Legislature(1995 - 1996)
04/13/1995 02:07 PM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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 SPONSOR(S): HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES BY REQUEST 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 SHORT TITLE: SEXUAL MISCONDUCT BY MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL 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 SPONSOR(S): HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES BY REQUEST 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 SHORT TITLE: PROHIBIT LOUD VEHICLE SOUND SYSTEMS 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 mediocrity. 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 excluded. 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- schooling. 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 Alaska. MS. YRAGUI assured Co-Chair Toohey that was not her family's intention. 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 activities. 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 156. 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 problem. 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 challenges. MS. BLOMFIELD noted that HB 156 addresses all the issues she had discussed. She thanked HESS Committee members for considering HB 156. 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 process. 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 problematic. 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 package. 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 156. 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 guideline. 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 sports. 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 programs. 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 interscholastically. 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. HB 35 - SEXUAL MISCONDUCT BY MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL 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 bill. 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 illegal. 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 standards. 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 purposes. 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 provision. 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 nonretention. 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 addition. 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 work. 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 involved. 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 draft. 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 anyway. 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 four. 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 failed. 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 issue. 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. HB 172 - KINDERGARTEN AND MISCELLANEOUS EDUCATION 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 concept. 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 cut. 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 kindergarten. MS. PETERSEN answered every district currently provides kindergarten. CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted in times of budget cuts, if a district chose to cut out kindergarten, it could. This bill would mandate kindergarten. 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. ADJOURNMENT Number 1806 CO-CHAIR BUNDE adjourned the meeting at 4:15 p.m.