Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 106

03/10/2010 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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               HB 297-POSTSECONDARY SCHOLARSHIPS                                                                            
CHAIR SEATON drew  attention to the document  from the Department                                                               
of  Education  and  Early  Development   (EED)  provided  in  the                                                               
committee packet  titled, "Responses  to Rep.  Seaton's Questions                                                               
on  GPS from  3/7/10, Submitted  by  EED on  3/9/10."   Regarding                                                               
question 1, he referred to page 9,  line 27, of the bill and read                                                               
paragraph (4):   "meets other minimum qualifications  to apply or                                                               
continue   to   be   eligible  for   a   governor's   performance                                                               
scholarship."  He asked the  department for a full explanation of                                                               
the term, "continue to be eligible."                                                                                            
8:38:30 AM                                                                                                                    
EDDY  JEANS, Director,  School  Finance  and Facilities  Section,                                                               
EED, said  the term  "or continue  to be  eligible," refers  to a                                                               
student  who  has  received  a  scholarship,  is  enrolled  in  a                                                               
postsecondary  program, and  is  required to  maintain a  minimum                                                               
grade  point   average  (GPA)  to  continue   eligibility.    The                                                               
department intends for the  Postsecondary Education Commission to                                                               
adopt regulations in alignment with  other financial aid programs                                                               
for continuing eligibility.                                                                                                     
CHAIR SEATON  stated his belief  that the paragraph  was unclear,                                                               
and suggested  that rewording,  and perhaps  additional language,                                                               
could provide clarity.                                                                                                          
MR. JEANS  advised that including  a minimum GPA in  the language                                                               
would  be  restrictive; currently,  when  a  student receives  an                                                               
award, the continuing eligibility requirements are explained.                                                                   
8:40:51 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  asked whether GPA  continuing eligibility                                                               
standards vary between institutions,  even though the award would                                                               
be a governor's performance scholarship (GPS).                                                                                  
MR. JEANS replied yes.                                                                                                          
8:41:50 AM                                                                                                                    
STEPHANIE  BUTLER,  Director, Operations/Outreach,  Postsecondary                                                               
Education  Commission, EED,  explained  how on-going  eligibility                                                               
for  any financial  aid program  includes  verification from  the                                                               
institution that  the student remains enrolled  with satisfactory                                                               
progress.   Satisfactory  progress is  a definition  which varies                                                               
based on  the program  and the  institution.   For example,  at a                                                               
vocational education school, satisfactory  progress may require a                                                               
student to complete a certain number  of hours each period, but a                                                               
collegiate institution may have different requirements.                                                                         
CHAIR SEATON  asked whether the  language for this aspect  of the                                                               
bill was sufficient.                                                                                                            
MS. BUTLER assured  the committee that "continue  to be eligible"                                                               
was the preferred language, as  it would encompass verifying that                                                               
the student is enrolled, has not  received other aid in excess of                                                               
the cost of attendance, "and  things beyond satisfactory academic                                                               
8:43:17 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON observed that the  committee needs to understand the                                                               
parameters for  this language.   He asked whether a  student with                                                               
an  "A" GPA,  who  receives  a GPS  scholarship,  is required  to                                                               
maintain  that  GPA,  at  a  postsecondary  level,  in  order  to                                                               
continue his/her award eligibility.                                                                                             
MS.  BUTLER replied  no.   She  explained  that the  verification                                                               
required is that the student  continues to meet the institution's                                                               
standards for enrollment in the program of choice.                                                                              
CHAIR SEATON maintained  his concern for clarity  of the language                                                               
"continue to be eligible" and said:                                                                                             
     [It] does not relate  back to the performance standards                                                                    
     that they qualified  under, whether they were  an A, B,                                                                    
     or the  C+ grade  point [average],  and those  have any                                                                    
     relationship   to   the   postsecondary....   This   is                                                                    
     maintaining eligibility  to continue in the  program in                                                                    
     which they're enrolled.                                                                                                    
MR. JEANS assured  the committee that the eligibility  GPA is not                                                               
tied  to the  level of  academic  scholarship that  a student  is                                                               
awarded,  but is  a continuation  eligibility criterion  once the                                                               
student is enrolled in the postsecondary institution.                                                                           
8:45:18 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON offered Amendment 2, which read:                                                                                   
     Page 9 line 26                                                                                                             
     After "include" add "two additional years if"                                                                              
     Line 26                                                                                                                    
     Delete "time while"                                                                                                        
8:46:08 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                    
8:46:16 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON explained that the  amendment addressed the question                                                               
regarding  military service,  and  the concern  that a  qualified                                                               
student might divert his or her award in perpetuity.                                                                            
8:47:22 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER requested an opinion from EED.                                                                            
MR. JEANS said the department had no objection to the amendment.                                                                
8:47:39 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   BUCH   inquired    whether   similar   deferment                                                               
opportunities arise elsewhere in the language of the bill.                                                                      
MR. JEANS replied no.                                                                                                           
CHAIR  SEATON  stipulated that  the  amendment  would be  offered                                                               
conceptually  so that  Legislative Legal  and Research  Services,                                                               
Legislative Affairs Agency, could  revise all applicable sections                                                               
to reflect the language appropriately.                                                                                          
8:48:30 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ removed her objection.                                                                                     
8:48:43 AM                                                                                                                    
There  being no  further  objection, Conceptual  Amendment 2  was                                                               
8:48:49 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON offered Conceptual Amendment 3, which read:                                                                        
     Page 5 line 16 thru Page 7 line 6                                                                                          
     Delete all of Sec 4                                                                                                        
8:49:17 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                    
8:49:21 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON  explained that this  amendment deleted Sec.  4 from                                                               
the  bill,  in  response  to  a  letter  from  the  Postsecondary                                                               
Education Commission  indicating that the administration  of this                                                               
program is  not its  responsibility.  He  asked for  comment from                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE   KELLER  offered   Amendment   1  to   Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 3, which read:                                                                                                        
     Page 5 line 16 thru Page 7 line 27 [6]                                                                                 
     Delete all of Sec 4                                                                                                        
[Although  not   formally  stated,  Amendment  1   to  Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 3 was treated as adopted.]                                                                                            
MR. JEANS, responding to the  chairman's request for a comment on                                                               
Conceptual Amendment 3, deferred to Ms. Butler.                                                                                 
8:50:53 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  BUTLER restated  the concern  that  this responsibility  and                                                               
authority  belongs in  the  statutes  governing the  commission's                                                               
activities, and  not the corporation's activities.   Furthermore,                                                               
because the  corporation would not have  financial responsibility                                                               
for  funding  the  program,  the  language  in  Sec.  4  was  not                                                               
8:51:18 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON  asked whether the statutory  reference contained in                                                               
Sec. 4 would need to be redirected to the commission.                                                                           
MS. BUTLER stated her belief  that the necessary reference to the                                                               
commission   statute   is   already  included   in   14.42.030(e)                                                               
8:51:43 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ withdrew her objection.                                                                                    
8:51:51 AM                                                                                                                    
There  being no  further  objection, Conceptual  Amendment 3,  as                                                               
amended, was adopted.                                                                                                           
8:52:07 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON offered Conceptual Amendment 4, which read:                                                                        
     Page 9 line 23                                                                                                             
         After "six years" add ",providing the student                                                                          
     maintains Alaska residency,"                                                                                               
8:52:22 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                    
8:52:28 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON explained  that this  amendment addressed  concerns                                                               
regarding residency in the state.                                                                                               
8:53:02 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. JEANS indicated  that this may preclude  a qualified student,                                                               
who gives up his/her residency  to pursue an undergraduate degree                                                               
out-of-state, and  then returns to Alaska,  from taking advantage                                                               
of a scholarship to obtain a graduate degree.                                                                                   
CHAIR SEATON surmised a student  could maintain his/her residency                                                               
when attending school  Outside.  He asked  whether the commission                                                               
held a position on student residency.                                                                                           
MS. BUTLER said no.                                                                                                             
8:54:26 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ removed her objection.                                                                                     
There  being no  further  objection, Conceptual  Amendment 4  was                                                               
8:54:50 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON offered Conceptual Amendment 5, modified to read:                                                                  
     Page 17 line 10                                                                                                            
     Delete ",or five-point scale for advanced placement                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                    
8:55:48 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. JEANS  said EED  supported Amendment  5.   The intent  of the                                                               
department is to adopt regulations  that require all districts to                                                               
use a conversion matrix to a four-point scale.                                                                                  
8:56:04 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  voiced  concern  that  passage  of  this                                                               
amendment may discourage students  from taking advanced placement                                                               
(AP) courses, which  are considered college level,  and require a                                                               
higher work  load.  If  students are  worried that their  GPA may                                                               
suffer, thus jeopardizing receipt of  a GPS, a student may decide                                                               
not to take an AP class.                                                                                                        
MR.  JEANS  explained that  the  department  does not  hold  that                                                               
concern, because  a school district  may continue to use  a five-                                                               
point credit  scale for students'  transcripts; however,  for the                                                               
purpose  of  calculating eligibility  under  the  GPS program,  a                                                               
uniform scale would be used.                                                                                                    
8:57:12 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON  requested further clarification on  how eligibility                                                               
would be handled by school districts and the department.                                                                        
MR.  JEANS  said  the  department   would  require  districts  to                                                               
determine  eligibility  levels  utilizing  a  four-point  grading                                                               
scale,  and   that  information  would  be   transmitted  to  the                                                               
8:58:24 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON  asked whether a  student's AP class, attended  in a                                                               
district using  a five-point  scale, could  be converted  for the                                                               
department's purposes.                                                                                                          
MR. JEANS  replied that an  "A," using a five-point  scale, would                                                               
be reported  [as an "A"]  on a  four-point scale for  purposes of                                                               
the GPS.   On the student's transcript, it would  be reflected as                                                               
a five-point award.                                                                                                             
8:59:11 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON  asked whether the  postsecondary commission  held a                                                               
position on the amendment.                                                                                                      
MS. BUTLER answered no.                                                                                                         
8:59:32 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ removed her objection.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  objected to  the amendment,  and restated                                                               
her reason.   She  then emphasized  that the  bill "is  not about                                                               
giving kids  money for  college ... it's  about trying  to engage                                                               
students in  making choices  for the highest  rigor, and  I think                                                               
that this  amendment reduces  that.... For  me, it's  about rigor                                                               
and it's about excellence in education."                                                                                        
9:00:40 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BUCH indicated his  support for the amendment, and                                                               
stated that  he did  not believe it  would prove  discouraging to                                                               
students, particularly for students  who aspire to attend college                                                               
outside of Alaska.                                                                                                              
9:01:48 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER asked  the  department for  an opinion  on                                                               
Representative Gardner's concern.                                                                                               
MR.  JEANS said  the  concern is  understood,  however, the  bill                                                               
requires a GPA of  at least 3.5 for a student  to qualify for the                                                               
highest  GPS tier.    Therefore,  a student  is  not required  to                                                               
attain all  "A"s, in order to  qualify for the highest  tier.  He                                                               
acknowledged  it is  possible  for  a student's  GPA  to fall  if                                                               
he/she chose to take all AP classes.                                                                                            
9:02:54 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  asked whether  successful completion  of an                                                               
AP course and exam allows a  student to be eligible for six units                                                               
at  a  qualifying  university.    If so,  this  is  an  effective                                                               
incentive for taking AP courses.                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEATON  agreed  that there  are  additional  benefits  for                                                               
taking AP courses, including possible college credit.                                                                           
9:04:16 AM                                                                                                                    
A  roll call  vote  was taken.    Representatives Munoz,  Keller,                                                               
Buch,  and  Seaton voted  in  favor  of Conceptual  Amendment  5.                                                               
Representative Gardner  voted against it.   Therefore, Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 5 was adopted by a vote of 4-1.                                                                                       
9:05:33 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON indicated that the  committee questions compiled and                                                               
posed  to the  commissioner's office,  along with  the responses,                                                               
would be forwarded with the bill for clarification.                                                                             
9:06:13 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER then  called attention  to page  9, lines                                                               
16-21, and  asked whether  this provision  allows a  student, who                                                               
has never  attended high school in  Alaska, to be eligible  for a                                                               
GPS award.  She surmised  this circumstance would apply primarily                                                               
to children of an active duty military family.                                                                                  
MR. JEANS clarified that the intent  of this language is to allow                                                               
eligibility for students who have  begun their high school career                                                               
in Alaska, and are on track for  a GPS award, and then the family                                                               
is redeployed out-of-state.  These  students would be allowed the                                                               
opportunity to complete the program.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  suggested an amendment to  stipulate that                                                               
a student  must complete at  least two  years of high  school, in                                                               
Alaska, in order to qualify.                                                                                                    
MR. JEANS  replied that  the department's  intent was  to address                                                               
the  issue  through   the  State  Board  of   Education  &  Early                                                               
Development  regulatory  process,  and  gave no  opinion  on  the                                                               
proposed amendment.                                                                                                             
9:07:55 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  offered Conceptual Amendment 6  to insert                                                               
language stipulating  that a  student would  be required  to hold                                                               
two years of high school credit  from Alaska at page 9, lines 16-                                                               
21, subparagraph (B).                                                                                                           
9:08:36 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON clarified Conceptual Amendment 6 which read:                                                                       
     Page 9, line 20                                                                                                            
     Following "who"                                                                                                            
        Insert "has completed at least two years of high                                                                        
     school in Alaska"                                                                                                          
9:08:55 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON objected  for the purpose of  discussion, and agreed                                                               
that the intent of the  language in the subparagraph was unclear.                                                               
A  student may  never attend  school  in Alaska,  yet retain  the                                                               
possibility of receiving an award.   He directed attention to the                                                               
document  in  the committee  packet  titled,  "Responses to  Rep.                                                               
Seaton's  GPS Questions  from 3/7/10,  Submitted by  EED 3/9/10,"                                                               
page  2,  and  paraphrased  the department's  reply,  which  read                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
     Page 9, line  18.  "for purposes  of this subparagraph,                                                                    
     allowable  circumstances  include   a  circumstance  in                                                                    
     which a high  school student who is  an Alaska resident                                                                  
     left the state  because of the military  service of the                                                                    
     student's custodial parent who is an Alaska resident."                                                                     
9:10:14 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER asked  whether  there  are legal  concerns                                                               
caused by the amendment.                                                                                                        
JEAN  MISCHEL, Attorney,  Legislative Legal  Counsel, Legislative                                                               
Legal and  Research Services, Legislative Affairs  Agency, stated                                                               
that because of  the structure of the  bill, eligibility criteria                                                               
exist in various sections.   The amendment would only address the                                                               
extension of time for the  scholarship usage, and the committee's                                                               
concern  is for  initial eligibility,  which is  provided for  on                                                               
page  9, lines  8-21.    In that  provision  there  is already  a                                                               
requirement of  Alaska residence in graduation  from high school,                                                               
in  this state.   Ms.  Mischel opined  amending the  extension of                                                               
time provision would  be inconsistent, and may  have the opposite                                                               
effect of what  the committee is attempting  to accomplish, which                                                               
is  to allow  an  extension  of time  after  only attending  high                                                               
school in Alaska.   All applicants would be required  to meet the                                                               
eligibility criteria whether they are military or not.                                                                          
CHAIR  SEATON warned  that  the language  appears  to provide  an                                                               
exception  for children  with resident  status,  due to  military                                                               
circumstances, who may be absent from the state for eight years.                                                                
MS.  MISCHEL  agreed that  the  interpretation  of the  exemption                                                               
could be read to allow eligibility  for a high school student not                                                               
attending high school in Alaska.                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  asked whether language adding  the qualification of                                                               
two  years of  high school  attendance in  Alaska may  lead to  a                                                               
legal challenge.                                                                                                                
MS. MISCHEL  said adding  a two year  requirement would  be safer                                                               
than leaving it open-ended, from an equal protection standpoint.                                                                
9:15:08 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER pondered  whether  it is  a  bad thing  to                                                               
entice  the   "cream  of  the   crop"  to  come  to   Alaska  for                                                               
postsecondary   education.     He   surmised  that   departmental                                                               
regulation would ensure that the  criteria for a student entering                                                               
the   state  would   be   determined  equal   to   that  of   the                                                               
qualifications of an in-state applicant.                                                                                        
MR.  JEANS  explained that  when  a  student transfers  into  the                                                               
state, districts  evaluate his/her  transcript, and  that process                                                               
would not be changed.  He  opined Amendment 6 requires a student,                                                               
who leaves the state, to have  completed two years of high school                                                               
in  Alaska, in  order  to qualify  for  the scholarship  program.                                                               
However,  a student  who is  new to  the state,  can transfer  in                                                               
their  senior year,  meet residency  and other  requirements, and                                                               
qualify  for a  GPS  award.   The  section  does  not prohibit  a                                                               
student from  moving into the  state and taking advantage  of the                                                               
scholarship program.                                                                                                            
9:17:19 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER stated that  the department will establish                                                               
regulations for  qualification, but the committee  must determine                                                               
the policy on which the regulations are based.                                                                                  
MR. JEANS concurred.                                                                                                            
9:17:48 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BUCH questioned  whether the amendment establishes                                                               
a policy of discrimination.                                                                                                     
CHAIR  SEATON  interjected that  the  committee  is providing  an                                                               
exemption policy for  military transfers, so they  may be allowed                                                               
to satisfy the high school  graduation requirement elsewhere than                                                               
in Alaska.   The exemption would  stipulate that at least  two of                                                               
their  high  school  years  must  be at  an  Alaskan  school,  in                                                               
addition to other qualifying criteria.                                                                                          
9:19:10 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON removed his objection to Conceptual Amendment 6.                                                                   
9:19:24 AM                                                                                                                    
There being no further objection, Amendment 6 was adopted.                                                                      
9:20:29 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER directed attention  to the document in the                                                               
committee  packet  titled,  "Responses   to  Rep.  Gardner's  GPS                                                               
Questions, from  3/9/10, Submitted  by EED  3/9/10, page  1, item                                                               
number three,  and paraphrased the question  which read [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     Page  10:   Eligibility  for academic  scholarship:   I                                                                    
     believe we  discussed the possibility of  a student who                                                                    
     graduates in May  while lacking one or more  of the GPS                                                                    
     required    classes   and    wants   to    [meet]   the                                                                    
     qualifications  by  taking  summer classes.    Is  this                                                                    
     possible under the language of Sec. 14.43.820?                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER recalled  that this  had been  previously                                                               
discussed  and  the  commissioner  said  it  would  be  possible.                                                               
However,  she pointed  out that  the student  would already  have                                                               
graduated, without meeting the requirements.                                                                                    
MR. JEANS opined  AS 14.43.830 allows for  an alternative pathway                                                               
and a "make-up procedure," when approved by the department.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER asked  whether that  holds true  "even if                                                               
the deficit was not caused  by circumstances beyond the student's                                                               
9:23:33 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON indicated his understanding  that courses would need                                                               
to be  completed prior  to graduation; if  not, the  timeframe to                                                               
apply for a  GPS would remain open-ended.  He  related the intent                                                               
of  the legislation  was  to encourage  students  "to make  their                                                               
educational plans."                                                                                                             
MR. JEANS  corrected his previous  statement, and  concluded that                                                               
if  a  student  had  the   opportunity,  and  did  not  meet  the                                                               
requirements, then he/she could not apply for a GPS.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER asked:                                                                                                   
     So,   somebody   who's   met   the   requirements   for                                                                    
     graduation,  but  not  met  the  requirements  for  the                                                                    
     scholarship, could simply not  apply to graduate, until                                                                    
     they met the scholarship requirements?                                                                                     
MR. JEANS  pointed out that  high school  graduation requirements                                                               
are different  than the requirements  to qualify for the  GPS; in                                                               
fact,  a student  can fail  the high  school qualifying  exam and                                                               
receive  a certificate  of attendance.   Thus,  a student  cannot                                                               
"opt-out" of graduation if the requirements have been met.                                                                      
CHAIR  SEATON  requested  the  commissioner's  comments  on  this                                                               
9:26:31 AM                                                                                                                    
LARRY   LEDOUX,   Commissioner,   EED,  explained   the   current                                                               
graduation  eligibility  and  requirements.   An  application  to                                                               
graduate is only  necessary for a student to  graduate early, and                                                               
is basically  an informal meeting  with a counselor  to ascertain                                                               
whether the student has sufficient  credits.  Commissioner LeDoux                                                               
reported how some  students meet requirements prior  to the final                                                               
semester  of their  senior  year, leave  to  attend college,  and                                                               
return to participate in graduation ceremonies with their class.                                                                
9:28:18 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON directed  attention to  page 12,  lines 16-19,  and                                                               
noted   language  which   read,  "require   very  high   academic                                                               
achievement," "require  high academic achievement,"  and "require                                                               
moderate academic  achievement."  He  pointed out that  the tiers                                                               
of the  scholarship awards are  identified elsewhere in  the bill                                                               
by   different   language,   and   asked   the   department   for                                                               
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX  said the department  would review  the cited                                                               
language to eliminate any confusion.                                                                                            
CHAIR SEATON  referred to  the document  in the  committee packet                                                               
titled,  "Responses  to  Rep.  Seaton's  Questions  on  GPS  from                                                               
3/7/10,  submitted  by  EED  on  3/9/10, page  4,  item  9.    He                                                               
paraphrased  EED's  response,  which read  [original  punctuation                                                               
      The comments "very high", "high" and "moderate" are                                                                       
      editorial references to the merit academic tiers for                                                                      
     initial GPS eligibility.                                                                                                   
CHAIR SEATON then directed attention  to page 10, lines 20-27, to                                                               
indicate where  the tier levels  are identified, and  requested a                                                               
legal  opinion  about  the  inclusion  of  both  citations.    He                                                               
suggested a new concept was  being introduced by the reference on                                                               
page 12.                                                                                                                        
9:31:44 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  MISCHEL said  the  tiers serve  two  purposes, which  causes                                                               
confusion.  There  was a need to provide a  means for distinction                                                               
for  the  awards because  page  12,  paragraph (1)  contains  set                                                               
percentages based  upon the  tiers, which  correlate not  only to                                                               
the  grades  but  also  to   the  test  scores.    Although  more                                                               
consistency  in  the language  would  be  helpful, page  12  does                                                               
require a  distinction in  the award  section that  correlates to                                                               
the minimum test  score and the minimum grade  criterion found on                                                               
pages 10-11.                                                                                                                    
9:32:58 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   BUCH   suggested  removing   "achievement"   and                                                               
inserting "recognition."   Changing  these terms might  clarify a                                                               
student's activity versus the department's observations.                                                                        
9:33:28 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON  directed attention to  page 10, line 20,  where the                                                               
three  tiers  are  established  as follows:  A  average  tier;  B                                                               
average tier; C  plus average tier.  He pointed  out that on page                                                               
12,  line  16, the  highest  tier  is  identified by  "very  high                                                               
academic  achievement,"  which  could  be presumed  to  be  an  A                                                               
average  tier.   However, without  the  same name  it is  neither                                                               
consistent, nor  clearly defined, in the  bill.  The A,  B, and C                                                               
average tiers  have been defined,  but not the  three achievement                                                               
MR. JEANS opined  that the language is appropriate.   He directed                                                               
attention to page  8, line [5], where the purpose  of the program                                                               
is   established,  and   read:     "[The  merit-based]   academic                                                               
scholarship consists  of three levels  of award[s]."   Turning to                                                               
page  10,  he said  the  eligibility  criteria for  the  academic                                                               
scholarship is described and includes  the GPA, standardized test                                                               
scores, and curriculum.   Three criteria must be met  in order to                                                               
be considered for a level of  award.  Following that, the section                                                               
on page 12 details each award.   Mr. Jeans advised that the bill:                                                               
(1) describes the tiers; (2)  describes how to qualify within the                                                               
tiers; (3) describes the award level for each tier.                                                                             
9:36:25 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON  agreed  that   the  progression  was  established;                                                               
however,  the  wording   of  the  levels  of   awards  should  be                                                               
consistent.   Legality  of the  language  is not  a question,  he                                                               
said, only clarity of language.                                                                                                 
MR. JEANS  cautioned using  A, B,  C [plus]  for award  levels as                                                               
those  represent the  GPA for  eligibility  criteria.   An A  GPA                                                               
might  rank  students   for  the  highest  tier,   but  if  their                                                               
assessment score is  low, it would alter  that ranking; moreover,                                                               
there are three eligibility criteria to be considered.                                                                          
CHAIR SEATON  maintained his concern,  and said that it  is being                                                               
called an A average tier.                                                                                                       
MS. MISCHEL offered to clarify the language.                                                                                    
9:38:06 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON  turned to  page 12, line  [28], and  read [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     A   part-time  student   who  receives   a  merit-based                                                                    
     academic  scholarship and  is  enrolled on  at least  a                                                                    
     half-time basis is eligible for  an award on a pro rata                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON  referred to  the document  in the  committee packet                                                               
titled,  "Responses  to  Rep.  Seaton's  Questions  on  GPS  from                                                               
3/7/10, Submitted  by EED on  3/9/10, page 4, number  10, bullets                                                               
4-5, and read [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                  
     Subject  to the  half-time  cap  noted below,  students                                                                    
     will be  awarded scholarship funds based  on their cost                                                                    
     of attendance for between 6 and 11 credits.                                                                                
     The  maximum  merit  award   a  half-time  student  can                                                                    
     qualify for  will be 50%  of the maximum  applicable to                                                                    
     their tier.                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEATON  surmised that pro rata  is not based on  the credit                                                               
hours  a  student  is  taking thus,  a  half-time  student  could                                                               
qualify for  one-half of a  tier.  The use  of the term  pro rata                                                               
may cause a  dispute, unless the intent is to  provide a pro rata                                                               
amount based on percentages.                                                                                                    
9:39:55 AM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX  offered to clarify the  language, because it                                                               
is not the  intent of the department to provide  payment based on                                                               
9:40:09 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON offered Conceptual Amendment 7, which read:                                                                        
     Page 12, line 29                                                                                                           
     Delete:  "on a pro rata basis"                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ objected for  the purpose of discussion, and                                                               
asked  whether this  applies  to a  student's  attendance at  the                                                               
secondary or postsecondary level.                                                                                               
CHAIR SEATON clarified that if  a student attends less than half-                                                               
time at a postsecondary institution,  he/she would not qualify to                                                               
receive an  award, and if  a student garners 6-11  credits he/she                                                               
qualifies for 50 percent of the tier award.                                                                                     
9:41:52 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ removed her objection.                                                                                     
9:41:59 AM                                                                                                                    
[Although  not  formally  stated,   Conceptual  Amendment  7  was                                                               
9:42:17 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON directed attention to  page 15, lines 3-4, and read,                                                               
"the  deficit  was  caused  by  rare  and  unusual  circumstances                                                               
outside the control of the  student."  He recalled that different                                                               
scenarios have been discussed  regarding this language, including                                                               
accommodations for special needs  students, and requested further                                                               
comments from the department.                                                                                                   
9:43:08 AM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER   LEDOUX   assured  the   committee   individualized                                                               
educational   programs   (IEPs)    requiring   specific   testing                                                               
accommodations would be honored  by testing organizations such as                                                               
American  College  Testing  (ACT) and  Scholastic  Aptitude  Test                                                               
(SAT).   However, the language  on page 15,  line 4, of  the bill                                                               
does not  refer to  special education  students or  students with                                                               
IEPs, but to students affected  by a rare or unusual circumstance                                                               
outside the control of the student,  such as a disaster, and thus                                                               
allows the  department discretion.   Further, he opined  that one                                                               
strength of the bill is that  the department is able to recognize                                                               
individual circumstances.                                                                                                       
9:44:04 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  requested   clarification  for  how  home                                                               
school students would fit into the process.                                                                                     
COMMISSIONER  LEDOUX said  that  home school  students are  fully                                                               
participatory in this  program and are expected to  meet the same                                                               
requirements as other students.   Parents are expected to present                                                               
an  evaluation  system  to  the department,  and  show  that  the                                                               
student's  work  history  proves  evidence of  achievement  in  a                                                               
rigorous curriculum.                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER asked whether  private school graduates are                                                               
evaluated for eligibility by a public school administrator.                                                                     
COMMISSIONER  LEDOUX  underscored  that private  school  students                                                               
would  also   be  fully   eligible,  and   must  meet   the  same                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER surmised  that  graduation  from a  public                                                               
school was not required.                                                                                                        
COMMISSIONER LEDOUX concurred.                                                                                                  
[HB 297 was held over.]                                                                                                         
9:46:48 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 9:46 a.m. to 9:48 a.m.                                                                       

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 367 Sponsor Statement.pdf HEDC 3/10/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/12/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/22/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/26/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 367
HB 367 Sectional Analysis.pdf HEDC 3/10/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/22/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 367
HB 367 powerpoint.pdf HEDC 3/10/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 367
HB 367 Letter.pdf HEDC 3/10/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 367
HB 367 Background.pdf HEDC 3/10/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 367
HB367-REV-TAX-03-09-10 Education Tax Credits.pdf HEDC 3/10/2010 8:00:00 AM
current program flow chart.docx HEDC 3/3/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/10/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/12/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/15/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 350
HB350 program flow chart.docx HEDC 3/10/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/12/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 350
CS HB 297 GPS Work-Draft.pdf HEDC 3/8/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/10/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 297
GPS Responses to Rep. Seaton 3.7.10.doc HEDC 3/10/2010 8:00:00 AM
GPS Responses to Rep. Gardner 3.9.10.doc HEDC 3/10/2010 8:00:00 AM
MeyerThomasSeaton 030910.pdf HEDC 3/10/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB350-EED-ESS-2-18-10.pdf HEDC 2/19/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/3/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/10/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/15/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 350
FY02-11LocalEffortAssessed&educationWithMills-2Pager_10-22-09.xlsx HEDC 2/19/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/3/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/10/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/12/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/15/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 350
HB 347 sponsor statement.pdf HEDC 3/3/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/10/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 347
HB 347 backup.pdf HEDC 3/3/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/10/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 347
HB 347 sectional.pdf HEDC 3/3/2010 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 3/10/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 347
Conceptual amendment to CS HB 367 Version R.docx HEDC 3/10/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 367
HB 367 Work-Draft version R.pdf HEDC 3/10/2010 8:00:00 AM
HB 367