Legislature(2003 - 2004)

03/11/2003 11:00 AM House EDU

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 165-COMMUNITY SCHOOLS                                                                                                      
Number 2218                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  announced that  the next order  of business                                                               
would  be HOUSE  BILL  NO.  165, "An  Act  relating to  community                                                               
schools; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                  
Number 2251                                                                                                                     
EDDY  JEANS,  Manager,  School Finance  and  Facilities  Section,                                                               
Education  Support Services,  Department of  Education and  Early                                                               
Development,  testified  on  HB   165,  which  would  repeal  the                                                               
community schools  program outlined  in Alaska  Statute 14.36.010                                                               
through 14.36.070.   Mr. Jeans  told the committee  the community                                                               
schools statute was  adopted in 1975, and the  purpose and intent                                                               
of  this  program  was  to   assist  local  school  districts  in                                                               
establishing community  schools programs and to  provide funds to                                                               
assist  the   local  communities  in  the   initial  development,                                                               
implementation,  and operations  of  community schools  programs.                                                               
Mr. Jeans  asked the committee  to review the fiscal  note, which                                                               
shows  a $500,000  reduction; however,  the schedule  attached to                                                               
that  fiscal  note demonstrates  that  if  the community  schools                                                               
program were fully funded at  the statutory entitlement, it would                                                               
generate almost $3.3 million.   He told the committee the program                                                               
has been  substantially underfunded  for a number  of years.   He                                                               
said the $500,000 represents 12  percent of the school districts'                                                               
entitlements, and  the department  believes, based on  the intent                                                               
language  in the  statute, that  this program  has fulfilled  its                                                               
intended  purpose.    The  Department   of  Education  and  Early                                                               
Development and  the administration  recommend that  this statute                                                               
be repealed.                                                                                                                    
Number 2336                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  said that for  the record the  repealing of                                                               
this  statute does  not  eliminate community  schools.   It  just                                                               
eliminates a  portion of the  funding that may be  substantial to                                                               
some  communities because  they have  become accustomed  to state                                                               
Number 2370                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  WOLF asked  Mr. Jeans  to confirm  that repealing                                                               
this  statute  would in  no  way  deter communities  from  having                                                               
community  schools programs.    For example,  he  asked if  Kenai                                                               
community schools  could charge  a user  fee to  fill the  gap in                                                               
loss of state funding.                                                                                                          
MR.  JEANS responded  that Representative  Wolf is  correct.   He                                                               
told the committee that districts have  put in place user fees to                                                               
keep those schools open for  after-school and weekend activities.                                                               
He restated  that the  language could  be repealed  and community                                                               
schools programs could continue with user-fee funding.                                                                          
Number 2460                                                                                                                     
JOYCE   KITKA,  Alaska   Association  for   Community  Education,                                                               
testified in  opposition to HB 165.   She told the  committee she                                                               
has been  in the  field for  23 years and  agrees with  Mr. Jeans                                                               
that community schools has been  underfunded for many years.  She                                                               
said the law was passed in  1978, and the initial funding for the                                                               
community schools program  was obtained in 1980.   Ms. Kitka said                                                               
that even  though community  schools [programs  are] underfunded,                                                               
services  have still  been  provided and  there  has been  fiscal                                                               
responsibility for these years.                                                                                                 
Number 2542                                                                                                                     
MS.  KITKA  challenged  the  committee  to  find  a  program  for                                                               
$500,000 that logs  in the number of hours this  does, and 20,000                                                               
programs that serve children and  adults.  She told the committee                                                               
community  schools are  responsible for  many programs  that help                                                               
kids.   They are ready  to help  the education system  in meeting                                                               
the federal No Child Left Behind Act.                                                                                           
MS. KITKA  said community schools  have already  implemented fees                                                               
to  help  administer  the  programs.     She  is  concerned  that                                                               
increasing  the fees  too  much  will mean  that  the Head  Start                                                               
parents  or the  low-income  parents  will not  be  able to  stay                                                               
involved in programs because of the cost.                                                                                       
Number 2624                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA  asked  what portion  of  community  schools                                                               
funding  goes   to  children's  programs  and   what  portion  to                                                               
individuals over 18 years old.                                                                                                  
MS.  KITKA responded  that most  of the  adult programs  actually                                                               
subsidize  the  children's programs.    She  said locally,  adult                                                               
classes  are  a  60/40  split, with  the  instructor  getting  60                                                               
percent, and community schools getting  40 percent.  With that 40                                                               
percent  she   told  the   committee  she   opens  the   gym  for                                                               
approximately 150 kids,  and is able to  provide scholarships for                                                               
kids to  go to summer school.   She told the  committee she could                                                               
not speak to the statewide programs.                                                                                            
Number 2658                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  WOLF  asked  how  Ms.  Kitka  would  propose  the                                                               
legislature find the dollars to  fund community schools.  He said                                                               
the  legislature has  one source  of funding.   He  asked if  the                                                               
community schools program  is a nonprofit organization.   He said                                                               
he does not question the  value of community schools, but wonders                                                               
if there is a possibility to reach out to the corporate world.                                                                  
MS.  KITKA responded  that she  believes  community schools  have                                                               
reached out to  the corporate world.  She told  the committee the                                                               
program has been creative in ways  of funding programs.  She said                                                               
community schools do have a  lot of business partnerships and she                                                               
is always amazed at the return  from the community.  She said her                                                               
personal  preference for  funding community  schools would  be to                                                               
take her permanent fund dividend.                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO praised  Ms. Kitka  for her  dedicated work                                                               
and told her how much it is appreciated.                                                                                        
Number 2815                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER praised  Ms. Kitka as well.   She said she                                                               
believes Ms. Kitka  was asked an unfair question  because she did                                                               
not run for office; that is what the members were elected to do.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAPSNER asked  Chair Gatto  how this  is not  the                                                               
elimination  of the  community schools  program.   She said  that                                                               
since the  program costs $500,000  and [the bill  is] eliminating                                                               
$500,000, that would eliminate the  funding for the program.  She                                                               
asked how this is only cutting a portion.                                                                                       
MR. JEANS  responded that  the bill  eliminates the  program from                                                               
the statutes.   He said all communities are running  some form of                                                               
community  schools  program.    He told  the  committee  he  will                                                               
provide the  committee with a list  of the total amount  of money                                                               
that  is being  spent on  community schools;  then the  committee                                                               
could look at  that compared with what the  state is contributing                                                               
at the $500,000 level.  Mr.  Jeans asked the committee to look at                                                               
the  statute and  note  that the  intent of  the  statute was  to                                                               
assist communities  in the establishment of  the community school                                                               
programs.   Nowhere  in  the  statute is  there  an intention  to                                                               
support on an ongoing basis  community schools programs, and that                                                               
is why  the department  and the administration  have come  to the                                                               
legislature with  this proposal.  Community  schools programs are                                                               
operating  across the  state through  user fees,  small subsidies                                                               
from the state, and private corporations.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  pointed out  that the state  does do  a lot                                                               
for  community schools  by providing  the schools,  heat, lights,                                                               
and custodians,  just not  the funds.   He  said he  believes the                                                               
state is providing a good  service by allowing communities to use                                                               
the schools.                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  asked Mr. Jeans  what the impact will  be on                                                               
community schools if the $500,000 is cut.                                                                                       
Number 2938                                                                                                                     
MR. JEANS responded that when  he provides the committee with the                                                               
schedule that shows how much  money the districts are spending on                                                               
community schools on a statewide  basis, the members will be able                                                               
to determine that.   He told the members that  the department has                                                               
not done  a formal study on  the impact on each  community if the                                                               
state removes the $500,000 contribution,  nor does the department                                                               
intend to  do that.   Mr. Jeans said  he thinks when  the members                                                               
look at  the $500,000 in  relationship to the total  amount being                                                               
spent on community schools, he  believes the members will be able                                                               
to draw their own conclusions.                                                                                                  
TAPE 03-9, SIDE B                                                                                                             
Number 2984                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON told  the committee that he  spoke with the                                                               
superintendent of schools in the  Kenai Peninsula School District                                                               
and he  was told that  Kenai is the  fourth-highest-funded school                                                               
district.   He said his  district gets approximately  $32,000 per                                                               
year.   The total the  district is spending on  community schools                                                               
is $220,000  per year.   Eliminating  that $32,000  would require                                                               
raising  some fees,  changing  some programs,  but  it would  not                                                               
eliminate the community schools program.                                                                                        
Number 2920                                                                                                                     
CONNIE  MUNROE  told  the  committee   she  is  a  volunteer  for                                                               
community schools,  retired from the Department  of Education and                                                               
Early Development, where  she was in charge of  this program, and                                                               
received  her  master's  degree   in  adult  community  education                                                               
through APU  [Alaska Pacific University].   Ms. Munroe  said that                                                               
while she is  from Juneau, she is currently living  in Healy, and                                                               
it is  her first  experience in living  in Interior  Alaska where                                                               
there is a very small school.                                                                                                   
Number 2871                                                                                                                     
MS. MUNROE  said that every  single school district in  the state                                                               
applies  for these  funds to  allow and  encourage it  to provide                                                               
lifelong learning.   Every dollar is spent  providing the program                                                               
to the communities.  She  said if the legislature eliminates that                                                               
funding, then the communities will not  pay someone to do it.  It                                                               
is really  difficult to get someone  to come into the  school and                                                               
open it,  because that individual  must be  bonded.  That  is one                                                               
issue.   Another  one is  that  the Department  of Education  and                                                               
Early Development  has made  a very strong  effort to  reduce the                                                               
paperwork to  apply for this grant.   She told the  committee she                                                               
has monitored and reviewed this program across the state.                                                                       
MS. MUNROE spoke  to the question of  eliminating adult education                                                               
and GED  [general equivalency diploma]  testing.  She said  it is                                                               
usually the principal of the school  who volunteers to be the GED                                                               
proctor.   She  said that  the librarian  volunteers to  keep the                                                               
library open two evenings per week  or on Saturdays for people to                                                               
come into  the school  and study.   Ms. Munroe  said she  will be                                                               
doing  some testing  for Nenana,  Anderson, Healy,  and the  park                                                               
service  area.   She said  the  adult education  program will  be                                                               
using  community schools  and does  not have  to pay  a fee.   In                                                               
urban areas the fees are a problem.   There is no way to persuade                                                               
someone  to volunteer  to go  to  the corporate  entities to  get                                                               
funds.  It takes a lot of effort to get funds donated.                                                                          
Number 2746                                                                                                                     
MS.  MUNROE also  spoke to  the issue  of a  time of  need for  a                                                               
homeland security type of public forum.   One of the questions in                                                               
Anchorage, Fairbanks,  and Juneau was  where the public  would go                                                               
if  there  were a  war  disaster  in  Alaska  and there  were  no                                                               
utilities.  The  response was that the community would  go to the                                                               
schools.  The question was who  would monitor the schools and who                                                               
would keep people  busy if they were stuck in  the schools two or                                                               
three  days,  or  even  a  week.   Every  community  school  will                                                               
probably have  someone who could take  care of them and  keep the                                                               
kids busy.  She told  the committee she feels community education                                                               
and community schools are essential.                                                                                            
Number 2692                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  GATTO commented  that because  of his  work with  the fire                                                               
department, he knows  that the schools are designed  and built to                                                               
withstand  earthquakes and  other  disasters.   Schools and  fire                                                               
departments  will still  be standing  when  other buildings  have                                                               
fallen.    The   schools  are  designed  to  be   there  for  the                                                               
communities in the  event of a disaster, and that  is part of the                                                               
reason why the  state spends so much money in  building them.  He                                                               
pointed out that  in the Miller's Reach fire it  was Houston High                                                               
School that was the place where  all of the incident command took                                                               
place.  Chair  Gatto agreed with Ms. Munroe that  the schools are                                                               
there for the community.                                                                                                        
Number 2637                                                                                                                     
MS. MUNROE told the committee that  user fees are not charged for                                                               
activities that  do not charge  participants.  She said  that the                                                               
athletic  programs   charge,  but   for  small  children   to  do                                                               
gymnastics  or reading,  there is  no charge.   Other  groups and                                                               
activities  that are  not charged  for  use of  the building  are                                                               
adult  basic  education,  private  and  nonprofit  organizations,                                                               
cooperative  extension   programs,  or  church  groups   that  do                                                               
activities.   She added that if  a fee is charged,  the funds are                                                               
for materials or  support of a private  or nonprofit organization                                                               
that does not have money.                                                                                                       
Number 2592                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA  thanked  Ms.   Munroe  and  Ms.  Kitka  for                                                               
providing  good  arguments in  opposition  to  cutting funds  for                                                               
adult services.                                                                                                                 
Number 2563                                                                                                                     
CARL  ROSE,  Executive  Director, Association  of  Alaska  School                                                               
Boards, testified  in opposition  to HB 165  because he  sees the                                                               
importance  of   community  schools.    He   told  the  committee                                                               
community schools is just a  small piece of the peripheral issues                                                               
the state is dealing  with in education.  He said  he is aware of                                                               
the fact that  all the funds come out of  one source and whatever                                                               
is  reduced  eventually  is  going   to  be  addressed  with  the                                                               
foundation formula.   He  said the  association is  supportive of                                                               
community  schools  because  the  community  is  central  to  the                                                               
schools  and  whatever  will  engage   communities  is  what  the                                                               
association  wants  to  encourage.     In  response  to  previous                                                               
inquiries  concerning how  community  schools will  be funded  if                                                               
these  dollars are  reduced,  he  said he  believe  they will  be                                                               
picked  up in  other  ways.   The  question is  how  far can  you                                                               
stretch  that  educational   dollar.    This  is   one  of  those                                                               
peripheral issues  and the state  will be dealing with  many more                                                               
in the future.                                                                                                                  
Number 2515                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  GATTO pointed  out  that the  House  Special Committee  on                                                               
Education is not the place to  deal with how to enhance revenues.                                                               
He commented that everyone wishes  there were more funds, but the                                                               
committee is faced  with the task of dealing  with the governor's                                                               
bills to do something about the  fiscal problems.  Education is a                                                               
huge portion of the state's  budget.  Chair Gatto reiterated that                                                               
the  legislature  is just  trying  to  deal with  the  governor's                                                               
Number 2426                                                                                                                     
REBECCA  REICHLIN, President,  Alaska  Association for  Community                                                               
Education; Anchorage  School District Coordinator,  testified via                                                               
teleconference  in  opposition to  the  repeal  of the  community                                                               
schools grant  program in  HB 165.   She  urged the  committee to                                                               
support the current  level of funding at $500,000.   She said for                                                               
the past 27  years community education has extended  its reach to                                                               
every school district  in the state.  She said  that while on the                                                               
surface it  may seem that  community schools' primary  purpose is                                                               
to provide  access to  school facilities  beyond the  school day,                                                               
community schools' goals  are far more extensive.   She said they                                                               
provide  programming   for  extended   learning  for   all  ages,                                                               
community  development and  a vehicle  for community  engagement,                                                               
enrichment  opportunities  for school-age  children,  interagency                                                               
cooperation, and opportunities for  youth beyond the regular K-12                                                               
programs.   In  addition,  community schools  are providing  more                                                               
programs  to   meet  the  benchmarks   and  standards   that  the                                                               
legislature has established  in the requirements of  the No Child                                                               
Left Behind Act.                                                                                                                
Number 2351                                                                                                                     
MS. REICHLIN explained that lifelong  learning has many benefits.                                                               
Research shows  that a family  of learners produces  children who                                                               
love to learn.  Community  involvement produces citizens who care                                                               
and  are  active  contributing members  of  society.    Community                                                               
schools are in the business  of educating and providing services.                                                               
The funding  has been  cut to  $500,000, but  the money  has been                                                               
well spent.   In the 2002 school year, over  20,150 programs were                                                               
held,  producing   over  342,000   contact  hours;   over  20,000                                                               
volunteers  contributed  over  211,000  volunteer  hours  to  the                                                               
benefit of over 464,000 youths  and 390,000 adults all engaged in                                                               
learning.   Alaska  Gateway School  District offered  technology,                                                               
tutoring,  and GED  and college  preparation work  for $3,683  in                                                               
grant funding.  In order  to provide these services, the district                                                               
leverages the current  state funding and matched  it with in-kind                                                               
donations,   and  business   and  nonprofit   collaborations  and                                                               
partnerships.   She asked members  to please not  dismantle these                                                               
successful and  far-reaching programs.   She urged  the committee                                                               
to utilize  community schools  to achieve  the state's  goals; to                                                               
provide  safe,  supervised  places   for  Alaska's  youth  to  be                                                               
involved, and to involve local  citizens and empower them for the                                                               
good of Alaska's communities.                                                                                                   
Number 2231                                                                                                                     
PETER   MACKSEY,  Community   Schools  Coordinator,   Inlet  View                                                               
Elementary School, testified via  teleconference in opposition to                                                               
HB  165.   He pointed  out that  there are  approximately 600,000                                                               
residents  in Alaska  and that  the  legislature gives  community                                                               
schools approximately  $500,000, which works  out to be  about 84                                                               
cents  per person.   Anchorage  gets between  about $145,000  and                                                               
$150,000, which  works out to be  about 53 cents per  person.  He                                                               
said he  knows Rebecca  [Reichlin] told  the committee  about the                                                               
quality  and quantity  of  volunteer hours.    He indicated  that                                                               
Anchorage  already matches  hour  per hour  and  beyond what  the                                                               
legislature is doing for community schools.                                                                                     
MR.  MACKSEY responded  to Representative  Gara's question  about                                                               
adult  education.   He said  the evening  adult-education classes                                                               
are  subsidizing  all  the   children's  classes  that  community                                                               
schools are doing.   He said community schools  give back $65,000                                                               
to the  Anchorage School District  out of  the money raised.   At                                                               
Inlet  View  Elementary  School, the  community  schools  program                                                               
subsidizes  two other  schools' after-school  children's programs                                                               
that are  provided free of  charge.   He told the  committee they                                                               
are getting the most  bang for their buck out of  this money.  In                                                               
some  places outside  of Anchorage,  this  money is  all that  is                                                               
keeping  an after-school  program or  gym open  for kids  to play                                                               
basketball.   He told the committee  he reads the statute  to say                                                               
"operate" schools and not to  say anything about stopping or just                                                               
getting them started.                                                                                                           
Number 2105                                                                                                                     
BLYTHE   CAMPBELL,    Chair,   Anchorage    Community   Education                                                               
Association,  testified via  teleconference in  opposition to  HB
165.   She  told the  committee she  has been  involved with  the                                                               
community  schools program  since 1985.    She said  that HB  165                                                               
repeals the statute  enabling state funding and  pointed out that                                                               
this  funding  is not  a  mandate  in  the  district.   She  said                                                               
eliminating this statute is not  eliminating an obligation; there                                                               
is no  obligation.   She said  what it  does do  for her  and the                                                               
other 20,000 volunteers  is to say that the  legislature does not                                                               
value this  program and  the state does  not value  this program.                                                               
She said the  association does not think the program  needs to be                                                               
described in  the state  statute.   She said  she does  not think                                                               
this bill is  necessary.  The budget process  is totally separate                                                               
from  this bill.   All  this bill  does is  repeal language  that                                                               
community schools exist and she  said she does not understand the                                                               
reason for that.                                                                                                                
Number 2037                                                                                                                     
LARRY  WIGET,   Executive  Director,  Public   Affairs  Division,                                                               
Anchorage  School  District,   testified  via  teleconference  in                                                               
opposition  to HB  165.   He said  the Anchorage  School District                                                               
does not  support eliminating community  schools from  statute or                                                               
eliminating  community   schools  funding  as  proposed   in  the                                                               
governor's budget.   For 27  years the Municipality  of Anchorage                                                               
has  been  strengthened  through  strong  community  outreach  by                                                               
community   schools.     The   Anchorage   School  District   has                                                               
appreciated  stronger   support  by  community  members   in  the                                                               
educational efforts,  programs, and  services that  are committed                                                               
to providing  for students, parents,  and staff.  Mr.  Wiget told                                                               
the  committee  the  district  is  continually  striving  through                                                               
community schools  programs to more  closely align  its community                                                               
schools  offerings   to  assist  the  students   in  meeting  the                                                               
requirements of  the No Child  Left Behind Act and  the benchmark                                                               
exams.     The  Anchorage  School   District  does   not  support                                                               
eliminating  community schools  from statute  or eliminating  its                                                               
Number 1968                                                                                                                     
BARBARA  HAYR,   Coordinator,  Bear  Valley   Elementary  School,                                                               
testified  via   teleconference  as  a  long-time   supporter  of                                                               
community  schools.    She  shared  with  the  committee  that  a                                                               
community  schools program  she  works with  lost  its funding  a                                                               
couple of years ago  and they hung on.  She  said the funding was                                                               
restored this  year, but if  it had not  been, there would  be no                                                               
community schools program.  She  told the committee that with the                                                               
funding  they have  instituted tutoring  programs in  reading and                                                               
math,  and have  addressed the  need for  a school-age  childcare                                                               
program.  She said Bear Valley  has between 40 to 50 families who                                                               
need childcare, and the community  schools program is prepared to                                                               
institute  a  before-  and after-school  childcare  program  next                                                               
year.   Community schools has been  asked to help meet  the needs                                                               
of  meeting the  benchmark standards  and No  Child Left  Behind;                                                               
that includes  both children  and parents, and  is for  the whole                                                               
group.  State funding does not  fund the program entirely, but it                                                               
allows  her,  as a  coordinator,  to  work on  other  fundraising                                                               
efforts  to establish  partnerships and  to seek  out grants  and                                                               
donations from  private businesses.   She asked the  committee to                                                               
keep community  schools in the  statutes and to  continue funding                                                               
the programs.                                                                                                                   
CHAIR GATTO thanked Ms. Hayr and  told her that all their efforts                                                               
are appreciated.                                                                                                                
Number 1855                                                                                                                     
JULIE  WILD-CURRY,  Community   After  School  Program  Director,                                                               
Fairbanks  North  Star  Borough School  District,  testified  via                                                               
teleconference in opposition  to HB 165.  She  told the committee                                                               
that many  of the points she  would make have been  touched on by                                                               
previous  speakers.   She  told  the  committee that  the  school                                                               
district has been successful in  leveraging "one to nine" funding                                                               
in terms  of bringing other funding  in.  They charge  user fees,                                                               
serve both  students and  adults, and work  to assist  in meeting                                                               
benchmarks.     Community  schools  help  families   in  learning                                                               
different ways to  take tests, to read, and to  study.  Community                                                               
schools also provides enrichment and a  safe place for kids to be                                                               
both after school and in the evening hours.                                                                                     
MS.  WILD-CURRY told  the committee  if this  funding were  to go                                                               
away  along with  the law,  this program  would not  be available                                                               
with  the  school  district.    There would  not  be  a  staffing                                                               
position  that coordinates  all  of these  different events  that                                                               
take place in  Fairbanks.  Over 9,000 people were  served in this                                                               
program last year.   For a community the size  of Fairbanks, that                                                               
is a  great number of  people.  The  one special program  that is                                                               
offered in  the community  schools program  in Fairbanks  that is                                                               
offered nowhere else  in the state is a  driver education program                                                               
for teen drivers.   Other communities are looking  at this model.                                                               
This is a class  that used to be in the day  program, but when it                                                               
was  eliminated  from  state  funding,   it  was  taken  over  in                                                               
community  schools  because  it  was   a  definite  need  in  the                                                               
community with  the driving conditions  here.   Community schools                                                               
continues to  operate that program  and fees are charged  for it;                                                               
however,  this  grant helps  subsidize  those  fees, and  if  the                                                               
funding  were not  provided, the  program would  have the  charge                                                               
substantially higher rates.  She  urged the committee not to pass                                                               
this bill.                                                                                                                      
Number 1747                                                                                                                     
CHAIR GATTO  asked if  the program  would disappear  if community                                                               
schools lost this funding.                                                                                                      
MS.   WILD-CURRY  replied   that  it   would  likely   disappear.                                                               
Community  schools also  provide an  opportunities for  community                                                               
members, agencies, and businesses to  partner to see how they can                                                               
offer what  is needed  in the  community.   Through all  of these                                                               
processes, community schools  have lost a great  deal of funding,                                                               
and each time they community has  helped fund a larger portion of                                                               
it  by  increased  user  fees, donation,  or  fundraisers.    She                                                               
questioned how  far community schools  can go in asking  for this                                                               
leverage for these programs.                                                                                                    
CHAIR  GATTO   replied  that  if   the  legislature   makes  this                                                               
reduction, it will be the last one made.                                                                                        
Number 1654                                                                                                                     
ROSE MARY REEDER, Kenai Peninsula  School District, testified via                                                               
teleconference in  opposition to HB  165.  She told  members that                                                               
she supports  the current level  of funding.   At this  time, the                                                               
Kenai Peninsula  School District gets  a little over  $32,000 per                                                               
year,  which is  spread over  three sites,  Soldotna, Homer,  and                                                               
Seward.  She  said they consider this basic  funding, charge user                                                               
fees,  apply for  grants, and  do fundraising  activities.   This                                                               
small amount of  money the Peninsula gets is  a representation of                                                               
[the  legislature's] support  [for the  program].   When applying                                                               
for grants or  asking corporations for donations  it is important                                                               
to show  some kind of local  and state support, and  this funding                                                               
has been very helpful.                                                                                                          
MS. REEDER said all three sites  have no overhead.  [The program]                                                               
works out of the schools  and other municipal buildings, and that                                                               
saves a lot  of money.  She said [the  community schools program]                                                               
usually has  one staff person,  some short-time people,  and lots                                                               
of volunteers.   There is an effort to keep  the school buildings                                                               
open in the  evenings, the weekends, and in  the summertime, when                                                               
those buildings  would sit  vacant.  She  told the  committee Ms.                                                               
Kitka's comment  about the adult  programs funding  kids programs                                                               
is very  true in  their case.   For example,  she said  there are                                                               
basketball programs two nights per  week in the middle school for                                                               
gentlemen;  the $4  that  each one  pays  provides for  community                                                               
school  activities for  the Soldotna  Middle School  PE [physical                                                               
education]  program   during  the   day  and   community  schools                                                               
activities for kids on the weekends.                                                                                            
Number 1564                                                                                                                     
MS. REEDER said that [the  community schools program] reaches out                                                               
to  the community,  and applies  for grants.   She  said she  has                                                               
written four  small grant  proposals in the  last month  that are                                                               
pending  for summer  programs.   She said  they try  to keep  the                                                               
school open  as often  as possible, when  they would  normally be                                                               
closed, and  in many  instances that  is up to  18 hours  per day                                                               
[counting the  school day].   Ms. Reeder  said that they  have an                                                               
excellent  working  relationship  with the  school  district  and                                                               
combine resources,  which provides  leverage to  do so  much more                                                               
than would normally  be possible.  The  community schools program                                                               
provides  cultural, educational,  and recreational  opportunities                                                               
for  all ages.    Classes  are even  offered  on the  legislative                                                               
process, which is very well attended.                                                                                           
MS.  REEDER,  in response  to  the  question  of impacts  of  the                                                               
reduction  of funds  in the  Soldotna community  schools program,                                                               
said their program has already  done all those things recommended                                                               
to raised  funds.  Some of  the changes they have  made to adjust                                                               
to the reduction in funding  are raising fees, closing the school                                                               
one  night per  week, and  eliminating  programs.   One of  those                                                               
programs was a craft program for  families; they used to do three                                                               
per year and now do two  because the money for supplies is short.                                                               
Those are  the kind of impacts  seen as the funds  diminish.  She                                                               
told  the  committee that  [the  community  schools program]  has                                                               
appreciated the  legislature's support in  the past and  hopes it                                                               
can count on it in the future.                                                                                                  
Number 1468                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  GATTO  announced that  that  concludes  the testimony  for                                                               
HB 165.                                                                                                                         
The committee took an at-ease from 12:17 p.m. to 12:25 p.m.                                                                     
Number 1419                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  asked  Mr.  Jeans if,  by  repealing  the                                                               
statute on HB  165, communities lose some  authority for facility                                                               
use,  insurance,  or  any  other   aspect  of  community  schools                                                               
activities.   He asked about  the alternative of not  funding the                                                               
grants, but leaving community schools in statute.                                                                               
Number 1350                                                                                                                     
MR. JEANS replied  as that as far  as he knows, there  is no loss                                                               
in  ability   to  use  those  facilities   for  community  school                                                               
purposes.   The  community schools  program will  continue to  be                                                               
operated by the school districts for after-school activities.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  asked  if  there  is  somewhere  else  in                                                               
statute  that  authorizes  that  use  or  if  this  is  the  only                                                               
statutory authority for community schools.                                                                                      
MR. JEANS responded that this  part of the statute authorizes use                                                               
for this specific  purpose, but there is not a  statute that says                                                               
a  school district  cannot use  its  facilities for  after-school                                                               
activities.   He said  there is  no prohibition  for this  use in                                                               
statutes.  [HB 165 was held over.]                                                                                              

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