 involved parents if students in alternative schooling can                     
 participate in those activities.                                              
 MS. BLOMFIELD said everyone will benefit from this situation.                 
 Schools that charge fees are now commonplace.  A student in                   
 Anchorage can reside in one district and attend an alternative                
 school, and benefit from participating in activities at a school in           
 another district.  The freedom and access to public school students           
 needs to be extended to home-schools, correspondence schools,                 
 charter schools and private schools.                                          
 MS. BLOMFIELD stated that arguments against HB 156 are without                
 merit.  However, she addressed three of those arguments.  The first           
 is that school spirit would suffer.  No member of an activity who             
 has gone through the trial and practice process would have a lack             
 of motivation or school spirit.                                               
 Number 1289                                                                   
 MS. BLOMFIELD said the rules of eligibility and discipline are                
 applicable to all students, regardless of where they choose to                
 attend school.  The administrative burden can accommodate students            
 and parents without adding unnecessary cost to the school system.             
 MS. BLOMFIELD stated a third fear is that allowing extracurricular            
 access to students who are schooled alternatively will displace               
 more deserving students who attend the school.  Ms. Blomfield noted           
 that all teams are chosen on the basis of a tryout and individual             
 MS. BLOMFIELD noted that HB 156 addresses all the issues she had              
 discussed.  She thanked HESS Committee members for considering HB
 Number 1325                                                                   
 STEVEN PORTER testified via teleconference from Anchorage in                  
 support of HB 156.  The aim of the state should be to encourage a             
 well-rounded education for all children.  The administrative and              
 financial impediments should not be used to deny students the right           
 to participate.                                                               
 MR. PORTER said in his profession, he often sees regulations and              
 laws, and then he studies the issue or problem.  He noted that                
 regulations do not always solve the problem.  HESS Committee                  
 members must ask themselves what they really want to happen.  The             
 HESS Committee members must look at the laws and regulations and              
 change them to make sure the laws and regulations are capable of              
 changing the existing state.                                                  
 MR. PORTER recommended HESS Committee members focus efforts on                
 encouraging the development of extracurricular activities for the             
 state's children.  HESS Committee members should be looking at                
 providing the best possible education for all Alaskan students.               
 Number 1390                                                                   
 MR. PORTER asked to comment on the eligibility concerns, and the              
 concern that failing or poor students will ask to participate.  Mr.           
 Porter's son is a home-schooled student.  He was enrolled in public           
 school for two quarters this year for math and science classes.  He           
 is of the age when he should be in sixth grade, and he was placed             
 into a seventh grade gifted class.  He received straight "A"s in              
 that class.                                                                   
 MR. PORTER assured HESS Committee members there would be no problem           
 with home-schooled children and their grades.  He suggested if that           
 remained a concern, home-schooled children could be tested using an           
 Iowa Test or other standardized test.  He felt home-schooled                  
 children would not mind.  He felt the concerns about home-schooled            
 children and their grades were simply roadblocks to slow down the             
 Number 1418                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE feared Mr. Porter misunderstood the intent of his              
 question.  Co-Chair Bunde was not particularly concerned about                
 children who are currently being home-schooled.  He was concerned             
 that sometime in the future, a parent who is not as conscientious             
 as Mr. Porter would not mind bending the rules to have their child            
 participate in school sports.  Mr. Porter's idea about having home-           
 schooled children take a standardized academic test in order to               
 prove eligibility is a good idea.  That would allay concerns and              
 discourage those who tried to get around scholastic requirements.             
 MR. PORTER noted that there will always be one or two isolated and            
 unique circumstances in which someone tries to get around the law             
 or push the edge.  He asked that laws not be designed around those            
 special circumstances.                                                        
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE assured Mr. Porter that was not the intention of the           
 HESS Committee members.                                                       
 Number 1472                                                                   
 BILL MELL, Director of Secondary Education, ASD, reminded HESS                
 Committee members that the ASD submitted a memorandum concerning              
 this bill on February 23, 1995.  Co-Chair Bunde noted the memo had            
 been received.  Mr. Mell therefore asked to bring the attention of            
 HESS Committee members to points the ASD felt were most                       
 MR. MELL said first, HB 156 as written is vague to the point it is            
 difficult to determine and describe exactly what is an                        
 extracurricular activity.  In particular, the ASD offers drama,               
 music, debate and band, which are primarily classes and not                   
 extracurricular activities at all.                                            
 MR. MELL felt this bill may provide the home-schooled student with            
 access to after-school events, but not provide him or her the                 
 advantage of being able to participate with the group during the              
 school day when most of the work is done.                                     
 Number 1530                                                                   
 MR. MELL stated the ASD felt the bill proposed a real                         
 administrative burden in terms of the ASD's ability to document how           
 those who participate in activities meet the standards.  There is             
 a real question in Mr. Mell's mind that someone who is home-                  
 schooled can meet the requirements of the ASD.  The ASD believes              
 that is a question that will be tested in court, and much money               
 will be spent on many sides to make these determinations.  Mr. Mell           
 would hate to have regulations set aside for that eventuality.                
 MR. MELL spoke of his last point, which was the most difficult for            
 him to deal with personally.  There is a very significant                     
 constitutional issue at work here.  HB 156 puts the ASD into the              
 position of either violating or not violating the Constitution of             
 the state of Alaska.  Another heavy legal burden could be acquired            
 to determine if that is so.                                                   
 MR. MELL said this issue was discussed in February, and if it is              
 necessary to change the state's Constitution to have HB 156 work,             
 that would be the first step, rather than writing a regulation that           
 skirts the issue.                                                             
 Number 1600                                                                   
 JUSTIN WALTON testified via teleconference that he is a student at            
 a registered home-school in Alaska.  He is a junior with a 3.9                
 grade point average (GPA), and if he went to public school, he                
 would go to Dimond High School in Anchorage.                                  
 JUSTIN WALTON said the ASD would try to tell HESS Committee members           
 that letting home-schooled children participate in extracurricular            
 activities will cost more money and create more hassle.  The                  
 district will argue that there is no legal background to allow                
 home-school students to enroll in extracurricular activities.  The            
 ASD may argue that if home-schoolers want the benefit of increased            
 extracurricular activities, they will have to take the whole                  
 JUSTIN WALTON said in Alaska, residents must pay property taxes.              
 Those taxes pay for the school districts in the state.  This is               
 mandatory.  Residents are paying for an education, but just because           
 home-schoolers do not want a certain part of that education, they             
 should still be allowed to get the part they do want.  Back in the            
 "good old days,"  people paid the teacher for the education, and              
 this way students and parents got the desired education.                      
 Number 1653                                                                   
 JUSTIN WALTON next spoke on the legal argument.  The Alaskan                  
 Constitution states that students are entitled to a free public               
 education.  The United States Constitution gives citizens the                 
 freedom to practice any chosen religion.  If the two collide, as is           
 the case of many home schools, shouldn't the student be allowed to            
 get as many benefits as possible from public schools, aside from              
 what is conflicting?                                                          
 JUSTIN WALTON said the whole point of a democratic republic such as           
 America's is to serve the public.  Home-schooled students are part            
 of the public.  It hurts no one to allow home-schooled students to            
 participate.  Mr. Walton knows a great number of people who would             
 benefit from this bill.  By the time HB 156 passed, he will                   
 probably be graduated.  However, many other students would benefit            
 greatly from HB 156.                                                          
 JUSTIN WALTON knows many people on swim teams who would love to               
 receive the benefit of participating on high school swim teams, to            
 take advantage of the training.  Mr. Walton would personally love             
 to be on a basketball team and get that training.  At this point,             
 home-schoolers do not have that option.  HB 156 needs to be passed            
 so they can participate and have a chance to compete at the college           
 level.  Public school participation would also assist in getting              
 scholarships in athletics, band or music.                                     
 JUSTIN WALTON said home-schoolers do not currently have those                 
 options, and it would be fantastic if they did.                               
 Number 1726                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE appreciated Mr. Walton's enthusiasm.  However, the             
 Alaska Constitution requires an education be provided, but it does            
 not require the education be free.  People pay property taxes in              
 Anchorage which provide about 18 percent of the actual cost of                
 education.  The rest of the necessary money comes from the state.             
 Those legislative members who sit on the budget committee realize             
 the education is certainly not free.  However, it is reasonable.              
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said she had a son that went to Dimond High School,           
 and she also had a son who was home-schooled through CCS.  Both of            
 her sons turned out to be very fine individuals.  She does not                
 believe HB 156 is the answer to Justin Walton's problem.  She                 
 suggested that the answer is in his hands.  He should get together            
 with many other home-schooled children and create a basketball                
 team, swimming team or whatever, and organize as home-schoolers.              
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY felt that way, the home-schooled can participate              
 against the high school teams.  Getting the best of both worlds is            
 not necessarily the best for everyone.                                        
 Number 1780                                                                   
 JUSTIN WALTON said currently, a number of home-schoolers do meet to           
 play basketball.  The problem is, the training is not good enough.            
 Students can meet to play basketball, swim, play instruments or               
 whatever.  However, the education and training about the sport or             
 activity is not there.  That is the problem.  The home-schoolers              
 would have to pay a lot of money to get what public school children           
 are getting.  It does not seem fair to Mr. Walton to have to pay a            
 lot of money to join the ASAA and to play against other accredited            
 schools.  It does not seem fair that the home-schooled must pay for           
 what the district already pays for public school students.                    
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY reiterated that is one of the perks of going to a             
 public school. Students get wonderful things thrown in.  Students             
 have the right to be home-schooled, and Co-Chair Toohey was sure              
 Mr. Walton was thriving in that environment.  But she also                    
 suggested that he find coaches.  She was sure there were those who            
 were ready and willing to help.  She applauded Mr. Walton and his             
 friends for already organizing their own team.                                
 Number 1844                                                                   
 JOSHUA WALTON, home-school student, asked to respond to previous              
 arguments.  Dr. Mell suggested that home-schooled students may not            
 be able to meet the standards for activities.  Joshua said he is              
 17-years-old.  He got a 1370 on the S.A.T.s, he has a 4.0 GPA, and            
 a 31 A.C.T. score.  He has been approached by many students asking            
 him to join extracurricular activities.  At other times, teachers             
 have encouraged him to join.  He does not doubt that home-schoolers           
 could meet the standards of the activities.  If home-schoolers did            
 not, they would not be chosen in tryouts.                                     
 JOSHUA WALTON said therefore, meeting the activity standards is not           
 a problem.  As for the constitutional question, Joshua did not                
 believe the Constitution addresses the problem of extracurricular             
 activities, nor of home-schoolers in extracurricular activities.              
 Joshua disagreed with Dr. Mell's conclusion that a constitutional             
 amendment is needed rather than a simple regulation.                          
 Number 1915                                                                   
 JOSHUA WALTON stated HESS Committee members should not change the             
 rights of students to these activities in order to change the law             
 or to save administrative costs.  The fact is, if other students              
 have a right to participate in these activities, home-schoolers               
 should also.  They should not be denied simply because they do not            
 attend the school.  They should not be discriminated against.                 
 JOSHUA WALTON noted that his family pays taxes for public                     
 schooling, and therefore should be able to get benefits from public           
 schooling.  Anything else is discrimination.                                  
 Number 1943                                                                   
 JONATHAN WALTON testified via teleconference that he is a sixth-              
 grader.  He has been home-schooled his entire life.  He supports              
 this bill because next year he will be in junior high school, and             
 he would like to participate in cross-country track and skiing with           
 public school students.                                                       
 Number 1964                                                                   
 PAIGE WALTON, mother of Justin, Joshua and Jonathan, testified via            
 teleconference that she and her husband have home-schooled their              
 children for nearly 20 years.  She thanked the HESS Committee for             
 introducing this legislation.  However, she is not 100 percent                
 happy with the wording of the bill.  She personally thinks, based             
 on the information she has regarding other states' legislation, it            
 would be better to reword the bill so all "alternative" students in           
 the state have access to public school programs instead of singling           
 out home-schooled students.                                                   
 MS. WALTON stated that alternative students currently exist in                
 public and private schools throughout the state, probably in every            
 district in the state.  Anchorage experiences a unique situation.             
 Although there are 54 school districts in the state of Alaska, the            
 Waltons reside in the one district that accommodates over one-third           
 of the students in Alaska.  Things are desperately out of                     
 proportion, and she hopes some wisdom will prevail in the                     
 legislature to balance this situation.                                        
 Number 2019                                                                   
 MS. WALTON noted that because of the circumstances in Anchorage,              
 her family is not given the option of a home-schooled or                      
 alternative independent study program.  She has spoken with school            
 administrators and many school representatives on this issue.                 
 Although there are other districts in the state that offer home-              
 school, independent or correspondence programs, Anchorage has                 
 consistently and insistently refused to offer this option.                    
 Therefore, those who have chosen that option for whatever reason              
 are discriminated against.  They do not have access to any                    
 educational options unless they spend a lot of money.                         
 MS. WALTON said her family is already paying for their own private            
 school programs.  To hire a number of coaches to accommodate the              
 children to meet their needs, to benefit the children and to                  
 benefit the communities is unrealistic.  She does not have the                
 thousands of dollars that apparently the Bergerons have paid.  If             
 Ms. Walton did have that money, she does not necessarily feel it              
 would be the best expenditure considering she has five children.              
 MS. WALTON said she would like to support this bill, and basically            
 thank those who have proposed it.  She pointed out there are                  
 currently over 650 students in the ASD who are enrolled in the CCS.           
 That does not accommodate all of the private school students who              
 are home-schooling, correspondence, or are in private schools of              
 other sorts.                                                                  
 MS. WALTON said there are literally thousands of students in the              
 ASD alone, and thousands more throughout the state, who are                   
 discriminated against because they are not given access to public             
 school programs and programs that are regulated by ASAA.  The                 
 mandate of ASAA is to accommodate the public need.                            
 Number 2106                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Ms. Walton a question to clarify one point.              
 When she said Anchorage does not provide home-schooling, she must             
 have meant the district does not provide a home-school program but            
 her family does have access to CCS.                                           
 MS. WALTON said he was correct.                                               
 Number 2120                                                                   
 SARAH WALTON testified via teleconference from Anchorage that she             
 is a home-school student, and has been all her life.  She is                  
 currently in the tenth grade.  Just like many other home-schoolers            
 in the state, she has been denied the right to participate in                 
 extracurricular activities offered at public schools.  Some of her            
 family's tax money goes to the public school.  The family therefore           
 pays for students to go to public school and participate in                   
 extracurricular activity.                                                     
 SARAH WALTON said her family's taxes are paying for coaching in the           
 public schools also.  However, the children in her family are not             
 allowed to participate in sports.  They should not be denied the              
 right to participate in these sports.  She hopes the laws can be              
 changed so she can be allowed to participate in the extracurricular           
 activities offered through the public schools.  Other states in the           
 Union allow this, Alaska should also.                                         
 Number 2160                                                                   
 JERRY WALTON, father of the Walton children, said his children have           
 all touched on the topics he was going to discuss.  Therefore, he             
 summarized.  Along with the Bergerons, the Walton family has asked            
 the ASD to allow home-schoolers to participate in extracurricular             
 activities.  Basically, this option is not available.  The Waltons            
 approached the ASAA, and the ASAA said a home-school group could be           
 formed.  That was attempted, but the price was exorbitant.  Home              
 schools basically consist of one or two children.  His family is an           
 exception because they have so many children.                                 
 MR. WALTON noted that many families only have one or two                      
 students/children, and they are unable to get involved and pay such           
 a high price.  Therefore, they are excluded.  On another subject,             
 basically the state has an ability to pay for an educated populace.           
 The state has opted to use school districts as political                      
 subdivisions.  The state Constitution allows for equal access to              
 all activities.  This equal access is not as prevalent as the                 
 hunting and fishing issue, however, it is just as or more important           
 to many people.  Mr. Walton said he basically wanted to support HB
 Number 2276                                                                   
 LAUREL TATSUDA, Private Attorney, represented the ASD via                     
 teleconference.  She said the ASD strongly opposes HB 156.  She               
 presented three reasons.  First, HB 156 creates a costly obligation           
 for the ASD without the funding necessary to carry out the mandate.           
 Second, the bill ignores longstanding, well-established principles            
 of local control.  Third, the language of the bill as written is              
 ambiguous, and invites litigation.  The ASD feels there are also              
 some additional constitutional issues raised by the bill.                     
 MS. TATSUDA discussed her first point.  The ASD will be the                   
 district primarily affected by this bill.  The ASD will bear the              
 burden because it has the largest student population and the                  
 largest number of home-school students residing in the attendance             
 area.  Approximately 500 students will be trying to get into                  
 extracurricular activities should this bill pass.                             
 MS. TATSUDA noted that however, under the Alaska Public School                
 Foundation program, only students who are enrolled in the district            
 generate foundation funds.  The school district budget allows for             
 extracurricular programs under those foundation funds.  Therefore,            
 there will be hundreds of students participating in extracurricular           
 programs who do not contribute to the funding base of the district.           
 MS. TATSUDA said that raises, among other things, a fundamental               
 fairness issue.                                                               
 Number 2336                                                                   
 MS. TATSUDA said an ASD student should not be displaced or bumped             
 from a school program because there are limited seats on                      
 competitive sports teams.  ASD enrolled students should not be                
 displaced by a student who does not attend the district, who does             
 not participate in academic programs, and who does not contribute             
 to the funding of the district.                                               
 MS. TATSUDA said the bill ignores locally-determined school board             
 policies.  The ASD recognizes that districts in the state vary                
 widely.  HB 156 may not impact some districts.  Other districts may           
 be able to absorb those who are home-schooled.  But there is no               
 district with 500 or more home-school students like the ASD has.              
 TAPE 95-35, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
 MS. TATSUDA addressed the language of the bill, and the definition            
 of "extracurricular activity."  The inclusion of music, band, and             
 academic classes makes it difficult to determine exactly what an              
 extracurricular activity is.                                                  
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS told Ms. Tatsuda he was not exactly sure how             
 the "stellar school" fits into the picture in Anchorage.  He asked            
 if stellar school students have to follow the attendance area                 
 MS. TATSUDA answered no.  Stellar school students who do not live             
 in a neighborhood are not involved in neighborhood schools.  She              
 added that stellar students can be distinguished from non-enrolled            
 home-school students, as stellar school students are enrolled in              
 the ASD.  They are ASD students and they generate foundation funds            
 for the ASD.  They are basically in alternative programs that are             
 housed in separate buildings.  Those alternative programs do not              
 include extracurricular activities.  Ms. Tatsuda noted, however,              
 that stellar students are ASD students, and that is how they are              
 distinguished from students who are not enrolled in the district.             
 Number 120                                                                    
 MARY HUTCHINSON, Parent, testified via teleconference that she is             
 the mother of eight children.  She feels each child should be                 
 allowed to participate in sports if they meet academic eligibility            
 requirements.  There is a fear that children who do poorly in                 
 academics will drop out to become home-schooled, and then enroll in           
 MS. HUTCHINSON knows of individuals who had "D"s and "F"s in high             
 school.  She said high schools do not want those children in the              
 classes anyway.  If those children are only in the school to play             
 sports, it would be better for the school because those are the               
 children who smoke marijuana and drink beer.                                  
 MS. HUTCHINSON agreed that people only pay a small local tax.                 
 However, they pay state and federal taxes as well.  Ms. Hutchinson            
 had heard, although she may be mistaken, that Australia pays                  
 parents to home-school their children.  Of course, Alaska is far              
 from that point.                                                              
 Number 220                                                                    
 MS. HUTCHINSON said currently, there are children who graduate from           
 public schools who cannot read and write.  Almost all home-                   
 schoolers are going to learn to read and write, therefore, they are           
 going to be doing better than certain public school students.  Ms.            
 Hutchinson estimated that at least 25 percent of public school                
 graduates cannot read and write.                                              
 Number 293                                                                    
 MAGGIE REILLY, Parent, testified via teleconference that she has              
 two sons who are currently enrolled in the district correspondence            
 study course.  Her sons are straight "A" students, and she supports           
 HB 156.  She believes home-schoolers save the state a lot of money.           
 The home-schoolers pay for their own curriculum and overhead.  In             
 her particular district, if children are home-schooled, the state             
 is saved $7,200 for each child not enrolled in the public school              
 education system.  The state saves even more money for the home-              
 schooled in the bush.                                                         
 MS. REILLY said home-schoolers still pay taxes that support public            
 education and extracurricular activities.  The ancillary programs             
 are not as costly.  Some money is taken out of the general fund,              
 and the rest is paid for by booster clubs, ticket sales and                   
 activity fees.   The initial cost to ASAA is $250, and then it is             
 only $2 per student.  Schools currently are paying that $250, and             
 therefore Ms. Reilly does not feel it will be a problem to allow              
 home schoolers to pay that $2 extra fee.                                      
 Number 354                                                                    
 MS. REILLY stressed that education in the United States is a right,           
 but sports are a privilege.  If this privilege is offered to the              
 child of one taxpayer, it should be offered to all of them.  These            
 are public schools that are paid for with public money.                       
 MS. REILLY has also spoken with people from Oregon and Washington,            
 and those states are providing access to home-schoolers for all               
 their ancillary programs.  Those states feared at first they would            
 be overrun.  This is not the case, and those states have discovered           
 the program works well.  Ms. Reilly asked what the eligibility                
 requirements were in those states, and the answer was students were           
 to choose and pass one of four standardized tests.  Home-schoolers            
 had to pass in the 23rd percentile.                                           
 MS. REILLY was shocked at this answer.  She realized that in order            
 to be eligible for sports in Alaska public schools, a student must            
 have a "D minus" grade.  She keeps hearing that education is                  
 priority.  She feels a "D minus" is a pretty low grade.                       
 Extracurricular activities are an important part of a child's youth           
 and education.  She asked why the best of both worlds cannot be had           
 for both parents and children who are both dedicated and                      
 disciplined to do the home-school.                                            
 Number 430                                                                    
 MS. REILLY said home-school families are currently following state            
 guidelines.  They are not lawbreakers, and they should not have               
 additional requirements.  She asked HESS Committee members to                 
 please pass HB 156.                                                           
 Number 452                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced that the teleconference was only available           
 until 3 p.m., therefore, teleconferencing would be ended for the              
 day.  He noted for those who testified or wished to testify via               
 teleconference that this was the first time the bill was heard.               
 There are issues that need to be examined more closely and                    
 discussed, therefore, the bill will be held.  Additional hearings             
 will be scheduled for the future.  He asked for testimony from the            
 local audience.                                                               
 Number 500                                                                    
 SYLVIA REYNOLDS, Assistant Principal, Juneau Douglas High School              
 (JDHS), said she has reservations about HB 156.  She wanted to                
 speak of the "disengaged" and "at-risk" students.  She noted the              
 JDHS drill team is a three-time national champion.  There are no              
 eligibility rules for those on the drill team.  However, two of the           
 students on that particular team are at-risk students.                        
 MS. REYNOLDS confided that one was involved in a drug and alcohol             
 program last year, and the other student was almost moved to Mt.              
 Edgecumbe.  Ms. Reynolds feels it is the responsibility of the                
 schools to engage all students.  One of her concerns with HB 156 is           
 that schools are going to become more elitist, and they will be               
 focusing on only those children who are engaged.  One girl also               
 left the drill team this year.  The school still supports that                
 child, and she is still part of the team even though she chooses              
 not to be a member.                                                           
 MS. REYNOLDS said that girl still continues to get that support,              
 and that is carried within the boundaries of the school.                      
 Number 589                                                                    
 MS. REYNOLDS said there has been talk about extracurricular                   
 activities.  However, she really thinks the true meaning of the               
 term should be co-curricular.  During the last hour, she heard                
 testimony in which people claimed these activities were their                 
 right.  She believes activities are a choice.  There are already              
 students who do not make teams.  Juneau provides programs through             
 Parks and Recreation, and there are community school programs.                
 Anchorage has tremendous community schools and Parks and Recreation           
 MS. REYNOLDS does believe there are programs and open gyms                    
 available to all students.  As Co-Chair Toohey said, if it is                 
 important, a student can make it work.  It can happen.                        
 MS. REYNOLDS is also concerned that HB 156 will lead to "sports               
 schools."  If Juneau has a good basketball team, those who are                
 home-schooled and talented in basketball may want to move to Juneau           
 so there will be a superstar team.  The focus will be off                     
 academics, and only activities will be stressed.                              
 MS. REYNOLDS does not know about other school districts, but in               
 Juneau, some students will take classes via correspondence that               
 will be used as credit toward graduation from JDHS.  Therefore,               
 students can be on correspondence and still maintain their                    
 enrollment at JDHS.  Students are offered that benefit.                       
 Number 687                                                                    
 MS. REYNOLDS said she is concerned about the administrative                   
 control.  It is going to be a nightmare.  Ms. Reynolds wanted to              
 stress there are options and choices available for home-schoolers.            
 Ms. Reynolds also wanted to speak again about the disengaged                  
 students.  The district has a responsibility to them as well.                 
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked whether Ms. Reynolds and her school was            
 in favor or opposed to the bill, and she said she was opposed to              
 it.  He felt some of her testimony did not reflect that opposition.           
 Number 724                                                                    
 SHEILA PETERSON, Special Assistant to the Commissioner of                     
 Education, Department of Education (DOE), said the Commissioner of            
 Education has a test she applies to all activities of the DOE, and            
 to legislation.  She is constantly asking, "Is this good for kids?"           
 When the commissioner was shown HB 156, she looked at it, and                 
 applied her test.  She determined the bill is good for kids.  It is           
 good for kids to have additional opportunities and experiences.               
 Allowing a home-schooled student to participate in extracurricular            
 activities or co-curricular activities is good for kids.                      
 MS. PETERSON said the State Board of Education addressed this issue           
 about a year and a half ago when they opened up a period for public           
 comment on a proposed regulation.  The regulation at that time was            
 broader than HB 156.  It included private schools, CCS students and           
 home-schooled students.  During the course of that discussion,                
 people came forward with both pros and cons.  The regulation was              
 divided.  The portion that went to the Attorney General's office              
 that the State Board of Education did approve dealt with part-time            
 students taking academic courses in the public schools.                       
 MS. PETERSON said that regulation is currently in the Department of           
 Law for consideration, to be signed by the Lieutenant Governor.               
 Ms. Peterson reiterated that the Commissioner of Education does               
 feel that HB 156 is good for children and it does pass her test.              
 Number 836                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS told Ms. Peterson that he had asked Mr.                  
 Dahlgren in Kenai if he felt it was already legal to provide this             
 extracurricular activity for home-schooled students.  His answer              
 was they assume they do.  He asked for the DOE's feeling on that.             
 MS. PETERSON answered yes, districts currently have the option to             
 do that.  The regulations in the Department of Law would allow                
 funding for a part-time student who is taking an academic course.             
 They currently do have that opportunity and that option.                      
 Difficulty is encountered when interscholastic activities become              
 involved, and there is conflict with the rule established by the              
 ASAA.  The rule of that body is that the student must be enrolled             
 in the school he or she represents.  Therefore, home-schooled                 
 students experience difficulty if they want to participate                    
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY left the meeting at 3:09 p.m.                            
 Number 905                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE thanked all those who testified, and reiterated that           
 there are a number of interested persons who would like to testify            
 in the future.  HB 156 has raised a number of questions, and the              
 committee will hold the bill to study it further.                             
 Number 940                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE SEAN PARNELL said HB 35 is an act relating to sexual           
 misconduct as grounds for imposing disciplinary sanctions on those            
 persons licensed by the State Medical Board.  Sexual misconduct is            
 not expressly addressed in Alaska Statutes.  Currently the statute            
 provides sanctions for professional misconduct in lewd or immoral             
 conduct in connection with the delivery of professional services.             
 REPRESENTATIVE PARNELL noted that while most people would                     
 categorize sexual misconduct as professional misconduct, the board            
 categorization used in statute needs to be changed so the                     
 unmistakable message is sent that the society does not accept                 
 sexual misconduct by doctors.                                                 
 Number 987                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE PARNELL continued that the physician-patient                   
 relationship is founded on mutual trust, and sexual misconduct is             
 a breach of that trust.  HB 35 authorizes the State Medical Board             
 to sanction doctors and define some sexual misconduct.  HB 35                 
 defines sexual misconduct in very broad terms.  That is found on              
 page 2 of the bill.                                                           
 REPRESENTATIVE PARNELL said granting the Medical Board authority to           
 sanction doctors in this case is critical for several reasons.                
 First, the patient is extremely vulnerable, both physically and               
 emotionally.  Two, a doctor can use his or her status in the                  
 professional relationship to induce the patient's consent to sexual           
 activity.  Finally and most importantly, the doctor's objective               
 medical judgement is, in most instances, compromised by a sexual              
 relationship or sexual interest in the patient.                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PARNELL said HB 35 is supported by the Alaska State            
 Medical Board and the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual                 
 Assault.  Representative Parnell concluded by saying there were two           
 amendments to the bill that he would discuss after testimony on the           
 Number 1057                                                                   
 CATHERINE REARDON, Director, Division of Occupational Licensing,              
 Department of Commerce, said she would like to explain how her                
 division handles complaints of sexual misconduct of physicians, and           
 talk about how HB 35 would change that.  At the current time, the             
 existing statute is used.  This statute prohibits unprofessional,             
 lewd and immoral conduct.  In terms of very obvious and gross                 
 sexual misconduct, these statutes have worked because the division            
 has been able to define the actions as unprofessional conduct and             
 take cases that ended up going through the superior court system.             
 MS. REARDON noted that however, in what perhaps may appear to be              
 gray areas or instances that were not quite as blatant, it is                 
 possible the division would experience some difficulty in using               
 unprofessional conduct to cover those instances.  At this point,              
 sexual misconduct that occurs outside of the treatment setting,               
 such as meeting a patient in a social setting and having a sexual             
 relationship with a patient, has not been addressed in a                      
 disciplinary manner unless the physician is a psychiatrist.                   
 Number 1142                                                                   
 MS. REARDON thought if the legislature wanted the division to                 
 prohibit sexual contact outside the doctor's office, it would be              
 helpful to clarify that in statute.  Entities can of course                   
 establish regulations to define sexual misconduct.  Ms. Reardon               
 hopes the Medical Board would create those definitions.  The                  
 Medical Board has been looking at this issue already and it has               
 some thoughts on this, such as the things that should not be going            
 on in doctors' offices.                                                       
 MS. REARDON conceded that there may be some issues in small                   
 communities that should be dealt with.  If there is a single doctor           
 who desires a romantic life, how that person pursues romance should           
 be considered.                                                                
 MS. REARDON had her staff look back through the files to see how              
 many complaints the division has received on sexual misconduct.               
 Over perhaps the last six years, there were 35 files that reflect             
 complaints.  Many of those complaints were not pursued.  The person           
 complaining may have not been willing to give their name or press             
 the situation.  In many situations with criminal sexual assaults,             
 people are often reluctant to go through with the difficulties of             
 pressing their case.                                                          
 Number 1221                                                                   
 MS. REARDON said most complaints involved activities in the                   
 doctor's office.  However, that could have been skewed by the fact            
 that when people ask the division, "Is it illegal to do such-and-             
 such?" (e.g., Is it illegal to sleep with a patient?), the division           
 is not able to give the person a direct "yes" answer.  That may               
 discourage people who make formal complaints.                                 
 Number 1258                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE identified with the quandary of the division.  As a            
 college professor, Co-Chair Bunde would absolutely want to enforce            
 a prohibition of single professors dating current students.  The              
 gray area arises when determining when the student is no longer a             
 student.  That is easier to define in the educational world.                  
 However, it is more difficult to define when a patient ceases to              
 become a patient.                                                             
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY commented on Ms. Reardon's point about small                  
 communities.  When there is only one doctor, subsequently, everyone           
 in the town is assumed to be a patient.  It is not fair to tell the           
 doctor she/he must be celibate.  What someone does on their own               
 time, as long as they are not a psychiatrist, is difficult.                   
 Number 1303                                                                   
 MS. REARDON has been wrestling with this issue herself.  The                  
 relationship in the doctor's office (she spoke of doctors who were            
 not psychiatrists), can run over into a relationship outside the              
 office.  She asked her staff what types of complaints her office              
 had received, and asked HESS Committee members to consider these              
 types of situations.                                                          
 MS. REARDON said in one situation, a doctor had sent a video to a             
 patient of himself dancing around naked and masturbating.  That               
 would have been outside of the treatment setting, yet it was also             
 strange and of a sexual nature.  That is not something the state              
 wants its doctors to be doing.  The division was able to handle               
 that situation through a memorandum of agreement with the doctor.             
 However, it did take place outside the doctor's office.  Although             
 the division would attempt to charge the doctor with unprofessional           
 conduct, the response could be that unprofessional conduct concerns           
 how one acts as a doctor in the doctor's office.                              
 MS. REARDON recalled other instances in which doctors have invited            
 patients to come to their houses and watch pornographic movies.               
 This is a complicated area.                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said the confusion lies between what goes on in and            
 out of the doctor's office, and when does a patient cease to be a             
 patient.  Those are challenging questions.                                    
 Number 1405                                                                   
 JAYNE ANDREEN, Executive Director, Council on Domestic Violence and           
 Sexual Assault (CDVSA), said she is present on behalf of the                  
 Council to express strong support for HB 35.  She first became                
 aware of this issue a few years ago when a case was brought to her            
 attention concerning a physician who behaved inappropriately in               
 sexual contacts with a current patient.  The contact took place               
 outside the office, and for a variety of reasons there was not much           
 the District Attorney's office could do although the behavior was             
 MS. ANDREEN said the victim in this case felt that she was not the            
 only person to experience this type of contact with this physician,           
 and she wanted to see some type of action taken.  It was at that              
 point the CDVSA became aware that Alaska's Medical Board and the              
 Division of Occupational Licensing do not have these types of                 
 MS. ANDREEN understands the American Medical Association has                  
 established sanctions and standards for this type of sexual                   
 misconduct.  Ms. Andreen feels it is imperative Alaska establish              
 those same standards.  She was very surprised when she learned such           
 standards did not exist, and these issues had not been addressed.             
 This is appalling.  She felt the legislature can get bogged down              
 with details about the one doctor in a small community.  She asked            
 the state to certainly take those situations into consideration,              
 but to also be concerned about the number of, primarily women, who            
 are being abused by physicians in this state.  It is happening, it            
 is real and it needs to be addressed.                                         
 Number 1502                                                                   
 DR. DAVID McGUIRE, Chairman, State Medical Board, thought the issue           
 can be made relatively straightforward if it is remembered that the           
 patient's welfare should be primary in any discussion concerning              
 medical care.  Any issue that is not clearly in the interest of the           
 patient then becomes highly suspect as to why that should be                  
 tolerated.  Dr. McGuire doubted anyone would disagree with that               
 point.  The practice of medicine in the view of the board is a                
 privilege that is granted to an individual after he/she has                   
 completed requisite training and other requirements.  It is not an            
 inherent right.  Practice is a privilege.                                     
 DR. McGUIRE said society can grant privileges with attached                   
 responsibilities that may be higher than for someone who has not              
 been granted similar privileges.  There is absolutely no indication           
 for inappropriate sexual contact between a physician and a patient            
 for any known therapeutic reason.  There is no credible person who            
 will come forward to say that, for any condition known to man,                
 sexual contact between the doctor and patient is the treatment of             
 choice.  That is ridiculous.                                                  
 Number 1588                                                                   
 DR. McGUIRE said the board would like to send a clear message to              
 all licensed physicians in the state of Alaska that they need to              
 understand they are held to a high standard.  The high standard is            
 that what they do must be in the interest of the patient, and the             
 State Medical Board is not going to listen to any discussion about            
 whether this inappropriate behavior was in the interest of the                
 patient.  It is not in the interest of the patient.  It is the                
 obligation of the doctor, if he/she desires a romantic relationship           
 with a patient, to be absolutely sure the doctor is on a "level               
 playing field."                                                               
 DR. McGUIRE said by that, the board means the doctor must take such           
 appropriate action as to have the patient treated by another                  
 physician, and to make sure the patient's welfare is considered.              
 Only then, if the patient turns out to be the love of the doctor's            
 life and those steps have been taken, the doctor can proceed.  If             
 there is ever an allegation that the doctor inappropriately used              
 his/her position, prestige, etc., to influence someone to engage in           
 a sexual relationship, the doctor had better be prepared to prove             
 to the board otherwise.  The burden of proof is going to be on the            
 doctor to show the board she/he took adequate and reasonable steps            
 to insure that this was a legitimate relationship.                            
 Number 1655                                                                   
 DR. McGUIRE did not think there is much room for argument in that             
 situation.  Responsible adults and people who choose to engage in             
 a relationship that may be clouded by a physician/patient                     
 relationship have ample opportunity to document mutually that they            
 have considered the issues and chose to proceed.                              
 DR. McGUIRE said it should be only in that instance that the board            
 is ever asked to interpret or deal with issues.  If there is no               
 documentation on the part of the physician that appropriate steps             
 were taken, the board wants to be able to declare that physician              
 guilty as a matter of fact and law.  The board will not listen to             
 arguments that the doctor was really in love.  The situation is               
 inappropriate and unacceptable.  It is sanctionable, and the                  
 physician knew this in advance.  Period.                                      
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE commended Dr. McGuire on his clarity.  He closed               
 public testimony.                                                             
 Number 1719                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE PARNELL felt the bill clearly sets bounds extending            
 to outside the treatment setting - the physician's office.  That is           
 appropriate.  The patient does not become any less vulnerable                 
 outside the office as opposed to inside the office.  The same                 
 reasons still apply for doing so.  The question for most doctors is           
 when a patient stops being a patient.  There are court cases on               
 that issue that have helped decide this, and other cases will be              
 decided on a case-by-case basis.                                              
 REPRESENTATIVE PARNELL, as an attorney, sends a letter terminating            
 the attorney-client relationship.  Doctors do not have that                   
 practice.  However, there are ways to send that patient to another            
 physician.  Representative Parnell felt his comments apply to the             
 rural setting as well.  There is a provision in the bill that                 
 stipulates sexual contact is not to occur unless there is a spousal           
 or equivalent domestic relationship.  That is clearly the intent of           
 the bill.                                                                     
 Number 1788                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY moved to adopt HB 35, Version A, as the working               
 document.  There were no objections.  Before the committee was HB
 35, Version A.                                                                
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE moved the first amendment, which was the title                 
 amendment.  He named it amendment number one.                                 
 REPRESENTATIVE PARNELL said the title amendment is really self-               
 explanatory.  It tightens the title so sexual misconduct is being             
 referred to, rather than an act relating to the grounds for                   
 imposing disciplinary sanctions.  Representative Parnell was just             
 trying to tighten up the language so there would be no tinkering              
 with the title later in the legislative process.                              
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked for objections, and there were none.                     
 Amendment number one passed.  He moved amendment two for discussion           
 REPRESENTATIVE PARNELL said amendment two basically eliminates                
 Section (B), starting at line 29 on page 2.  Since the bill was               
 drafted, Representative Parnell has had some discussions that have            
 led him to make the amendments.  The current bill says the                    
 "licensee's use of the physician-patient relationship to attempt to           
 induce...."  Representative Parnell feels this is pretty broad                
 language.  For example, a physician may tell the board it was                 
 his/her charm and charisma.  Therefore, it should be a factor that            
 if the physician is using the physician-patient relationship, and             
 in most cases they are, it should not be set forth in statute                 
 because there are other bases for trying to establish sexual                  
 contact with a patient.  That is the whole reason he is getting rid           
 of Section (B).                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked for objections, and there were none.                     
 Amendment two passed.                                                         
 Number 1871                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked for Representative Parnell's definition            
 of "equivalent domestic relationship."                                        
 REPRESENTATIVE PARNELL's intent is for any physician who is in an             
 intimate relationship with a person.  It is defined in statute.               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if, for the record, a long-term relationship             
 is meant.                                                                     
 REPRESENTATIVE PARNELL said yes, but it is open to interpretation             
 as to the definition of "long-term."                                          
 REPRESENTATIVE CAREN ROBINSON moved CSHB 35(HES) with accompanying            
 zero fiscal note and individual recommendations.  There were no               
 objections, and the bill passed out of committee.                             
 HB 217 - EMPLOYMENT RIGHTS OF TEACHERS                                    
 Number 1925                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE stated this bill had been previously heard by the              
 HESS Committee.  Now before the committee was CSHB 217, which is              
 the product of the previous discussions.  A handout outlines the              
 changes between the original bill and the CS, and Co-Chair Bunde              
 offered to review those changes.  Sections 1 and 2 of the CS change           
 the time before the acquisition of tenure from two to four years.             
 Section 3 adds nontenured teacher evaluation annually by a                    
 superintendent, and also adds a peer evaluation for three out of              
 those four years that is advisory.  Sections 4 and 5 remain the               
 same as in the original bill.                                                 
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE continued that Section 6 changes Section 5 of the              
 original bill on layoff.  It sets out the conditions under which              
 layoffs may happen, so the State Board of Education is not required           
 to set out those regulations.  It basically says layoffs may take             
 place for either decreased enrollment or decreased financial                  
 support.  Section 7 adds the mandatory advisory arbitration, and              
 removes the de novo trial before going to other judicial review.              
 Section 8 remains the same.                                                   
 Number 2019                                                                   
 CARL ROSE, Executive Director, Association of Alaska School Boards            
 (AASB), said the AASB supports CSHB 217.  The AASB does have                  
 concerns, but the CS accurately represents the subcommittee                   
 discussion.  Mr. Rose asked to address those concerns.                        
 MR. ROSE agreed with the change of tenure from five to four years.            
 That is a good compromise.  The acquisition of tenure rights with             
 the additional evaluation recommended by the tenure committee under           
 Section 3 is also a good provision.  Mr. Rose had some concerns               
 about peer review in terms of the logistics, additional cost and              
 confidentiality.  He notes those concerns because there has been a            
 full discussion on this and he still has concerns.  It could be               
 costly, and he does not see how, logistically, this could be done             
 in an effective way.  However, he is willing to work with that                
 MR. ROSE agreed with the layoff provisions that address economic              
 issues rather than nonretention for lack of revenue.  A layoff                
 period of three years is fair.  The concern is that regulations               
 would not represent the people who are addressing the legislation,            
 therefore, Mr. Rose agrees with that provision.                               
 Number 2111                                                                   
 MR. ROSE was concerned about the secondary standard for                       
 qualifications for rehire.  As he has mentioned in prior testimony,           
 Mr. Rose thinks that standard is too low.  He agrees, however, that           
 secondary and primary are in line with what currently exists in               
 statutes in terms of certification.  Therefore, he would like to              
 work with that.                                                               
 MR. ROSE spoke of judicial review, and said this is where mandatory           
 advisory arbitration is introduced.  He has a concern because he              
 thinks it is another hoop to jump through.  On the other hand, he             
 also heard the discussion that simply a board review was not                  
 enough.  Perhaps a review is needed from a disinterested third                
 party.  The AASB would agree with the advisory nature of that                 
 provision.  But the concern is with the deletion of de novo, the              
 school boards do not have to recreate or present a new case before            
 the courts.  Mr. Rose therefore agrees with that portion of the               
 bill.  If that is what is required, the school boards can establish           
 the record, have it reviewed by an advisory arbitrator, and then              
 have it reviewed by superior court.  As a compromise, the AASB can            
 agree with that.                                                              
 Number 2167                                                                   
 MR. ROSE was deeply concerned with Section 8 of the bill.  The                
 language in Section 8 grandfathers everyone who is already                    
 employed.  The bill only affects teachers who are hired after the             
 effective date, and renders the bill pretty much useless.                     
 Therefore, Mr. Rose asked HESS Committee members to reconsider the            
 language in Section 8, and allow the grandfathering to apply to               
 perhaps Sections 1 and 2 for purposes of the four-year tenure                 
 acquisition.  However, for the portions concerning layoff,                    
 nonretention and judicial review, Mr. Rose asked the grandfathering           
 be reconsidered, with the effective date applying to all employees.           
 Number 2205                                                                   
 VERNON MARSHALL, Executive Director, National Education Association           
 (NEA) - Alaska, believed the CS for HB 217 is a large improvement             
 over the original bill.  He asked to speak to three issues, the               
 first being the four-year tenure.  NEA Alaska supports a three-year           
 tenure.  It believes that national statistics will show that if               
 Alaska adopts a fourth or fifth year for tenure, Alaska will be one           
 of five states nationally that holds that standard.  Generally,               
 most states have a three-year tenure.                                         
 MR. MARSHALL stated NEA also would like a change on the second page           
 of the bill.  During the peer review committee process, NEA feels             
 it is important for the teacher being evaluated to also receive a             
 copy of the evaluation.   Concerning the layoff provision found on            
 line 16 of page 3, NEA recognizes that the provision deals with a             
 decline in school revenue.  The NEA has some anxiety about this,              
 and wishes there could be some way to establish and verify there is           
 a financial emergency in the district.  It should be proven the               
 district has made efforts to seek other cost saving avenues that              
 would be available to it.                                                     
 MR. MARSHALL noted the downside of decreasing revenue and teacher             
 layoffs in combination with the current upward trend in student               
 enrollment is students are going to be affected.  NEA would like to           
 assure any tenured teacher that layoff provisions are the final               
 recourse available to the district in terms of dealing with a                 
 substantial decrease in school district revenue.                              
 TAPE 95-36, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
 MR. MARSHALL continued that on the last page of CSHB 217, in                  
 Section 7, he understands that during the judicial review, a                  
 decision would be made by the school board, followed by the                   
 arbitration.  That record would then be appealed to the court.  The           
 NEA would like to see the administrator in charge of that                     
 particular tenured teacher make a recommendation.  That                       
 recommendation would be either for retention or nonretention.  That           
 recommendation would then be submitted to the teacher.  Based on              
 that recommendation, the teacher then has a choice as to whether              
 he/she goes to arbitration or not.  The arbitration then would be             
 conducted after the award is rendered, giving the option to the               
 district or the teacher to submit the arbitration for court review.           
 MR. MARSHALL said the NEA has an amendment it feels would                     
 accomplish that.  The amendment also would accomplish the                     
 arbitration under the procedures that are established in the state            
 law.  Therefore, the NEA's amendment is simply an attempt to                  
 clarify the whole process, from recommendation to arbitration, to             
 decision.  Then, if the school district is not happy with the                 
 decision, Mr. Marshall would assume the district should have the              
 latitude to appeal.  The teacher should also have the latitude to             
 appeal also.                                                                  
 Number 149                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE understood that NEA would like the arbitration to              
 happen one step sooner.  It would like the unit administrator to              
 recommend, for example, nonretainment.  Arbitration would then                
 follow, then the school board would make its determination, then              
 either party may go to court.                                                 
 MR. MARSHALL said Co-Chair Bunde's assessment was correct.  Mr.               
 Marshall was confused whether a hearing was taking place when the             
 school board reaches a decision that is unfavorable to a teacher.             
 He asked if that was an administrative hearing.                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said the school board really does the hiring and               
 firing, not the principal.  The principal recommends, then the                
 school board does the hiring and firing.  Now, the school board has           
 gone through the internal policy of that particular district to               
 arrive at nonretention.  Arbitration follows, then judicial review.           
 Co-Chair Bunde did not see a need for the principal to make a                 
 recommendation, followed by arbitration.                                      
 Number 232                                                                    
 MR. MARSHALL conceded that may be an area where he and Co-Chair               
 Bunde could agree to disagree.  NEA would prefer a recommendation             
 made by the principal after he/she has gone through all the                   
 procedures that are prescribed by the statute.  The recommendation            
 would then be made.  If that recommendation is adverse to the                 
 teacher, the teacher has the opportunity to request arbitration.              
 After that verdict is rendered, the school board can then look at             
 what the administrator has recommended, plus what the arbitrator              
 has indicated.  A decision would then be made.                                
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE understood what Mr. Marshall was saying.  He said              
 the school board may or may not then back up its principal.  Co-              
 Chair Bunde was disinclined to delve into the internal politics of            
 the district, of how it gets to the point of nonretention.                    
 However, after the district gets to the point of nonretention, Co-            
 Chair Bunde was concerned about protecting the rights of both the             
 district and the teacher.                                                     
 Number 323                                                                    
 MR. MARSHALL's last point was to state NEA does support Section 8.            
 It is important that the rules "not be changed in the middle of the           
 game" for current employees.                                                  
 Number 351                                                                    
 STEVE McPHETRES, Executive Director of the Alaska Council of School           
 Administrators (ACSA), noted that in a public school setting, all             
 the teachers are working in classrooms.  When three teachers are              
 pulled out to visit another classroom and perform the peer review             
 process, substitute teachers will have to be found.  There is a               
 cost involved in that, and districts should be aware so they can              
 budget for that.  Hopefully money would be available in the budget.           
 If a tremendous number of nontenured teachers go through this                 
 process, the cost could be rather high for districts.   That is the           
 concern of Mr. McPhetres and the ACSA.                                        
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Mr. McPhetres to comment on Section 7.                   
 MR. McPHETRES agreed with Co-Chair Bunde's proposal on that issue.            
 From an administrative point of view, during due process the                  
 administration conducts a very extensive investigation of a                   
 particular teacher who may be having a problem.  This is always               
 done for the improvement of instruction.  At some point in time,              
 usually after about two years, a point is reached where there is no           
 possibility this teacher will perform effectively as a teacher.               
 The recommendation would then have to be made suggesting                      
 MR. McPHETRES stated Co-Chair Bunde was correct in the fact that              
 administrators recommend to school boards.  The school board does             
 the official hiring and firing.  It is the position of                        
 administrators to take the evidence to the board for it to examine.           
 The board must feel comfortable making that ultimate decision.                
 After that decision has been made, arbitration is asked for.  That            
 is what is provided for in CSHB 217.                                          
 MR. McPHETRES did not see how it would work to have a third party             
 opinion at the principal-teacher level, and have that third party             
 opinion sent to the school board.  It seems it is the school                  
 board's responsibility to examine the evidence.  Then, if indeed              
 evidence is in favor of the district, the third party arbitration             
 is called in.                                                                 
 Number 550                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY recalled comments on three teachers performing peer           
 review.  She asked if all three teachers had to be together at the            
 time of review or observation.  She asked if one teacher could be             
 picked each day or week, and if the evaluation could be performed             
 over a period of a month.                                                     
 MR. McPHETRES said that was possible, but three teachers would                
 still be pulled from a classroom.  Three substitutes would still be           
 needed to take their place.  He was not saying this was not a good            
 process.  Peer evaluations can be very productive, and they are               
 conducted in certain school districts.  However, to do a thorough             
 analysis, administrative responsibility must still be taken to                
 evaluate the teacher at least twice during the year, according to             
 the regulations.  This is also simply good practice.                          
 MR. McPHETRES continued that the peer evaluation must be included             
 with the administrative evaluation.  Together, those evaluations              
 would comprise a pretty good evaluation package to be given to the            
 superintendent for recommendation.                                            
 Number  630                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said his intent is to give the district as much                
 flexibility as possible.  However, the intent of the evaluations              
 would be best served if the evaluations were spread out                       
 periodically over the school year.  Co-Chair Bunde could easily               
 envision one-half hour of observation per each evaluator three                
 times during the year.                                                        
 MR. McPHETRES disagreed.  He felt thorough evaluations which assess           
 what is really going on in the classroom can only be accomplished             
 through larger time allotments in the classroom.  An evaluator must           
 be observing for much longer than 30 minutes.  The observer needs             
 to watch the children enter the classroom and how the teacher                 
 greets the children.  The observer must note how the classroom                
 becomes organized, the atmosphere of the classroom and how the                
 children react to the teacher.  The observer should pop into the              
 classroom at different times, and evaluate if the classroom setting           
 is a learning environment.  A thorough evaluation takes longer than           
 30 minutes three times per year.                                              
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE understood.  But his contention also was that if an            
 evaluator went to a teacher's lounge, he or she could figure out              
 who is doing a good job.  At the primary level, through working               
 together as colleagues, teachers are in and out of each others'               
 rooms.  Teachers have a pretty good perception of what is going on.           
 Co-Chair Bunde felt this additional observation was an unnecessary            
 Number 745                                                                    
 MR. ROSE asked to clarify and perhaps improve the issue of                    
 evaluation.  He asked if, for interpretation reasons, observation             
 and evaluation could be satisfied if mentorships were included.  He           
 asked if a mentoring program would qualify as evaluation and                  
 observation as well.  That would give the AASB some latitude.                 
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said a mentoring program would absolutely qualify.             
 MR. ROSE was pleased, because the AASB had some concerns with the             
 costs.  However, if such evaluations can be included in an                    
 inservice/professional development/mentorship-type program rather             
 than through simple observation, the AASB would have more room to             
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE hoped this provision in the bill would grow into a             
 mentorship-type of program.  However, Co-Chair Bunde did not want             
 to specify that in the bill because of the costs that may be                  
 MR. ROSE stressed that if mentorships could be credited as a type             
 of observation, the AASB would have some latitude in which to work.           
 Number 828                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE agreed that a mentorship is much more valuable and             
 important than simple observation.  He then closed public                     
 testimony.  The committee needed to accept the work draft of CSHB
 217, and then address proposed amendments.                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS proposed the HESS Committee accept the work              
 draft /K as the CSHB 217 working document.  There were no                     
 objections, and before the committee was CSHB 217 as the work                 
 Number 855                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON moved her amendment one, and an objection             
 was made for purposes of discussion.  She said the amendment was              
 simple, it changed the number of probationary years before tenure             
 from four to three.  As was stated in the testimony, the normal               
 period of time used by most states is about three years.  She felt            
 it was a good compromise.  As she understands it, it would not                
 actually be until the fourth year that tenure would be achieved               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted with all due respect that four years was an              
 attempt on his part to compromise in the CS.  Since one side asked            
 for three years of probation, and the AASB asked for five, the                
 compromise was four years.                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked Representative Robinson to speak to the            
 rest of amendment one, which addressed a different issue.  The bill           
 currently says, "A peer review committee shall submit its                     
 evaluation in writing to the superintendent only."  The amendment             
 seems to add "and to the nontenured teacher."                                 
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Representative Robinson to divide the                    
 amendment, and make lines 16 and 17 of the amendment into amendment           
 four.  He said he would not have any objection to that provision.             
 Number 1038                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said part of her concern is that generally            
 speaking, when one goes to work for other agencies, most of the               
 time a period of probation is anywhere from six months to one year.           
 She knows of people in Juneau who have put in a year's service as             
 teachers, and they were then nonretained.  Representative Robinson            
 understands that under the tenure system, those teachers are going            
 to have to start all over again.  Considering the economic problems           
 the state is facing currently, she also believes that many teachers           
 are going to teach for a longer period of time than what has been             
 done in the past to get to tenure.                                            
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON stated that was the other reason she felt             
 it made sense to go with a compromise of three years, instead of              
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE understood her goal.  He was trying to compromise              
 her goal with those who want to abolish tenure altogether.  A roll            
 call vote was taken.  Voting "yes" on amendment one was                       
 Representative Robinson.  Voting "no" were Co-Chair Bunde, Co-Chair           
 Toohey, and Representative Davis.  The amendment failed.                      
 Number 1106                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON moved amendment two, and an objection was             
 raised for purposes of discussion.  Amendment two does many things.           
 It makes the layoff section of the bill more specific.  It provides           
 for greater clarity relative to financial situations that may                 
 result in the layoff of tenured teachers.  It establishes financial           
 exigency as a reason for layoff, and ensures that districts will              
 attempt to implement other budgetary reductions before layoff.                
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON continued that the amendment requires                 
 verification of the financial exigency by a neutral third party.              
 It requires that teachers are to be notified by March 16, and                 
 mandates the use of seniority to layoff tenured teachers.  It                 
 requires districts to decide rehire provisions through local                  
 bargaining.  It provides for fifth-year recall rights and restricts           
 districts from re-employing teachers until tenured teachers who are           
 laid off are recalled.  Finally, the layoff section is defined.               
 Number 1194                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said the impetus of this bill originally was to give           
 districts more flexibility.  Inserting a bargaining unit into the             
 bill will not provide the flexibility districts desire.                       
 Number 1214                                                                   
 THOMAS WRIGHT, Legislative Assistant, Representative Ivan Ivan's              
 Office,  did not have a comment on amendment two.  However, he                
 noted the sponsor's office did approve of the existing language in            
 the CS.                                                                       
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE called for a roll call vote.  Voting "yes" on the              
 amendment was Representative Robinson; voting "no" were Co-Chair              
 Bunde, Co-Chair Toohey, and Representative Davis.  Amendment two              
 Number 1264                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON moved amendment three.  An objection was              
 made for purposes of discussion, and she spoke to the amendment.              
 Section 3 concerns the arbitration section, and it is an attempt to           
 clarify that section.  The tenured teacher receives notice of                 
 dismissal or nonretention.  The tenured teacher then can request              
 within 15 days of receipt of the notice of nonretention an                    
 arbitration hearing which is arranged and conducted.  An                      
 arbitration decision would then be reached, and a decision would be           
 furnished to the employee or employer within 10 days of the                   
 decision.  The employer or employee may appeal to the court, and              
 the court would then conduct a judicial review.                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said this amendment simply clarifies the              
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Representative Robinson if arbitration under             
 AS 09.43.010 was advisory or binding arbitration.                             
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON thought the arbitration was binding.                  
 MR. MARSHALL interjected that AS 09.43.010 was that part of the               
 statute that deals with arbitration.  It is not binding, but the              
 appeal that is provided for on line 7, page 2 of the bill is                  
 basically a low threshold issue.  The participants are not actually           
 going through a new hearing or anything like that.  A process is              
 occurring in which the verdict or award is either confirmed,                  
 modified, vacated or corrected.                                               
 MR. MARSHALL noted that his legal advisors have noted there are               
 certain standards prescribed within the statute that would be                 
 looked at by a judge.  One such standard would be was the                     
 arbitration held in a timely manner; was there any strong                     
 malfeasance conducted by the arbitrator.  He apologized for not               
 bringing a copy of that particular statute.  However, the statute             
 does, in a sense, specify procedural checks.  It is not a re-                 
 hearing of the dispute that occurred before the arbitration.                  
 Number 1459                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE told Representative Robinson that he is on the                 
 Judiciary Committee, which was the bill's next committee of                   
 referral.  He told her he would study her amendment more                      
 thoroughly, as it is lengthy.  He would then consider presenting              
 the amendment in the Judiciary Committee.  At this point, however,            
 he is going to oppose the amendment because he has not had the                
 chance to study it carefully enough.  A roll call vote was taken.             
 Voting "yes" on the amendment was Representative Robinson; voting             
 "no" were Co-Chair Bunde, Co-Chair Toohey and Representative Davis.           
 Amendment three failed.                                                       
 Number 1500                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON moved amendment four, and expressed                   
 confidence that this amendment was going to pass.  There were no              
 objections to amendment number four, and it was adopted.                      
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced that now before the committee was CSHB 217           
 as amended.  He asked for the wishes of the committee.                        
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY moved CSHB 217(HES) be passed to the next committee           
 of referral with its zero fiscal notes and individual                         
 recommendations.  Representative Robinson objected.  Voting "no" on           
 the passage was Representative Robinson; voting "yes" were Co-Chair           
 Bunde, Co-Chair Toohey and Representative Davis.  The bill passed             
 from committee.                                                               
 MR. WRIGHT thanked HESS Committee members and Co-Chair Bunde in               
 particular on the behalf of Representative Ivan for all the work              
 that was put into this bill.                                                  
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced this bill had been heard in the committee            
 before.  The bill expands Alaska's mandatory school system to                 
 include kindergarten.  The bill also legalizes the middle school              
 Number 1593                                                                   
 DEE HUBBARD, Parent, said she resides in Representative Ramona                
 Barnes's district.  She began work on this bill about two years               
 ago, because she was concerned about the possible elimination of              
 kindergarten in school districts if kindergarten is not mandatory.            
 She felt that because of the amount of time and money being spent             
 on early education, if one school district decided to not provide             
 kindergarten, time would be lost between the early education and              
 first grade.                                                                  
 MS. HUBBARD said her concern is for the continuing education of               
 children.  She did some initial work on this topic, and the Alaska            
 PTA endorsed a resolution requesting kindergarten become a required           
 grade in Alaska.                                                              
 MS. HUBBARD addressed the middle school topic.  Currently, there              
 are two districts that offer middle school, starting at grade six.            
 Ms. Hubbard feels this area should be cleaned up, in order to                 
 ensure middle school is legal.  It has never been her intent to               
 mandate that middle schools must start at grade six.  That issue              
 can be determined at individual district levels.                              
 MR. MARSHALL said NEA Alaska supports this bill.  It feels it would           
 take the bill even a step further, kindergarten should be a                   
 mandatory program in Alaska, and minimally it should be offered.              
 If the state is seriously entering times in which cuts are                    
 entertained, the opportunity of kindergarten children should not be           
 Number 1712                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE closed public testimony, and asked for the will of             
 the committee.                                                                
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked for clarification.  She noted that                      
 kindergarten is not mandatory, but customary.  She also asked if              
 there was currently a district in this state that did not offer               
 MS. PETERSEN answered every district currently provides                       
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted in times of budget cuts, if a district chose             
 to cut out kindergarten, it could.  This bill would mandate                   
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if there would not be a war cry from the DOE            
 if a district chose to discontinue kindergarten.                              
 MS. PETERSON presumed the DOE would be very concerned if a school             
 district did not offer kindergarten.  However, since kindergarten             
 is currently not mandatory and is not in statute, the DOE could do            
 nothing.  It could only express concern.                                      
 Number 1790                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON moved HB 172 from committee with individual           
 recommendations and accompanying zero fiscal notes.  There were no            
 objections, and the bill passed.                                              
 Number 1806                                                                   
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE adjourned the meeting at 4:15 p.m.                             

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