Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 106

04/01/2016 08:00 AM House EDUCATION

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Failed to Move Out of Committee
Failed to Move Out of Committee
               HB 298-LAYOFF OF TENURED TEACHERS                                                                            
8:05:47 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 298,  "An Act relating  to school  districts; and                                                               
relating  to layoff  plans for  tenured teachers."   [Before  the                                                               
committee, adopted as  a work draft on 3/28/16,  was the proposed                                                               
committee  substitute  (CS)  for  HB  298,  Version  29-LS1372\W,                                                               
Glover, 3/24/16.]                                                                                                               
8:05:56 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO moved  to adopt  the proposed  committee                                                               
substitute (CS),  Version 29-LS1372\H, Wayne/Glover,  3/31/16, as                                                               
the working  document.   Without objection  Version H  was before                                                               
the committee.                                                                                                                  
8:07:18 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE CATHY TILTON, Alaska  State Legislature, said that                                                               
the intent of HB 298 is  not to jeopardize Alaska's strong tenure                                                               
rights  for teachers.    The provisions  and  rights for  teacher                                                               
tenure are contained in entirely  different statutes than the one                                                               
to which  the proposed  committee substitute  (CS) applies.   She                                                               
cited  and  synopsized:   AS  14.20.150  regards acquisition  and                                                               
reacquisition of  tenure rights;  AS 14.20.155  is the  effect of                                                               
tenure  rites;  AS  14.20.158  contains  the  continued  contract                                                               
provisions; and AS 14.20.160 addresses  the loss of tenure right.                                                               
She emphasized:                                                                                                                 
     This is important to this bill because ... this is the                                                                     
      statute that stipulates a teacher layoff status, as                                                                       
     covered in HB 298, does not lose their tenure rights.                                                                      
8:09:24 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   TILTON  continued   to   describe  the   related                                                               
statutes:  AS  14.20.165 is the restoration of  tenure rights; AS                                                               
14.20.170   discusses  reasons   for   dismissal;  AS   14.20.175                                                               
addresses non-retention; and AS  14.20.177 provides for reduction                                                               
in force,  which is the  statute proposed for amendment  under HB
8:10:22 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TILTON said  the CS  addresses the  concerns that                                                               
were  expressed  through  testimony,  and  the  possibility  that                                                               
districts might  apply the layoff provision  in an indiscriminant                                                               
fashion.  She  paraphrased from a prepared  statement, which read                                                               
as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                     
     The  29th Legislature  is considering  a wide  range of                                                                    
     measures  intended  to   give  our  municipalities  and                                                                    
     school districts greater  flexibility to address budget                                                                    
     shortfall (local control), this is one such measure.                                                                       
     When   I   sponsored   this  bill,   I   reflected   on                                                                    
     circumstances in businesses  that I am involved  in.  I                                                                    
     have  had  to  make   the  difficult  decision  to  let                                                                    
     employees  go,  often  valuable ones  that  I  consider                                                                    
     friends,  because  either   the  business  didn't  have                                                                    
     sufficient revenue or they  lacked the skills necessary                                                                    
     to  move into  a consolidated  position.   This is  the                                                                    
     very  same  situation  Alaska's  school  districts  are                                                                    
     I listened  carefully to the testimony  of our teachers                                                                    
     last week  and came up  with a compromise.   By putting                                                                    
     sideboards  on  HB298  to   ensure  and  give  teachers                                                                    
     comfort that school districts could  NOT use the layoff                                                                    
     statute in an indiscriminate fashion.                                                                                      
     I believe  the amendment before the  committee achieves                                                                    
     that balance.                                                                                                              
     I very  much value Alaska's  teachers, but I  value our                                                                    
     kids  more.   It  is  essential  that we  allow  school                                                                    
     districts to  make those surgical  management decisions                                                                    
     to  ensure  that  the  teachers  with  the  appropriate                                                                    
     credentials are the ones  instructing our most precious                                                                    
     commodity -  your children -  your grandchildren  - our                                                                    
8:11:46 AM                                                                                                                    
HEATH HILLYARD, Staff, Representative  Cathy Tilton, Alaska State                                                               
Legislature, directed attention  to the CS and  said the original                                                               
approach was to eliminate the  two existing triggers; one dealing                                                               
with school  attendance and the  other with  basic need.   The CS                                                               
retains  both  of  those   provisions,  previously  proposed  for                                                               
deletion,  and  inserts  a third  trigger  that  encompasses  the                                                               
concerns expressed  during testimony and adheres  more closely to                                                               
the sponsor's intent.  He  directed attention to the proposed CS,                                                               
page 1, lines 9-13, which read as follows:                                                                                      
     (3) the school district employs                                                                                        
          (A) more tenured teachers who are qualified and                                                                   
     available  to teach  in a  specific program  or subject                                                                
     area than the district needs; and                                                                                      
          (B) an insufficient number of certificated                                                                        
     teachers  qualified  to  teach in  another  program  or                                                                
     subject area.                                                                                                          
MR.  HILLYARD said  this trigger  is numerically  driven, doesn't                                                               
necessarily result in a net  loss of teachers, and, under certain                                                               
circumstances, allows a teacher to transfer between positions.                                                                  
8:13:33 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND asked how the  layoff status of a tenured                                                               
teacher effects the portability of their tenure.                                                                                
MR.  HILLYARD said  any teacher  in layoff  status does  not lose                                                               
their tenure rights.  He  cited statute proposed for amending, AS                                                               
14.20.177(c), which reads as follows:                                                                                           
     Sec. 14.20.177.  Reductions in force.                                                                                      
          (c) Except as provided in this subsection, a                                                                          
     school district  may place a tenured  teacher on layoff                                                                    
     status  only after  the district  has  given notice  of                                                                    
     nonretention  to all  nontenured  teachers. However,  a                                                                    
     school  district may  retain a  nontenured teacher  and                                                                    
     place on  layoff status a  tenured teacher if  there is                                                                    
     no tenured teacher in the  district who is qualified to                                                                    
     replace the nontenured teacher.                                                                                            
8:14:41 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  HILLYARD  stressed that  the  effort  is to  protect  tenure                                                               
rights while allowing flexibility to the districts.                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  asked whether  the length of  the layoff                                                               
status effects tenure.                                                                                                          
MR. HILLYARD responded, "No."                                                                                                   
8:15:20 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON stated  his understanding  that this  bill                                                               
will  allow districts  to replace  teachers, whether  there is  a                                                               
reduction  in  staff or  not.    Further,  the bill  modifies  AS                                                               
14.20.177(a), and  he referred  to the CS,  page 1,  lines [3]-5,                                                               
which read as follows:                                                                                                          
     * Section 1. AS 14.20.177(a) is amended to read:                                                                         
       (a) A school district may implement a layoff plan                                                                        
     under this section if it is necessary for the district                                                                     
     to reduce the number of tenured teachers because                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  asked  for  an explanation  of  how  this                                                               
allows  districts  to  replace  teachers, as  well  as  to  place                                                               
qualified  teachers  appropriately, whether  or  not  there is  a                                                               
reduction in staff.   He pointed out that the  law being modified                                                               
is specific  to a layoff plan  that only applies to  reduction of                                                               
MR. HILLYARD deferred.                                                                                                          
8:17:52 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ moved  to report the proposed  (CS) for HB
298,  Version  29-LS1372\H,  out  of  committee  with  individual                                                               
recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                              
8:18:09 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE COLVER  objected, and stated  that the CS  may not                                                               
align with the statute as  expected.  Additionally, he maintained                                                               
that the CS requires further vetting.                                                                                           
8:18:59 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER said the bill is not about reduction of force.                                                                     
8:19:13 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ  said the  intent of  the proposed  CS was                                                               
clearly explained:   a trigger mechanism exists,  the triggers no                                                               
longer appear  to be effective  under certain  circumstances, and                                                               
this bill alleviates that situation.                                                                                            
8:20:39 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  COLVER maintained  his objection,  and said  this                                                               
bill does  not provided for  a collaborative process.   He agreed                                                               
that  problems  exist,  however, districts  are  responsible  for                                                               
maintaining  an  effective  teaching  staff,  as  well  as  other                                                               
operations.   Some  of  the facilities  that  have recently  been                                                               
built, require additional maintenance  funds, he pointed out, and                                                               
that  has placed  a further  financial burden  on districts.   He                                                               
described  situations that  currently  exist,  to illustrate  his                                                               
point.   The solution  will require  a collaborative  process, he                                                               
stressed, not the top-down approach being proposed.                                                                             
8:24:14 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KELLER opined that the  bill does provide local control and                                                               
is not restrictive, which is an argument in favor of the bill.                                                                  
8:24:29 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE COLVER maintained his objection.                                                                                 
A roll call  vote was taken.   Representatives Talerico, Vazquez,                                                               
and  Keller  voted  in  favor   of  CSHB  298.    Representatives                                                               
Drummond,  Spohnholz   Seaton,  and  Colver  voted   against  it.                                                               
Therefore, CSHB 298 failed by a vote of 3-4.                                                                                    
8:25:16 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took a brief at-ease at 8:25 a.m.                                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB298 ver CS H.pdf HEDC 4/1/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 298
CSHB298 ver W.pdf HEDC 3/28/2016 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 4/1/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 298
HB298 Fiscal Note.pdf HEDC 3/23/2016 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 4/1/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 298
HB357 CS ver H.pdf HEDC 4/1/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 357
HB357 ver. A.PDF HEDC 3/28/2016 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 4/1/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 357
HB357 Sponsors Statement.pdf HEDC 3/28/2016 8:00:00 AM
HEDC 4/1/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 357
HB357 Fiscal Note.pdf HEDC 4/1/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 357
HB357 Legal Opinion Seaton.pdf HEDC 4/1/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 357
HB357 Opposition UAA.pdf HEDC 4/1/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 357