Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/14/1996 02:12 PM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 465 - TEACHER EMPLOYMENT/PUB SCHL BARGAINING Number 138 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN IVAN, Sponsor, said he met with a group of individuals, including representatives from the Association of School Boards, Alaska PTA, NEA-Alaska and elementary and secondary school principals on February 26 to discuss HB 465. The outcome was that a number of recommendations were incorporated into the current committee substitute which covers three main areas: 1) teacher evaluation; 2) nonretention and evaluation; and 3) layoffs. Number 255 MARILYN LEAHY, President, Valdez School Board, testified via teleconference that she believed the sponsor and committee had taken a good bill and turned it into an excellent bill; one that challenges school districts to set high standards and gives school boards the tools needed to achieve those standards. There are three strengths she sees in the legislation. The first, is that both community and teachers would be involved in setting the local evaluation criteria and the public would have input to the evaluation process itself. Another strength is the layoff procedures are clarified and strengthened. If circumstances require a school board to resort to this drastic measure, it can be done without destroying the educational program. Rehire rights for teachers that are vested, are also ensured. Finally, the change in the dismissal proceedings takes into account the legal protection for individuals that already exists as part of the obligation of school board members. This legislation provides for the proper oversight of school boards, but does so without attempting to replace their authority. She believes the rights of the individuals have been fully addressed by this legislation, and the role of school board members as elected officials, has been reinforced. In conclusion, it is her belief this bill strikes exactly the right balance between the rights of the individual employees and the needs of the citizens to establish and maintain educational standards for each community. If passed, she believes it will improve the quality of instruction, improve school board accountability in the district, and cause everyone to raise their expectations of what education in Alaska should be. Number 345 MIKE WILEY testified via teleconference that he had served for six years on the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and has about 13 years of teaching experience. He believes this is a good bill and had three areas to address which emphasized some good points. He stated the language in Section 3 relating to school boards considering information from students, parents, community members, classroom teachers, and administrators in the design and periodic review of the district's certificated employee evaluation system is both appropriate and excellent. In Section 4, he supports the three-year tenure right clause. It is his opinion, this would help teachers as well as the general public and is a good compromise. He supported the language change in Section 8, AS 14.20.175(b)(1) from "failure, after imposition of a plan of improvement..." to "failure, after implementation of a plan...." Also, he felt the de novo concern had been addressed in Section 10. Number 436 JIM SIMEROTH, President, Kenai Peninsula Education Association, testified via teleconference that he represents approximately 710 tenured and nontenured teachers and has 32 years experience himself in the classroom. There were a multitude of reasons why he thought CSHB 465 would reduce education to a political morass and lower the quality of education for children; instead he wanted to share one of the situational cases that he dealt with this year as president. There is a teacher with 17 years of experience in other districts, who is in her second year in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. She is nontenured, intelligent, very well educated and dedicated to her students. No one questions her instructional skills, the time she spends working on curriculum improvements, or in helping children. She has developed and implemented a new curriculum program that is followed throughout the district, is professional in every sense of the word, and has never had anything even resembling a bad evaluation. This year she got a new principal, who recently became an administrator after teaching for a couple of years. Last year he was transferred mid-year from his original assignment to another school to finish out the year. This year he came to the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and shortly into the year, he discovered he needed more time for administrative duties and less for teaching, so he reassigned the teachers and changed the curriculum model. Concerned parents became upset and questioned the teacher as to why this was happening. She told the parents and the principal perceived that as nonsupportive, gave her an unsatisfactory evaluation and placed her on a plan for improvement. The gist of that plan for improvement simply stated that 1) she had to display enthusiasm for activities when suggested by someone else, meaning the principal, with 100 percent accountability; 2) she would reduce inappropriate communication with school visitors, staff, parents and community, which obviously meant don't tell the parents anything about how decisions were made in the school; and 3) she would show support and respect to the principal during the time of formal and informal settings on and off campus 100 percent of the time. He asked if this teacher was supposed to support and respect this principal even when he might not deserve that support and respect? He stated the whole point is that a very outstanding and dedicated teacher is likely to be gone from their school district. He believed that CSHB 465 if enacted, would create this scenario for every hard working, confident and dedicated teacher in the state of Alaska. He urged the committee not to pass CSHB 465. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if the school board didn't ultimately hire and fire teachers. MR. SIMEROTH replied certainly. CO-CHAIR BUNDE pointed out that if this teacher loses her job, it would be a school board decision, not the principal's decision. MR. SIMEROTH thought that would be the case. Number 641 JOHN CYR, Teacher, Wasilla High School and Vice President, NEA- Alaska, urged the committee not to pass CSHB 465. He felt there were many questions and problems with it. He referenced Section 3, AS 14.20.149(b)(6) which requires the school district to prepare and implement a plan of improvement for a teacher or administrator whose performance is evaluated as less than acceptable. He said that section actually has two parts, in that it requires a plan of improvement when a teacher or administrator is less than acceptable, but it further states "except if the teacher's or administrator's performance warrants immediate dismissal." He wondered if that set another standard. He said the old tenure bill spoke of incompetence which is legally definable, but the language in CSHB 465 appears wide open for interpretation. With regard to Section 3, AS 14.20.149(b)(7) which provides an opportunity for students, parents, community members, peers and administrators to provide information to the evaluating administrator on the performance of the teacher or administrator who is the subject of evaluation, he wondered what doors this would open. He questioned what Section 3, AS 14.20.149(3) would do to a negotiated agreement. He felt that whole section seemed to be mandated. A number of districts had met cooperatively and collaboratively with the school boards and superintendents and worked out their own plans of improvement and evaluation. He asked if those plans would be disregarded and the process would start over? CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Representative Ivan to address Mr. Cyr's questions concerning immediate dismissal and the plan of improvement. Number 774 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN said the evaluation plan gives an opportunity for administrators and teachers to work together if there are problems. For example, if a nontenured teacher is prone to problems or needs assistance, those issues can be identified and a plan of evaluation developed between the teacher and the administrator. If there is no improvement the following year, then there is cause for nonretention. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said the question raised was about the plan for improvement, but there's also criteria for immediate dismissal. He asked if that referred to the immorality or gross insubordination issue. Number 819 TOM WRIGHT, Legislative Assistant to Representative Ivan Ivan, said that was correct. He had questioned the bill drafter about it because Representative Ivan wanted to make it clear there was nonretention and there was dismissal. The bill drafter indicated the language on page 3, line 6, needed to be left in the bill, except if there was an incompetence question, immorality question or substantial noncompliance question, then immediate dismissal could take place because of one of those three issues. He explained that incompetence was still in the dismissal section. Incompetence was changed in the nonretention section to fit in with the evaluation system. Incompetence was still a standard for dismissal. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Mr. Wright to address the plan for evaluation. MR. WRIGHT explained that Section 14 states, "Nothing in this Act affects a collective bargaining agreement in effect on the effective date of this Act." In other words, those plans that are in use and part of a negotiated contract on the effective date of this act, will remain in effect. However, it can become a negotiable issue after the negotiated contract expires if the school district and the union wish to do so, but the evaluation system will be based on the performance standards already adopted by the Department of Education. Number 895 MR. CYR said he was a little skeptical that when and if this legislation is enacted into law, the "warrants immediate dismissal" language would be open to interpretation. CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted for the record it would be his intent that there be two criteria: That is nonretention and then dismissal. Dismissal is currently spoken to in the statute and is incompetence, immorality and substantial noncompliance. He views the immediate dismissal only applying for the dismissal section, not for the nonretention section. MR. CYR referred to Section 8 and said it appeared that incompetency had been deleted from the section. MR. WRIGHT said he would try to clarify this issue, because there had been a number of questions raised. In current statute dismissal is cited under AS 14.21.070 and nonretention is cited under AS 14.21.075. Currently, the same standard exists for both. The CSHB 465 changes incompetency under the nonretention portion of the statute to fit the evaluation system into the overall scheme. MR. CYR referenced Section 9, AS 14.20.177(a)(2) relating to reductions in force and asked who sets the standard. He said every year his school district talks about a significant decrease in revenue, although it has never happened yet. MR. WRIGHT said the financial emergency section had been an issue for two years. Originally, the proposed legislation contained language regarding what constituted a financial emergency, but it was not to everyone's liking. The decision was made to go back to the language contained in HB 398, the Governor's bill, which was compromised on by all the groups, and that language was incorporated into the current committee substitute. Mr. Wright said from a legal standpoint, he couldn't tell the committee what the language means. CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted for the record it appeared that decision would be made by the local school district, but hoped to have a little more clarity as other individuals testified. MR. CYR commented that he was upset because in his view the de novo trial and the right to go to Supreme Court in the case of dismissal had been taken away. He believed that to be a diminishment of his rights. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he didn't interpret it to mean that a person wouldn't have a right to go to court. MR. WRIGHT referred Mr. Cyr to page 8, lines 5-7, which states, "If the school board sustains the dismissal or nonretention, the teacher may appeal the decision to the superior court, in accordance with applicable rules of court, for a judicial review based on the record." MR. CYR asked if he would be allowed to go to Supreme Court? CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he didn't see any limitation. Number 1232 REPRESENTATIVE CAREN ROBINSON said she interpreted "based on the record" to mean that the judge would only be able to look at what was actually on the record; in other words no new evidence could be brought forward. MR. WRIGHT concurred with her interpretation. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON thought that may be part of the problem. She said in all the appeals she has sat on, it had always been on the record augmented, so it was on the record but both parties had the right to bring new information forward if need be. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said certainly there isn't any limitation in this legislation that would prevent a person from taking their case to court. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said it didn't keep a person from taking it to court, but that person could only take to court what was actually in the record; nothing new. Number 1331 LARRY OUELLETTE, Special Education Teacher, testified in opposition to CSHB 465. As a special education teacher, he thinks about all the laws that protect the due process rights of parents. For example, there is a team of people who get together and set up an education plan based on criteria that is observable and measurable. This legislation raises a concern that certain aspects may not be observable and measurable. He commented that he has worked in 26 school districts as an itinerant, and has seen how personalities can affect teachers. When a teacher's activities were reviewed by people who allow personalities to enter into the process, it becomes easy to do that (indisc.) criteria that's observable and measurable. He reiterated his concern about the aspects of this legislation being very clear as to what standards teachers were going to be performing under. He added he would like to see more peer review, as he felt a good peer review system for retention purposes had been lacking. Number 1450 LUCY HOPE, President, Mat-Su Education Association, said the Association represents about 856 teachers, and she would fax testimony from several teachers who were unable to be present. Her testimony addressed the provision in the committee substitute regarding layoff of tenured teachers. A week ago she received notice of Mat-Su School District's intent and plan to lay off 170 nontenured teachers. Based on her interpretation of the committee substitute, the Mat-Su School District would qualify every year as having significant, demonstrated reduction in per-pupil expenditures due to a decrease in revenue from one year to the next. With the state funding formula frozen since 1989, the growth the Mat-Su district experiences each year and also that the rural contribution has shown a decrease each year in per-pupil funding since 1990, this means the per-pupil expenditures were decreasing every year. In the Mat-Su district, this would mean teachers every year who have achieved tenure, would be subject to nonretention, even though they are excellent teachers and their performance has been judged as being acceptable. The anxiety because of the layoffs has been intense, has caused low morale and has certainly affected the children in the classroom in the Mat-Su School District. She is aware that many of the teachers being laid off are applying for jobs in neighboring districts or in the Lower 48, and it is her belief that if this law is passed, every year teachers who feel at risk will be doing the same thing. She urged the committee not to pass the bill out. Number 1680 PAM DARNELL testified via teleconference regarding Section 3 on Employee Evaluation. She said under the current system, teachers are evaluated by principals who as professional evaluators, look at many different areas when doing an observation and evaluation. For example, does the teacher follow the curriculum set by the board, does the teacher use all the elements of a good lesson, does the teacher provide lessons that teach all learning styles, are the lessons varied for competitive, cooperative and individual learners, is the classroom set up to provide a positive learning environment, etc. Her concern is that parents and committee members will not be looking at the teacher's teaching skills as the principal does, but at whether or not the students liked the grade received or the discipline the student received. Her experience has shown that many excellent teachers have been dismissed for a variety of reasons other than their teaching skills. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if these conflicts would apply to a personality conflict between a principal and a teacher? MS. DARNELL responded perhaps to some extent, but she hoped a principal would use a certain set of guidelines for evaluations. She guessed the key would be to vote for competent school board members, who would hire competent superintendents, who in turn would hire competent principals, and so forth. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked Ms. Darnell if she would place more faith in students or parents? MS. DARNELL responded probably students, because at least they were in the classroom all the time. Number 1865 KAREN LINDERMAN, Teacher, testified via teleconference from Fairbanks. She asked if the word "department" in Section 3 AS 14.20.149(b) referred to the Department of Education? CO-CHAIR BUNDE confirmed it was the Department of Education. MS. LINDERMAN said she was concerned with its inclusion in a paragraph that addresses the local school board's responsibility. The issue is who would be setting the standards, how would they be set, etc. She believed the employee evaluation in Section 14.20.149(e) of CSHB 465 was vague. She had several questions that came to mind: What is this concept, how is it determined, who determines it, etc. Her strongest concern was with the unclear handling of collecting evaluative materials and the employees's access to the information especially if it's in a negative context or prior to a pretermination hearing. She questioned how confidentiality would be dealt with and yet due process still maintained. She felt these types of concerns were the reason teachers were not interested in sacrificing the de novo trial provision. In conclusion, she said she would rather live with HB 398, the Governor's compromise bill. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said it was his opinion that the confidentiality provision applied to keeping the complaints about the teacher confidential between the teacher and the person doing the evaluation. It certainly was not to keep that information confidential from the teacher. MS. LINDERMAN questioned how soon the teacher would have access to that type of information? Her concern was the teacher would not get discovery on it until they walked in for the pretermination hearing. TAPE 96-27, SIDE A Number 001 CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted for the record it would not be his intent to deprive the teacher of the normal due process of being able to have access to information and having the ability to face his/her accuser. MR. WRIGHT said Section 10, Procedures upon Notice of Dismissal or Nonretention, states that a pretermination hearing under this section must comport with the minimum requirements of due process, including an explanation of the employer's evidence and basis for the proposed dismissal and an opportunity for the teacher to respond. That section goes on to state that following a pretermination hearing, an employer determines that dismissal is appropriate, the employer shall provide written notice, including a statement of cause and a complete bill of particulars, of the decision. MS. LINDERMAN asked what the employee would have in hand before arriving at the pretermination hearing? CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if it was her assumption that a teacher would be given no advance notice of a pretermination hearing? MS. LINDERMAN said she certainly hoped that wouldn't happen, but she had seen some pretty bizarre things happen. MR. WRIGHT said it was the hope of the sponsor that if a teacher had an area of weakness or a particular problem, it would be discussed through the plan of improvement or in the evaluation. Mr. Wright did not foresee a teacher being dismissed or nonretained without any notice under this system. Number 229 JEAN KRAUSE, Retired teacher, testified that her entire teaching career had been at the same high school in the Mat-Su School District. During her 20 years of teaching, there were five different superintendents, one of whom was bought out of his contract after the community erupted over his unethical activities. This took place after the district had already renewed his contract for two years, even though the community was already upset. She informed the committee that each superintendent brought a different approach to instruction, and during her last 10 years of teaching there were six different principals, each with their own different approach to instruction and student discipline. Not all of the principals left their position voluntarily. She asked if a principal who is on a plan of improvement should be evaluating teachers? During her 20 years, there were several teachers who questioned the instructional shifts being imposed upon them. These teachers were not popular for doing so, yet their questions were not only legitimate, they were right on target about the weaknesses of some of those approaches to instruction and discipline. Her point was that teachers need some latitude and protection to speak out on instructional and student discipline considerations. She opposed CSHB 465. CO-CHAIR BUNDE pointed out that ultimately the school board is the hiring and firing entity. MS. KRAUSE again asked if a principal who is on a plan of improvement should be evaluating teachers. CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted that was an excellent question. He pointed out that CSHB 465 demands an evaluation of principals. MR. WRIGHT said he would defer the question to Steve McPhetres, Director of the Principals Association. MS. KRAUSE advised she wanted a response from the sponsor, because Mr. McPhetres wasn't the individual who wrote this legislation. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if it was Representative Ivan's intent that a principal on a plan of improvement would be evaluating teachers. REPRESENTATIVE IVAN said the responsibility rests with the school districts throughout the state and he felt these policy questions would be addressed at that level. MR. WRIGHT was sure that issue would be brought up when the local school districts put their evaluation systems and plans of improvement in place. Certainly a contingency could be written in to cover the situation of an administrator not doing evaluations correctly. Also, there would be supervision for an administrator who was on a plan of improvement. Number 600 KARLA FEELEY testified via teleconference from Anchorage that several individuals had expressed concern that an administrator could essentially recommend nonretention for any reason he/she deemed fit under this legislation. She directed committee members' attention to page 5, Section 8, and said the school administrator would have the ability to implement a plan of improvement and to decide when performance was less than acceptable based on that plan for improvement. She said that Co-chair Bunde's remarks regarding school boards having the final say about employment decisions was certainly correct; however, the school board is the employer and has a certain reluctance to overthrow the decisions of their management, so is inclined to listen to the principal's recommendation to nonretain a teacher. Under this legislation, a teacher does not get an impartial hearing on the issue. She noted there is the right to go to court for a judicial review based on the record, but that does not give the judge the opportunity to hear the evidence as an objective and impartial hearing officer. It is important to remember the school board is the employer and the judge cannot hear the evidence himself and make a decision independent of the record. Her understanding of a judicial review was that a judge must have an egregious reason for overturning the decision of an administrative body like a school board. The judge can't acknowledge the school board made a wrong decision unless there was some glaring error, so nowhere in this process does a teacher have the right for an objective decision maker. That's why there had been testimony that a teacher's ability to teach as a professional, without being subject to political whim, is at stake. A teacher's ability to speak his/her opinion about the best instruction for the students is also at stake. She asked Representative Ivan how he planned to keep teaching from being repoliticized under this legislation? REPRESENTATIVE IVAN said he didn't believe it would be politicized. He reiterated that school districts are responsible for developing education and evaluation plans and believed the rights of teachers were protected through the due process as outlined in CSHB 465. Number 863 BARBARA YOUNG testified that as a mother of a 4th grade daughter she is very concerned about CSHB 465. She wanted qualified teachers teaching her daughter and this legislation does not seem to provide for qualified teachers. The two-tiered approach dealing with incompetent teachers appeared confusing to her. She asked how she, as a parent could be expected to evaluate her daughter's teacher? She did not believe she was qualified to do that as she was not in the classroom to observe her teaching ability. Under the current system,evaluating teacher performance is handled by qualified administrators as supervisors. If this legislation is enacted, who would determine whether her child's teacher gets a plan for improvement or not and what kind of guidelines or standards would this individual use for the determination? Are there any written standards for incompetence? She urged the committee not to pass this bill out of committee. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if Ms. Young had said that parents were not qualified to judge whether their children were getting a good education or not? MS. YOUNG responded that was correct and added she did not feel qualified because she was not in the classroom every day to observe the teaching skills. Number 961 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked Ms. Young if she saw something blatantly amiss and disagreed with during an observation of a classroom wouldn't she appreciate the opportunity to participate in a plan of improvement for that teacher? MS. YOUNG responded that if she observed something she disagreed with, she would feel it was her duty to discuss it with the teacher. She didn't believe she needed to be involved in the evaluation process for that to happen. CO-CHAIR BUNDE commented that was assuming the teacher listened to the parent, but what happened if the teacher didn't listen? MS. YOUNG said the opportunity would still exist to go to the principal. CO-CHAIR BUNDE remarked that sounded like it was evaluating the teacher. MS. YOUNG said no, she would be bringing forward the problem she had observed. Evaluation of a teacher is completely different than observing a problem. Number 1018 JULIE BHEND testified as a concerned parent of two elementary school age children. She is very much involved in her children's education, and feels she already has a great deal of input into the teachers' performance. She has never hesitated to bring her concerns to the attention of either the teacher or principal, and those concerns have been addressed. She saw no need to have parents further involved in the evaluation process. It was her belief this legislation had very little to do with improving public education, but was laying the groundwork to decrease education funding, which would mean an increase in class size. It eliminates the concept of job security and she didn't understand how the Alaska school system could continue to attract high quality educators if there was no job security. CO-CHAIR BUNDE observed that with or without the legislation, there was a great likelihood that funding for schools would be decreased because the money was not available and the general public was not interested in putting additional funding into schools. With regard to quality educators, he noted there are thousands of people waiting to take a teaching job. Number 1113 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON disagreed with Co-Chair Bunde's observation and said polls indicate that people do put education as their number one priority and would be willing to put more money into education. CO-CHAIR BUNDE remarked that his constituency had indicated to him their number one priority was to cut state spending. After that, education was their number one priority. Number 1134 CHRISTIE SCALLEY, Teacher, testified via teleconference and urged the committee not to pass this legislation. She was concerned that it is unfamiliar ground and she doesn't feel that anyone understands the full implication of the bill. She does not believe it would lead to educational excellence and doesn't understand how anyone could say that parents should be allowed to evaluate teachers. She noted that out of her 27 students, 11 of them are bilingual whose parents do not speak English. Four of her students live in a hotel and can only get to school by taxi. Those are everyday situations. She stated this was not a teacher-friendly bill, but is more like teacher bashing which affects the children as well as parents. She observes teachers every day going out of their way for their students. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he shared her concern with the teacher bashing or the educational system bashing and felt there were too many experts on education, because everyone had been in a classroom at least once. He noted that parents currently evaluate teachers all the time. He believed the language in this legislation was permissive in that it says parents "may" be part of the process, not necessarily have to be taken into consideration. MS. SCALLEY said she has evaluated her children's teachers in her own way. She felt the broadness of the statement in the legislation would not be good for teachers or the stability of schools. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he shared that, but freedom of speech had to be available to everyone. It was his opinion that the more parents are included in the process, the more understanding they are of what it takes to be a good teacher. Number 1346 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS said he, too, would be concerned if he believed the broad statement that parents will evaluate teachers, but pointed out the bill says it will provide an opportunity for students and parents to evaluate teachers. He believed the opportunity would be determined at the local school district level, such as at PTA meetings or school board meetings, etc. Number 1400 REPRESENTATIVE NORM ROKEBERG complimented the sponsor and his staff for including this section, because he believed that a statement should be made in statute to try to involve parents in the classroom. REPRESENTATIVE IVAN referred to Representative Davis' comment that it is an opportunity given to the parents, but it is not mandated. Number 1473 JANIE HILL testified from Dillingham as a parent and teacher. She expressed concern with the section of the legislation on the significant, demonstrated reduction in per-pupil expenditures due to a decrease in revenue from one year to the next. She said that Dillingham being a rural, small single site district, every year has the threat or actual reduction in revenue. She was very discouraged with the previous comment that the public wants to reduce funding and thought a state income tax should be considered. She said more money needed to be put into education, not less. She was particularly concerned about the stability of education in rural Alaska and remarked there are teachers coming and going all the time and many of the tenured teachers are gone. She didn't believe teachers should be faced with the threat of being laid off every year due to a lack of revenue. One of her fears is that teachers who have taught longer and are more experienced may be the ones targeted for removal because more money could be saved. CO-CHAIR BUNDE commented that individuals who argue for the early retirement bill say those are the teachers who should be gotten rid of. He pointed out that 65 percent of the people in Anchorage do not have kids in school and do not support the income tax idea. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON stated her belief that individuals were pushing for early retirement because of what is perceived as a financial crisis, not because they believe those teachers were not worthwhile. Number 1616 CHRIS TIEONEY-SWORD testified that House Bill 465 was described by Representative Ivan in the February 29 issue of the Bristol Bay Times as an instrument that could balance the playing field between the teacher's union and schools boards. While he admits that teachers deserve benefits and salaries that were "fought so hard to achieve" he also believes that it is okay for any teacher to be fired at any time for any reason. She said this bill is adversarial and divisive. What's good for education isn't to legally perpetuate a system of battles between school boards, administrators (indisc.-paper shuffling) collaboration and site based decision making. She stated CSHB 465 would extend a teacher's probationary status from two years to three years. That's how long a teacher would be legally permitted to be fired without any cause. She said that should be compared to the rest of the working world and believed that a 90-day probationary period was ample time for employees to obtain permanent employment. She remarked that tenure is not a guarantee of lifelong employment. Competent and effective administrators use their evaluation process to maintain a staff of highly effective educational employees. Currently, she knows she can get fired for being incompetent, for immoral turpitude or for substantial noncompliance of school laws. Tenure works when administrators are given resources to do their job. Properly funded schools could support administrators and master teachers, whose sole purpose would be to provide support, education and ongoing direction through comprehensive evaluations. That's their job; that's what they are trained to do. She noted she teaches Earth Science, which isn't popular with parents who believe in creationalism. She also teaches health and no one likes the curriculum for 7th and 8th grade health, but fortunately she works for a sound district and an administrator who approves of her work ethics and teaching skills, and doesn't let the winds of political correctness enter into her evaluation process. House Bill 465 would change that. Academic freedom and innovation would become a thing of the past. She believes that CSHB 465 is a symptom of a greater ill; faulty school funding. Perhaps it is easier to replace experienced teachers with less costly, inexperienced ones, but it is not in the best interest of the kids. She said that CSHB 465 gives school boards three creative ways to fire experienced teachers: 1) through the evaluation procedure; 2) through changes in the reduction in force laws; and 3) through the elimination of a teacher's legal right to due process. Number 1797 JOE JOSEPHSON, Attorney, testified via teleconference from Anchorage. He said he hoped to correct some myths after having worked with school districts and teachers in the dismissal process. First, there is the suggestion, which he thinks is flawed, that the trial de novo and teacher tenure are protections only for teachers and don't exist anywhere else in the public service. Actually, in Title 39, civil servants in the personnel system, have a right to a hearing before the personnel board. The interesting thing about that is if the employee was dismissed or sanctioned by superiors, that hearing would go to a neutral party, the state personnel board; not to the boss who made the decision against the employee in the first place. He felt that is the central problem and what teachers have been advocating is the opportunity to have one level playing field, before one neutral determiner of the facts, whether it be an arbitrator or a superior court judge. This legislation, as written, does not give that to teachers, but says that if the school board plans to dismiss or nonretain, the teacher has a right to an administrative hearing where the final decision is made by the same board that started the process, and if the teacher is still unhappy with the result, they can go to the superior court. But the matter goes to the superior court not in a de novo hearing, but "on the record of" before the administrative agency. He said one of the results of that would be that administrative hearings would be more costly and cumbersome because both sides would know that was their only chance. When it gets to superior court, the judge who has not heard a single witness face-to-face and has not seen anyone's demeanor, will be reviewing the matter only to decide if there is substantial evidence to sustain the decision of the board. The judge is not there to make an independent judgment. Mr. Josephson pointed out that one of the basic tests on the scope of judicial review says that "an agency finding a basic fact, generally concerns the parties in a `who did what to whom' variety. The general rule is that such findings are reviewed under the substantial evidence on the whole record test" meaning that the court has relatively little power. That is what would happen. Mr. Josephson went on to say that in the case of personnel from executive agencies in state government, that is what happens, but the difference of course, is that those people would have had a hearing before an independent personnel board, not the agency for which they were working. In a case, Titus v. the State, the Alaska Supreme Court said the board's (speaking of the personnel board) findings should not be reversed if in the light of the whole record they are supported by such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. That's what he fears under this process. The teacher is charged by the school board, the school board makes a decision, and the school board wins if there is any rational basis found by the judge that sustained it, even if the judge wouldn't make that decision himself and even if the judge thinks the decision is wrong. He said that is why the trial de novo issue is so important. MR. JOSEPHSON believed the testimony of a previous witness was correct in that under the administrative hearing process in CSHB 465, there is no guarantee that before the hearing comes up, the teacher would know who is bearing witness against him/her or what that testimony consists of. Those are rights that an individual has in court, that are not available in the administrative process; they are pre-discovery rights. From his perspective, whether the committee goes with the Governor's bill, whether the right to arbitration is inserted, or judicial trial de novo is reinserted, it is important to have one level playing field. Mr. Josephson said even though someone had previously stated this bill says judicial on the record, new evidence can be brought in. In his view that is not clear. He referenced the Administrative Procedures Act, Title 44, Chapter 62, and said there is a specific provision that if there is an appeal from the chiropractic or medical board, for example, to the court, the court can have a trial de novo. Trial de novo is not limited to just teacher tenure cases. Number 2028 LOUANNE WEYHRAUCH testified that as the parent of two children she is opposed to CSHB 465. She was particularly concerned about the effect of Section 8, which removes the incompetency standards for nonretaining a tenured teacher and substitutes the evaluation procedure. She felt the provision in CSHB 465 would basically destroy the protection that existing statute provides from arbitrary firing. She believed that teachers should focus on doing their best at teaching and not have to work in fear of doing something out of the ordinary for which they could lose their job. She feared that under CSHB 465, the creativity and motivation of teachers would be stifled because it makes it too easy for the evaluation process to be manipulated and teachers could be removed for arbitrary reasons. It is her belief that Section 8 opens the door for a result-based evaluation procedure which would just be aimed at getting rid of a particular teacher for some arbitrary reason. She stated CSHB 465 removes the requirement of incompetency for nonretaining a tenured teacher, and requires only a negative evaluation, one plan of improvement and another negative evaluation. There would be no finding that the teacher was incompetent. She believed that additional evaluation requirements could be provided without deleting the requirement that incompetency remain in the law as a standard for nonretaining a tenured teacher. Number 2151 CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted for the record it was his understanding that if there was a plan of improvement, the teacher had an entire school year to address the plan of improvement and then there would be another incompetency hearing. MS. WEYHRAUCH said she didn't believe the legislation required the plan of improvement to last for an entire year; it stated that it wouldn't go for more than one year. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said it would be his intent that it last for a school year. MR. WRIGHT commented that CSHB 465 states the plan of improvement shall last for no more than one year. Again, that will be up to the individual school district to decide if it should be exactly one year or if they want to set specified times. He noted the evaluation standards are based on teacher education standards under 4 AAC, Chapter 19, that have been adopted by the Department of Education. He added those are the minimum standards for which a school district will base standards for teachers. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he would like some assurance that it wouldn't be a two-week plan of improvement and expressed his desire that it be a minimum of a school year. MR. WRIGHT said the sponsor did not have a problem with that. Number 2255 CARL ROSE, Executive Director, Association of Alaska School Boards, said with the help of the sponsor, the association had tried to take into consideration HB 217 that was vetoed, HB 398 which is the compromise bill introduced by the Governor, and they looked at HB 465 as the vehicle. With the agreement of Representative Ivan and his work with the reconstituted committee, he has agreed to many of the proposals that have been put forth and has incorporated them into CSHB 465. Mr. Rose felt they tried to address quality, performance, accountability and fairness in this legislation and that it had been achieved to a great degree. He felt the issues before the committee are issues that aren't just shared by school boards. It is important to note that communities, parents and the public in general are very concerned about the quality of education and he thought a bill such as this that speaks to quality and performance, addresses public confidence in the schools. He hoped that people would look at this legislation from a progressive point of view; not from the point of view of being negative and closed minded. He believed there had been a lot of effort devoted to being open to other avenues, and thought that had been accomplished. He said the issues addressed by the Governor in his veto message of HB 217 were that he wanted three years instead of four; CSHB 465 accommodates that. Another issue was that quality in education through the evaluation process was not addressed, and with the assistance of Commissioner Holloway, a reconstituted group addressed that issue and tried to include it in CSHB 465. Lastly, the retirement inventive program in HB 217 does not exist in CSHB 465. He thought the crux of this bill was the evaluation for quality and the largest disagreement was the removal of the de novo trial. He felt the issue centers around the economics and the protections provided by the system in CSHB 465 and by the proposals that are being offered through direct access to superior court. TAPE 96-27, SIDE B Number 001 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE felt it should be understood that there was no consensus of the reconstituted group on the provisions offered in CSHB 465. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said she and Mr. Rose had discussed the section regarding the record being supplemented by new, relevant information. MR. ROSE believed Representative Robinson was referring to the augmented record. His understanding was that Representative Robinson was proposing that if there was any additional information which needed to be brought out, not a recap of what had already taken place, that it be done at an additional hearing level. His only concern was that CSHB 465 provided for a full bill of particulars and cause. Mr. Rose said if we went back to the augmented process and offered additional information, we then are out of compliance with the bill in the first portion. It could however be changed, and he felt they would be open to looking at that. Number 085 RICHARD CROSS, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Education, said that Governor Knowles introduced a consensus bill dealing with the issues before the committee and still fully supports HB 398. He pointed out that Representative Ivan had listened to the various interested parties and improved the legislation. Since the last hearing on HB 465, Commissioner Holloway reconvened the group of people who crafted HB 398; parents, school board members, teachers, school and university administrators. The group met February 25 and Representative Ivan met with them the following day. Representative Ivan incorporated many of the concerns that were raised by that group in the committee substitute. He said he would like to see discussion continued in three areas: 1) A comparison of HB 398 to CSHB 465 reveals that HB 398 provides for considerably more local control in areas like the development of the evaluation procedure and other areas; 2) Commissioner Holloway has a strong belief that education should be improved through standards - standards for teachers, standards for schools and standards for students. In the area of nonretention, the department would like to make it clear that a nonretention should be standards based. In other words, the reason for the teacher's nonretention was failure to meet the standards that were established and agreed upon. The last area was the narrowed dismissal process. He said there had been considerable debate and discussion about trial de novo and the problems associated with school boards having to go through two complete trials in order to dismiss a teacher. The department felt that some balancing needed to occur between the dismissal procedure set forth in CSHB 465 and the trial de novo. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said Mr. Cross had referred to a teacher having two complete trials before being dismissed and wondered if he meant one hearing and one trial de novo. MR. CROSS responded under the current system, the school board is required to offer a teacher a full hearing and then a trial de novo if the teacher chooses to appeal, which has been determined by the courts through various rulings to be a completely new trial. In other words, what happens at the hearing before the school board gets flushed when the teacher goes to court. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS encouraged Mr. Cross to address the concerns with Representative Ivan and his staff. He felt that maybe a few minor word changes could work to everyone's satisfaction. Number 291 CHRIS BOONE, School Nurse, testified from Anchorage that school nurses in the Anchorage School District are proud of the services they provide to the students and staff. She noted that in many parts of the state, health care is provided by staff who lack the knowledge necessary to deliver optimum health care and health education and requested the committee's help to ensure that didn't happen in the Anchorage School District. Last fall a budget review team assembled to help the Anchorage School District formulate their 1996-97 budget proposal. The committee which studied the special education department of which health services is a part, recommended that 46 school nurse positions be eliminated in the district and that 28 health attendants be hired. The superintendent chose not to concur with the recommendation at that time but stated it was their intent to investigate alternatives for service delivery at a reduced cost. Based on the steps taken, it appears the intent is to abolish the certificated school nurse positions and attempt to deliver the services with employees having less education. She said that CSHB 465 has a provision which would give the superintendent the legal right to terminate the jobs of school nurses in Anchorage. There is a section that allows school boards to lay off tenured teachers, which also includes certificated nurses. She discussed the importance of the school nurses particularly if parents do not have the financial means to seek routine medical care. She urged the committee to delete the section of the legislation that allows for the dismissal of tenured employees because of financial shortfalls. Number 405 STEPHEN McPHETRES, Executive Director, Alaska Council of School Administrators, testified that at the last hearing on HB 465, he provided some language which has been incorporated into CSHB 465. He noted that discussions now refer to employee evaluation, not teacher evaluation, which was one of their recommendations because they believe that as administrators they can be held accountable for supervision. With regard to the question that was raised about a principal being on a plan of improvement, he views that no differently than a teacher who is on a plan of improvement to carry out the responsibilities of the classroom. Therefore, a principal who is on a plan of improvement would be responsible for carrying out the evaluation of teachers. He pointed out an area that had not been addressed was the provision that allows an evaluation to take place every two years, not every year, for tenured teachers who are proven competent. This is an opportunity for principals to be able to concentrate on nontenured teachers and tenured teachers whose performance is questionable. The council believes this is a good piece of legislation and urged passage. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON referenced page 3, section 7, and asked if that was the language proposed by the Alaska Council of School Administrators. MR. McPHETRES replied yes, it was. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked what Mr. McPhetres' perception was of a school district in terms of who would be doing the evaluation. MR. McPHETRES said that would come from the superintendent. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked why then did the legislation say school district instead of superintendent. MR. McPHETRES explained there are supervisors in the larger districts, so if it says superintendent there would be no flexibility for the larger districts. Number 517 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if there was a lack of continuity between school districts with regard to certificated employees? MR. McPHETRES responded to his knowledge everyone who is responsible for teaching or administration must have a certificate unless it is an emergency condition, which he thought would require approval from the Commissioner of the Department of Education. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said his question was directed more at nurses and library assistants who could be certificated in one school district, but not in another. Inasmuch as certificated employees are addressed in the evaluation system, were those individuals included. MR. McPHETRES responded that would depend on the district's definition of the position. For example, a librarian assistant may not require an certificate. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said that was his question. Is the lack of continuity between the school districts going to cause some problems? MR. McPHETRES replied no, it would not cause any problems. Number 610 RON FUHRER, Teacher, testified from Anchorage and noted that the Governor's compromise bill, HB 398, appeared to encapsulate all the salient points from HB 217 and thought it was a very good bill. He expressed concern that CSHB 465 appeared to mimic the compromise bill, but ignored various components that he felt would help in terms of teachers feeling secure in focusing on the academic instruction and not being concerned about the loss of their employment status. One of his concerns was that it appeared a tenured teacher could be dismissed at any time during the year. Yet again, a tenured teacher could be placed on a plan for improvement and would be dismissed if their performance was not acceptable. He said there doesn't seem to be any specifics as to what the plan of improvement would be. Were the expectations measurable and attainable, were they subjective versus objective, and what was the criteria to be used to measure acceptable performance? Another problem he addressed was how were parents going to provide input on the evaluation process without being in the classroom? Number 756 CLAUDIA DOUGLAS, NEA-Alaska, Inc., testified she was in sort of an unusual situation in that historically NEA-Alaska has strongly opposed any change to the tenure laws. The NEA has believed the tenure laws have been good for public education and good for the state of Alaska, have provided an opportunity for stable teaching staff within the school districts and played a major role in the successful learning opportunities for the students. The continuity and stability of the staff is very important in the making of an effective public school and effective teaching. For several years there have been concerns voiced from parents, administrators and school boards that two years has not been enough time to do an evaluation and the increasing costs of the dismissal process. At their delegate assembly in January, NEA-Alaska convinced the delegates that in the spirit of trying to improve quality education they agreed to several changes in the law, including changing the probationary period from two to three years, adding an evaluation section to law which NEA-Alaska felt was something that has been needed for a long time, and agreed to changing some options in the dismissal process for both teachers and school districts to save money for both parties, layoff language was added for a district that has determined a financial emergency exists, and "tenure" was changed to something that wasn't quite so controversial. She expressed concern about the evaluation process included in CSHB 465 in that part of the provisions of the compromise bill were included, but not all of them. For example, there are bits and pieces which speak to a plan of improvement, but not specifics regarding what the evaluation process should include. The NEA- Alaska believes that if local districts are going to have an evaluation process, then there should be input from community members, parents, teachers, administrators and everybody involved in designing that process. She felt the addition of a plan of improvement in that section truly muddies the water. She thought there needed to be very specific language about establishing job descriptions, as well as performance standards. Other considerations of this section not addressed are the evaluation of nontenured teachers and there is not a clear definition of "less than acceptable." She expressed her willingness to work with the sponsor to get word out to the public that the goal is to improve education in Alaska. With regard to the section addressing students, parents, community members, peers and administrators providing information on the performance of a teacher she questioned what the definition is of performance. How is a community member going to comment on the performance of a teacher unless they are in the classroom and unless those individuals were included in the training and instruction of what the system is, she didn't feel it was fair to have those comments become part of the evaluation. Number 1019 MARKUS DOERRY, Teacher, testified that he has taught both at the university level and high school level and noted there are a lot of differences. He addressed the issue of politicization of the teaching process and said that teachers not only have to worry if their teaching methods and views match their administrator's, but with parents being brought into the process, a teacher would now have to worry about trying to keep the parents happy. Currently, in Dillingham a parent can talk to the teacher if there is a problem. If there is no satisfaction, the parent can go to the principal, and so on. He reiterated that process does exist and it is a matter of local control. He stated this legislation appears to take that control away. Number 1172 DEEDIE SORENSEN, Teacher, said she was just at the beginning stages of putting her child through the public school system. During her years of teaching, she listened to lots of parents talk about teachers and observed that one parent would speak highly of a teacher, yet another would say they would never allow their child to be in that teacher's classroom. She noted there are many components to an evaluation and it doesn't necessarily mean the teacher is a good teacher or a bad teacher, but basically the teacher's style. She commented that parents shop for teachers in Juneau, just as she shopped for her son's teacher based on what she believed was the best match him. Even though she teaches in the same building, she does not believe that she could evaluate her son's teacher because she is good for him, but may not be good for another child. With regard to parent involvement in the evaluation process, she felt it was important to recognize what parents observe and what they know about a teacher is relative to their own sphere of experience with that professional. Number 1304 ARLENE COGHILL, Teacher, testified that she is currently in her 26th year of teaching. Three years ago, while attending the March Madness school board meeting, she found out she was being fired. She and seven other teachers in the district had received good evaluations from their administrator and were all fired. Not all of the teachers were tenured, but many of them were. She said it was sudden and it happened because she forgot to send for her certificate during a time when she was dealing with the death of her husband. In looking back at the what transpired, she said the teachers were not evaluated by the administrator, because the administrator's evaluations were thrown out; they were evaluated by a very vocal group of witch hunters. The administrator was also evaluated at that point and was accused of misusing school money, which later turned out to be untrue. Ms. Coghill said her previous evaluations had been glowing up until the time of her nonretention and firing. She said she didn't deserve to be evaluated by a system that is left vague and open for a school board or some other group to fire her for personal reasons. She urged the committee not to deny teachers their de novo rights. Number 1578 GREG TURNER, Teacher, testified that one of his concerns with CSHB 465 was the three-year probationary period. As a parent, he wasn't sure he wanted his children to be in a classroom with a teacher who had been on a plan of improvement for three years; he felt two years was plenty. His other concern was the layoff policy and laying people off by program. For instance, if a teacher taught in a district for 15 years, and then decided to add music to their certificate and taught music for another 4 years, if the school district decided to lay off by program, that teacher could be gone if the layoffs occurred by program, even though that teacher had 15 years of teaching before going to the music department. He added generally it is the music, physical education, and counseling programs that are the first to go. He also discussed his concern with the layoff provisions for fiscal reasons. He urged the committee not to pass CSHB 465. Number 1759 ROB PFISTERER, President, Anchorage Education Association, testified that he had a lot of concerns about CSHB 465. As president of the Anchorage Education Association, a lot of his duties revolve around evaluation of teachers and principals. He noted currently Anchorage is working on an evaluation document whereby teachers evaluate principals. He agreed that things are handled differently from district to district as had been previously mentioned and one of those things was the philosophy of the Anchorage School District and Teachers Association towards evaluation; that is the evaluation process would be used to improve instruction, not necessarily to go after a teacher. It may end up however, if a teacher is not performing at a certain standard, the teacher's job may be in jeopardy. He believes that CSHB 465 comes philosophically from a different angle than what has been done for several years in Anchorage related to evaluation; that is Anchorage is directed toward improvement and this bill seems more punitive in nature. Another problem he had was the inclusion of parents, students and community members in the evaluation process. The Anchorage School District has spent a lot of time making sure that evaluations are conducted in a certain procedure so both the teacher and evaluator are cognizant of how the process will go. Also, he felt that CSHB 465 did not contain much information relating to the criteria to be used in the evaluation process. Again, the Anchorage School District has devoted a lot of time developing that criteria. Regarding the area of plans for improvement, he said there currently are plans for improvement for teachers and plans for improvement for administrators. However, CSHB 465 does not contain any criteria on how a teacher will meet a plan for improvement. It discusses whether a teacher has met the plan and if they haven't, they can be nonretained for not meeting it. He viewed that as an important concept which needed to be defined. He brought up the issue of an administrator being on a plan for improvement and said he currently has an administrator on a plan for improvement and that administrator has given a teacher evaluation in which retribution was being sought because the teacher had reported certain information about the administrator. He addressed the area of teachers not performing to standard. Mr. Pfisterer said there were other issues he would like to speak against, but limited his testimony because of time constraints. CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced an at-ease at 5:23 p.m. TAPE 96-28, SIDE A Number 002 CO-CHAIR BUNDE called the meeting back to order at 5:25 p.m. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON suggested that CSHB 465 be placed in a working group since there were several amendments yet to be addressed. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said the amendments would be addressed following the completion of public testimony. Number 106 LARRY WIGET, Director, Government Relations, Anchorage School District, testified the Anchorage School District, their administration and school board are all very proud of their teachers and are supportive of the working relationship in developing new standards for evaluation relative to improving instruction. The Anchorage School District administration supports the concepts put forth in CSHB 465. Members of their school board and administration had participated in the committee assembled by the Governor this past summer, the school board reviewed HB 465 and a school board member and administrator participated in the reconvened committee brought together by Commissioner Holloway. He noted for the record "we would like to state that if we're going to make teaching bargaining positions open - the records open at the beginning and at the end, the negotiations open, we'd also like to see that to all public employees." Number 241 VERNON MARSHALL, Executive Director, NEA-Alaska, Inc., pointed out that page 2, line 21, states that an evaluation of a certificated employee, which he assumed meant an administrator or a teacher, would be based on observations of the employee in the employee's work place. He said that seems to be pretty clear, but page 3, subsection 7, provides students, parents, administrators, community members, etc., an opportunity to provide information on the performance of a teacher or administrator who is subject to the evaluation. It appeared to him the intent was clear that CSHB 465 gives these various groups or individuals an opportunity to input the evaluation process. He asked if that were to occur would parents be provided an opportunity to observe a teacher in a classroom and be able to look at all the variables teachers deal with in a classroom setting. He did not object to teachers and parents working with one another to educate children; that's the public in education. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if Mr. Marshall's concern regarding subsection 7 was that comments provided by parents could involve behavior outside the classroom? MR. MARSHALL referenced page 2, line 21, and asked if the parents can go into the classroom to actually observe? CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if it would lower Mr. Marshall's level of concern if the opportunity to provide information was based on observations made within the classroom? He added he was not aware of any school district that would prevent a parent from coming into the classroom. MR. MARSHALL thought it would be critical relative to the performance of teaching. He asked if it would be wrong to allow teachers to have some input relative to an administrator's performance? MR. WRIGHT said that issue was addressed in one of the amendments. CO-CHAIR BUNDE referred to the opportunity given to parents, students and community members to provide information and asked if that would be information relative to the classroom? MR. WRIGHT replied yes, exactly. MR. MARSHALL asked Mr. Wright if teachers would have an opportunity to input the administrator? MR. WRIGHT responded yes. MR. MARSHALL referred to subsection 6 and said this was where the two standard approach to competency came into play. He pointed out that page 3 requires the school district to prepare and implement a plan of improvement for a teacher or administrator whose performance is evaluated as less than acceptable, except if a teacher's or administrator's performance warrants immediate dismissal. He added that performance referred to competence. He asked what criteria was being used to place a teacher under a plan of improvement, and what criteria was used that would result in the immediate dismissal. He questioned if there was a two-tier approach; tier one for competence and performance, and tier two that could result in immediate dismissal. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said it was his understanding there were two tiers. One tier required a plan of improvement, the tier of nonretention, and the second tier of immediate dismissal is immortality, incompetence and substantial noncompliance, which is existing statute. He asked Mr. Wright if incompetence was in the immediate dismissal section? MR. WRIGHT responded that was correct. He explained that incompetence was under the dismissal sections and incompetence was replaced in the nonretention section with the evaluation system. MR. MARSHALL referred to Section 7, page 5, line 6, and said that a teacher who is dismissed under this dismissal section is not entitled to a plan of improvement. He added that Mr. Wright was correct in that incompetence was referred to as one of the reasons, but that person is not entitled to a plan of improvement. Under the nonretention section, he assumed the opportunity existed to at least request a plan of improvement and a certain amount of time to correct the situation. He pointed out that it still deals with incompetence, but the employee gets a plan under the one section, but doesn't under the other section. Number 777 MR. MARSHALL referred to page 3, line 19, and expressed concern with the language "shall last for no more than one year." CO-CHAIR BUNDE interjected there was an amendment which would require it to be a substantial portion of the school year. MR. MARSHALL discussed the opportunity for parents to provide input relative to a teacher's performance. He referenced page 4, line 4, and questioned when this information would actually be available to the teacher? He asked if it would be part of the plan of improvement, would it be provided to the teacher when it was accessible to the school district, and how did the school district actually get the information in the first place. He said those questions are not clear. He expressed concern with page 3, line 22, which says that a school district must observe the teacher. His assumption was that school district meant the principal, but it wasn't spelled out. C0-CHAIR BUNDE asked Mr. Marshall to hold the rest of testimony to allow the last two individuals to testify via teleconference. Number 1033 VIRGIE FRYREAR, Superintendent of Schools, Hoonah School District, testified that CSHB 465 addressed many of the concerns educators have had for many years. She believed many people had worked on this legislation to make it palatable for teachers, administrators, school boards and the communities. She felt the evaluation process in CSHB 465 was a real asset and stated she and the school board fully supported moving the tenure out of the law. She expressed her thanks to Representative Ivan and his staff for bringing this legislation forward. He said the Hoonah City School Board of Education and administration support CSHB 465 and encouraged the committee to pass it. Number 1140 DON OBERG testified via teleconference and asked if a district could change the evaluation procedures, process and requirements after the beginning of the academic year under this legislation? Also, he questioned if the district would have the duty to in- service all its employees on the evaluation process at the beginning of each year? CO-CHAIR BUNDE responded he didn't have the answers, but he would bring the questions to the bill sponsor. Number 1220 MR. MARSHALL continued his testimony by referring to page 5, line 12, which deals with failure to receive an acceptable rating on the evaluation after implementation of a plan for improvement. He said this in a sense is what systems ought to be doing now - evaluating, identifying plan of improvement, and basically that work should show whether a teacher is competent or incompetent. It seemed inconsistent to him that the word "incompetent" would be removed even in a nonretention, as defined on line 14. Their concerned focused on what needs to be done to measure up on a score sheet or plan for improvement? Does one negative score give the administration the latitude to tell a teacher he/she "didn't live up to lines 12 and 13 of this particular bill, so I'm going to recommend you for nonretention?" He thought the threshold was too low and needs to be looked very carefully. He said the reason he makes the point about the evaluation is that it is tied to the issue of layoff on page 6, line 8, which indicates a reduction in force is based on the person most qualified and line 17 states that a teacher has to show evidence of acceptable teaching. Acceptable teaching experience in the subject is also referenced on line 21. He said if there is a low threshold, not only can the teacher get nonrenewed through the single step identified on page 5, lines 12- 13, but also runs the risk of being subject to the reduction in force provision. CO-CHAIR BUNDE announced that CSHB 465 would be held over until 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19.