Legislature(2017 - 2018)CAPITOL 106

02/12/2018 08:00 AM House EDUCATION

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08:01:23 AM Start
08:01:59 AM Informational Hearing: the Need to Increase the Bsa: Consequences in Funding is Not Adjusted|| Hb339|| Hb214
09:47:27 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Informational Hearing: The Need to Increase the TELECONFERENCED
BSA: Consequences if Funding is not Adjusted
-- Testimony <Invited/Public> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
      Informational Hearing: The Need to Increase the BSA:                                                                  
             Consequences if Funding is not adjusted                                                                        
[Contains discussion of HB 339 and HB 214.]                                                                                     
8:01:59 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DRUMMOND  announced that  the only  order of business  would                                                              
be  an  informational  hearing:  The Need  to  Increase  the  BSA;                                                              
Consequences if Funding is not Adjusted.                                                                                        
8:02:50 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LES GARA, Alaska  State Legislature,  prefaced his                                                              
slide  presentation by  stating that  funding does  not mean  even                                                              
funding or  that teachers  will not be  cut.  Representative  Gara                                                              
turned  to slide 1,  entitled "Education  Matters:   It's time  to                                                              
increase  the BSA."   He turned  to slide  2, entitled "Costs  are                                                              
up, Funding  is down," and  indicated that costs,  including rent,                                                              
health care,  and energy,  have risen in  school districts  at the                                                              
same time nominal and inflation-adjusted dollars have declined.                                                                 
8:03:44 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  reported that  since 2015, school  funding is                                                              
down  by approximately  $25  million  in actual  dollars,  without                                                              
accounting for  inflation, of  which $18 million  is due  to state                                                              
funding  decreases,  and  the  remaining  $7  million  is  due  to                                                              
changes in  local contributions  [slide 3,  K-12 Formula  Funding,                                                              
FY 15-19  (Nominal dollars)];  and slide  4, [Public Schools  Have                                                              
Lost Nearly $25 million Since 2015].                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  turned to slide  5, entitled "Why  Has School                                                              
Funding Declined Since  FY 2015?" which read as  follows [original                                                              
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     ? $43 million added in FY 15 has been deleted from the                                                                     
     ? This  was only partially  offset by $50 BSA  increases                                                                   
     in FY 16 and FY 17, each of  which added $12.6 million.                                                                    
     ?  Overall,  funding  through  the  BSA  has  fallen  by                                                                   
     roughly  $17 million.  When you  add in  changes due  to                                                                   
     student  counts &  local contributions,  the loss  since                                                                   
     FY 15 is about $25 million.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA  explained  that  many  people  think  school                                                              
funding  has  been  flat;  however,   in  2015,  $43  million  was                                                              
budgeted  through the  foundation formula;  however, the  district                                                              
lost those  funds in 2016.  That  money was replaced by  two small                                                              
based student  allocation increases  of $50 per  year in  2016 and                                                              
2017.  He  reiterated that school  funding is down due  to the $43                                                              
million  loss of  BSA funding  in 2016,  with a  $25 million  gain                                                              
over  two  years  in  small  based  student  allocations,  for  an                                                              
overall loss  of $18 million.   In addition, more  losses occurred                                                              
with local contribution formula changes and class count changes.                                                                
8:04:53 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA turned  to  slide 6,  entitled  "The Loss  is                                                              
Greater When  You Consider  Inflation: $90 Million"  and to  a bar                                                              
chart  on slide  7,  entitled "K-12  Formula  Funding, FY  15-19."                                                              
With  health care,  energy,  and rent  costs  all increasing,  the                                                              
Anchorage  School District  (ASD)  has  had a  total  loss of  $90                                                              
million since  2015, he said.   He stressed that  education should                                                              
not   be  about   money  but   should  be   about  education   and                                                              
8:05:10 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA  turned  to  slides  that  describe  what  is                                                              
happening  in   Anchorage  and  the  Matanuska-Susitna   (Mat-Su):                                                              
slide 8,  entitled "A Tale  of Two Districts,"  and then  slide 9,                                                              
"Cuts  Have  Hit  Classrooms," which  read  as  follows  [original                                                              
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     ? 247 FTE positions have been cut (a 9.3% reduction)                                                                       
     ? 216 of these were teachers                                                                                               
     ? The remaining were mostly teacher assistants                                                                             
      ? Classroom sizes have increased and will continue to                                                                     
     do so.                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA identified  these  as issues  that stem  from                                                              
the effects  of flat  funding.   He turned  to slide 10,  entitled                                                              
"At the Same  time in Anchorage," which read as  follows [original                                                              
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     ? Special education enrollment is up 3.2%                                                                                  
     ? Intensive needs enrollment is up 8.6%                                                                                    
     ? Preschool enrollment is up 34%                                                                                           
        ? And many fixed costs, such as health care, have                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  turned to slide  11, entitled  "One Teacher's                                                              
Story," which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                  
       ? Recently met a middle school science teacher from                                                                      
        ? Her classroom size has increased from 28 to 32                                                                        
     ? She says it has finally crossed the line                                                                                 
     ? Can't fairly teach individual students who need help                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  acknowledged that many teachers  have reached                                                              
the tipping point with increased classroom sizes.                                                                               
8:06:29 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA turned  to slide 12,  entitled "Mat-Su  Faces                                                              
Similar  Cuts,"  which  read  as   follows  [original  punctuation                                                              
     ? Cut  $8.4 million in FY  18, resulting in the  loss of                                                                   
     87 FTE positions                                                                                                           
     ? Expects to face an $8 million deficit in FY 19                                                                           
     ?  The district  has cut  247  FTE teachers,  classrooms                                                                   
     aides and classroom assistants since 2013, a 9.3% cut                                                                      
     ? Also cut roughly 8 special education instructors                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA  identified  these  cuts as  real  ones  that                                                              
adversely  affect  achievement,   if  one  believes  teachers  are                                                              
necessary to and student achievement and education.                                                                             
8:06:54 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA turned  to  slide 13,  entitled  "We need  to                                                              
hear  from  School Districts  around  the  State," which  read  as                                                              
follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                        
     ? What are your challenges?                                                                                                
     ?  What  have the  impacts  been  of flat  or  declining                                                                   
     funding in your community?                                                                                                 
     ? Is it affecting student outcomes?                                                                                        
     ? How is it affecting staffing and curriculum?                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA  turned to  slide  14,  entitled "A  Bill  to                                                              
Increase  the BSA," which  read as  follows [original  punctuation                                                              
     Later in  the week, the committee  will hear a  bill (HB
     339) Chair Drummond,  I and others introduced  last week                                                                   
     to raise the BSA by $100.                                                                                                  
     We  look forward  to your  testimony  today and  written                                                                   
     testimony once the bill is before the Committee.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA,  in closing,  turned  to [slide  15],  which                                                              
read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                
     Thank you for  coming to Juneau, for speaking  on behalf                                                                   
     of Alaska's  parents and  students, and  for all you  do                                                                   
     to educate and support Alaska's children.                                                                                  
8:07:36 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSTON could not  recall whether  Representative                                                              
Gara  was present  when  the ASD  gave its  legislative  briefing.                                                              
She asked whether  proposed HB 339 would change how  the BSA [base                                                              
student  allocation]   is  calculated.    She  recalled   the  ASD                                                              
highlighted that how  facilities were calculated [in  the BSA] has                                                              
had  a huge  impact on  the  ASD; thus,  it  is one  of the  ASD's                                                              
legislative priorities.   She further asked whether  that would be                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA, in  terms of  the  individual components  of                                                              
the BSA  and how  funding is divided  between districts,  answered                                                              
that  typically  what  benefits one  district  will  hurt  another                                                              
district.   He thought he  was out of  state when the  ASD briefed                                                              
the  Anchorage  legislators.    He  said  he  was  unsure  if  the                                                              
proposed   funding  would   have  an  equitable   impact   on  all                                                              
8:08:41 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSTON  asked  school districts  if  they  would                                                              
please speak  to that point as  they give their  testimony, noting                                                              
that the ASD  previously raised the issue of  pupil transportation                                                              
CHAIR  DRUMMOND   clarified  that   Representative  Johnston   was                                                              
referring  to the  school  size factor,  which  the  ASD can  also                                                              
speak to during its testimony.                                                                                                  
8:09:24 AM                                                                                                                    
KALI SPENCER, Student,  Eagle River High School  (ERHS), Anchorage                                                              
School District  (ASD), stated  she attends the  ASD at  the Eagle                                                              
River High  School.  She said  she wished to specifically  address                                                              
raising  the BSA  to  retain quality  educators  in her  district.                                                              
She provided her  personal history, emphasizing that  education is                                                              
her life.  She  moved to Alaska when she was in  the second grade.                                                              
At that  time her  mom was a  single mom  with three children  who                                                              
decided  to  pursue  her  dream of  becoming  a  teacher.    After                                                              
graduation she  was hired  at Eagle River  High School,  which her                                                              
mom described  as great.  However,  at the end of the  first year,                                                              
her mom  received a "pink  slip" notifying  her that she  would be                                                              
fired.   She  said  her mom  did  not  know what  to  do and  even                                                              
considered  moving several times.   She  emphasized the  point she                                                              
wished to  make is the  need to encourage  educators or  else they                                                              
may  decide  to leave  the  state.    She identified  her  mom  as                                                              
Valerie  Ballard, who  was one  of  ten teachers  in Alaska  since                                                              
1987 to  be awarded  the national  Milken Educator  Award,  with a                                                              
prize  of $25,000.   She  expressed  her concern  if the  district                                                              
does not retain  quality educators it will lose  powerful teachers                                                              
like  her mom.   She said  she thinks  that raising  the BSA  will                                                              
directly  correlate to a  stronger staffing  and encourage  people                                                              
to come to Alaska for the quality education being provided.                                                                     
8:11:43 AM                                                                                                                    
DIEULEVEUT  BIRINGANINE,  Student  Body  President,  Service  High                                                              
School  (SHS), Anchorage  School District  (ASD), as  a senior  at                                                              
Service High  School, asked  to testify on  the impact  of raising                                                              
the  BSA.   She identified  herself  as a  refugee and  immigrant,                                                              
with English as  her second language.  In 2008, she  did not speak                                                              
English when  she attended third  grade, but she  received support                                                              
from  an ESL  [English as  a second  language] teacher.   At  that                                                              
time classes  were smaller, but now  classes typically have  32 to                                                              
45 students.   Last  year, her Spanish  class size  was 40  so her                                                              
teacher had  to teach  three different levels  of Spanish  to meet                                                              
student needs.   She  indicated that having  her teacher  teach to                                                              
three levels made learning Spanish more difficult.                                                                              
MS.  BIRINGANINE,  speaking  to   class  sizes,  reported  typical                                                              
freshman  English classes  at Service High  School classrooms  had                                                              
32 students.  In  classes that large students do  not receive one-                                                              
on-one time  with teachers  or enough support.   She  has observed                                                              
that some  class sizes  continue  to rise so  some teachers  spend                                                              
their lunch  hours helping students.   As a representative  of the                                                              
student body, she  finds it hurtful that students  are not getting                                                              
the  help they  need  to succeed.   She  asked  members to  please                                                              
raise  the BSA as  it will  be a  good investment.   Although  she                                                              
will be  in college  next year, she  emphasized the importance  to                                                              
provide adequate  funding for  students.   She offered  her belief                                                              
adequate funding will be life changing for them.                                                                                
MS.  BIRINGANINE advised  that her  student  government class,  an                                                              
extracurricular   class,  has   50  students.     She  said   that                                                              
extracurricular  activities  are very  important  to students  and                                                              
create  opportunities for  students.   In  fact,  it provided  the                                                              
opportunity for  her to speak  to the committee  today.   She also                                                              
predicted  that sports  will be  eliminated  as funding  decreases                                                              
because  the money  must come  from  somewhere.   She offered  her                                                              
belief that  the ASD has done  everything it can to  avoid cutting                                                              
teachers because 88  percent of our funding goes  to our teachers.                                                              
It has  become necessary  to tap into  the transportation  fund to                                                              
make sure teachers  are not cut.  She cautioned  against continual                                                              
budget cutting  since the district  will keep losing  its teachers                                                              
and class  sizes will grow.   She hoped  she gave members  a sense                                                              
of what is happening in the schools and the districts.                                                                          
8:15:04 AM                                                                                                                    
DANIEL  JEOUN,  Student,  South   Anchorage  High  School  (SAHS),                                                              
Anchorage School  District (ASD), stated  he is a junior  at South                                                              
Anchorage High  School.  He  offered his  support for HB  339 [not                                                              
on  the calendar]  because  raising  the BSA  by  $100 will  offer                                                              
students more opportunities  and help students discover  what they                                                              
are  passionate about  and provide  them the  resources to  strive                                                              
for their  future.   He informed members  that his sophomore  year                                                              
was  a demoralizing  year.    He  described that  the  overcrowded                                                              
classrooms  had adversely  affected him,  and he  had a hard  time                                                              
retaining information.   He found  it difficult to have  a one-on-                                                              
one  conversation  with  his  teachers.    He  went  from  perfect                                                              
attendance to  often skipping classes,  which he now regrets.   He                                                              
felt his  school experiences  attributed to  his declining  mental                                                              
health,   including  a  lack   of  connection   with  the   school                                                              
counselor.   The  ASD has  a ratio  of 1  to 30  students for  its                                                              
counselors.      The   American   School   Counselor   Association                                                              
recommends the  counselor ratio should be  1 to 25.  He  said that                                                              
teacher and  counselor to student  ratios also adversely  affected                                                              
him and  that his  mental health  suffered during  this time.   He                                                              
considered  harming himself.    He sought  help,  but felt  rushed                                                              
during his  counselor appointments,  since  so many students  also                                                              
needed the counselor's  help.  This added to his  stress, he said.                                                              
Luckily, he advised  that he was able to reach out  to an educator                                                              
in his school  who helped him  through this difficult period.   He                                                              
expressed concern  that as the  budget deficit has  increased, the                                                              
ASD  has  had  to  make  reductions,   including  eliminating  5.5                                                              
positions for  school counselors  this year.   He offered  support                                                              
for HB 339  [not on the calendar]  which will increase  the BSA by                                                              
$100.   Without  the  $100  increase to  the  BSA,  he feared  his                                                              
school   district   will   lose  these   amazing   educators   and                                                              
counselors.  He said  he paid his own way to testify  today to see                                                              
if he could  make a difference.   He did so because  his educators                                                              
helped save  his life.   Without them, he  did not think  he would                                                              
be here today.   He thanked  members for listening and  hoped what                                                              
he had to say will make a difference.                                                                                           
8:19:40 AM                                                                                                                    
BEN  POST,  Student, Stellar  Secondary  School  (SSS),  Anchorage                                                              
School  District  (ASD),  stated  he is  a  sophomore  at  Stellar                                                              
Secondary School.   He offered his  support for the bill  [HB 339,                                                              
not on  the calendar]  to increase the  BSA because growing  class                                                              
sizes  are a  big issue  in the  ASD.   He  said that  one of  his                                                              
brother's  science  class  at  Romig Middle  School  had  over  30                                                              
students.  He  described the difficult experience  his brother had                                                              
in asking questions  in such a large group.  In  fact, his brother                                                              
did not earn  good marks or  learn much about biology,  he stated.                                                              
In  another  instance  of overcrowding  classrooms,  he  said  his                                                              
friend at  West High School  had an English  class with  more than                                                              
30 kids.   His  friend said it  was difficult  for his  teacher to                                                              
edit and grade  the volume of papers  for such a large  class.  He                                                              
acknowledged  that   education  has  associated  costs,   but  the                                                              
rewards and  opportunities for students  are endless.   He thanked                                                              
the  committee  members for  taking  the  time  to listen  to  his                                                              
8:20:43 AM                                                                                                                    
STARR  MARSETT,  Vice-President,  Anchorage  School  Board  (ASB),                                                              
Anchorage School  District (ASD), offered  her support for  HB 339                                                              
[not on the calendar]  which would increase the BSA.   She further                                                              
offered her  testimony on behalf  of students, teachers,  parents,                                                              
and staff  who could not  be here today.   She said  the committee                                                              
has heard from some  very bright students on how  this funding has                                                              
impacted  their  lives.    She  asked  members  to  also  consider                                                              
students who  are struggling and  not receiving support  they need                                                              
because the state  is cutting this support.  She  said she has met                                                              
with  many  teachers regularly  after  school  and has  heard  how                                                              
their morale  is being  impacted by  asking them  to take  on more                                                              
duties  while  class   sizes  continue  to  increase.     Further,                                                              
teachers talk about  how daily trauma has seeped  into classrooms.                                                              
This trauma  has adversely affected  student behavior  and classes                                                              
at  the  same  time  the  district   is  cutting  counselors,  and                                                              
classroom  support   that  help  them  effectively   manage  their                                                              
classrooms.   Additionally, the district  has cut  custodial staff                                                              
and has  increased middle  school  to eight periods.   This  means                                                              
teachers lose  planning time, which  is necessary for  teachers to                                                              
assist students who need extra help.                                                                                            
MS.  MARSETT  emphasized these  are  all  important things.    She                                                              
referred to  handouts in  members' packets  that show the  impacts                                                              
of funding cuts  since 2013 [Handout K-12 Formula  Funding, FY 15-                                                              
19], and an  outlook for the next  six years.  She  cautioned that                                                              
if the ASD  continues along this  path, in 2019 the  district will                                                              
eliminate  484  fulltime  equivalent   positions  (FTE)  and  will                                                              
eliminate 591  positions by 2020.   She said, "We  can't continue.                                                              
I mean, I think  this year is our breaking point,  to tell you the                                                              
truth.  We are  taking our teacher experts, the  supports that our                                                              
teachers need  in the schools from  the district and they  are now                                                              
going  into the  classrooms  so that  we  have  teachers in  those                                                              
classrooms  so we're  moving personnel  so that  we don't have  to                                                              
hopefully  impact all  of our classes."   The  overall effect  has                                                              
been to eliminate  classroom support that teachers  need; instead,                                                              
teachers  will  be  directed  to  online  support  to  search  for                                                              
answers  to their  questions.   She predicted  that teachers  will                                                              
need  to  cut  into  their  instruction  time  to  get  technology                                                              
questions  answered due  to  support staff  cuts.   Further,  when                                                              
teachers need  to ask the  district questions they  cannot receive                                                              
timely  answers due  to cuts  to  district personnel.   These  are                                                              
just a  few of  the impacts to  students and  teachers.   She said                                                              
that if the ASD  did not ask for funding increases,  the community                                                              
will be "up in  arms" because they know that increased  funding is                                                              
needed for students.                                                                                                            
8:24:13 AM                                                                                                                    
TAM   AGOSTI-GISLER,  Member,   Anchorage   School  Board   (ASB),                                                              
Anchorage School  District (ASD),  expressed her frustration  when                                                              
she  has   heard  people  say   to  "cut   the  fat"  or   to  cut                                                              
administrative costs.   She reported her experiences  spanning the                                                              
five ASD budgets  she has worked on from fiscal year  2013 (FY 13)                                                              
to FY 19, such  that the district has cut administration  costs by                                                              
28.5  percent.    Besides  the  costs   for  seven  board  members                                                              
statutorily   required  that   cannot  be   cut,  the   district's                                                              
leadership  has been  cut 36 percent.   She  challenged anyone  to                                                              
"find the fat."   Still, the administration has  made decisions to                                                              
send  administrative   staff  back   to  the  classrooms   as  the                                                              
district's   strategy  to   least   impact   instruction  in   the                                                              
classroom.   She related a  scenario that highlighted  the adverse                                                              
impacts  for  those  decisions.    When  the  ASD  instituted  new                                                              
curriculum  to  improve  K-2  literacy  for  students  to  achieve                                                              
proficiency in  reading by the third  grade, the curriculum  had a                                                              
poor roll  out due to  staff shortages for  teacher training.   In                                                              
fact, hundreds  of teachers  provided feedback  on how  poorly the                                                              
program was  implemented.  Thus,  the district has had  to regroup                                                              
to  figure  out how  to  work  with current  staff  to  accomplish                                                              
literacy improvements.                                                                                                          
MS.  AGOSTI-GISLER expressed  her  concern  over suggestions  that                                                              
school districts  might be penalized if schools  were consolidated                                                              
to  achieve  efficiency.    She   referred  to  a  potential  hold                                                              
harmless clause  in the funding formula  for size if  schools were                                                              
consolidated  and asked  the legislature  for help  to ensure  the                                                              
district  would  not  be  penalized  and  lose  funding  in  those                                                              
instances.   In  addition,  she has  heard  some consideration  of                                                              
shortening  the school year  to achieve  savings, which  she found                                                              
abhorrent.   The district  does not  have a  lot of options  left,                                                              
she  lamented.    Currently,  the district  has  been  using  some                                                              
operating  funds  for  student transportation  as  the  budget  is                                                              
drastically cut.   She closed her testimony by  expressing concern                                                              
over the  quality of  education the  district  can provide  in the                                                              
long run.   She asked members  to consider the dramatic  needs for                                                              
districts across the state.                                                                                                     
8:27:45 AM                                                                                                                    
JEAN-LUC  LEWIS, Student,  Wrangell  High School  (WHS),  Wrangell                                                              
Public  School District  (WPSD),  stated that  he is  a junior  at                                                              
Wrangell  High  School   in  Southeast  Alaska.     He  said  that                                                              
education  is the  highest  priority and  cannot  afford any  more                                                              
cuts.  Even  though Alaska is  having a financial crisis  he still                                                              
asked  the legislature  to find  a solution  to increase  revenue.                                                              
He suggested a state  income tax, a sales tax, or  a potential cut                                                              
to  the  permanent  fund  dividend  (PFD).   Since  costs  to  run                                                              
schools increase  each year,  flat funding  the school  district's                                                              
budget is equivalent  to a cut.  At the bare  minimum he requested                                                              
the legislature increase  the BSA to compensate  for inflation and                                                              
cost-of-living expenses.   Further,  in Southeast Alaska  the cost                                                              
of  health  insurance  coverage   is  increasing  every  year  and                                                              
districts  are struggling  to  provide  these benefits  for  their                                                              
employees.   In addition,  the cut  to the  Alaska Marine  Highway                                                              
System (AMHS)  has raised the cost  of student travel  outside the                                                              
district.  Not  only are less students getting  the opportunity to                                                              
travel but  students miss more  school and districts  are burdened                                                              
with airline  travel costs.   In addition, the bus  transportation                                                              
company  in his  district has  closed.   During his  time in  high                                                              
school,  retired  teachers  have   not  been  replaced  which  has                                                              
affected course  offerings.   For example,  his school  offers two                                                              
years of  Spanish and  many students  would like  to take  a third                                                              
year of  language since competitive  colleges require  three years                                                              
of foreign language.   He offered his belief that  any budget cuts                                                              
will  limit student  learning since  it reduces  electives.   This                                                              
will  hurt  high  achieving  students  as  well  as  students  who                                                              
struggle to  pass courses,  he said.   Therefore, if  funding does                                                              
not increase,  the quality  of public  school education  in Alaska                                                              
will  decline.   Investment  in education  should  be the  highest                                                              
priority since  not doing so  will adversely affect  opportunities                                                              
for  students.   He  cautioned  that  education will  continue  to                                                              
decline  if funding  is not  increased.   He  thanked members  for                                                              
their time.                                                                                                                     
8:30:51 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSTON asked  whether  he has  taken any  online                                                              
MR.  LEWIS  answered  yes;  that  he is  taking  a  world  history                                                              
course.  In response  to a question, he indicated  that he has not                                                              
found  the  class engaging  as  he  primarily watches  videos  and                                                              
answers questions.   He has found the class to be  boring since it                                                              
lacks interaction with the instructor and other students.                                                                       
8:31:36 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON  further asked whether he  knew the source                                                              
of the district's online classes.                                                                                               
MR.  LEWIS  offered his  belief  that  the  course was  an  Alaska                                                              
Digital Academy course.                                                                                                         
8:32:01 AM                                                                                                                    
STELLA  TALLMON,  Student,  Juneau-Douglas   High  School  (JDHS),                                                              
Juneau School  District (JSD), stated  that she is a  sophomore at                                                              
Juneau-Douglas High  School (JDHS).   She offered her  support for                                                              
HB 339 [not  on the calendar].   She understood that the  state is                                                              
facing  tough  decisions  and  the   state  has  a  tight  budget.                                                              
However, not  increasing the BSA  would have extreme  consequences                                                              
for students  throughout Alaska.   She  reminded members  that the                                                              
state has a  constitutional mandate to provide  a public education                                                              
for  all   K-12  students.     Further  it  is   everyone's  civil                                                              
responsibility to  ensure that their  education is of  the highest                                                              
quality  possible.   Currently the  district faces  large cuts  in                                                              
several  programs that  provide  services to  low-income  families                                                              
making  this an issue  of equity  and opportunity.   In  addition,                                                              
class sizes  would increase  and could cause  people to  leave the                                                              
state.   The  state needs  to  create a  stable  fiscal plan  that                                                              
allows  students to  become the  best  they can  be without  being                                                              
bogged  down by  financial  issues.   Education  is a  progressive                                                              
field  that should  never  become stagnant.    She emphasized  the                                                              
need to provide  adequate schools to allow students  to compete in                                                              
a global  economy.   Healthy  and prosperous  societies invest  in                                                              
their  youth  since they  represent  the  future.   One  day  some                                                              
students  will become  legislators  and she  hoped  they would  be                                                              
well  educated and  informed  leaders to  move  the state  forward                                                              
into the  future.  In  response to a  question, she  answered that                                                              
Steve Tallmon is her father.                                                                                                    
8:33:34 AM                                                                                                                    
PAUL  MARKS stated  that  he comes  from  a family  of  educators,                                                              
including  his son, daughter,  and wife.   He  said his  son works                                                              
for the school  district at the Mendenhall River  Community School                                                              
as a paraeducator  in the Tlingit Culture, Language,  and Literacy                                                              
Program (TCLL).   His daughter works for the  Mayflower Montessori                                                              
School and  at Marie-Drake  school.  His  wife works  at Gastineau                                                              
Elementary  School   and  he  works  for  the   Goldbelt  Heritage                                                              
Foundation as an  elder and educator.  He offered  his support for                                                              
this bill  [HB 339,  not on  the calendar].   Even increasing  the                                                              
BSA  would still  mean  that  TCLL will  lose  staff  for lack  of                                                              
funds, he  lamented.  He  commented that  one cannot put  a dollar                                                              
value  on  education.    In  fact,  he  offered  his  belief  that                                                              
education  is one of  the most  important values  for the  Tlingit                                                              
people.   His parents  encouraged him to  attend school  to become                                                              
successful.  He  reiterated that the value of  education cannot be                                                              
measured by  dollars.  He said,  "Our children, all  our children,                                                              
are losing, and  we lose also because of our children  being lost.                                                              
He also said he  was touched by the young man's  testimony earlier                                                              
today with respect  to his struggles in school.   He described the                                                              
benefits  of the  TCLL  program, noting  that  students hear  from                                                              
members   of  their  culture,   which  fosters   an  interest   in                                                              
education.   He reiterated his support  for the bill [HB  339, not                                                              
on  the calendar],  which  would  increase the  BSA.   He  thanked                                                              
members for their attention.                                                                                                    
8:36:30 AM                                                                                                                    
KATIE  MCKENNA,   Student;  Sophomore  Class   President,  Juneau-                                                              
Douglas  High   School  (JDHS),  Juneau  School   District  (JSD),                                                              
provided  a brief  list of  extracurricular activities,  including                                                              
running and cross-country  skiing.  She thanked  members for their                                                              
legislative service.   Students  are the ones  who must  live with                                                              
legislators' decisions  and represent the  future, she said.   She                                                              
stated her  support for maintaining  the BSA, which  is essential,                                                              
if  only  to  sustain  continued  poverty  in  our  system.    She                                                              
reported that  the JSD  has sustained $11  million in  budget cuts                                                              
in the past seven  years.  In the current budget,  the district is                                                              
being asked  to cut an additional  $3 million.  Even with  a fully                                                              
funded BSA, all  these cuts hurt all students.   She urged members                                                              
to maintain  the status quo for  survival.  The district  has been                                                              
asked to  cut nurses, librarians,  Tlingit language  teachers, and                                                              
to continually  increase class  sizes.  She  detailed some  of the                                                              
major  cuts,   including  reducing   $1.5  million  in   classroom                                                              
teachers,  $1.2   million  in  special  education   teachers,  and                                                              
$700,000 in  information technology.   She  added that  her mother                                                              
was a revered teacher  with the JSD district who  died in 2011 and                                                              
her  father  is a  Juneau  principal.    She questioned  what  her                                                              
education will  consist of  if the BSA  is not adequately  funded.                                                              
She reported  that class  sizes are  increasing while choices  are                                                              
diminished, and  teachers are at the  edge of burnout.   She urged                                                              
members not  to let  it get worse.   The  schools need  stable and                                                              
predictable  funding, she said,  noting that  her friends  want to                                                              
compete in  a global community  and live  in a state  where people                                                              
are supported  and inspired  to invest their  talents.   She hoped                                                              
the  legislature  would  give her  generation  a  more  optimistic                                                              
start.   She thanked  members for  the opportunity  to testify  on                                                              
behalf of students.                                                                                                             
8:39:25 AM                                                                                                                    
SIENA  HANNA,   Student;  Student  School  Board   Representative,                                                              
Thunder  Mountain  High  School  (TMHS),  Juneau  School  District                                                              
(JSD),  stated she is  a senior  at Thunder  Mountain High  School                                                              
(TMHS).   She has observed  that class  sizes are getting  bigger.                                                              
She  said  that  teacher  support   is  crucial  in  her  advanced                                                              
courses, noting  students in her classes often  need clarification                                                              
on instruction.   Teachers  are the  ones that  provide the  right                                                              
type of  support students need,  she said.   Flat funding  for the                                                              
district  has  adversely impacted  academics  and  extracurricular                                                              
activities.   She reported that the  district has had to  cut over                                                              
$600,000.  During  her time in high school, soccer  team fees have                                                              
increased  from  $400 to  $700.    Despite scholarships  and  team                                                              
fundraising,  these increases can  create an  equity issue  of who                                                              
can  participate.    She  plans  to go  to  college  and  has  two                                                              
siblings  in  the  JSD,  and  she  would  like  them  to  get  the                                                              
education they  deserve.  She  would like  to return to  Alaska to                                                              
live and hopes to raise future children here.                                                                                   
MS.  HANNA,  in response  to  Chair  Drummond, answered  that  the                                                              
soccer fees primarily cover travel costs.                                                                                       
8:43:07 AM                                                                                                                    
ANDI  STORY, Member,  Juneau  School  Board (JSB),  Juneau  School                                                              
District   (JSD),  offered   her  belief   that  one  of   biggest                                                              
investments   in  the  budget   is  for   state  mandated   public                                                              
education.   She  said there  are  two systems  in which  students                                                              
interact.   In  one system,  the  sentiment is  that students  are                                                              
doing  well and  going  off to  colleges,  including Stanford  and                                                              
Dartmouth.   In the  other system,  many students are  struggling.                                                              
In that  second system, which is  referred to as  an instructional                                                              
gap, an economic  gap, and a  cultural relevance gap.   The Alaska                                                              
education  challenge,  school  boards,  and  communities  are  all                                                              
unified in the  goal to address issues and have  students succeed.                                                              
She  highlighted  that  flat  funding  often  is  referred  to  as                                                              
"silent  budget cuts."    Although some  people  have states  that                                                              
education is fully  funded, rising costs continue  to erode school                                                              
budgets.   Referring to a reduction  list, she said that  since FY                                                              
2011, the  district has cut  92 positions.   In addition,  the JSD                                                              
has  heard from  150 parents  in  two meetings  to address  budget                                                              
cuts.   The middle  school counselors  were cut  from two  to one.                                                              
One middle  school currently  has 479 students  and the  other has                                                              
501 students.   High  schools have two  counselors serving  578 in                                                              
one  school and  698  students  in the  other.   With  passage  of                                                              
Bree's   Law  about   healthy  relationships,   the  Alaska   Safe                                                              
Children's Act,  educators and parents  have become  more informed                                                              
about  trauma   and  how   it  affects   children  and   learning.                                                              
Counselors are critical  to students, so as a  school board member                                                              
she does not want to cut them.                                                                                                  
MS. STORY  advised that schools  encompass the academic  system to                                                              
prepare  students  to  take  jobs   in  Alaska.    Class  size  is                                                              
important,  but  the quality  of  instruction is  also  important.                                                              
The district has  adopted higher standards in the  past few years,                                                              
and  is  training  teachers;  however,  only  three  instructional                                                              
coaches remain.   She  feared those positions  will likely  be cut                                                              
this  year.   She  stressed  that education  is  a  field that  is                                                              
dynamic, which  requires resources  to help  teachers evolve.   In                                                              
addition,  she has  sensed  a lack  of  confidence  in the  public                                                              
education  system.   She would  like  to convey  the message  that                                                              
Alaskans  invest  in  education and  are  working  hard  together.                                                              
Investment  in the  state's  education  system has  immediate  and                                                              
long-term  results.   She remarked  that she  is so  proud of  the                                                              
students  who  testified  today.   Ninety  percent  of  the  JSD's                                                              
budget  goes to  staffing, and  the  funding comes  back into  the                                                              
system  through the  multiplier  effect.   She  emphasized she  is                                                              
very passionate  about her  students and  sensed that everyone  on                                                              
the  committee   wants  to  support   them  and  make   the  right                                                              
8:49:25 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DRUMMOND  asked whether counselors  or teachers  provide the                                                              
Bree's Law curriculum.                                                                                                          
MS. STORY  answered that it  is a combination.   The  district has                                                              
had to  break down  the components  and is  attempting to  provide                                                              
the curriculum as best as it can.                                                                                               
8:50:06 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DRUMMOND  answered that  Bree's Law has  been working.   The                                                              
reporting of  teen dating  violence has been  reduced from  ten to                                                              
five percent  in the past year or  two.  She reported  that Bree's                                                              
Law, HB 214, will  be on the House floor today.   She explained to                                                              
the students  present  that the bill  will rename  the portion  of                                                              
the  Alaska Safe  Children's Act  after  the young  woman who  was                                                              
murdered by her boyfriend.                                                                                                      
MS. STORY  remarked  that school  board members  want to know  all                                                              
the children  in the  district.   The district  has programs  that                                                              
make children  who have  not succeeded  be able  to succeed.   She                                                              
acknowledged  a lack  of advocates  for some programs.   In  fact,                                                              
one of  the hardest things  to do as a  school board member  is to                                                              
make  unpopular decisions.   She  acknowledged that  some win  and                                                              
some  lose in  making  budget decisions  and  it is  hard to  make                                                              
decisions  about   programs  during   these  times  of   declining                                                              
budgets, but that these decisions are important.                                                                                
8:51:45 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  said it was  good to hear about  the issues                                                              
that are before  us.  He asked for clarification  on the effect of                                                              
the $100 increase  to the BSA.   He understood it would  only meet                                                              
a fraction  of the deficit resulting  from years of  inflation and                                                              
increased  health care  costs.    He asked  what  fraction of  the                                                              
budget would be addressed by a $100 increment.                                                                                  
MS. STORY  replied that  the district must  cut $3 million,  which                                                              
represents about  a five percent cut.   The district would  need a                                                              
$300 increase to the BSA to maintain services.                                                                                  
8:52:42 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP  asked whether the  deficit was mostly  due to                                                              
increased health care costs or declining enrollment.                                                                            
MS.  STORY agreed  that declining  enrollment  was a  contributing                                                              
factor.   Last year the district  had 100 more students,  but this                                                              
year  it has  100  less  resulting in  $1  million  deficit.   The                                                              
district  will need to  hire five  less teachers  next year.   She                                                              
offered to get back  to the committee on the specific  health care                                                              
costs as she was uncertain of the percentage.                                                                                   
8:54:29 AM                                                                                                                    
OLIVIA CARROLL,  Student; Senior Class President,  Cordova Jr./Sr.                                                              
High  School (CHS),  Cordova School  District  (CSD), stated  that                                                              
she is  the senior  class president,  a student representative  to                                                              
the city  council, and  a member of  the National Honors  Society.                                                              
She  asked to  speak to  members about  increasing investments  in                                                              
education.   When students feel valued  by something that  takes a                                                              
significant  amount of  time, as  education does,  they will  come                                                              
back to  Alaska.  Recently,  Cordova Jr./Sr.  High School  has had                                                              
many  alumni  and  college  graduates  return  because  they  feel                                                              
valued  by  their  school.    She  has  heard  many  rural  Alaska                                                              
students  express an interest  in returning  to their  communities                                                              
as  teachers,   principals,  and  administrators  but   must  face                                                              
reality.   As it  currently stands  with flat  funding, they  will                                                              
not  feel valued  and will  not return.   She  offered her  belief                                                              
that investments  in education  will bring  more students  back to                                                              
their communities in Alaska.                                                                                                    
8:56:20 AM                                                                                                                    
JIM  ANDERSON, Chief  Financial  Officer (CFO),  Anchorage  School                                                              
District  (ASD),  said  it  was tough  to  add  to  the  testimony                                                              
students provided.   The real impact of words  like streamline and                                                              
reduction  result  in  what committee  members  heard  today  from                                                              
students and educators.   During the first semester  of the school                                                              
year  teachers met  school  board  members at  bi-monthly  evening                                                              
meetings, and  they reported that  class sizes are  getting larger                                                              
while support  for professional  development  or training  for new                                                              
programs  has  diminished  or  is   gone.    District  support  to                                                              
teachers,   students,  and  classrooms   has  been   substantially                                                              
reduced in  the last five  years.  He  advised that next  year, to                                                              
balance  the ASD's  budget, the  district  will need  to cut  mid-                                                              
shift custodial positions at middle and high schools.                                                                           
MR.  ANDERSON  felt   certain  most  committee  members   and  the                                                              
district  realize the  result of  flat  funding is  a budget  cut.                                                              
Just as  homeowners must  pay rising  utility costs, the  district                                                              
has  many  rising  fixed  costs  that must  also  be  paid.    The                                                              
district has cut  administration and instruction  support services                                                              
under  the guise  of streamlining  operations.   Turning to  pupil                                                              
transportation,  he stated  that the  ASD moves  about 20,000  per                                                              
day.   Currently, the budget  deficit for transportation  costs is                                                              
over  $3  million.    Since the  district  has  an  obligation  to                                                              
transport  students to  and  from school,  these  costs are  being                                                              
paid  from general  fund monies.   In  fact, this  year after  the                                                              
district cut about  90 positions, it realized any  additional cuts                                                              
were  untenable,  so  it  has  considered   charging  for  busing,                                                              
activity fees,  and reducing  programs for  gifted students.   Due                                                              
to considerable  community feedback,  the district decided  not to                                                              
do so  this year.   Further,  the district  has been refining  the                                                              
way  it provides  advanced placement  courses.   Fortunately,  the                                                              
district has  a school partnership  with the University  of Alaska                                                              
that allows high school students to earn college credits.                                                                       
8:59:56 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  ANDERSON  expressed  how  frustrating  it can  be  for  board                                                              
members and the  administration, noting last year  he heard expert                                                              
testimony  before  the legislature  that  implied  if schools  cut                                                              
administration  by ten  percent, that  more teachers  would be  in                                                              
the classroom.   He  assured members  that the  ASD has  cut every                                                              
area  over the  past  five  years.   He  predicted  the effect  of                                                              
budget  cuts will  affect teachers'  salaries  with flat  funding.                                                              
He  reported that  a $100  increase to  the BSA  results in  about                                                              
$9.1 million  of a $560  million total ASD  budget.   Further, the                                                              
timing of  appropriation bills affects  whether the  district must                                                              
"pink  slip"  teachers or  not.    The Municipality  of  Anchorage                                                              
locks in its tax  rate in April so any funding  passed after April                                                              
would  certainly mean  the ASD  would not  receive local  funding.                                                              
The reality  is the $100  increase is closer  to $7 million.   The                                                              
district  had  a  $13  million deficit  this  year,  of  which  $3                                                              
million  was  for  pupil  transportation.   He  reported  that  88                                                              
percent of the  ASD's budget is designated for  personnel costs or                                                              
fixed costs,  including rent, utilities,  or contracts.   Further,                                                              
the district cannot  change health care costs.   When the district                                                              
encounters flat funding,  which is a budget cut,  it means people.                                                              
At a  time when people  are moving to the  Lower 48, it  is really                                                              
frustrating  to realize  another 90  people will  not have  a job.                                                              
All the budget cuts  affect the local economy and  the schools, he                                                              
said.   In closing, he  offered his support  of the  $100 increase                                                              
to the BSA.                                                                                                                     
9:02:55 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH  asked  for  any  additional  factors  that                                                              
would  help  the  ASD  avoid cuts  to  the  quality  of  education                                                              
students receive.   He further  asked for  the percent of  BSA per                                                              
year needed to keep the district whole.                                                                                         
MR. ANDERSON answered  that an estimated $160 to  $170 increase to                                                              
the  BSA would  prevent  budget cuts,  but  significantly more  to                                                              
repair the  damage in  terms of budget  cuts affecting  class size                                                              
and teacher support programs.                                                                                                   
9:04:16 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH asked  whether students  will experience  a                                                              
decrease in the  quality of service the district  can provide even                                                              
if the $100 BSA increase passed.                                                                                                
MR. ANDERSON  responded that was  a fair statement, that  the main                                                              
reason  is   the  ASD  has  a   $3  million  shortfall   in  pupil                                                              
transportation.  Without  a shortfall the $100  BSA increase would                                                              
allow the district  to provide services at the same  level as this                                                              
9:05:00 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH  recalled  his earlier  testimony  that  it                                                              
would  take  significantly  more  to repair  the  damage  done  in                                                              
recent  years due  to flat  funding.   He asked  whether he  could                                                              
give the  committee a ballpark  figure of the increment  necessary                                                              
to bring the same quality of services to a kindergarten student.                                                                
MR.  ANDERSON answered  that it  would be  tough to  give a  fixed                                                              
dollar  amount.   He recalled  an ASD  study done  years ago  that                                                              
discussed  optimal education  across every  category.  He  offered                                                              
that  to  meet the  class  sizes  in  that study  would  cost  $56                                                              
million.  He offered  his belief that districts do  not have to be                                                              
optimal at  everything to  still make progress.   He  advised that                                                              
as  a financial  officer he  was not  the best  person to  discuss                                                              
programs and  optimal education.   He recalled it would  cost $100                                                              
to  implement   the  items   in  the  study.     In   response  to                                                              
Representative Parish,  he offered to send a copy of  the study to                                                              
the committee.                                                                                                                  
9:07:38 AM                                                                                                                    
MIKE  BRONSON,   National  Association  for  the   Advancement  of                                                              
Colored  People  (NAACP),  Anchorage  Branch,  stated  the  NAACP,                                                              
Anchorage  Branch's support  for  HB 339  [not  on the  calendar],                                                              
which would  increase the  BSA and  reduce class  sizes.   He said                                                              
the NAACP believes  it is a step  in the right direction  to lower                                                              
the  out-of-control class  sizes  that the  district has  observed                                                              
during visits  to the  Anchorage schools.   He also observed  that                                                              
many seventh-grade  students are behind in math  skills, including                                                              
many students from  military families, in part  due to overcrowded                                                              
classrooms and  they never catch  up.  Teacher layoffs  in schools                                                              
have raised  class sizes to a  level that is almost  unmanageable.                                                              
In addition, class  sizes have resulted in lost  opportunities for                                                              
extra  math  help outside  the  classroom.    Trends are  not  any                                                              
better  in high  school, he  said.   The result  is many  students                                                              
will never  catch up  in math.   He suggested HB  339 [not  on the                                                              
calendar]  might be  one solution  that could  result in math  and                                                              
reading proficiency throughout the state.                                                                                       
9:09:34 AM                                                                                                                    
DAVID  KATZEEK, Tribal  Leader  Educator,  Juneau School  District                                                              
(JSD),  [gave   portions  of  his   testimony  in   Tlingit,  then                                                              
translated it to English].  He said:                                                                                            
     My name  is Kingeest?.   I'm from  the Chilkat,  and I'm                                                                   
     from a people  who settled this earth here  in Southeast                                                                   
     Alaska long, long  ago.  My name is David  Katzeek.  I'm                                                                   
     a   parent.      I   have   seven   children,   numerous                                                                   
     grandchildren  who  are  attending   the  Juneau  public                                                                   
     school  system here  in Juneau.    I'm going  to use  my                                                                   
     language  because when  you look at  your statistics  on                                                                   
     the  wall it's easy  to alienate  yourself from  people.                                                                   
     These   things  represent  human   beings,  live   human                                                                   
     beings,  who have  feelings,  who are  intelligent,  who                                                                   
     have  talents,   skills,  and   creativity.    And   the                                                                   
     responsibility  of a teacher  is to  "open up" that  box                                                                   
     of  knowledge  that  every human  being  has,  not  just                                                                   
     Tlingit  people.   Tlingit  means  human being,  but  in                                                                   
     Western worlds  we look at the "human" aspect  more than                                                                   
     we  look  at  the  "being"  aspect  of  ourselves  as  a                                                                   
     From   time   immemorial,  before   the   great   flood,                                                                   
     education  has always  been  something  that our  people                                                                   
     looked at and  sacrificed - all that they can  - for the                                                                   
     sake  of their  children  and  their ability  to  settle                                                                   
     this land that you know as Alaska, successfully.                                                                           
9:12:16 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  KATZEEK said  he  uses "successfully"  because  one can  look                                                              
down the  street and see  the large Sealaska  building.   Some may                                                              
think  it was  given to  Sealaska by  the government.   He  shared                                                              
that  the  Sealaska  building  represents  the  knowledge  of  the                                                              
elders that  came before  them and  is a  symbol that stands  very                                                              
tall.    Adjacent  to  the  Sealaska   building  is  the  Soboleff                                                              
building, which  also represents the  knowledge and wisdom  of the                                                              
elder ancestors  and  the Tlingit  language.   He said, "What  has                                                              
happened  is that  the  language  that we  spoke  was taken  away,                                                              
given up  and when that  was taken away there  was a vacuum."   It                                                              
left a vacuum  in the community because that language  and culture                                                              
helped each  one become successful  in their endeavors,  including                                                              
fishing,  hunting,   and  trapping.     He  noted  that   all  the                                                              
communities  in Alaska  have Tlingit  names,  even Petersburg  and                                                              
Wrangell have Tlingit  names, he said.  He identified  the Tlingit                                                              
name  for  Skagway  as  "Skagua"  and  Haines  as  "Deish?."    He                                                              
emphasized  that these Tlingit  names are  the ones people  taught                                                              
their  children to  provide a  sense  of history,  just as  George                                                              
Washington  and other American  leaders have  provided a  sense of                                                              
history to  Americans.  He  acknowledged that  it is okay  to have                                                              
statistics,  but  these statistics  represent  not  just brown  or                                                              
black  faces but  faces in  all the  colors  of the  rainbow.   He                                                              
reiterated that  the Tlingit people sacrificed their  finances for                                                              
their children.                                                                                                                 
9:15:19 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  KATZEEK  expressed  his  sense of  pride  when  entering  the                                                              
Capitol   building,   because   one  of   his   ancestors,   Frank                                                              
Peratrovich,  served  as  a delegate  to  Alaska's  Constitutional                                                              
Convention.    He  called  the  Tlingit   people  heroes,  but  he                                                              
acknowledged  that they  were not  better  than anyone  else.   He                                                              
said he  believes that  Juneau's education  system is as  powerful                                                              
today as when it  began.  In fact, what has been  happening in the                                                              
JSD is  outrageously phenomenal,  he remarked.   Young  Native and                                                              
non-Native  students  are  learning  about  the  history  and  the                                                              
community of  the Tlingit, which  will change Juneau  because this                                                              
cultural education  is developing a sense of community  in Juneau.                                                              
The  student education  at Harborview  Elementary School  includes                                                              
starting  the day  singing,  dancing,  and smiling,  which  builds                                                              
confidence  in  them.   These  practices  make education  fun,  he                                                              
said.    He   described  the  sense  of  community   that  dancing                                                              
provides, especially  when students  see their teachers  and other                                                              
community members  dancing with them.   An increase to the  BSA of                                                              
$100 does not  mean a lot in  the Tlingit culture since  giving is                                                              
an integral  part of the Tlingit  culture.  He then  urged members                                                              
to please  give.  He  characterized the  proposed increase  to the                                                              
BSA  as an  investment.   He asked  members to  consider how  much                                                              
money  this state  has  spent on  things  that  have not  produced                                                              
anything.   He applauded  the proposed $100  increase to  the BSA.                                                              
He then predicted  that the increase would create  renewable human                                                              
resources.      He   recognized   that   members'   children   and                                                              
grandchildren are  as valuable as  children and grandchildren  are                                                              
to those who speak  a different language.  He wondered  what these                                                              
children  and grandchildren  will  say  if the  legislature  takes                                                              
this  opportunity to  provide educational  funding for  them.   He                                                              
said he was not here to judge but to encourage members                                                                          
MR. KATZEEK said, as follows:                                                                                                   
     Most  precious beloved  children  of the  earth.   Thank                                                                   
     you for  the time you have given  to us to say  words on                                                                   
     what  you are  proposing.    Most noble,  very  precious                                                                   
     children of the  earth.  We believe in you,  we trust in                                                                   
     you,  and  we  thank  you  for   your  vision  and  your                                                                   
MR. KATZEEK  again shared the  children's reactions when  they are                                                              
told that they  have "knowledge" within them, such  that they jump                                                              
up and down in excitement.                                                                                                      
9:21:17 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. KATZEEK then said, as follows:                                                                                              
     This  is not  "make  pretend" world.    Knowledge is  in                                                                   
     every  one of us,  and courage  is in  every one of  us,                                                                   
     and wisdom  is in  every one  of us.   And caring  is in                                                                   
     every one of  us.  All we have to do is  open that door.                                                                   
     You're  all special  and  it's not  by  chance that  I'm                                                                   
     sitting  here.  My  grandparents maybe  prepared me  for                                                                   
     this moment,  so they're here  with me right now.   They                                                                   
     probably  have   tears  running  down   their  face[es.]                                                                   
     That's   education,  folks;   more   than  just   social                                                                   
     studies.   Thank you very much  for giving me  the time.                                                                   
     I know I took a lot of time.  Thank you.                                                                                   
9:22:16 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH  [speaking   in  Tlingit]  thanked  him  by                                                              
saying, in part, "gunalch?esh."                                                                                                 
9:22:41 AM                                                                                                                    
DEENA   MITCHELL,   Vice  President,   Anchorage   School   Board,                                                              
Anchorage   School  District   (ASD),   began   by  thanking   the                                                              
committee.   She  exclaimed that  the testimony  from the  Tlingit                                                              
gentleman  was  so  wonderful,  that he  expressed  what  so  many                                                              
people feel,  including the sacrifices  the Tlingit have  made for                                                              
their children and  their children's education.   She acknowledged                                                              
that  everyone wants  a better  world  and a  brighter future  for                                                              
their children.   She  pointed out that  the committee  heard from                                                              
many people who  have highlighted important issues.   The students                                                              
spoke passionately,  she said.   She noted  that Mr.  Anderson may                                                              
have  provided the  committee  with  a document  [not  identified]                                                              
that outlines some cuts.                                                                                                        
MS. MITCHELL asked  to speak about equity issues  in education for                                                              
students.    She  explained  that equity  issues  exist  with  the                                                              
achievement  gap  across  groups  of  students.    All  districts,                                                              
including  the ASD,  are  working to  close  the achievement  gap;                                                              
however, it  does take resources.   She  said that people  need to                                                              
have  connections  to feel  valued  and  to  feel as  though  they                                                              
matter, and  those are the  connections, when reflecting  on one's                                                              
education,  that make a  difference.   She said  her father  was a                                                              
sociologist who  believed that those connections  matter as humans                                                              
are  tribal.   She  cautioned that  as  class  sizes increase  and                                                              
place stress  on teachers,  the connections cannot  be made.   The                                                              
district  needs  to   make  sure  every  student   gets  the  same                                                              
opportunities as  every other student  and not have  inequity over                                                              
time.  She  has heard many  legislators say that the  state cannot                                                              
afford to fully fund education at this time.                                                                                    
MS. MITCHELL  moved to  discuss the  Alaska Permanent Fund,  which                                                              
was  created  in  1976  under  Governor   Jay  Hammond.    It  was                                                              
originally  designed  to  preserve   Alaska's  wealth  for  future                                                              
generations.    It  was  not  originally  designed  to  provide  a                                                              
dividend to current  residents, but to even out the  ebbs and flow                                                              
of  income and  to preserve  that wealth  for future  generations.                                                              
She  respectfully  disagreed  that  the  state  cannot  invest  in                                                              
students  who currently  need the  state's  help right  now.   The                                                              
state has  savings in  the permanent  fund for such  a time.   She                                                              
emphasized  that  the  state  cannot   afford  not  to  invest  in                                                              
students  in its  schools  right  now.   She pointed  to  previous                                                              
testimony that  identified overcrowded  classrooms and  overworked                                                              
school counselors  as well  as the large  number of students  with                                                              
adverse   childhood  experiences.     She   reiterated  that   the                                                              
legislature  cannot afford  not to  invest in  schools right  now.                                                              
There  are students  who  are failing  because  they  do not  have                                                              
support  counselors,  who have  enormous  caseloads  and the  many                                                              
students  at risk.    The state  can make  a  difference to  these                                                              
students, which will  alter Alaska's history and it  will create a                                                              
brighter future for  our state, she said.  She  offered her belief                                                              
that Alaska  has the means,  and the future  of the  state depends                                                              
on making  sure that  the state  provides for  its "seed  corn" in                                                              
good times and  in bad times.   She urged members to  dig deep and                                                              
support students  who are currently  in Alaska's schools  in order                                                              
to  reap the  benefits  of their  graduations.    She offered  her                                                              
appreciation  for  HB  339  [not   on  the  calendar]  that  would                                                              
increase the BSA  by $100.  As Mr. Anderson  previously testified,                                                              
the proposed  bill does not provide  enough but it certainly  is a                                                              
huge help.   Every single  district needs the additional  funding.                                                              
She thanked members for their time.                                                                                             
9:28:10 AM                                                                                                                    
MARNIE  HARTILL, speaking  on  behalf of  herself,  stated she  is                                                              
also the  vice president of  programs for the Anchorage  Education                                                              
Association (AEA),  a former English  teacher, and an  educator at                                                              
Bartlett High  School.   She noted  from her previous  experiences                                                              
working at  Clark Middle School and  at Bartlett High  School that                                                              
the urban schools  are really struggling.  She  recalled that five                                                              
years ago the social  worker was cut from Clark  Middle School and                                                              
subsequently  teachers   and  counselors  have  been   cut.    The                                                              
community  has a  high suicide  rate,  yet the  schools have  lost                                                              
many resources  students need to cope.   This also hits  home with                                                              
equity  issues, such  as  when students  wonder  why their  school                                                              
does not  have some  programs like a  robotics program  that other                                                              
neighborhoods  have,  she  said.   She  has  observed  trash  cans                                                              
collecting  water  from  leaky  roofs  and  other  physical  plant                                                              
problems.  She  acknowledged that Anchorage is  not alone, because                                                              
villages  suffer a  great deal  from  lack of  funding.   Further,                                                              
students with IEP's [Individualized Education  Programs] are to be                                                              
met according to  their special education needs;  however, the ELL                                                              
[English-language  learners]  students  are  being placed  in  the                                                              
same  classroom with  IEP  students.   These  student groups  have                                                              
unique  needs   and  should   not  be   clumped  together.     She                                                              
characterized this  as gross negligence.   In closing,  she called                                                              
for additional revenue  prior to any cuts to programs  such as the                                                              
PFD.   She asked  the committee  to increase  the BSA,  especially                                                              
considering the constitutional obligation.                                                                                      
9:31:38 AM                                                                                                                    
SABRINA  FERGUSON,  Student,  Ninilchik  School,  Kenai  Peninsula                                                              
Borough  School  District  (KPBSD),  stated  she is  a  senior  at                                                              
Ninilchik  school  and will  graduate  in  98  days.   Her  school                                                              
serves  pre-kindergarten  through high  school  [Pre-K-12].   When                                                              
she started preschool,  the school had thirteen  teachers, but now                                                              
has seven  teachers.   She described  some of  her experiences  in                                                              
school,  including  that she  serves  as  a  teacher's aide  in  a                                                              
preschool  room,  which  she  loves.    She  related  a  classroom                                                              
experience she  had in science  class that  she was never  able to                                                              
complete  due  to  funding  cuts  and  teacher  reductions.    She                                                              
related  a scenario  in her  class about  a preschool  boy with  a                                                              
prosthetic leg who  wore shorts one day, revealing  his prosthetic                                                              
leg.  When  another student asked  him about his leg, he  told the                                                              
boy that he was  born that way.  The boy then called  him a "super                                                              
hero."   She asked the  committee to please  give this  little boy                                                              
the education  he needs to be that  "super hero."  In  response to                                                              
Chair  Drummond, she  stated that  when she  started in  preschool                                                              
the Ninilchik School had about 180 students and now has 127.                                                                    
9:34:23 AM                                                                                                                    
DEBBIE  CARY,   Member,  Kenai  Peninsula  Borough   School  Board                                                              
(KPBSB), Kenai  Peninsula Borough School District  (KPBSD), stated                                                              
that  she is  the newest  member  of the  Kenai Peninsula  Borough                                                              
School  Board.   In 1990,  she  had children  in  sixth and  ninth                                                              
grade.  She described  the school education system  as a wonderful                                                              
one.   Now,  the  Ninilchik  School does  not  even  have a  music                                                              
program.   The  school  offers core  classes  and online  classes.                                                              
The  school district  has cut  $7.7  million over  the last  three                                                              
years.   Although  the KPBSB  has tried  very hard  not to  impact                                                              
classes,  it  cannot  sustain  the   teachers  and  classrooms  it                                                              
currently has and  the KPBSD will need to cut more  teachers.  She                                                              
explained  the Ninilchik  School has  a fourth,  fifth, and  sixth                                                              
grade split  classroom.  The teacher  teaches all grade  levels at                                                              
one time.   The maturity  level between  a fourth and  sixth grade                                                              
student is significant,  which creates challenges  for the teacher                                                              
to meet  the needs of  all students.   Meeting the needs  of every                                                              
student and every  classroom is what education is all  about.  She                                                              
offered  her support  to raise  the BSA.   She  realized that  the                                                              
State  of Alaska  has challenges  with its  fiscal policy  issues,                                                              
but Alaskans only  get one chance to educate their  children.  She                                                              
asked members  to give  students  a chance and  please fund  their                                                              
9:36:48 AM                                                                                                                    
BARBARA  CADIENTE-NELSON,  Member, Sealaska  Corporation;  Tlingit                                                              
elder, offered her  support to HB 339 [not on the  calendar].  She                                                              
began by giving  her Tlingit name, X'esh.k'uk'e of  the Brown Bear                                                              
Clan,  and Shaanux  Hit (Valley  House),  Angoon Kwaan.   She  was                                                              
given her  second Tlingit  name by  Tlingit Elder, David  Katzeek,                                                              
who  previously  testified.    She  asked  members  to  allow  her                                                              
friend, Marlene  Corpus, to join her  at the table.  She  does not                                                              
wish to testify  but is a  mother and grandmother of  children who                                                              
have  attended the  school district  system.   She  noted that  an                                                              
elder, Seral  George once said, "Sometimes  you don't have  to say                                                              
anything; it's important  that you just show up and  you show your                                                              
face."  She said,  "And that's our intent here, in  support of the                                                              
vision that you  have, in support of the bill  that you're pushing                                                              
uphill, to  support you,  that you would  have the knowledge  that                                                              
we're standing behind you and with you and championing you on."                                                                 
9:37:52 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. CADIENTE-NELSON  stated that she is a member  in good standing                                                              
of the of  the Alaska Native  Sisterhood Camp 2 (ANSC),  a council                                                              
member  of  the  Douglas Indian  Association  (DIA),  a  federally                                                              
recognized  tribe,  a  director of  the  Sealaska  Corporation,  a                                                              
trustee of Sealaska  Heritage Institute, a district  administrator                                                              
for  the Juneau  School District  (JSD),  and the  parent of  four                                                              
children  and grandparent  of three  children  who graduated  from                                                              
Juneau-Douglas  High  School.    In her  current  capacity  as  an                                                              
administrator  for  the  JSD,  she   has  the  oversight  of  nine                                                              
paraeducators  who  are  cultural  specialists.   She  said  these                                                              
cultural  specialists bring  to  the school  district  a level  of                                                              
knowledge to  engage students and  inform them of  their identity.                                                              
These paraeducators  work with teachers  to help  their curriculum                                                              
be culturally relevant.   She referred to earlier  testimony about                                                              
the  historical  trauma  the Tlingit,  Haida,  and  Tsimshian  and                                                              
other Native  peoples have  experienced in school.   She  said her                                                              
mother,  Irene  Cadiente,  was  one  of those.    She  attended  a                                                              
mission  school  in Skagway  and  was  punished for  speaking  her                                                              
Tlingit  language.     Her  father   left  his  homeland   in  the                                                              
Philippines as  a young man because  he wanted his children  to be                                                              
afforded the realization of dreams in America.                                                                                  
MS.  CADIENTE-NELSON   related  that   her  parents   raised  nine                                                              
children on  Starr Hill  in the toughest  times.  They  sacrificed                                                              
so their  children could  have a  good education.   They  sent the                                                              
children to St.  Anne's parochial school, which was  not free.  In                                                              
fact, she  felt sure  the Diocese of  Juneau helped support  their                                                              
education  because she  does  not know  how  her parents  clothed,                                                              
fed, and  educated them from their  humble salaries.   Still, they                                                              
sacrificed  for  their children,  she  emphasized.   She  reminded                                                              
members that sacrifice  is called for now.  She  stated that 2,000                                                              
Native children  are in this district  of 5,000 students,  and she                                                              
represents them all.   Students represent the future  that schools                                                              
are impacting  to value diversity and  to value culture.   The JSD                                                              
does not  see student  struggles as an  achievement gap  when they                                                              
cannot succeed.   They see it  as an instructional gap,  which can                                                              
only be  filled by qualified  educators who  know the  culture and                                                              
the knowledge  of this place.   The teachers  cannot do  it alone.                                                              
She  advised  members that  she  was  the  first graduate  of  the                                                              
PITAAS program  [Preparing Indigenous Teachers  and Administrators                                                              
for  Alaska  Schools], earning  a  Masters'  of Arts  in  Teaching                                                              
degree (MAT).                                                                                                                   
9:41:44 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  CADIENTE-NELSON said  she taught  for nearly  three years  at                                                              
the Juneau-Douglas  High School.   The first year of  her teaching                                                              
she  received a  "pink  slip."   The second  year  she received  a                                                              
"pink slip."   She offered her belief  that at the time  there was                                                              
a hierarchy  in the  school, a  privilege not  only of  status and                                                              
credentials, but  also of color.   She said it was a  painful time                                                              
and  she  was  embarrassed  to receive  a  "pink  slip,"  but  she                                                              
persevered  because her children  were moving  through the  school                                                              
system.   She  felt it  was a bit  much in  her third  year.   She                                                              
asked to  share her  daughter's experience.   Her daughter,  Asia,                                                              
was hired as  a Tlingit language teacher at Thunder  Mountain High                                                              
School and received  a "pink slip" her first year  of school.  She                                                              
was  a new  teacher, teaching  a  foreign language,  but her  room                                                              
became  a  central   meeting  place  for  Native   and  non-Native                                                              
students to  come and  be engaged  with a teacher  who cared.   In                                                              
addition to learning  Tlingit, it is who they are  as people.  She                                                              
further asked  to share the words  of the late Walter  Soboleff at                                                              
the  outcome of  the first  camp  she implemented.   Mr.  Soboleff                                                              
said,  "Do you  know  what  you've done  here;  do  you know  what                                                              
you've accomplished?   When  our children know  who they  are they                                                              
don't  kill themselves."    That  represented the  motivation  and                                                              
integrity  by which  educators come  to bear  on our  work in  the                                                              
school district  and this community.   The entities do  their part                                                              
with less  and are  expected to do  more with less.   It  has been                                                              
said that the  greatness of a people  can be measured by  how they                                                              
revere their children.   It has also been said by  a Tlingit elder                                                              
to the  children, "We  lift you  high above  ourselves because  we                                                              
cherish you."   She acknowledged  that the committee  members have                                                              
chosen to lead  and represent Alaskans.  She continued  by saying,                                                              
"And so  I wanted to see  you, and have  you see my face;  and say                                                              
that when you go  to push this rock uphill that  we are behind you                                                              
and that  we support you.   That these  are our children  that our                                                              
arms are wrapped around."                                                                                                       
9:44:40 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. CADIENTE-NELSON  highlighted  that four of  her staff  will be                                                              
cut  this  year.    These  staff  have  direct  contact  with  562                                                              
students.   Another  two staff teach  62 students  in the  Tlingit                                                              
Culture  and Language  Literacy Program  (TCLLP).   This  district                                                              
has  put  significant effort  into  cultivating  these  educator's                                                              
knowledge.   She  asked who  will do  their work.   She  suggested                                                              
this district  is poised  to go  deeper into  affecting change  in                                                              
education,  that this district  is model  district with  an equity                                                              
standard   that  encompasses   the  cultural   standards  in   the                                                              
curriculum.   She  asked members  to  watch the  district do  more                                                              
with less.   She  expressed concern  that they  will lose  people.                                                              
She thanked the  members for their time in English  and in Tlingit                                                              
by saying "gunalcheesh."                                                                                                        
9:47:27 AM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Education Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 9:47 a.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
BSA Increase PowerPoint 2.12.pdf HEDC 2/12/2018 8:00:00 AM