Legislature(2023 - 2024)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

01/25/2023 03:30 PM Senate EDUCATION

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Audio Topic
03:30:25 PM Start
03:32:15 PM Presentation Funding for Alaska's Schools
04:08:20 PM Presentation Coalition for Education Equity
04:26:15 PM Presentation Legislative Priorities and Supporting Resolutions
04:41:42 PM Presentation Be a Hero for Alaska Students
05:00:53 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Teleconferenced --
+ Presentation: Public Education in Alaska Fiscal TELECONFERENCED
Challenges and Solutions by
Alaska Council of School Administrators
Executive Director Dr. Lisa Parady
Coalition for Education Equity Executive
Director Sarah Sledge
Association of Alaska School Boards Executive
Director Lon Garrison
NEA Alaska President Tom Klaameyer
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                        January 25, 2023                                                                                        
                           3:30 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Löki Tobin, Chair                                                                                                       
Senator Gary Stevens, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator Jesse Bjorkman                                                                                                          
Senator Jesse Kiehl                                                                                                             
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson                                                                                                       
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
PRESENTATION FUNDING FOR ALASKA'S SCHOOLS                                                                                       
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PRESENTATION COALITION FOR EDUCATION EQUITY                                                                                     
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
 PRESENTATION LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES AND SUPPORTING RESOLUTIONS                                                                 
PRESENTATION BE A HERO FOR ALASKA STUDENTS                                                                                      
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
LISA PARADY, Executive Director                                                                                                 
Alaska Council of School Administrators                                                                                         
Ketchikan, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Provided the presentation Funding for                                                                     
Alaska's Schools.                                                                                                               
SARA SLEDGE, Executive Director                                                                                                 
Coalition for Education Equity                                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Provided  the  presentation  Coalition  for                                                             
Education Equity.                                                                                                               
LON GARRISON, Executive Director                                                                                                
Association of Alaska School Boards                                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION   STATEMENT:  Provided   the  presentation   Legislative                                                             
Priorities and Supporting Resolutions.                                                                                          
TOM KLAAMEYER, President                                                                                                        
NEA Alaska                                                                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Provided the  presentation  Be  a Hero  for                                                             
Alaska Students                                                                                                                 
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
3:30:25 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LÖKI  TOBIN called the Senate  Education Standing Committee                                                             
meeting to order  at 3:30 p.m. Present at the  call to order were                                                               
Senators Bjorkman, Steven, Kiehl, and Chair Tobin.                                                                              
^PRESENTATION FUNDING FOR ALASKA'S SCHOOLS                                                                                      
                  FUNDING FOR ALASKA'S SCHOOLS                                                                              
3:32:15 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  TOBIN  announced  the consideration  of  the  presentation                                                               
Funding  for Alaska's  Schools by  the Alaska  Council of  School                                                               
Administrator's executive director Dr. Lisa Parady.                                                                             
3:32:37 PM                                                                                                                    
LISA  PARADY,  Executive  Director,   Alaska  Council  of  School                                                               
Administrators (ACSA),  Ketchikan, Alaska,  stated that  the ACSA                                                               
was created to serve as an  umbrella for some of Alaska's premier                                                               
educational organizations,  including the  Alaska Superintendents                                                               
Association,   the  Alaska   Association   of  Secondary   School                                                               
Principals,   the  Alaska   Association   of  Elementary   School                                                               
Principals, the  Alaska School Business Officials  and many other                                                               
school administrators and educators across Alaska.                                                                              
3:33:59 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. PARADY  turned to slide 2  and stated that ACSA  supports and                                                               
represents  education  leaders  in  all 54  school  districts  in                                                               
Alaska,  both urban  and  rural.  She said  slide  3 shows  facts                                                               
regarding  education expenditures.  DEED provided  the data,  and                                                               
Legislative Finance  compiled it.  The compilation shows  that 74                                                               
percent of school districts' budgets  go to instruction, of which                                                               
2 percent is spent on district administration.                                                                                  
3:36:06 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  PARADY  moved to  slide  4  and  said  Alaska ranks  6th  in                                                               
national per pupil  K-12 funding in raw dollars, but  the cost of                                                               
living in Alaska, especially in  rural areas, is higher than most                                                               
states. A study by the  Institute of Social and Economic Research                                                               
(ISER)  found  that  Alaska  is underfunded  by  2  percent  when                                                               
adjusted to the national average cost of living.                                                                                
MS. PARADY said  that every year ACSA members  put together joint                                                               
position   statements.  The   statements   envelop  the   highest                                                               
priorities  for education  policy  positions  in Alaska.  Student                                                               
achievement is  always the first  priority. However,  the current                                                               
most critical  need is adequate  funding. Flat funding  of public                                                               
education  cuts  the budget  of  every  public school  in  Alaska                                                               
because  it does  not account  for  inflation. Policymakers  must                                                               
recognize the  diminishing value of  flat funding in  relation to                                                               
inflation.  Early   notification  and  predictable   funding  are                                                               
crucial to financial and human resource management.                                                                             
3:38:23 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. PARADY stated that inflation  is at a 40-year high, resulting                                                               
in  an  unsustainable loss  of  purchasing  power. She  suggested                                                               
lawmakers put  a trigger into statute  that addresses inflation's                                                               
effect on the BSA so that  schools are not affected by diminished                                                               
purchasing power.  The graph on  slide 7 demonstrates  the impact                                                               
of inflation  on education. It shows  that a BSA of  $5,930 in FY                                                               
23 has an FY 12 value of $4,776.                                                                                                
3:40:18 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. PARADY turned  to slide 8 and said many  Alaskan schools face                                                               
transportation   issues.  Alaskan   children  deserve   safe  and                                                               
reliable transportation  to and from  school. She noted  that the                                                               
per-student  amount  provided  to  districts  by  the  state  has                                                               
remained the same  since 2016, causing school  districts to shift                                                               
funding from  the classroom to transportation.  Transportation is                                                               
one of  the fastest-rising categories  for inflation.  From April                                                               
2022 to April 2023, costs rose 20 percent.                                                                                      
3:41:38 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. PARADY moved to slide 9  and said Alaska saw a consumer price                                                               
index  increase of  almost 8  percent  over the  past year.  Flat                                                               
funding  education  causes  districts  to fill  in  the  gaps  of                                                               
increased   costs   to  utilities,   insurance,   transportation,                                                               
deferred  maintenance,   shipping  costs,  and   supplies.  Money                                                               
appropriated  for  public  schools  with flat  funding  will  not                                                               
stretch  as far  as  it  did in  prior  years.  She said  Alaskan                                                               
schools used  to do more  with less, but  now less is  being done                                                               
with  less because  costs have  escalated beyond  the control  of                                                               
3:42:20 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  PARADY moved  to slide  10 and  said early  notification and                                                               
stable funding are  crucial to the sound  financial management of                                                               
schools. To be good stewards,  school administrators need timely,                                                               
reliable, and predictable funding.  The national teacher shortage                                                               
makes it  particularly crucial because administrators  need to be                                                               
able to retain  and recruit teachers. Alaska  is experiencing the                                                               
greatest  shortage of  staff in  its  history. The  crisis is  at                                                               
every  level  of the  K-12  education  system, from  services  to                                                               
educators and administrators.  In 2017, a study  by the Institute                                                               
of Social  and Economic  Research (ISER) found  that the  cost to                                                               
Alaska's school districts  to replace a teacher  is over $20,000.                                                               
A  RAND study  in 2019  reported that  replacing a  principal was                                                               
3:45:11 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. PARADY turned  to slide 11 and stated that  since 2014, there                                                               
had been  almost a  complete turnover  of the  superintendents in                                                               
Alaska.  Frequent turnover  of  superintendents, principals,  and                                                               
teachers  created  instability  in Alaska's  school  system.  She                                                               
encouraged members  to consider  what the outcome  would be  if a                                                               
business were  experiencing the same  turnover of  its management                                                               
and staff. Educators  are in the business  of educating students.                                                               
A school district  is generally among the top  three employers in                                                               
a  community.  School districts  need  to  be stable  to  improve                                                               
student  achievement.  However,  there were  almost  400  teacher                                                               
vacancies on the  first day of school in FY  23. Finding teachers                                                               
is a struggle in every content area, not just special education.                                                                
3:47:53 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. PARADY  stated that  the turnover  of school  principals also                                                               
hurts  school  budgets  and deeply  affects  students.  A  school                                                               
leadership study by the Wallace  Foundation reported that a solid                                                               
principal   positively   influences   school  culture   and   the                                                               
instruction quality  of the whole  system of  teachers. According                                                               
to  the American  Journal of  Education, when  principal turnover                                                               
occurs,  students achieve  less in  math and  reading during  the                                                               
first  year  after  leader   turnover.  Schools  that  experience                                                               
principal  churn  year  after  year  realize  serious  cumulative                                                               
adverse  effects on  students.  The condition  is exasperated  by                                                               
schools  serving   underprivileged  students.  She   stated  that                                                               
Alaska's  schools  are  in  a  perpetual  state  of  uncertainty.                                                               
Unpredictable funding  leads to district uncertainty  which leads                                                               
to instability and ultimately impacts instruction negatively.                                                                   
3:49:25 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  PARADY turned  to slide  14 and  said that  through an  ASCA                                                               
survey,  its superintendent  members were  asked what  percentage                                                               
the BSA should increase to  compensate for years of flat funding.                                                               
The response was that a percent  increase between 14 - 18 percent                                                               
is  needed to  balance current  budgets. One  district in  Alaska                                                               
experienced a  46 percent  increase in fuel  costs, a  38 percent                                                               
increase in  utilities, and  a 20  percent increase  in classroom                                                               
supplies. Another  superintendent commented  that FY 24  would be                                                               
the first  increase to the BSA  since 2017, and that  increase is                                                               
to  fund the  Reads Act.  However, it  does not  adequately cover                                                               
implementation costs. A comment  from another superintendent said                                                               
Alaska  would  continue  to   lose  high-quality  teachers  since                                                               
teacher funding is not competitive.  ASCA is willing to share the                                                               
survey.  Alaska can  end  the cycle  of  uncertainty that  school                                                               
districts  face  by inflation-proofing  the  BSA.  Doing so  will                                                               
improve teacher recruitment and  retention and ultimately improve                                                               
student outcomes.                                                                                                               
3:52:02 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  PARADY said  she hoped  that the  presented information  and                                                               
solutions would help create good policies for Alaska.                                                                           
3:53:04 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS  referred to  slide 7 and  asked that  Ms. Parady                                                               
expound on triggers to the BSA.                                                                                                 
3:53:18 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  PARADY   replied  that  there  had   been  discussion  about                                                               
establishing a statutory trigger,  such as the legislature acting                                                               
on  the education  budget by  a  date certain  or an  agreed-upon                                                               
metric to adjust for inflation.                                                                                                 
3:54:12 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS  said the majority  caucus is very  interested in                                                               
education funding  and ensuring  funds are  used as  intended. He                                                               
asked if  she could comment  on the idea of  establishing funding                                                               
3:54:41 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. PARADY  said educators are  open to accountability  and would                                                               
be agreeable  to guardrails. Education's foundation  is cracking,                                                               
and an increase  in the BSA would shore  up current underfunding;                                                               
it would  not provide extra. The  graph on slide 7  shows that an                                                               
increase  is  long overdue.  She  said  making suitable  triggers                                                               
needs further  thought. The  bottom line  is that  educators have                                                               
been problem-solving.  They worked  through the  pandemic without                                                               
additions  to  the  BSA.  Teacher  support  is  urgently  needed.                                                               
Conversations  about   greater  accountability  can   occur  once                                                               
education's foundation  is made whole. School  districts can have                                                               
greater  accountability once  stabilized.  The  system can  self-                                                               
right if  Alaska continues  to do good  work in  early education,                                                               
best  practices,  and  career   and  technical  education  (CTE).                                                               
Educators are not  asking for whip cream on top  of the pie. They                                                               
are asking for the crust and filling.                                                                                           
3:58:03 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BJORKMAN reiterated  that inflation  costs require  a 16                                                               
percent increase  in the budget.  An increase in the  BSA between                                                               
14  -  18  percent  makes  up for  inflation  and  allows  school                                                               
districts to  continue their current level  of function. However,                                                               
over the  past 10 years,  education has  seen cuts to  CTE, world                                                               
languages,   counseling  services,   librarians,  nurses,   lunch                                                               
programs, janitorial  staff, and  other programs.  These programs                                                               
are  why  students are  willing  to  get  up  and go  to  school.                                                               
Increasing  the  BSA  to  16  percent  will  stop  the  bleeding.                                                               
However,  Alaska's  schools   need  an  investment  significantly                                                               
higher than  16 percent  to return  to where  they were  10 years                                                               
3:59:57 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  PARADY stated  she agreed  with Senator  Bjorkman's comment.                                                               
Alaska's  students need  to be  competitive.  It is  a myth  that                                                               
Alaska  has  the  highest  BSA  in  the  country.  It  will  take                                                               
significant  investment to  restore Alaska's  schools. A  forward                                                               
focus  on filling  the workforce's  needs can  begin once  Alaska                                                               
restores its  schools. Alaska's workforce  is down by  20 percent                                                               
in  most sectors.  Members of  ACSA want  to be  cutting-edge and                                                               
focus on pedagogy  and design because student  achievement is its                                                               
highest priority.  Stabilized school  districts are needed  to do                                                               
this.  A mechanism  should  be put  in  place to  inflation-proof                                                               
school  budgets.  Educators  were front-line  heroes  in  helping                                                               
students, parents,  and the community through  the pandemic. They                                                               
pivoted  on short  notice to  continue serving  students with  no                                                               
playbook. Some  teachers gave students paper  packets, and others                                                               
provided virtual education. Teachers did  what was needed to keep                                                               
kids safe and  educated. Now they need support  to make education                                                               
healthy and stay current.                                                                                                       
4:02:34 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BJORKMAN asked Ms. Parady  to speak to the impact teacher                                                               
vacancies have on students' opportunities and outcomes.                                                                         
4:03:01 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. PARADY said  educators know that not having a  teacher in the                                                               
classroom   impacts  student   learning.  Commendation   goes  to                                                               
paraprofessionals, office staff,  principals, and superintendents                                                               
covering classes that do not  have teachers. Still, expertise and                                                               
appropriate services  are lost when  a classroom does not  have a                                                               
permanent  teacher. Lack  of recruitment  is not  the reason  for                                                               
teacher  vacancies.  Alaska no  longer  draws  teachers from  the                                                               
Lower 48 because  it does not offer a  competitive retirement and                                                               
benefits package  and salary. The  University of Alaska  is aware                                                               
of the  need for teachers and  is working to increase  the number                                                               
of in-state teachers. Also, the  marine simulator in Ketchikan is                                                               
impressive. Alaska should funnel  its students into the workforce                                                               
experiences and programs offered within the state.                                                                              
4:06:37 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL  asked where in  Alaska teacher  vacancies located.                                                               
exist. The impact of a teacher  vacancy in a small school differs                                                               
from a teacher vacancy in a larger school.                                                                                      
4:06:54 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. PARADY stated her belief  that teacher vacancies exist across                                                               
the  state.  She  will  investigate  it  further  and  share  the                                                               
information with the committee.                                                                                                 
4:07:29 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS stated he had  seen a chart showing Alaska having                                                               
the  highest  BSA  spending.  However,   it  did  not  take  into                                                               
consideration the cost  of living. He said he would  like a chart                                                               
depicting  Alaska's  state  ranking   with  the  cost  of  living                                                               
considered. He  said Alaska is  somewhere in the middle,  not the                                                               
^PRESENTATION COALITION FOR EDUCATION EQUITY                                                                                    
                 COALITION FOR EDUCATION EQUITY                                                                             
4:08:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  TOBIN  announced  the consideration  of  the  presentation                                                               
Coalition  for  Education  Equity  by  Executive  Director  Sarah                                                               
Sledge from the Coalition for Education Equity of Alaska.                                                                       
4:08:35 PM                                                                                                                    
SARA SLEDGE, Executive Director,  Coalition for Education Equity,                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska,  stated that  some of  the information  in her                                                               
presentation might  be repetitive  of Ms.  Parady's presentation.                                                               
She  turned to  slide  2  and said  the  Coalition for  Education                                                               
Equity (CEE) is a  member-based, statewide nonprofit organization                                                               
representing   Alaska   school  districts,   organizations,   and                                                               
individuals   concerned  about   the  quality   and  breadth   of                                                               
educational  opportunities available  to  Alaska's children.  The                                                               
organization,  formerly known  as  Citizens  for the  Educational                                                               
Advancement  of  Alaska's  Children,  was  founded  in  1996.  It                                                               
litigated and  successfully settled both the  Kasayulie and Moore                                                               
lawsuits. These landmark education  court cases continue to guide                                                               
the coalition's work.                                                                                                           
4:09:44 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. SLEDGE  turned to slide 3  and said she was  asked to present                                                               
what is  needed to  support education  in Alaska  adequately. CEE                                                               
membership   has  identified   adequate   investment  in   public                                                               
education,  addressing  the  staffing shortage,  and  significant                                                               
investment in  school construction  and major maintenance  as the                                                               
most  urgent priorities  for education.  Coalition for  Education                                                               
Equity believes  that a successful education  system is essential                                                               
to having a thriving state.  There have been thorough articles in                                                               
Alaska's  news  that  have  detailed the  impact  of  the  budget                                                               
squeeze on  schools. Continued  flat funding is  not in  the best                                                               
interests  of  a  successful education  system  and  is  damaging                                                               
Alaska's education structure.                                                                                                   
4:10:41 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.   SLEDGE   said   current  education   funding   levels   are                                                               
insufficient. Most  school districts have been  preparing for and                                                               
are already  experiencing a significant budget  deficit. Historic                                                               
40-year  high  inflation has  resulted  in  rising costs  in  all                                                               
areas. She  turned to slide  4, which provides examples  of fixed                                                               
cost  increases experienced  by three  Alaskan school  districts.                                                               
She focused on the cost of  new construction and stated it was up                                                               
20 percent.  School districts  receiving the  Alaska construction                                                               
grant program currently  in the building process  need more funds                                                               
to complete  their projects because bids  were made in FY  19 and                                                               
FY  20  when  materials  were  20  percent  cheaper.  All  school                                                               
districts are facing increased costs:                                                                                           
[Original punctuation provided.]                                                                                                
     District cost increases FY22 to FY23                                                                                     
     •Fuel: up 46%                                                                                                              
     •Utilities: up 38%                                                                                                         
     •Cost of new construction: up approximately 20%                                                                            
     •Travel: up 40% •Supply costs: up 10- 20%                                                                                  
     •Insurance: up 26%                                                                                                         
     District cost increases FY17 to FY23                                                                                     
     Total cost increase of 21% from FY17 to FY23                                                                               
     •Maintenance costs: up 12%                                                                                                 
     •Electricity: up 45%                                                                                                       
     •Heating fuel: down 3%                                                                                                     
     •Liability insurance: up 61%                                                                                               
     •Health insurance: up 30%                                                                                                  
     •Workers Comp: up 48%                                                                                                      
     District cost increases FY21 to FY22                                                                                     
       •FY21- Oil purchase to keep our facilities heated-                                                                       
       •FY22- Oil purchase to keep our facilities heated-                                                                       
     •Electricity costs increased by an estimated 30%.                                                                          
     •No carry over funds in our CIP account                                                                                    
4:12:11 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. SLEDGE added that school  districts put money into carry-over                                                               
accounts to  cover unexpected costs. However,  some Alaska school                                                               
districts have had to use reserve  funds to cover fixed costs and                                                               
no  longer have  funds  in reserve.  One  Alaska school  district                                                               
reported a shortfall  between $600,000 - $700,000  in its budget.                                                               
Another  school  district  reported  an  $800,000  -  $1  million                                                               
shortfall  since the  last BSA  increase  in 2017.  From 2011  to                                                               
2022, the  BSA has  increased only  4.29 percent,  while Alaska's                                                               
urban consumer price index has risen by 24.6 percent.                                                                           
MS.  SLEDGE  said  rising  costs  and  budget  shortfalls  impact                                                               
multiple aspects of education in Alaska, such as:                                                                               
   • Fuel and energy costs.                                                                                                     
   • Facilities maintenance and repair.                                                                                         
   • Capital improvements.                                                                                                      
   • Teacher housing.                                                                                                           
   • Insurance premiums.                                                                                                        
   • Funding for teacher and other staff salaries.                                                                              
MS.  SLEDGE  stated  funding shortfalls  affect  the  ability  of                                                               
school   districts  to   provide   counselors,  nurses,   special                                                               
education  aides,  arts and  sporting  programs,  and career  and                                                               
technical education  for Alaska's children.  Additionally, budget                                                               
uncertainty  and late  decision-making mean  schools cannot  plan                                                               
effectively  and efficiently,  which results  in lost  purchasing                                                               
power,  increased   fuel  and   maintenance  costs   and  teacher                                                               
4:14:08 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  SLEDGE turned  to  slide  5 and  asked  the legislature  and                                                               
administration to  ensure the following for public schools:                                                                     
[Original punctuation provided.]                                                                                                
   • Stable, sustainable, and predictable education budget                                                                      
   • Education funding decisions made in a timely manner                                                                        
     that enables school districts to plan efficiently and                                                                      
   • A fiscal plan with diversified revenue to ensure                                                                           
     education funding sources are reliable and adequate                                                                        
   • Increase the Base Student Allocation (BSA) to close                                                                        
     the funding gap created by inflation                                                                                       
MS.  SLEDGE stated  that education  funding directly  impacts the                                                               
ability  to hire  and retain  teachers. It  affects salaries  and                                                               
other  factors  associated  with teacher  satisfaction,  such  as                                                               
available  instructional resources  and  support staff,  building                                                               
conditions, and housing.                                                                                                        
4:15:25 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. SLEGE  turned to  slide 7 and  said recruiting  and retaining                                                               
quality educators  has a significant impact  on student outcomes.                                                               
The highest  teacher turnover  often occurs  in the  highest need                                                               
schools. Virtually every CEE school  district member has reported                                                               
that it is  becoming nearly impossible to fill  all their teacher                                                               
vacancies. Stability for principals  and superintendents has also                                                               
become   volatile,   which   influences   overall   institutional                                                               
MS.  SLEDGE  shared  an  anecdote from  one  school  district  to                                                               
demonstrate the effect of staff vacancy:                                                                                        
     We  currently  have  three certified  vacancies  -  one                                                                    
     elementary   teacher,  one   SPED   teacher,  and   one                                                                    
     administrator  (middle/high  assistant  principal).  To                                                                    
     address  the  elementary  teacher vacancy,  we  had  to                                                                    
     collapse three  classes into two; both  class sizes are                                                                    
     now larger  than optimal. The  SPED teacher  vacancy is                                                                    
     being addressed  by the two other  SPED teachers taking                                                                    
     on  additional caseload  responsibilities with  stipend                                                                    
     pay, and  our SPED director  is spending a part  of the                                                                    
     day  providing  services  to our  pre-K  and  homebound                                                                    
     students,   as  well   as   picking   up  IEP   writing                                                                    
     responsibilities for  some students.  The administrator                                                                    
     vacancy has played havoc with  our discipline system at                                                                    
     the middle/high  school, exacerbated when we  also lost                                                                    
     our  behavior   specialist  for  about  a   month.  Our                                                                    
     principal  is brand-new  and has  not been  able to  do                                                                    
     some  of  the  key work  with  instructional  coaching,                                                                    
     relationship   building   with   staff,   parents   and                                                                    
     students, and our out of  school suspension rate at the                                                                    
     beginning  of the  year was  very  high, as  we had  no                                                                    
     place to put students for  ISS. We have finally managed                                                                    
     to  hire a  new assistant  principal who  is coming  on                                                                    
     board in  a week, but there  has been a lot  of fallout                                                                    
     in  terms  of  staff   morale,  the  principal's  self-                                                                    
     efficacy, etc.                                                                                                             
4:17:13 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. SLEDGE                                                                                                                      
     We  have also  had to  cut several  positions over  the                                                                    
     last few years due to  flat funding, and the expiration                                                                    
     of  COVID  funding,  including  our  elementary  school                                                                    
     counselor  (for next  year), our  music teacher  at the                                                                    
     elementary   school,   and  the   behavior   specialist                                                                    
     position  at the  elementary school.  This  puts a  lot                                                                    
     more strain  on the administrators to  support students                                                                    
     in a  time when mental  health issues are  rising. Arts                                                                    
     and  music   are  also  a   crucial  part   of  student                                                                    
     education, so cutting those  impacts both our students,                                                                    
     and  our  community at  large  which  looks forward  to                                                                    
     student performances each year.                                                                                            
     We have seen  a large amount of  turnover in classified                                                                    
     positions  -  continue  to  struggle  to  hire  special                                                                    
     education   paraprofessionals,   custodians,  and   the                                                                    
     substitute  shortage is  REAL. We've  had to  shut down                                                                    
     our  high  school twice  and  do  remote learning  days                                                                    
     because we had  too many staff out and  not enough subs                                                                    
     to have any safe way to hold school.                                                                                       
4:18:03 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. SLEDGE advanced to slide 8  slide and said teacher housing is                                                               
an increasingly prevalent  issue for school districts  on and off                                                               
the  road  system. Appropriate  housing  is  unavailable in  some                                                               
villages  and unaffordable  for teachers  in urban  areas due  to                                                               
high housing costs.  There is a continued issue  with the teacher                                                               
retirement  system,  which  is  one  of  the  top  cited  factors                                                               
affecting  teacher turnover.  Compounding these  other issues  is                                                               
the ongoing  concern around  the lack of  perceived value  of and                                                               
respect for educators,  education as a profession,  and the state                                                               
public education system.                                                                                                        
4:18:56 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. SLEDGE  turned to slide  9 and stated that  school facilities                                                               
need assistance.  Between 2015 and 2022,  schools requested 1,047                                                               
major  maintenance  projects.  Only 114  projects  have  received                                                               
funding. Although the  FY 23 budget included  funding to backfill                                                               
a severe  backlog of Regional Educational  Attendance Area (REAA)                                                               
construction,   major   maintenance,   and   school   bond   debt                                                               
reimbursement,  the number  of projects  currently  on the  major                                                               
maintenance  list is  ninety-seven which  totals $217.6  million.                                                               
Many school facilities remain in  serious disrepair, resulting in                                                               
unsafe,  unhealthy environments  for children  and school  staff.                                                               
Material  costs  are  skyrocketing, contractors  are  scarce  and                                                               
expensive, and routine maintenance has become challenging.                                                                      
4:19:59 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.   SLEDGE  said   the   capital   improvement  project   (CIP)                                                               
application  process  is  thorough  and  ensures  school  capital                                                               
projects are  needed, well planned, and  are a good use  of state                                                               
funding. However,  depending on  the scope  of the  project, this                                                               
process can  cost school  districts between  $2000 -  $100,000 to                                                               
prepare for  and submit.  Getting design  teams to  rural village                                                               
schools  for assessments  and cost  estimates  can be  especially                                                               
expensive. Many  school districts use outside  assistance to help                                                               
them put grant application packets  together, ranging from $2,500                                                               
to $10,000, depending  on the number of projects.  In addition to                                                               
this  initial cost,  there  is  an ongoing  cost  to reapply  for                                                               
project funding.  The cost  to resubmit can  be $8,000  every two                                                               
years.  There  are also  costs  associated  with maintenance  and                                                               
making temporary  repairs while waiting for  major maintenance to                                                               
be  done.  These  are  lost funds  to  school  districts  because                                                               
problems are not solved.                                                                                                        
MS. SLEDGE  shared slides 11  and 12 and said  maintenance issues                                                               
when not  addressed lead to  more damage. The school  pictured in                                                               
the slides  was built in 1979  and has never been  renovated. The                                                               
roof is damaged and leaks. Repairs  are done each summer but last                                                               
only one season. The foundation  is deteriorating due to moisture                                                               
in the soil. The weight of  the building is causing the school to                                                               
sink.  The building  is  re-leveled every  year.  Water from  the                                                               
leaking  roof flows  through  the walls  to  the foundation.  The                                                               
moisture in  the walls  causes windows to  break due  to warping.                                                               
The bowing  walls and pressure  from the sinking  building causes                                                               
the main power box to rip off the building in high winds.                                                                       
4:24:04 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STEVENS asked  if the  state is  in compliance  with the                                                               
Kasayulie and Moore lawsuits or if it has put itself at risk.                                                                   
MS.  SLEDGE  replied that  funding  levels  are low  enough  that                                                               
Alaska  is   dangerously  close  to  not   meeting  the  adequacy                                                               
benchmark   for  student   education.   Kasayulie  school   major                                                               
maintenance projects  are significant across the  state, not just                                                               
REAA  schools. She  expressed gratitude  that the  REAA fund  was                                                               
made whole  last year with  appropriations from  the legislature.                                                               
However, failure  to fund would  be a violation of  the Kasayulie                                                               
4:25:05 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease.                                                                                                                        
^ PRESENTATION LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES AND SUPPORTING RESOLUTIONS                                                                
       LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES AND SUPPORTING RESOLUTIONS                                                                    
4:26:15 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   TOBIN   reconvened   the  meeting   and   announced   the                                                               
consideration  of  the  presentation Legislative  Priorities  and                                                               
Supporting  Resolutions  by  the  Association  of  Alaska  School                                                               
Board's Executive Director, Lon Garrison.                                                                                       
4:26:29 PM                                                                                                                    
LON GARRISON,  Executive Director,  Association of  Alaska School                                                               
Boards (AASB),  Juneau, Alaska,  stated the  AASB is  a nonprofit                                                               
association  that  serves 52  of  Alaska's  54 school  districts.                                                               
Sufficiently  funding  Alaska's  public  education  system  is  a                                                               
necessity  and moral  responsibility. AASB's  Board of  Directors                                                               
has adopted three legislative priorities for 2023:                                                                              
   • Sufficient, sustainable, and predictable education                                                                         
   • Retention and recruitment of teachers, administrators,                                                                     
     and staff                                                                                                                  
   • Student wellness and safety                                                                                                
MR.  GARRISON  stated  he would  focus  on  sufficient  education                                                               
funding, which is  a critical factor affecting  the retention and                                                               
recruitment  of staff  as  well  as the  safety  and wellness  of                                                               
students. Under  Article 7, Section  1 of  Alaska's Constitution,                                                               
the state has statutorily fulfilled  its responsibility to fund a                                                               
public education system.  However, for over a decade,  it has yet                                                               
to sufficiently  invest the resources  necessary to  ensure every                                                               
student  receives   an  excellent   education  daily.   The  AASB                                                               
membership has  resolved that the  base student  allocation (BSA)                                                               
increase should  be at least  $860. The amount was  determined by                                                               
an analysis  done by the  Anchorage School District based  on the                                                               
difference  between  the current  FY  23  BSA  of $5,930  and  an                                                               
estimated inflation-adjusted value of  $6,820, using the consumer                                                               
price  index urban  Alaska  rate, compounded  over  the past  six                                                               
years.  The BSA  needs  to  keep up  with  inflation because  the                                                               
state's ability to provide quality education is being damaged.                                                                  
4:29:22 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  GARRISON said  further comparison  of the  BSA to  inflation                                                               
shows  that  the BSA  increased  by  $250  in  10 years  or  4.29                                                               
percent. The cumulative  inflation for that same  period was 24.6                                                               
percent.  AASB  strongly  advocates  for  statutorily  inflation-                                                               
proofing  the  BSA.  Underfunding of  Alaska's  public  education                                                               
through the BSA is a  chronic issue. One-time discretionary funds                                                               
previously provided  to schools  outside the BSA  do not  lead to                                                               
the stability and  predictability of a statutory  increase in the                                                               
BSA.  AASB   resolution  2.5  addresses   inflation-proofed  base                                                               
student allocation investments.                                                                                                 
4:30:45 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. GARRISON said that the schools  are impacted by how the state                                                               
governs. School  boards by statute  must establish,  approve, and                                                               
implement balanced  budgets each  year. School board  members are                                                               
tasked  with governing  their districts  and allocating  funds to                                                               
execute an  educational plan for  all public-school  students. It                                                               
is a  highly complex task.  Schools have had to  reduce staffing,                                                               
eliminate  programs,  curtail   extracurricular  activities,  and                                                               
diminish many  programs supporting student learning  to adhere to                                                               
the statute.                                                                                                                    
4:31:54 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  GARRISON said  that Alaska's  school boards  have no  taxing                                                               
authority.  They  rely solely  on  state  and federal  government                                                               
revenue  and,  in  some  areas,  a  local  contribution  to  fund                                                               
education.  Each   year  school   board  members   and  education                                                               
advocates appeal  for education  funding to provide  an excellent                                                               
education  for  every student  every  day.  Over the  past  year,                                                               
school board  members and superintendents  across the  state have                                                               
faced tremendous strain on their  budgets. Operational costs have                                                               
increased, putting  pressure on  the operating  revenue necessary                                                               
to  employ a  full  school system,  and  student achievement  has                                                               
suffered due to a lack  of necessary support. Inflated fuel costs                                                               
have  been difficult  for schools  off  the road  system. The  US                                                               
Energy  Information Administration  reported in  March 2022  that                                                               
the  summer  heating fuel  costs  for  unsubsidized rural  Alaska                                                               
communities were 26 percent higher  than the Winter 2021 average.                                                               
Many locations  reported fuel prices  higher than $7  per gallon.                                                               
The  cost  of heating  school  buildings  and transporting  goods                                                               
impacts  the  funding  available  to hire  teachers  and  support                                                               
personnel. For  example, one superintendent of  a remote district                                                               
noted that for  every $100 of materials  purchased, an allocation                                                               
of $200 would be needed for freight charges.                                                                                    
4:34:29 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  GARRISON opined  that  the uncertain  nature  of the  annual                                                               
legislative appropriation  for education  funding as part  of the                                                               
state's general fund budget, and  the potential executive vetoes,                                                               
continually  creates uncertainty  that  makes  it challenging  to                                                               
sustain   a  maintenance   of   effort   (MOE)  effectively   and                                                               
efficiently. School  boards and superintendents  continually must                                                               
decide  whether  to  reduce staff,  eliminate  programs,  or  cut                                                               
services. Locally  elected school boards have  served Alaska well                                                               
but depend  on legislative support.  AASB strongly  encourages an                                                               
increase to  the BSA by  not less than $860  as a way  of further                                                               
supporting Alaska's public school system and Alaska's future.                                                                   
MR. GARRISON  added that  school boards  have also  experienced a                                                               
lot  of member  turnover  due  to stress  from  the pandemic  and                                                               
reduced  funding. Part  of  the reason  for  turnover comes  from                                                               
making   tough  decisions   when   resources   are  scarce,   and                                                               
communities push  back. Continual turnover in  leadership creates                                                               
instability. He  stated that he  agreed with  Governor Dunleavy's                                                               
State of the State address to  focus on moving the state forward.                                                               
However, he  disagreed with the statement  that educators measure                                                               
student success by the amount spent on education.                                                                               
MR. GARRISON asserted that educators  measure success by students                                                               
receiving  diplomas,   entering  post-secondary   education,  and                                                               
creating a life for themselves  better than they imagined. People                                                               
must discontinue the false narrative  that spending and investing                                                               
in students is a measurement of success.                                                                                        
4:38:08 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.   GARRISON  said   legislators  should   consider  decoupling                                                               
education funding from the general  fund budget. The state should                                                               
seek innovative ways of creating  an opportunity to fund Alaska's                                                               
public  education system  that does  not dramatically  impact its                                                               
operating  budget.   Today,  the   permanent  fund   funds  state                                                               
operations for  the coming year.  He questioned why  Alaska could                                                               
not  establish  a  similar process  for  education.  He  recalled                                                               
former   Governor  Cooper's   attempt  to   change  funding   for                                                               
4:39:36 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STEVENS  stated  that   school  board  members  did  not                                                               
appreciate  the  attacks  they received  for  creating  mask  and                                                               
vaccination policies.  He stated his  belief that COVID  had much                                                               
to  do with  current  leadership instability.  He  asked for  Mr.                                                               
Garrison's opinion on leadership instability due to COVID.                                                                      
4:40:09 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. GARRISON stated  he did see pressure placed  on school boards                                                               
due to  COVID. Local  control allowed each  school board  to make                                                               
decisions  for its  community. Larger  areas, such  as Anchorage,                                                               
experienced many trials  due to the diversity  of its population.                                                               
Although school  board experiences  varied, it was  a challenging                                                               
task for all school boards and  districts. AASB has seen a lot of                                                               
turnover and  is working  to educate  people on  how to  become a                                                               
board member and its duties.                                                                                                    
4:41:27 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS  said school board  members should not  have been                                                               
4:41:33 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR TOBIN said she agreed with Senator Stevens comment.                                                                       
^PRESENTATION BE A HERO FOR ALASKA STUDENTS                                                                                     
                 BE A HERO FOR ALASKA STUDENTS                                                                              
4:41:42 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR TOBIN announced the consideration  of the presentation Be a                                                               
Hero for Alaska Students, by NEA Alaska President Tom Klaameyer.                                                                
4:41:54 PM                                                                                                                    
TOM  KLAAMEYER, President,  National Education  Association (NEA)                                                               
Alaska, Anchorage, Alaska, said he  is proud to testify on behalf                                                               
of NEA members.                                                                                                                 
4:42:40 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  KLAAMEYER moved  to  slide 3  and said  NEA  members are  in                                                               
classrooms  and  know  that  students  are  struggling.  Alaska's                                                               
students disproportionately  faced challenging  situations before                                                               
COVID. The  pandemic exacerbated already high  social, emotional,                                                               
and academic  trauma levels. According to  Institute of Education                                                               
Sciences  data,  the  pandemic  has  taken  a  dramatic  toll  on                                                               
staffing,  student behavior,  nutrition,  attendance, and  mental                                                               
4:43:17 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. KLAAMEYER turned  to slide 4 and stated  that statistics from                                                               
Alaska Kids Count rank Alaska's students 44th in economic well-                                                                 
being  and 41st  in  overall well-being.  It is  a  fact that  14                                                               
percent of Alaska's  students live in poverty, and  32 percent of                                                               
students'  parents lack  secure  employment, which  is 5  percent                                                               
higher than  the national  average. The  report also  stated that                                                               
their levels of anxiety and  depression are up 51.9 percent since                                                               
2016. These  difficulties are  the reality  for many  of Alaska's                                                               
students.  School  may create  an  additional  challenge for  the                                                               
students who are  already struggling. Now is not the  time to cut                                                               
support to schools.                                                                                                             
4:44:05 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  KLAAMEYER advanced  to slides  6 -  10 and  stated that  the                                                               
headlines  on  the  slides  are  a small  sample  of  impacts  on                                                               
education  around the  state due  to flat  funding. Schools  face                                                               
deficits, positions and  programs have been cut,  and class sizes                                                               
are  up.  Data from  the  Anchorage  School District  shows  that                                                               
student  attendance  is down,  and  the  number of  students  who                                                               
witnessed  or  experienced  violence  in  school  has  increased.                                                               
Students  cannot learn  if they  are not  attending school.  They                                                               
cannot reach their potential if they do not feel safe.                                                                          
4:45:05 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. KLAAMEYER  referred to slides 11  - 12 and said  he has heard                                                               
from NEA members that the number  of open positions in Alaska may                                                               
be more than 1,098 because job  postings that remain vacant for a                                                               
long   time  are   removed.  Additionally,   the  Department   of                                                               
Education's  website shows  that since  the 2010-11  school year,                                                               
1,041 fewer  classroom teachers are working  in Alaska's schools.                                                               
When combined,  this means  2,100 fewer  adults are  working with                                                               
kids in school  today than ten years ago. On  average, the pupil-                                                               
to-teacher  ratio  has gone  up  10  percent. This  statistic  is                                                               
alarming because  teacher efficacy  is the  number one  factor in                                                               
student learning.  Flat funding has decimated  the most effective                                                               
learning support for students.                                                                                                  
4:45:11 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  KLAAMEYER moved  to  slides  13 -  14  and  stated that  the                                                               
educator turnover rate  in Alaska is 22 percent  for teachers and                                                               
25 percent  for principals  and superintendents.  The percentages                                                               
are  higher for  areas that  are off  the road  system. Published                                                               
data on  classified staff  is limited, but  there are  school bus                                                               
driver and school lunch program staffing issues.                                                                                
4:46:10 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  KLAAMEYER turned  to  slide 15  and  said educator  turnover                                                               
directly  affects  students  and   schools.  A  shortage  creates                                                               
momentum  and  a cyclical  effect  in  one  area that  places  an                                                               
increased  workload in  a different  area, eventually  leading to                                                               
more  turnover.  Sadly,  this  cycle  disproportionately  impacts                                                               
vulnerable, remote, and Title I school students.                                                                                
4:47:46 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  KLAAMEYER moved  to slide  16 and  shared research  from the                                                               
Institute of  Social and Economic Research  (ISER), demonstrating                                                               
a  clear   connection  between   teacher  turnover   and  student                                                               
outcomes. He stated that  having stable, consistent, experienced,                                                               
and   talented   staff   builds   relationships   and   nurturing                                                               
environments for students. Students'  performance in schools with                                                               
the lowest  teacher turnover is  almost twice that of  those with                                                               
the  highest. Other  factors contribute  to student  performance,                                                               
but retaining educators  must be emphasized. In  2017, hiring and                                                               
training a  teacher was $20,000  per teacher. Statewide  the cost                                                               
was  $20  million.  The  cost to  replace  an  administrator  was                                                               
$75,000.  An  environment must  be  created  where educators  are                                                               
respected  to  avoid these  costs.  Restoring  a defined  benefit                                                               
retirement option  is one of  the most effective  retention tools                                                               
to reverse Alaska's "teach and leave" problem.                                                                                  
4:49:36 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. KLAAMEYER advanced to slide  19 and thanked Governor Dunleavy                                                               
for creating  the Alaska Teacher  Recruitment and  Retention Task                                                               
Force. Creating  a task force has  led to an extensive  survey of                                                               
certificated   educators  and   an  action   plan  entering   its                                                               
implementation phase.  The public can find  information about the                                                               
task force on DEED's website.                                                                                                   
4:50:00 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. KLAAMEYER  turned to slides  20-23 and said the  four factors                                                               
most  important to  certified teachers  for  retention in  Alaska                                                               
were salaries, working conditions,  connection with students, and                                                               
fixing  the  retirement  system.  For  administrators,  the  most                                                               
important  retention   factors  were  retirement   and  benefits.                                                               
Funding schools does  not fix retirement. Three of  the top eight                                                               
solutions for retaining teachers  were retirement based. The most                                                               
valued  solution is  a  return to  a  defined benefit  retirement                                                               
system. Alaska is  the only state not offering  a defined benefit                                                               
to teachers.  Teachers participating in the  Teachers' Retirement                                                               
System (TRS) are denied the  safety net of Social Security. TRS's                                                               
members who earned Social Security  in other jobs before becoming                                                               
an educator lose  a substantial portion of  their social security                                                               
benefits   due  to   the  government   pension  offset   windfall                                                               
elimination provision  (GPOWEP). This  provision also  applies to                                                               
employees hired after  2006, even though they will  not receive a                                                               
pension. He opined  that Alaska puts educators  at financial risk                                                               
at retirement by only offering  a defined contribution. This lack                                                               
of  stability  is  a  massive incentive  for  teachers  to  leave                                                               
Alaska. The turnover  of teachers in Alaska has  become so common                                                               
that the term "educational tourism" has been coined.                                                                            
4:52:14 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  KLAAMEYER moved  to  slides  24 -  26  and  stated that  the                                                               
Department of  Revenue developed a  simulation at the  request of                                                               
the Department  of Administration. The simulation  determined the                                                               
probability  of 10,000  Tier III  30-year-career teachers  having                                                               
enough savings for a 30-year  retirement. The study found that 69                                                               
percent would  likely run  out of money  early in  retirement. He                                                               
stated that this percentage is appalling and must be corrected.                                                                 
4:53:16 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  KLAAMEYER  moved  to  slide   27  and  said  increasing  and                                                               
inflation-proofing  the  BSA  are the  first  and  most  urgently                                                               
needed actions  to address the  crisis facing  Alaska's students,                                                               
families, and  schools. He appreciated AASB's  determination that                                                               
the BSA  should be at least  $860 per student. It  is the minimum                                                               
amount that  only considers  the rise in  costs since  2017, when                                                               
schools have  been flat funded for  the last 10 out  of 12 years.                                                               
The BSA needs to be much higher to do right by students.                                                                        
4:53:29 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. KLAAMEYER  moved to side 30  and said that people  often talk                                                               
of  tying accountability  to an  increase in  the BSA.  Educators                                                               
recognize the  value of tests  and appreciate that  testing helps                                                               
identify  students'  abilities  and needs.  However,  a  national                                                               
standardized  test score  or any  single assessment  measure does                                                               
not capture  the innovative thinking,  character, or  richness of                                                               
academic  knowledge.  It  does  not  capture  students'  talents,                                                               
abilities, or chances of success  in life. A single metric should                                                               
not be  used to assess  an entire  school system. He  opined that                                                               
more must be  done to improve student  outcomes. Educators should                                                               
use assessments to direct instruction,  and schools should not be                                                               
punished  for falling  short of  expectations.  Dentists are  not                                                               
punished  when  patients  get  cavities  for  failing  to  follow                                                               
advice.  They  are  rewarded  for  fixing  the  patients'  teeth.                                                               
Educators identify an  area of need and direct  resources to that                                                               
need to provide the support that helps students grow.                                                                           
4:56:28 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. KLAAMEYER  turned to  slide 31  and proclaimed  that Alaska's                                                               
Education Challenge is an excellent  example of taking a holistic                                                               
policy  approach  to  direct  Alaska's  school  system  in  using                                                               
multiple measures  to evaluate progress. The  education challenge                                                               
uses  five  positive trajectories  that  use  various metrics  to                                                               
determine success by  2025. The timeline for  achieving the goals                                                               
is short, but  the Department of Education  and Early Development                                                               
(DEED) is  doing great  work. The  funding famine  is undermining                                                               
the  ability of  school  districts to  achieve  the task  force's                                                               
goals.  The  bipartisan  READS  Act  is  an  excellent  start  to                                                               
providing   early  learning   opportunities   for  students   and                                                               
supporting professional development  for elementary teachers. The                                                               
NEA  also  looks  forward  to   seeing  the  progress  on  tribal                                                               
4:59:07 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL  asked Mr. Klaameyer  whether  he had  said defined                                                               
benefit pensions  were the most  expensive or the  most effective                                                               
tool to fix the issue of teacher retention.                                                                                     
4:59:31 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. KLAAMEYER replied  that he had said effective.  He noted that                                                               
several  defined  benefit pension  models  would  save the  state                                                               
4:59:43 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  TOBIN thanked  the testifiers  for their  participation in                                                               
the hearing.                                                                                                                    
5:00:53 PM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair  Tobin adjourned  the Senate  Education Standing  Committee                                                               
meeting at 5:00 p.m.