Legislature(2009 - 2010)HOUSE FINANCE 519
03/26/2009 01:30 PM FINANCE
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HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE March 26, 2009 1:38 p.m. 1:38:48 PM CALL TO ORDER Co-Chair Hawker called the House Finance Committee meeting to order at 1:38 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Mike Hawker, Co-Chair Representative Bill Stoltze, Co-Chair Representative Bill Thomas Jr., Vice-Chair Representative Allan Austerman Representative Harry Crawford Representative Anna Fairclough Representative Richard Foster Representative Les Gara Representative Reggie Joule Representative Mike Kelly Representative Woodie Salmon MEMBERS ABSENT None ALSO PRESENT Dave Newton, Director of Student Services, Juneau School District; Peggy Brown, Executive Director, Alaska Network on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault; Ann Gifford, Attorney, Juneau; Woody Wilson, Superintendent, Wrangell Public Schools; Nancy DeCherney, Executive Director, Juneau Arts and Humanities; Aaron Elmore, Artistic Director, Theater in the Rough, Juneau; Andi Story, School Board Member, Juneau School District; Barb Angaiak, President, NEA Alaska, Juneau; Kyle Pickett, Music Director, Juneau Symphony; Ryan Conarro, Theater Artist, Juneau; Sara Conarro, Arts Educator, Juneau; Ray DePriest, Director of Career and Technical Education, Mat-Su School District; Patricia Hull, Trustee, Juneau Arts and Humanities Council; Lorrie Heagy, Librarian and Music Teacher, Glacier Valley Elementary School, Juneau. PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE Tom Griffiths, President, Kenai Peninsula Food Bank; Ginger Baim, Executive Director, S.A.F.E., Dillingham; Michelle DeWitt, Executive Director, Tundra Women's Coalition, Bethel; Gayle Eastwood, Petersburg; Jessica Clark, Infant Learning Program, Ketchikan; Jill Showman, President, Mat-Su Education Association, Wasilla; Billie Haan, Mat-Su School District, Palmer; Rebecca Blohm, Wasilla; Carl Crosman, Glennallen; Michael Johnson, Superintendent, Copper River School District, Glennallen; Candace Winkler, Alaska Child Care Resource Network, Anchorage; Eugene Paul, Holy Cross; Jessie Menkens, Anchorage; Nelson Augapak Sr, Vice President, Alaska Federation of Natives, Anchorage; Leslie Hajdukovich, President, Fairbanks School Board; Nancy Wagner, Superintendent, Fairbanks North Star Borough School District; Tom Morgan, State Director of Communities in Schools Alaska, Eagle River; Sarah Scanlan, Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Anchorage; Judy Cordell, AWAIC, Anchorage; Pat Holmes, Kodiak; Stewart McDonald, Superintendent, Kodiak Island Borough School District, Kodiak; Amelia Topkok, College of Rural and Community Development Health Programs, UA Fairbanks; Bob Beach, Fairbanks; Don Shircel, Director of Client Development, Tanana Chiefs Conference, Fairbanks; Dr. Norman Eck, Superintendent, NW Arctic Borough School District, Kotzebue; Brenda Stanfield, Interior Center for Nonviolent Living, Fairbanks; Stephanie Burglund, Anchorage; Jackie Stewart, Catalyst Business Consulting, Anchorage; Rhonda Hubbard, Fisheries, Seward; Britney Goodnight, Chugiak. GENERAL SUBJECT(S): The following overview was taken in log note format. Handouts will be on file with the House Finance Committee through the 26th Legislative Session, contact 465-6814. After the 26th Legislative Session they will be available through the Legislative Library at 465-3808. HB 199 "An Act making supplemental appropriations and capital appropriations; amending appropriations; and providing for an effective date." PUBLIC TESTIMONY TIME SPEAKER DISCUSSION 1:41:29 PM DAVE NEWTON, Voiced his support for education and DIRECTOR OF special education funds. He stressed STUDENT immediate and critical needs for SERVICES, special education funds, which he felt JUNEAU SCHOOL the stimulus package could meet. DISTRICT 1:43:32 PM Representative Asked if there were strings to the Gara special education stimulus money. 1:44:08 PM Mr. Newton Replied that the stipulations are similar to current Part B money. This is to offset local or state special education funds. 1:44:47 PM Representative Questioned what kind of special Gara education programs would be implemented with the stimulus funds. 1:44:58 PM Mr. Newton Emphasized critical understaffing in speech and language. He indicated the need in the area of assessments. In addition there are renewal issues in the districts in consistent materials and assessment of site levels in each school and mentoring for new teachers. 1:46:27 PM Co-Chair Asked about his desire for hiring more Hawker people and wondered what would happened to them in 18 months when money no longer there. 1:46:36 PM Mr. Newton Remarked that it depends on a number of different issues. In the mentoring, looking at using funds for structuring for next few years then existing staff after that. Speech and language will be student dependent. 1:47:36 PM Co-Chair Questioned if Mr. Newton understood the Hawker stimulus money is one time money and no commitment from state to continue it. Mr. Newton Replied he understood. 1:47:56 PM Co-Chair Asked if his school district would sign Hawker a paper stating they would not come back to the state to ask for additional funds. Mr. Newton Replied that he could not speak for the school district. 1:48:33 PM Co-Chair Counseled that the legislature needs Hawker assurance that people understand this is one-time money. 1:48:49 PM Representative Agreed with Co-Chair Hawker on making Fairclough sure this is a one-time appropriation. She voiced her concern on new programs being developed with this money. She asked how much money the Juneau school district received last year and what improvements had been made with that money. 1:50:04 PM Mr. Newton Replied he would have to refer to the school district finance officer. 1:50:32 PM Representative Declared that any school district Fairclough coming before the legislature asking for stimulus money to get this information. 1:50:58 PM Co-Chair Suggested that school reinvestment Hawker began two years ago not seven years. 1:51:09 PM Representative Assumed that school districts grant Joule money and not just rely on the state to run programs. He believed school districts are accustomed to getting short term funds and making the adjustment. Mr. Newton Agreed. 1:51:50 PM Representative Concurred with asking for things like Gara curriculum upgrades. He did not believe the legislature could ask schools to not come back in two years and ask for more money. Schools present their need and the legislature decides how much to fund. 1:53:00 PM Representative Urged remembering FY09 and FY10 Kelly projections for $2 billion deficits while spending stimulus funds. He believed the school district has grown dramatically in recent years and wanted assurances that schools did not think they had been handed a credit card to grow the budget further. 1:55:50 PM PEGGY BROWN, Requested that federal stimulus funds EXECUTIVE be accepted for the Council on Domestic DIRECTOR, Violence and Sexual Assault and Public ALASKA NETWORK Safety. She indicated the strain of ON DOMESTIC economic distress and accelerated VIOLENCE & domestic violence. She requested SEXUAL ASSAULT stimulus funds to fill existing positions and provide employment and training in urban areas, rural villages, and small Alaskan communities. The money will not be used to expand services, but to absorb the impact of domestic violence in the state. She urged funding the Stop Grant and CDVSA. She appreciated the increase in law enforcement. 2:00:37 PM ANN GIFFORD, Encouraged acceptance of all federal ATTORNEY, stimulus funds for arts and education. JUNEAU Many school districts are looking at cuts, which can be prevented by stimulus money. She also urged support for funding special education, especially for teacher training. 2:02:47 PM Co-Chair Commented that the legislature can not Hawker compel the governor to receive or spend the money; it is 100 percent up to the governor to apply for, received, and spend the money. 2:03:35 PM Representative Agreed it is up to the executive branch Gara but also up to the public to put pressure on the government. 2:04:15 PM WOODY WILSON, Urged acceptance of federal stimulus SUPERINTENDENTfunding for education. He would like to , WRANGELL employ a special education teacher to PUBLIC SCHOOLS assist in long-range plans and to train regular education teachers for the next two years. He would like to reimburse the tuition for teachers to become endorsed in special education, to hire a coordinator for career-learning programs and to offer programs to smaller communities, to hire a reading coordinator, and use stabilization funds for career development. He declared short-time money could be used to replace equipment and improve the technology infrastructure. Wrangell is working on distance education; the stimulus money could be used for this. In addition, math and science coordinators could be hired. He noted increases in salary and health care costs. 2:12:00 PM Co-Chair Asked if Mr. Wilson and the school Hawker board would be willing to sign an affidavit acknowledging the one-time nature of the funds and not ask for more money next year. Mr. Wilson Replied that his school board, as elected officials, would have to answer the question. 2:13:10 PM NANCY Advocated acceptance of all money for DECHERNEY, arts and education. The money asked for EXECUTIVE is very specific with stringent DIRECTOR, guidelines. She mentioned JUNEAU ARTS infrastructure as one use. AND HUMANITIES COUNCIL 2:14:31 PM Representative Asked if all the arts money is under Gara one grant item. Ms. Decherney Replied that $300,000 is in one grant. 2:15:12 PM TOM GRIFFITHS, Described concerns of the food bank in PRESIDENT, Soldotna. He related the project and BOARD OF mission to serve the hungry in the DIRECTORS, peninsula. He declared that food is KENAI provided to 65 different agencies and PENINSULA FOOD noted an increase of those needing BANK help. He discussed a construction project. 2:18:13 PM Co-Chair Did not believe the bill applies to Hawker this type of request. He described a legislative clearinghouse for community organizations to find what direct funding might be available in the stimulus package. 2:19:28 PM Representative Provided the phone number for the Fairclough Alaska Clearinghouse at 1-888-480-4321 on Friday. 2:20:07 PM GINGER BAIM, Asked that state accept all the funds EXECUTIVE for public safety and sexual assault DIRECTOR, programs. She urged understanding that S.A.F.E., non-profits are used to the DILLINGHAM stipulations of one-time funding. She stressed that her organization is ready and able to accept the funds. 2:22:55 PM Co-Chair Asserted that the governor does not Hawker make much time for the legislature so suggested that people reach out to her directly. 2:23:24 PM MICHELLE Urged acceptance of funds for public DEWITT, safety. She has been inundated with EXECUTIVE requests for help from shelters. She DIRECTOR, reported that most grant agreements are TUNDRA WOMEN'S one-year grants. COALITION, BETHEL 2:25:08 PM GAYLE Urged acceptance of funds for EASTWOOD, fertilizer for agriculture. Waste from PETERSBURG fish processing can be turned into fertilizer providing new jobs as well as help for farmers. The quality of grain and feed would improve. Co-Chair Referred her to the clearinghouse. Hawker 2:27:49 PM JESSICA CLARK, Urged support for education funding. EARLY LEARNING She believed there could be an increase PROGRAM, in professionalism with training. She KETCHIKAN noted that money spent from birth-3 years pays off later in life; early intervention makes a big difference for young people. She indicated she is not in the position to say they would not be back to ask for more funds, but would like this money available now. 2:30:20 PM AARON ELMORE, Encouraged support for arts and ARTISTIC education funding. He believed arts and DIRECTOR, education makes people human and better THEATER IN THE citizens. He urged the use of the money ROUGH, JUNEAU to change young people's lives. 2:33:18 PM ANDI STORY, Urged acceptance of the stimulus funds SCHOOL BOARD for education. She listed possible uses MEMBER, JUNEAU for the funding: staff development, SCHOOL including a science coach for DISTRICT elementary teachers and training for reading and writing; capital funding, including for technology infrastructure; one-time expenditures, including for drug and alcohol counselors; and other programs that are slated to be cut. She commented that increases in education funding are still resulting in cuts in districts. 2:36:48 PM BARB ANGAIAK, Thanked the efforts of the legislature PRESIDENT, NEA for funding education in the past. She ALASKA, JUNEAU has contacted the governor to accept all funds for education. She appreciated the increased school funding, but pointed out that it has not enabled school districts to develop programs and staff development. The money will be re-allocated to other states if not accepted. 2:40:11 PM Co-Chair Agreed money will be reallocated, but Hawker cautioned that taking the money could leave schools in a more precarious financial situation in future. Ms. Angaiak Did not think that investing in training and curriculum materials could ever put school districts in a precarious situation. 2:40:56 PM Co-Chair Referred to hiring new employees that Hawker would need to be paid after the funds ran out. He asked if NEA would be willing to demand that school districts put the money into curriculum development, maintenance, equipment, and training, and not use the money for expanding employment. 2:42:41 PM Ms. Angaisak Reminded the committee that she has no way of compelling a school district to do what they do not want to do. She believed the funds were for these types of projects. Ms. Angaisak explained she did not have a way to control school districts actions. Co-Chair Hawker appreciated her non answer. Co-Chair Indicated that he was extremely Hawker troubled that she could not give an answer to the question. He wanted commitment to utilizing this money for its intended use. He asked again if she would go to schools with his request. 2:43:03 PM Representative Disagreed with Co-Chair Hawker and Gara believed the school districts have the most knowledge and ability to spend the money to best educate the children over the long run. Co-Chair Stressed that the governor has the Hawker authority to spend the money and he was trying to coach those requesting money on how to get the governor on their side. 2:44:14 PM KYLE PICKETT, Urged acceptance of the arts and MUSIC education funding. He described the DIRECTOR, possibility of up to 30,000 arts groups JUNEAU folding in the country due to lack of SYMPHONY funds. He stressed the importance of money for the arts. He explained how National Endowment for the Arts money is dispersed; small groups are not usually on the map. He stressed how the arts are supported by grants from state arts councils. 2:48:49 PM JILL SHOWMAN, Testified in support of funding for PRESIDENT, education. The MatSu schools anticipate MAT-SU the elimination of four nurse EDUCATION positions; the stimulus money would ASSOCIATION, allow them to stay on staff and prepare WASILLA for the next two years. The schools need nurses to keep children safe. The money would also allow additional security staffing. The district is also looking at Title 1 funds and using funds for professional development. 2:51:51 PM BILLIE HAAN, Testified in support of funding for MAT-SU SCHOOL education. She would lose her job DISTRICT, without the stimulus money and this PALMER would help her family, even if it was only for two years. She understood this was one-time money and urged the committee to accept the full amount. 2:53:19 PM REBECCA BLOHM, Spoke in support of using the education WASILLA stimulus money. She detailed the benefits of funding special programs. She spoke of the use of Title 1 funds. She presently volunteers in the school, but the stimulus money may allow her to be employed, even if only for two years. 2:55:30 PM CARL CROSMAN, Thought the stimulus money should be GLENNALLEN spent on self-sustaining renewable energy projects. He listed three potential projects. 2:57:48 PM MICHAEL Urged caution for the long-term JOHNSON, consequences of using the stimulus SUPERINTENDENTfunds for the state and its children. , COPPER RIVER However, he supported acceptance of SCHOOL education funds because it is temporary DISTRICT, money. He noted that all children will GLENNALLEN pay the consequences of the bill in the future so it was important to allow Alaskan children to benefit from what they will one day pay for. His district focused on staff development, instructional technology, and enhancing summer and after school activities. 3:00:08 PM RYAN CONARRO, Spoke in support of the one-time THEATER funding for the arts in the stimulus ARTIST, JUNEAU package. He spoke of the National Endowment for the Arts. He stressed that he was "job ready" and listed the benefits to students from arts programs. 3:03:08 PM SARA CONARRO, Echoed support for federal economic ARTS EDUCATOR, stimulus money for the arts. She spoke JUNEAU of the benefits to children from the arts. 3:04:38 PM CANDACE Testified in support of the early care WINKLER, and education program in the stimulus ALASKA CHILD plan, particularly the child care CARE RESOURCE development block grant fund. She did NETWORK, not see a problem with short-term ANCHORAGE funding. She described child-care programs and ways to use the funding, including training and distance delivery technology. 3:07:29 PM EUGENE PAUL, Urged acceptance of federal stimulus TRIBAL CHIEF, funding for education. He also spoke HOLY CROSS in support of federal economic stimulus TRIBAL COUNCIL money for the arts, especially native crafts in the village. Funding is on a yearly basis and the stimulus money is needed in rural areas. 3:09:04 PM JESSIE Urged acceptance of federal stimulus MENKENS, funding for education, especially for ANCHORAGE child care development block grants. She stated concerns about childcare assistance rates. 3:11:07 PM NELSON AUGAPAK Urged acceptance of federal stimulus SR, VICE funding for education. He stated that PRESIDENT, AFN is in support of accepting all ARRA ALASKA funds. He testified in support of FEDERATION OF acceptance of federal economic stimulus NATIVES (AFN), money for the arts. He noted the high ANCHORAGE rates of unemployment, especially for Native Alaskans. He asked for acceptance of federal stimulus funds to address unemployment, particularly in rural Alaska. 3:17:44 PM LESLIE Spoke in support of accepting education HAJDUKOVICH, funds. She noted the district is PRESIDENT, looking for ways to spend the money FAIRBANKS without expanding programs. Some SCHOOL BOARD programs could be extended that are now being cut. The point of the stimulus is to stimulate the economy. She noted that the district regularly uses one- time money; the district will look carefully at programs that will not expand future funding, such as teacher training and technology upgrades. 3:20:53 PM NANCY WAGNER, Urged acceptance of federal stimulus SUPERINTENDENTfunding for education. They are able to , FAIRBANKS use funds without encumbering the NORTH STAR future. Title 1 funds will go a long BOROUGH SCHOOL way to address some of needs, DISTRICT especially in special education. Funding graduation coaches for two more years will help many to graduates during the funding period. Funding will increase the skills of teachers. 3:23:37 PM TOM MORGAN, Urged acceptance of federal stimulus STATE DIRECTOR funding for education. He stressed the OF COMMUNITIES importance of reading and graduation IN SCHOOLS results and urged funding for the ALASKA, EAGLE imagination library. RIVER 3:26:12 PM SARAH SCANLAN, Testified in support of accepting RURAL ALASKA various stimulus funds. She provided an COMMUNITY overview of Rural CAP services, and ACTION spoke to two stimulus allocations. PROGRAM, First, she addressed $3.9 million in ANCHORAGE community service block grant funds, which are available to Rural CAP as Alaska's only eligible agency, for moving low-income people toward self sufficiently. She assured the committee that no new jobs would be created to keep these programs. She addressed details regarding the $18.5 million weatherization allocation. The stimulus funds address immediate short-term needs with long-term impact. Co-Chair Assured her that the weatherization Hawker grants do not require statutory or regulatory change. 3:31:07 PM JUDY CORDELL, Echoed support for federal economic AWAIC, stimulus money for sexual assault and ANCHORAGE domestic violence. The funds would be used for one-time purchases and building repairs. 3:33:16 PM PAT HOLMES, Urged acceptance of federal stimulus KODIAK funding for education, health, public safety, and energy conservation. He addressed items that the governor did not want included and asked for a specific list. He urged looking at weatherization funding and funding for special education. Co-Chair Referred to a list on the Office of Hawker Management and Budget website. 3:38:36 PM STEWART Urged acceptance of federal stimulus MCDONALD, funding for education. He emphasized SUPERINTENDENTthat Title 1 and Title 6B funds go up , KODIAK and down each year and are outside the ISLAND BOROUGH general fund budget. The funds also SCHOOL address unexpected needs for special DISTRICT, education. The primary use for Title 6B KODIAK money in the district would be to meet No Child Left Behind requirements in the area of special education math. Expenditures would focus on a two-year emphasis. Some money would be used in the developmental pre-school program. He assured the committee that the school board has given the mandate not to grow the budget. 3:41:51 PM Co-Chair Appreciated the understanding of the Hawker temporal nature of the funds. 3:42:19 PM RAY DEPRIEST, Spoke for the Mat-Su Superintendent of DIRECTOR OF schools, who understands that the funds CAREER AND sunset in 2011. He believed the funds TECHNICAL will enhance the drop-out prevention EDUCATION, program, special education programs, MAT-SU SCHOOL the workforce youth program for job DISTRICT training, and early childhood education. The district is accustomed to dealing with grant funds and welcomes increased scrutiny of programs for financial audits. He thought the funding would benefit the economy in the Mat-Su region as well as students. Co-Chair Noted the superintendent's letter was Hawker in the record. 3:45:40 PM Representative Wondered if there was specific money Gara dedicated to vocational education. Mr. DePriest Explained that money is in the stimulus bill for vocational education under the Workforce Investment Act Grant. 3:46:49 PM PATRICIA HULL, Encouraged acceptance of funds for the TRUSTEE, arts, specifically for the Alaska State JUNEAU ARTS Council on the Arts. She pointed out AND HUMANITIES the experience arts and humanities COUNCIL groups have in dealing with short-term and changing funding. The funds will sustain arts groups through the financial crisis. Diverse groups come together through the arts and humanities; groups and individuals work together to make the community better. She listed individuals and groups who have contributed to the larger good and explained that often the largest expense is fuel. 3:50:05 PM LORRIE HEAGY, Asked for acceptance of funds for the LIBRARIAN AND arts and education. She described her MUSIC TEACHER, work with parents as a non-profit to GLACIER VALLEY work with young people to bring artists ELEMENTARY into the schools. After the first year, SCHOOL, JUNEAU reading scores rose dramatically. She has collected data over four years, including test scores, that demonstrate how partnering arts and education significantly helps at-risk kids. Even if the money stopped in two years, it would have important impact. 3:54:41 PM AMELIA TOPKOK, Urged acceptance of federal stimulus COLLEGE OF funding for education. She described RURAL AND CRCD services through the university, COMMUNITY including programs within rural high DEVELOPMENT schools and a summer health academy. (CRCD) HEALTH The program works frequently with PROGRAMS, UA short-term grants. She hoped the FAIRBANKS governor would accept the funds for the future well-being of the young. 3:58:14 PM BOB BEACH, Urged funding support for veterans. He FAIRBANKS also wanted a metal smelter on the North Slope to make equipment from recycled metals. 4:01:00 PM DON SHIRCEL, Supported the AARA and urged acceptance DIRECTOR OF of federal stimulus funding for CLIENT education. He described the division's DEVELOPMENT, education department, which addresses TANANA CHIEFS employment, training, and social CONFERENCE, services. The funds could greatly help FAIRBANKS for technology upgrades and teacher training. He expressed the need for rural school district funding. 4:03:48 PM DR. NORMAN Urged acceptance of federal stimulus ECK, funding for education. The district is SUPERINTENDENTscheduled to receive over $600,000 in , NW ARCTIC Title 1 special education funding both BOROUGH SCHOOL this year and next, which would be used DISTRICT, for reading and math materials for KOTZEBUE special needs students, to purchase technology infrastructure for distance learning, and for repairs and teacher housing. He understands the one-time use of the funds. 4:05:54 PM BRENDA Urged accepting money for victims of STANFIELD, violence and sexual assault. The money INTERIOR could be used for staff training, CENTER FOR outreach in the communities, public NONVIOLENT service announcements, and peer LIVING, counseling groups. The center is also FAIRBANKS lacking a data system. She also urged acceptance of federal stimulus funding for education. 4:09:08 PM STEPHANIE Urged acceptance of federal stimulus BURGLUND, funding for education. ANCHORAGE 4:10:21 PM JACKIE Asked for acceptance of in the federal STEWART, stimulus funds to address unemployment CATALYST and job creation. She spoke of the BUSINESS weatherization program and the need to CONSULTING, develop sustainable energy; fuel costs ANCHORAGE are hurting businesses significantly. She hoped for a vision for the state helping businesses. While working with the Southeast Small Business Development Center, she was the only person covering all of Southeast Alaska. The program has always been severely underfunded. She echoed support for federal economic stimulus money for all money allowed. 4:16:44 PM RHONDA Indicated her frustration with the ways HUBBARD, the stimulus package is being used. She FISHERIES, encouraged not taking funds for SEWARD programs that can not be sustained. She believed education funding is a black hole with child nutrition programs and social issues. She did support funding for vocational training. She hoped legislators would take less of the funds and use funds in discretion. She supported sustainable programs dealing with alcohol addiction. 4:22:52 PM BRITNEY Urged acceptance of federal stimulus GOODNIGHT, funding for domestic violence and CHUGIAK education programs. Co-Chair Closed public testimony. Hawker 4:30:09 PM Representative Wondered when the shovel-ready projects Kelly might begin. th Co-Chair Believed April 19 would be the time it Hawker was known what was on the street. He expressed frustration for the record with being unable to meet with the governor. 4:31:55 PM Representative Expressed concern about running down Kelly the clock and stressed the importance of putting people to work now during Alaska's short season. ADJOURNMENT The meeting was adjourned at 4:31 PM.