Legislature(2015 - 2016)HOUSE FINANCE 519

04/04/2016 01:30 PM House FINANCE

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01:32:29 PM Start
01:33:33 PM Confirmation Hearing: Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority: Laraine Derr
01:46:51 PM HB254
03:07:54 PM HB156
04:30:17 PM HB209
04:53:03 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Confirmation Hearing: TELECONFERENCED
Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority
Moved HB 254 Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 156(EDC) Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 209(FIN) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
HOUSE BILL NO. 156                                                                                                            
     "An Act relating to compliance with federal education                                                                      
     laws; relating to public school accountability; and                                                                        
     providing for an effective date."                                                                                          
3:07:54 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WES  KELLER, SPONSOR, explained  that he would                                                                   
be  happy to  provide  a general  overview  of  the bill  and                                                                   
answer any questions  members might have. However,  he wanted                                                                   
to first address the issue of the bill's fiscal note.                                                                           
Representative   Keller   began   by   asking   for   serious                                                                   
consideration of  and action on the bill. The  bill addressed                                                                   
three  sections  of  law.  The  first  had  to  do  with  the                                                                   
reporting requirements  for school districts. The  second was                                                                   
the  accountability section  which laid  out the  assessments                                                                   
and  different issues  related to  the No  Child Left  Behind                                                                   
(NCLB) Act,  the Every Student  Succeeds Act (ESSA),  and the                                                                   
duties of  the commissioner.  He explained  that much  of the                                                                   
bill  addressed housekeeping  issues. For  example, with  the                                                                   
ESSA there  was a  new emphasis  on local  control and  local                                                                   
input. He  referred to Section  6, page  3, line 26  where it                                                                   
talked about  the assessment process.  It required  the local                                                                   
input  of the  local school  district and  the teachers.  The                                                                   
most  colorful part  of  the bill  was  in  the last  section                                                                   
where  it  pushed   the  pause  button  on   standards  based                                                                   
assessments  until  the  Department of  Education  and  Early                                                                   
Development  and the  school  board could  come  back with  a                                                                   
report on the  totality of the state's section  of law, Title                                                                   
14, as it related to accountability  and assessments and with                                                                   
recommendations for  any changes. Most importantly  the group                                                                   
would  come  back  with  an assessment  plan  that  could  be                                                                   
implemented. He pointed to page 6 of the bill.                                                                                  
Representative Keller next wanted  to address the question as                                                                   
to whether the bill would cost  the state money. He contended                                                                   
that it  would not. However, he  was not confident  enough in                                                                   
bringing a zero fiscal note from  the DEED. He had supporting                                                                   
opinions from various  entities. He had a memo  from the U.S.                                                                   
Department  of Education  that  he would  be  passing out  to                                                                   
members  (Copy  on file).  He  relayed  that he  and  Senator                                                                   
Dunleavy   had  met   telephonically   with  Adam   Honeysett                                                                   
[Managing Director  of state and local outreach  for the U.S.                                                                   
Department of  Education] and  Ann Whalen [Senior  Advisor to                                                                   
the Secretary  of Elementary and  Secondary Education  of the                                                                   
U.S.  Department  of  Education]. They  subsequently  sent  a                                                                   
memo that  was forwarded  to the State  of Utah.  He wondered                                                                   
what  would  happen   if  the  state  did  not   fulfill  the                                                                   
requirements  laid  out in  NCLB  and  ESSA. He  mentioned  a                                                                   
handout  that members  had  in  their packets  (Letter  dated                                                                   
February  3, 2016  from Assistant  Secretary Deborah  Delisle                                                                   
to Commissioner  Mike Hanley:  copy on  file). He pointed  to                                                                   
number  3  on  page  3.  He  read   the  question  about  the                                                                   
consequences  of a state  or district  that failed  to adhere                                                                   
to the federal assessment requirements.                                                                                         
Representative  Keller  explained that  in  order  to have  a                                                                   
fiscal note,  there had to be  a decision somewhere  that the                                                                   
state  failed to  comply. He  contended  that it  would be  a                                                                   
difficult step  for the U.S.  Department of Education  to get                                                                   
over because the  intent of the bill was to take  a break and                                                                   
do a better  job of complying in terms of  accountability and                                                                   
assessment  issues. In other  words, if  there was  a failure                                                                   
to comply  enforcement actions could  be taken. There  were 7                                                                   
things  that could  be done if  the state  refused to  comply                                                                   
with the  requirements. He argued  again that it was  not the                                                                   
3:13:36 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Guttenberg  asked  Representative  Keller  to                                                                   
identify the  full document. Representative  Keller responded                                                                   
that  the full  document  was a  memo  from Deborah  Delisle,                                                                   
Assistant  Secretary of  the  U.S. Department  of  Education.                                                                   
The  memo  was  addressed to  Commissioner  Mike  Hanley.  He                                                                   
thought it was  the best response to the question  about what                                                                   
happened  to states  that did  not  comply. He  was happy  to                                                                   
supply the letter to the committee.                                                                                             
Co-Chair  Thompson  relayed that  he  would have  the  letter                                                                   
Representative  Keller  continued to  explain  that taking  a                                                                   
break  would   not  be  a   new  precedence.  The   State  of                                                                   
California took  a 3-year  break to review  its laws  and was                                                                   
receiving  reports. The  difference for  California was  that                                                                   
it negotiated  the  process as  it went along.  The State  of                                                                   
Alaska was in  a situation where there were  failed tests and                                                                   
angry  parents.  He  relayed  that the  ESSA  would  go  into                                                                   
effect  in  August  2016.  He   referred  back  to  the  U.S.                                                                   
Department's  letter  indicating that  it  was  early in  the                                                                   
process of implementing  the ESSA and many decisions  had not                                                                   
been  made yet.   He  thought  that it  was  logical for  the                                                                   
State  of Alaska to  take a  break to  develop an  assessment                                                                   
plan  and  to  conduct  a review  of  the  state's  laws  and                                                                   
regulations  having to do  with ESSA.  He reported  that ESSA                                                                   
afforded more local control.                                                                                                    
Representative  Keller  next   referred  to  page  4  of  Ms.                                                                   
Delisle's  letter  that addressed  the  specific  enforcement                                                                   
actions. He read directly from the letter:                                                                                      
     "The specific enforcement action (s) the Department of                                                                     
     Education would take depends on the severity of non-                                                                       
Representative  Keller surmised  that  Alaska would  unlikely                                                                   
experience   severe   enforcement   actions  based   on   the                                                                   
intention  of  taking a  break  to  get things  accurate.  He                                                                   
noted that  the state would not  be refusing to  do anything.                                                                   
Rather, the  state was taking  a break. He also  informed the                                                                   
committee that the  money was Title "A" money:  federal money                                                                   
designated  to be  dispersed to  states with  the attempt  to                                                                   
make  things equitable  for  disadvantaged  students. In  the                                                                   
act of  applying for  Title A money  the state promised  that                                                                   
it would follow  all of the rules. One of the  rules was that                                                                   
Alaska  had  to test  grades  3  to 8  and  a grade  in  high                                                                   
school. He  thought Alaska was  in an uncomfortable  position                                                                   
because  The Alaska  Measures  of Progress  (AMP) failed.  He                                                                   
noted that  in the  previous week  in Education Weekly  there                                                                   
was  a report  on  different states  and  it discussed  state                                                                   
school boards across  the nation feeling the  urgency to flex                                                                   
muscle. He claimed  that what Alaska was trying to  do was to                                                                   
reinsert itself  back into the education policy  business. He                                                                   
continued  that   the  money  had  gone  directly   into  the                                                                   
department and, in  turn, the department had given  it to the                                                                   
districts.  He believed  that having input  in the  education                                                                   
process was critical.                                                                                                           
3:18:42 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Keller  continued to discuss the  issue of the                                                                   
assessment.  He  talked about  dealing  with the  parents  of                                                                   
students. He  thought it  was a mistake  to choose  the wrong                                                                   
people  to handle  the subject.  He  believed people  working                                                                   
for the  state wanted  a good  assessment plan.  He had  also                                                                   
had the  opportunity to get to  know some of the  new members                                                                   
of the State  Board of Education and was impressed.  He urged                                                                   
the  committee to  proceed with  the legislation.  He had  no                                                                   
problem with the indeterminate fiscal note.                                                                                     
Representative  Gattis  thanked   Representative  Keller  for                                                                   
bringing  the legislation  forward.  She  thought  it was  an                                                                   
ideal  time to  be  looking at  the state's  assessment.  She                                                                   
thought it was  a good idea to think about  pushing the pause                                                                   
or reset  button and  mentioned the  state might be  eligible                                                                   
for a  waiver. She liked the  option of applying  hind sight.                                                                   
Other states had  been able to do so. She thought  the timing                                                                   
was perfect.                                                                                                                    
Representative  Keller responded  that the  worst case  would                                                                   
be  that the  legislature would  pass  the law  and the  U.S.                                                                   
Department  of Education would  not approve  of it.  It would                                                                   
take  some  time before  the  state  received any  notice  of                                                                   
disapproval. He  supposed that by  such time the  state would                                                                   
be able to complete its own assessment.                                                                                         
3:23:14 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Kawasaki  referred  to  the letter  that  was                                                                   
handed  out during  the meeting.  The  letter indicated  that                                                                   
the U.S.  Department of  Education could  withhold a  portion                                                                   
of  the state's  Title  1  Part  A administrative  funds  and                                                                   
programmatic funds. He wondered what the value equated to.                                                                      
Representative   Keller  suggested  Representative   Kawasaki                                                                   
direct  his question  to the DEED.  He pointed  out that  the                                                                   
letter specifically  stated "administrative  funds"  would be                                                                   
at  risk.  He relayed  that  administrative  funds  would  be                                                                   
withheld  before program  funding  was revoked.  He had  been                                                                   
told by  the Department of Education  that 70 percent  of the                                                                   
revenue  for the  department was  federal money.  He did  not                                                                   
know what portion was Title 1A.                                                                                                 
Representative  Gara asked  about the  implementation of  the                                                                   
ESSA  adopted in  the prior  year.  He wondered  if the  bill                                                                   
reestablished  the  designation  of  schools.  Representative                                                                   
Keller  responded that  the legislation  did  not change  the                                                                   
state's  law regarding  the designation  process. One  of the                                                                   
requirements  was for the  school system to  give a  grade to                                                                   
schools  and to  assign  a designation  and  a  grade to  the                                                                   
state  education system.  However,  the state  had never  set                                                                   
any guidelines  for grading. There  was one slight  change in                                                                   
the bill that  required the DEED to assign  a designation for                                                                   
the state  public school system  based on the  proficiency of                                                                   
students compared to other states.                                                                                              
Representative  Gara  wondered   if  the  designations  under                                                                   
state law  were adopted  because of the  passage of  the NCLB                                                                   
Act. Representative  Keller responded in the  affirmative and                                                                   
added there  was not a  lack of interest  in knowing  how the                                                                   
state's school system was performing.                                                                                           
3:26:51 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Gara remembered one  of the largest  flaws of                                                                   
the  federal designation  system was  that although  teachers                                                                   
and  a school's  administration  were doing  a  good job  and                                                                   
students were  making improvements, given where  the students                                                                   
were starting  or their  home life, some  of them  were still                                                                   
failing. The designation  was influenced. He wondered  if the                                                                   
state   still    maintained   the   same    grading   system.                                                                   
Representative  Keller admitted  that in  some ways the  bill                                                                   
kicked  the can  down  the road.  However,  it  called for  a                                                                   
review process.                                                                                                                 
Representative  Gara asked if  it was  more feasible  to come                                                                   
up with  a better school ranking  system rather than  the one                                                                   
from the  NCLB Act. Representative  Keller indicated  that it                                                                   
would be a monumental  task. The bill was an  attempt to look                                                                   
at  things more  closely  and get  further  input from  local                                                                   
school  districts, parents,  and  students.  There were  many                                                                   
people in  the state that had  a lot invested in  the current                                                                   
system. He  suggested that the  bill provided a  step forward                                                                   
to get  collaborative input on  how to proceed, but  it would                                                                   
not fix all of the problems.                                                                                                    
Representative  Wilson relayed  the state  did not  currently                                                                   
use  the same  system to  grade  the state's  schools as  was                                                                   
used when  the NCLB Act was  in place. She reported  that the                                                                   
state  changed  it  with  a  waiver,   imposed  more  teacher                                                                   
accountability,  and switched  to  a star  rating system  for                                                                   
school  performance.  She  had  just  read  an  article  that                                                                   
stated that  the new testing  that was most recently  imposed                                                                   
was a failure  because of technical and computer  issues. She                                                                   
wanted  Representative Keller's  take on  classroom time  and                                                                   
teaching versus continuing tests.                                                                                               
Representative Keller  restated that it was a  time of crisis                                                                   
with  several  loose  ends needing  resolution.  He  believed                                                                   
testing was critical  and important in education  in order to                                                                   
better  understand the  educational  needs  of each  student.                                                                   
From a teacher's  perspective student learning  was extremely                                                                   
important,  and  from  the state's  perspective  in  spending                                                                   
money, accountability  was very  important. He felt  that the                                                                   
legislation provided an opportunity to come together.                                                                           
3:31:58 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Gattis  responded  to  Representative  Gara's                                                                   
comment.  She asserted  that there  were  several things  the                                                                   
state placed into  statute that dealt with the  NCLB Act. She                                                                   
thought the  state would definitely  have to conduct  another                                                                   
review.  She added  that  with  the signing  of  the ESSA  in                                                                   
December 2015  states were still  trying to figure  out their                                                                   
options  and  what  was  allowed.  She  believed  there  were                                                                   
several  things at  play and that  the state  should not  get                                                                   
ahead  of  itself. She  thought  the  bill helped  press  the                                                                   
pause  button  and to  come  together.  There would  be  huge                                                                   
changes in reporting,  the statute, how the  state graded its                                                                   
schools,  and   how  it  held   its  teachers   and  students                                                                   
accountable. She  agreed with Representative Gara  that there                                                                   
was a  flaw in  the system.  There were  folks that  were not                                                                   
graded  on  their  progress.  Teachers  that  could  help  to                                                                   
advance  a  student from  a  second  grade proficiency  to  a                                                                   
third or fourth  grade proficiency were not  given due credit                                                                   
because of  the student not  being proficient in  an expected                                                                   
grade.  There  were  huge  challenges   for  the  state.  She                                                                   
thought in  going through the  process and slowing  down, the                                                                   
state would have an advantage.                                                                                                  
Vice-Chair Saddler  referred to Section  2, page 2,  lines 9-                                                                   
10  of the  bill.  It  described  that the  department  would                                                                   
inform the  governing body  of the  designations assigned  to                                                                   
the  district  and to  the  state  public school  system.  He                                                                   
wondered  who applied  the designation  to  the state  public                                                                   
school  system. Representative  Keller  clarified that  there                                                                   
was a  section of  the law  that drove  the designation  that                                                                   
was not in the legislation. He referred to AS 14.03.123a.                                                                       
Vice-Chair Saddler read from statute AS 14.03.123a:                                                                             
     (a) By  September 1 of  each year, the department  shall                                                                   
     assign a  performance designation to each  public school                                                                   
     and  school  district and  to  the state  public  school                                                                   
     system in accordance with (f) of this section.                                                                             
Vice-Chair Saddler  relayed that later  on in (g)  it defined                                                                   
"state   public   school   system."    He   asked   for   the                                                                   
representative to  provide a couple examples of  the elements                                                                   
of a public  school system by which Alaska's  system could be                                                                   
compared to those of other states.                                                                                              
Representative   Keller  responded   that  in  drafting   the                                                                   
legislation  he  did not  want  to  get specific  about  what                                                                   
would  be used. It  stated that  the state  board would  make                                                                   
the regulations  for the determination.  He relayed  that the                                                                   
only  tool that  did a  proficiency  comparison was  National                                                                   
Assessment  of Educational  Progress  (NAEP).   The bill  did                                                                   
not designate  what was to  be used other  than it had  to be                                                                   
based on proficiency.  There were tests that  were comparable                                                                   
that the  board could  look at  using. He  left the  language                                                                   
broad on purpose.                                                                                                               
3:36:49 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair  Saddler  referred  to  the  indeterminate  fiscal                                                                   
note.  He highlighted  a  couple of  places  in the  analysis                                                                   
section  of  the fiscal  note  that  stated that  the  fiscal                                                                   
impact  could  not  be  determined   because  of  a  lack  of                                                                   
measures  necessary  to  estimate  costs.  He  expressed  his                                                                   
concerns  about  going  ahead   with  an  assessment  without                                                                   
knowing  the designations  or measures  or the  price of  the                                                                   
Representative  Keller  highlighted that  the  bill placed  a                                                                   
tool  in the  tool box  for the  commissioner  and the  state                                                                   
board in  interpreting and figuring  out how the  state would                                                                   
respond  to forthcoming  regulations.  It  was  not that  the                                                                   
state would be  incurring a cost by some  federal enforcement                                                                   
act that  worried him. It  was more that  the state  would be                                                                   
at the  table with  the federal  government trying  to figure                                                                   
out what was going on.                                                                                                          
Vice-Chair Saddler  did not want to lose the  $200 million of                                                                   
federal   money   in  impact   aid.   Representative   Keller                                                                   
responded that it  happened one year at a time.  If there was                                                                   
a  threat of  losing  millions of  dollars  of federal  money                                                                   
legislation would  be before the committee again.  He was not                                                                   
particularly worried  about the  federal money but  he wanted                                                                   
it to  show up  on the  fiscal note  as indeterminate  rather                                                                   
than zero. However,  at present he would be  comfortable with                                                                   
a zero fiscal note.                                                                                                             
Representative Guttenberg  referred to Section 8,  page 6, on                                                                   
line  16. He  wondered if  the  bill placed  the standards  -                                                                   
based assessment  on hold  between July 1,  2016 and  July 1,                                                                   
2018. The  bill would not  allow the first administration  of                                                                   
whatever plan  that was  developed until  the school  year of                                                                   
2020.  There  was  always  a   contradiction  between  having                                                                   
assessments  and not  having assessments  and standards  when                                                                   
speaking  with   teachers.  He  wondered  if   students  fall                                                                   
between  the seams  by not  having something  when they  were                                                                   
applying for  college. He was  concerned that  colleges would                                                                   
reject Alaskan  students  because they  did not have  testing                                                                   
or  grades  to compare  with  those  of students  from  other                                                                   
states.  He  thought   the  change  being  proposed   in  the                                                                   
legislation was  significant. He  asked if Alaska's  students                                                                   
would  fall   through  the   cracks.  Representative   Keller                                                                   
responded  that  members  of  the  committee  understood  the                                                                   
dynamics of  what happened  in the  districts better  than he                                                                   
did.  He mentioned  the most  recent  education chairman  and                                                                   
deferred to a district expert.                                                                                                  
3:41:32 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative   Munoz  asked   if   school  districts   were                                                                   
supportive  of the  bill. Representative  Keller stated  that                                                                   
districts were  concerned with  anything that might  threaten                                                                   
federal money.  However, he received positive  responses from                                                                   
many  districts  about a  possible  change. He  thought  that                                                                   
districts' fears were over-rated.                                                                                               
Representative  Munoz asked if  there was enough  flexibility                                                                   
for states  to figure things  out by  2020 with the  new ESSA                                                                   
Representative  Keller  responded  that  in  his  opinion  he                                                                   
thought yes.  He added that the  state did not know  what the                                                                   
response of  the federal government  would be. The  state was                                                                   
not  simply  refusing  to  comply.   Rather,  the  state  was                                                                   
wanting to do it correctly with some time to do so.                                                                             
Representative  Munoz  clarified that  all  testing would  be                                                                   
discontinued   from   third   grade   when   testing   began.                                                                   
Representative Keller  responded that she was  incorrect. The                                                                   
department  would not  be  able to  require  assessment-based                                                                   
testing.  He  elaborated that  when  a  school took  Title  1                                                                   
monies it was  a promise to conduct testing.  The requirement                                                                   
did not go away.  The state was halting the  state department                                                                   
from using  the sanction  on the  mandate on local  districts                                                                   
to administer the assessment-based test.                                                                                        
Representative  Munoz   asked  whether  the   district  would                                                                   
continue  with the testing  if it  received federal  funding.                                                                   
She wondered  if the state  department could not  require the                                                                   
testing.  Representative Keller  responded affirmatively.  He                                                                   
indicated  that   the  Department  of  Education   and  Early                                                                   
Development  agreed  to  require  the  testing.  The  federal                                                                   
government  required   the  state   to  offer  the   test  to                                                                   
everyone. It required  districts to administer  the tests. It                                                                   
did not  require parents  to take  the test. The  requirement                                                                   
stated  that the  test  had to  be administered  to  everyone                                                                   
fairly.  No group  of people could  not be  excluded. It  was                                                                   
part of the NCLB Act which was in effect until August 2016.                                                                     
3:45:11 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative   Gattis    wondered   if   she    had   heard                                                                   
Representative  Keller correctly  that the  schools would  be                                                                   
able to  continue their  testing. She  recognized that  other                                                                   
states had  applied for  waivers or  the opportunity  to slow                                                                   
the process down  to get things right. She  wanted to confirm                                                                   
that  Alaska  would  not  be jumping  "out  of  the  box"  in                                                                   
comparison  to  other  states.    She  thought  the  Title  1                                                                   
dollars were a  huge concern. She asked if it  was his intent                                                                   
to decline  the federal dollars  or to just slow  the process                                                                   
down to  get things correct  using the federal  dollars while                                                                   
going through the  process. She opined that the  new ESSA was                                                                   
a  moving  target that  needed  to  be better  understood  in                                                                   
terms of what it allowed.                                                                                                       
Representative  Keller  responded   that  by  taking  federal                                                                   
dollars  the  state  was  obligated  to  operate  as  it  was                                                                   
currently operating  - basically operating as  an outpost for                                                                   
policy   from  the   U.S.   Department   of  Education.   The                                                                   
legislation  would allow  the  commissioner  to have  another                                                                   
tool in the toolbox to negotiate.                                                                                               
Co-Chair  Thompson  indicated   that  the  meeting  would  be                                                                   
recessed  for 10  minutes. Upon  reconvening  representatives                                                                   
from the DEED would be testifying on HB 156.                                                                                    
3:48:08 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
3:57:26 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Thompson  relayed  that Ms.  MacKinnon  and  Deputy                                                                   
Commissioner Walter available from the DEED.                                                                                    
BETTY  WALTERS, INTERIM  DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT  OF                                                                   
EDUCATION AND EARLY DEVELOPMENT, introduced herself.                                                                            
MARGARET     MACKINNON,     DIRECTOR,      ASSESSMENT     AND                                                                   
ACCOUNTABILITY,    DEPARTMENT   OF   EDUCATION    AND   EARLY                                                                   
DEVELOPMENT, introduced herself.                                                                                                
Representative  Kawasaki  referred  to  the question  he  had                                                                   
asked the  sponsor of the bill  dealing with funding.  In the                                                                   
memo members  received written to Commissioner  Hanley stated                                                                   
that  failure  to comply  with  the  assessment  requirements                                                                   
could place  Title 1, Part A  funds in jeopardy.  He wondered                                                                   
how  much funding  could be  at risk.  Ms. MacKinnon  replied                                                                   
that Title  1a funding  was approximately  $40 million  which                                                                   
included  money that  went out  to each of  the districts  in                                                                   
the state.                                                                                                                      
Representative  Kawasaki continued  to reference portions  of                                                                   
the memo  to Commissioner  Hanley  that went  on to say  that                                                                   
the state  could find  itself out of  compliance with  a wide                                                                   
range of  other programs that  required the state  assessment                                                                   
results.  One of  them was  school  improvement grants,  ESSA                                                                   
Title  III, Part  B, which  dealt with  the Individuals  with                                                                   
Disabilities  Act. Another  was  programs  for rural  schools                                                                   
under ESSA  Title IV.  Additionally it  could affect  migrant                                                                   
education  under ESSA  Title 1,  Part C. He  wondered if  she                                                                   
had a value  for each listed. Ms. MacKinnon  responded in the                                                                   
affirmative.  She stated  that  based on  the information  in                                                                   
the letter, the  total amount of funds that  were represented                                                                   
would be over $99 million for FY 2017.                                                                                          
3:59:55 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Wilson  asked if it  was an opportunity  to be                                                                   
able to reevaluate  what kind of testing the  state wanted to                                                                   
conduct. She  wondered if it  would provide more  opportunity                                                                   
and   flexibility  to   utilize  the   testing  that   school                                                                   
districts  were  already  doing   such  as  the  Measures  of                                                                   
Academic Progress  (MAP) testing.  She suggested that  it was                                                                   
a  reset of  sorts. She  believed  the bill's  intent was  to                                                                   
utilize the  opportunity to  do what  was best for  Alaskans.                                                                   
The most recent testing was not very successful.                                                                                
Ms.   MacKinnon  reported   that   she  had   had  a   recent                                                                   
conversation  with Anne  Whalen, the  assistant secretary  at                                                                   
the  U.S. Department  of  Education to  clarify  some of  the                                                                   
requirements under  the ESSA. She had provided  Dr. McCauley,                                                                   
the  department's   interim  commissioner,   a  letter.   She                                                                   
continued  that  the passage  of  the  ESSA did  provide  the                                                                   
state  more  flexibility  in  certain  areas.    Those  areas                                                                   
primarily   related    to   the   design   of    the   school                                                                   
accountability  system  that had  some  required  indicators,                                                                   
including achievement  on the  state assessments, and  also a                                                                   
measure of  growth. In other  words, not everything  would be                                                                   
based only on  the assessment. There was some  flexibility in                                                                   
the  assessment and  a couple  of new  options. However,  the                                                                   
state  was  still   required  to  give  the   same  statewide                                                                   
assessment to measure  the state's standards to  all students                                                                   
in grades 3 through  8 annually and at least  once in school.                                                                   
There was  an option  allowing a  state to approve  districts                                                                   
to request  a local  choice of  a nationally recognized  high                                                                   
school  assessment comparable  to and  reported similarly  to                                                                   
the  results  on  the state's  assessment.  The  option  only                                                                   
applies to high school and not to grades 3 through 8.                                                                           
Representative  Wilson  asked if  other  states had  obtained                                                                   
waivers.  She supposed  other  states  were taking  a  slower                                                                   
approach  to  making  the  necessary  changes  and  doing  it                                                                   
correctly. Ms.  MacKinnon reported having talked  with people                                                                   
who had  worked with the  state department in  California and                                                                   
also asked Anne  Whalen at the U.S. Department  of Education.                                                                   
The  situation  in  California  was that  they  were  in  the                                                                   
process of implementing  the smarter balanced  assessment. In                                                                   
the  year  in  which  the  assessments   were  field  tested,                                                                   
California used those  assessments in a field  test mode then                                                                   
transitioned  into the  regular assessment  in the  following                                                                   
year. Some of the  transition might have had to  do with when                                                                   
the assessments were  used or growth from the  assessments in                                                                   
California's  accountability system.  She thought having  the                                                                   
assessment  was  different. Assistant  Secretary  Whalen  had                                                                   
indicated that  no state  had been able  to receive  a waiver                                                                   
of the assessment requirements.                                                                                                 
4:03:35 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative   Wilson   noted   that  she   had   requested                                                                   
previously that the  state would not make up its  own test or                                                                   
cut  scores. She  did not  believe  it was  fair to  Alaska's                                                                   
children.  The  State  had not  been  successful  again.  She                                                                   
hoped  that  the state  had  learned  that there  were  great                                                                   
assessments  available. She  contended  that it  was time  to                                                                   
stop trying  to reinvent  the wheel and  to start  looking at                                                                   
assessments that  were already  available for less  money and                                                                   
allowed  for comparison  of Alaska's  kids to  kids in  other                                                                   
Representative  Guttenberg   asked  about   the  department's                                                                   
evaluation  of  the bill.  He  also  asked how  difficult  it                                                                   
would be  to align  assessment tests  if they were  different                                                                   
from  school  district  to  school  district.  Ms.  MacKinnon                                                                   
responded   that  the   state  would   have  a  high   school                                                                   
assessment.   The  state  could   opt  to  allow   individual                                                                   
districts  to  choose  a nationally  recognized  high  school                                                                   
assessment  such as  the ACT  (American  College Testing)  or                                                                   
the SAT  (Scholastic Aptitude  Test). The U.S.  Department of                                                                   
Education was  clear that  the ACT and  the SAT were  not the                                                                   
only  examples and  that  it would  be up  to  the states  to                                                                   
determine whether  to allow a  district to choose to  give an                                                                   
alternate   assessment.   The   test   would   have   to   be                                                                   
administered  to all students  in a  district and would  have                                                                   
to  measure and  be able  to be  reported  comparably to  the                                                                   
state's   assessment  (designed   to   measure  the   state's                                                                   
standards).   It  was   a   process  of   determining   other                                                                   
assessments that  could also be shown to measure  the state's                                                                   
Representative  Guttenberg assumed that  it was feasible  and                                                                   
not  as  difficult  as  it  could  be.  He  asked  about  the                                                                   
department's consideration  of the bill  in terms of  what it                                                                   
did,  its implementation,  and  the  risk of  losing  federal                                                                   
funding if  it passed. Ms.  MacKinnon responded that  the way                                                                   
in which the  bill was written would prohibit  the department                                                                   
from  requiring   districts  to   take  a  test   within  the                                                                   
following  2 school years.  She thought  that it  potentially                                                                   
put the state at  risk for losing Title 1 federal  funds. She                                                                   
reported receiving  a letter that  indicated the  state would                                                                   
be  out  of   compliance.  She  was  working   with  district                                                                   
superintendents  and stake holders  to look  at what  kind of                                                                   
assessment  the  state  would  want  to  implement  over  the                                                                   
following 2  years. Alaska  had choices and  did not  have to                                                                   
have  a  custom  assessment,   only  one  that  measured  the                                                                   
state's  standards. She  suggested that  the state might  end                                                                   
up   with  a   system   of   assessments.  There   was   some                                                                   
flexibility. She  reiterated that the  state would be  out of                                                                   
compliance if it did not administer an assessment.                                                                              
Representative   Guttenberg    thought   it   would    be   a                                                                   
considerable  risk.  He  wanted  to  weigh  and  measure  the                                                                   
state's  ability to  do its own  assessment  and the risk  of                                                                   
lost funding which would affect Alaska immediately.                                                                             
4:08:34 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Thompson OPENED HB 156 to public testimony.                                                                            
Co-Chair Thompson CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                      
4:09:24 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair  Saddler reviewed  the  indeterminate fiscal  note                                                                   
from  DEED.  The  appropriation  was  Teaching  and  Learning                                                                   
Support   and  the   allocation   was  Student   and   School                                                                   
Achievement.  The Office of  Budget and Management  component                                                                   
number was  2796. The amount  was zero for  FY 17 and  in the                                                                   
future it was indeterminate.                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair  Saddler MOVED  to REPORT  CHHB 156  (EDC) out  of                                                                   
committee   with    individual   recommendations    and   the                                                                   
accompanying fiscal note.                                                                                                       
Representative Kawasaki OBJECTED for discussion.                                                                                
Representative  Kawasaki relayed  having  a discussion  about                                                                   
the previous bill  dealing with the BGCSB with  a fiscal note                                                                   
indicating  a  cost of  about  $20  thousand for  travel.  He                                                                   
thought  that  there  was  a   larger  picture  to  look  at.                                                                   
Although  the   fiscal  note  detailed  potential   loses  of                                                                   
federal  education funds  and impact aide  that could  equate                                                                   
to $200.2  million. He had not  seen an updated  letter other                                                                   
than the one  dated February 3, 2014 to  Commissioner Hanley.                                                                   
It  seemed like  there  might be  more  information from  the                                                                   
department  that  they  had  received   a  subsequent  letter                                                                   
stating  that  if,  in  fact,   the  state  did  not  have  a                                                                   
standardized  test in 2017  and 2018 it  could cost  Alaska a                                                                   
large amount  of money. He  did not feel comfortable  letting                                                                   
the bill  out of  committee without  fully understanding  its                                                                   
impact. He  thought it was  bad business to push  legislation                                                                   
forward without knowing the consequences to the state.                                                                          
Representative Kawasaki WITHDREW his OBJECTION.                                                                                 
Representative Guttenberg OBJECTED for discussion.                                                                              
Representative  Wilson   thought  the  state   had  a  unique                                                                   
opportunity.  She thought  that  the letter  to  Commissioner                                                                   
Hanley from  the U.S. Department  of Education  conveyed that                                                                   
each school district  could design a test to be  used for the                                                                   
purpose  of assessing  state  standards.  She favored  moving                                                                   
the bill forward.                                                                                                               
Representative   Guttenberg  spoke   to  his  objection.   He                                                                   
indicated that without  having a better understanding  of the                                                                   
true risk  or implications  of losing  about $90 million  per                                                                   
year  in   federal  funding,   he  could   not  support   the                                                                   
legislation. The  bill sponsor  had mentioned coming  back in                                                                   
the following year  to fix any issues. However,  he mentioned                                                                   
that even a  brief simple bill took months  to travel through                                                                   
the  legislature. He  did  not want  to  risk losing  federal                                                                   
Representative  Gattis believed  the  state was  in a  "Catch                                                                   
22" position  and thought moving  forward would be  the right                                                                   
thing to do currently. She would be supporting the bill.                                                                        
4:14:53 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
4:21:34 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Kawasaki   discussed  the  letter   from  the                                                                   
United States  Department of Education  dated, April  1, 2016                                                                   
(copy  on  file).  He  believed   the  letter  conveyed  that                                                                   
federal   funds  and   impact   aid  could   potentially   be                                                                   
jeopardized and opposed the legislation.                                                                                        
4:22:24 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Gattis  remarked that although  she understood                                                                   
Representative  Kawasaki's  point  of view,  she  hoped  that                                                                   
prior to  the bill getting to  the floor there would  be more                                                                   
of an  opportunity to take a  harder look at  the legislation                                                                   
and  some  of the  options  other  states had  executed.  She                                                                   
would be a "yes" vote.                                                                                                          
Representative Guttenberg MAINTAINED his OBJECTION.                                                                             
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
IN FAVOR: Gattis,  Munoz,  Pruitt, Saddler,  Wilson,  Edgmon,                                                                   
OPPOSED: Guttenberg, Kawasaki,                                                                                                  
Representative  Neuman and  Representative  Gara were  absent                                                                   
from the vote.                                                                                                                  
The MOTION PASSED (7/2).                                                                                                        
CSHB  156 (EDC)  was REPORTED  out  of committee  with a  "do                                                                   
pass"   recommendation   and   with  a   previously   publish                                                                   
indeterminate fiscal note: FN1 (EED).                                                                                           
4:23:42 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
4:25:11 PM                                                                                                                    
4:25:24 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Thompson  called  the  meeting back  to  order  and                                                                   
indicated that there was a committee substitute.                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB254 Opposing Documents-Email Rolan Ruoss 3-22-2016.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 254
HB254 Sponsor Statement.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 254
HB 254 Sunset BGCSB - Mike McCrary Letter.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 254
HB254 Supporting Documents-BGCS LBA Audit.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 254
HB254 Supporting Documents-Email Henry D Tiffany IV 1-21-2016.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 254
HB254 Supporting Documents-Email Paul A Chervenak 2-16-2016.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 254
HB254 Supporting Documents-Report-Economic Impacts of Guided Hunting Final docx.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 254
HB254 Supporting Documents-Report-SLC 1 19 16 Division of Corporations Business and Professional Licensi.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 254
aCS HB 156 Sponsor Statment.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 156
cCSHB 156S.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 156
bCSHB0156-X.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 156
dCSHB 156 Sectional.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 156
eHB0156A.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 156
fHB0156-EED Fiscal.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 156
gCSHB 156 Ed Vote.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 156
hCSHB 156 researh rpt..pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 156
iCSHB 156 DOE Key Perf Indicators.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 156
jCSHB 156 2016 DOE-budget Narrative.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 156
kHB 156 FED LAW REVISE.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 156
lCSHB 156 Ed Week stories.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 156
HB 209 Materials - 2015 House Count of Homes Served.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 209
HB 209 Materials - Alaska Challenge R&D Project.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 209
HB 209 Materials - Agency Coordination.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 209
HB 209 Materials - Current Funding Needs and Available Funds.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 209
HB 209 Materials - Water Innovations for Healthy Arctic Homes conference.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 209
HB 209 Sponsor Statement.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 209
HB 209 Supporting Documents AK constitution.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 209
HB 209 Supporting Documents Water_Sewer_Systems_Feb2015.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 209
HB 209 VSW Petrolium Revenue and PFD payouts.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 209
HB 209 VSW Supporting Documents DEC funding.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 209
HB 209 CS WORKDRAFT FIN vP 4-4-16.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 209
HB 254 NEW FN DCCED CBPL 4-1-16.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HFIN 4/12/2016 8:30:00 AM
HB 254
HB 254 Resident Hunters of Alaska - Comments on HB 254.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 254
HB 254 Resident Hunters of Alaska - Comments on HB 254.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 254
HB 254 SCI Letter.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 254
HB 254 DCCED Handouts HFIN.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 254
HB 156 US DOEDC Letters HFIN.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 156
HB254 Followup HFIN 4-13-16.pdf HFIN 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 254