Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/13/1995 02:07 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 HB 172 - KINDERGARTEN AND MISCELLANEOUS EDUCATION                           
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced this bill had been heard in the committee            
 before.  The bill expands Alaska's mandatory school system to                 
 include kindergarten.  The bill also legalizes the middle school              
 concept.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 1593                                                                   
                                                                               
 DEE HUBBARD, Parent, said she resides in Representative Ramona                
 Barnes's district.  She began work on this bill about two years               
 ago, because she was concerned about the possible elimination of              
 kindergarten in school districts if kindergarten is not mandatory.            
 She felt that because of the amount of time and money being spent             
 on early education, if one school district decided to not provide             
 kindergarten, time would be lost between the early education and              
 first grade.                                                                  
                                                                               
 MS. HUBBARD said her concern is for the continuing education of               
 children.  She did some initial work on this topic, and the Alaska            
 PTA endorsed a resolution requesting kindergarten become a required           
 grade in Alaska.                                                              
                                                                               
 MS. HUBBARD addressed the middle school topic.  Currently, there              
 are two districts that offer middle school, starting at grade six.            
 Ms. Hubbard feels this area should be cleaned up, in order to                 
 ensure middle school is legal.  It has never been her intent to               
 mandate that middle schools must start at grade six.  That issue              
 can be determined at individual district levels.                              
                                                                               
 MR. MARSHALL said NEA Alaska supports this bill.  It feels it would           
 take the bill even a step further, kindergarten should be a                   
 mandatory program in Alaska, and minimally it should be offered.              
 If the state is seriously entering times in which cuts are                    
 entertained, the opportunity of kindergarten children should not be           
 cut.                                                                          
                                                                               
 Number 1712                                                                   
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE closed public testimony, and asked for the will of             
 the committee.                                                                
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked for clarification.  She noted that                      
 kindergarten is not mandatory, but customary.  She also asked if              
 there was currently a district in this state that did not offer               
 kindergarten.                                                                 
                                                                               
 MS. PETERSEN answered every district currently provides                       
 kindergarten.                                                                 
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted in times of budget cuts, if a district chose             
 to cut out kindergarten, it could.  This bill would mandate                   
 kindergarten.                                                                 
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if there would not be a war cry from the DOE            
 if a district chose to discontinue kindergarten.                              
                                                                               
 MS. PETERSON presumed the DOE would be very concerned if a school             
 district did not offer kindergarten.  However, since kindergarten             
 is currently not mandatory and is not in statute, the DOE could do            
 nothing.  It could only express concern.                                      
                                                                               
 Number 1790                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON moved HB 172 from committee with individual           
 recommendations and accompanying zero fiscal notes.  There were no            
 objections, and the bill passed.                                              

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