Legislature(2003 - 2004)

02/06/2003 08:01 AM House STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 20 - REEMPLOYMENT OF RETIRED TEACHERS                                                                                      
Number 0039                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH  announced that the  first order of  business was                                                               
HOUSE  BILL NO.  20,  "An  Act relating  to  reemployment of  and                                                               
benefits  for retired  teachers and  principals, including  those                                                               
who  participated in  retirement incentive  programs, and  to the                                                               
employment  as  teachers  of members  of  the  public  employees'                                                               
retirement  system who  participated  in  a retirement  incentive                                                               
program; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                  
Number 00074                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS,  Alaska State Legislature, as  sponsor of                                                               
HB  20,  told   the  committee  that  he   thinks  [the  proposed                                                               
legislation] is  important.  He  said that when he  was president                                                               
of  the  school  board  in   Kodiak,  Alaska,  and  that  [board]                                                               
considered the  Retirement Incentive  Program (RIP), it  chose to                                                               
allow  its  teachers to  retire  early.   Representative  Stevens                                                               
noted that by  using the RIP, retiring teachers  could receive an                                                               
additional three  years' [credit  towards] their retirement.   He                                                               
said, "I'm not sure it was a  wise idea because, in fact, we lost                                                               
some very fine teachers who decided to leave."                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS  stated that he personally  knows of cases                                                               
where  teachers  wanted  to  come back  to  teach,  "after  going                                                               
elsewhere," and  it was "quite  a costly  matter for them  to pay                                                               
back the money they had received."   He said he has seen teachers                                                               
who have taught 20 years in  Alaska go to Oregon or Washington to                                                               
teach,  for example,  where their  experience and  qualifications                                                               
are welcomed.                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS continued as follows:                                                                                    
     We put  ourselves in a  situation where ... it  is very                                                                    
     difficult to  hire those people  back, even  though our                                                                    
     districts may  want them.   What this bill would  do is                                                                    
     ... give the school districts  that option.  It's not a                                                                    
     requirement - it doesn't force  the school districts to                                                                    
     do anything  we don't want to  do - it just  gives them                                                                    
     that option.                                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS  noted that if  [a school district]  has a                                                               
vacancy  and   needs  a  particular  teacher   experienced  in  a                                                               
particular field, it can hire  back that person.  Furthermore, it                                                               
can  make  it's  own  decision  regarding  salary  schedule,  for                                                               
Number 0265                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS  specified that  HB  20  would allow  the                                                               
reemployment of retired teachers and  principals who took part in                                                               
a RIP,  as well as those  teachers who are members  of the Public                                                               
Employees' Retirement System (PERS) who took  part in a RIP a few                                                               
years ago.   He reminded the committee that there  is currently a                                                               
shortage  of teachers  and principals,  not only  in Alaska,  but                                                               
throughout the  [United States] -  a problem which  will continue                                                               
to get  worse.  He  noted that  two years ago,  the Twenty-Second                                                               
Alaska State Legislature  passed a bill allowing  the rehiring of                                                               
retired  teachers;  however, that  bill  excluded  those who  had                                                               
taken part in a RIP.                                                                                                            
Number 0371                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS said  that  additionally,  [HB 20]  would                                                               
allow the Department  of Education to hire "RIP"  teachers in the                                                               
various schools  that it  controls, such  as the  Alyeska Central                                                               
School, Mt. Edgecumbe,  the Alaska State School for  the Deaf and                                                               
Hard  of Hearing,  and the  Alaska  Vocational Technical  Center.                                                               
Representative  Stevens,  based  upon  his  personal  experience,                                                               
expressed that  the most important  factor in early  education is                                                               
having  an  excellent teacher.    [The  proposed legislation]  is                                                               
another tool to use in "getting to that point."                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS noted that HB  416, a similar bill, passed                                                               
through the  House last  year, but  did not  make it  through the                                                               
Senate because of time [issues].   He indicated a letter from the                                                               
Association of  Alaska School Boards  and an email from  a former                                                               
teacher [included in the committee packet] supporting [HB 20].                                                                  
Number 0455                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS  asked  the  committee  to  consider  two                                                               
amendments.   Amendment 1 read  as follows  [original punctuation                                                               
     1  Page 1, line 9: After "teach", Insert "or work",                                                                        
        After "particular" Insert "education".                                                                                  
     2  Page 1, line 10: Delete "by resolution".                                                                                
     3  Page 1, line 11: After "teach", Insert: "or work".                                                                      
Amendment 2 read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                    
     1. Page 2,  lines 16-20.  Instead of  deleting the last                                                                    
     sentence in  section 2.  Change  it to read:   A member                                                                    
     who  participated  in  a retirement  incentive  program                                                                    
     under ch  26, SLA 1986;  ch 89,  SLA 1989, ch  4, FSSLA                                                                    
     1996; or  ch 92, SLA  1997, who makes [IS  NOT ELIGIBLE                                                                    
     TO  MAKE] an  election under  this subsection  will not                                                                    
     lose   the   incentive   credit  provided   under   the                                                                    
     applicable  retirement   incentive  plan  and   is  not                                                                    
     subject to any related reemployment indebtedness.                                                                          
CHAIR  WEYHRAUCH  read  the  first   line  of  HB  20  and  asked                                                               
Representative Stevens a question  regarding the inclusion of the                                                               
word "principals".                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE   STEVENS  answered   that  [including   the  word                                                               
"principals"] is equally  important.  In response  to a follow-up                                                               
question  by Chair  Weyhrauch, he  clarified  that [the  proposed                                                               
legislation] would  only apply to  those people in  the Teachers'                                                               
Retirement System (TRS).                                                                                                        
CHAIR  WEYHRAUCH asked  why it  is necessary  to pass  a bill  in                                                               
order for teachers to be rehired.                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS explained  that current  statutes require                                                               
that  if a  teacher who  has  "RIPed" [is  rehired], he/she  must                                                               
repay  the amount  of money  that was  received.   He added  that                                                               
"this" might  be a  good opportunity  to get  that money  back by                                                               
allowing  those returning  teachers to  teach for  three to  four                                                               
years, at which  point they would be "back where  they would have                                                               
been if  they had  stayed anyway."   He said  that he  is hearing                                                               
about  teachers who  retire from  Alaska, are  welcomed by  other                                                               
states to  teach, and "would like  to return to Alaska,  but find                                                               
they  simply can't."   He  stated that  he thinks  [HB 20]  would                                                               
correct that.                                                                                                                   
Number 0892                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  HOLM prefaced  his statement  by saying  that his                                                               
wife  is a  schoolteacher.   He said  he has  a problem  with the                                                               
bill.    In  numerous  cases, teachers  have  been  given  "great                                                               
quantities  of dollars"  to retire  early, he  said, which  gives                                                               
them   an   "advantage   of  taxpayer   dollars."      He   asked                                                               
Representative Stevens why  the people are not  being required to                                                               
return that  money.  He opined  that it is inappropriate  for the                                                               
state  to  give  financial  incentives   to  urge  employees  [to                                                               
retire],  and  then  [rehire]   those  [past]  employees  without                                                               
requiring them to  pay the [incentive money] back.   He asked how                                                               
many teachers  are involved and if  all the teachers "out  of the                                                               
university system" have been hired.                                                                                             
Number 1015                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS  explained  that  at the  time  when  the                                                               
retirement  incentive was  offered, there  were many  teachers at                                                               
the high  end of  the salary  scale.   The teachers  who replaced                                                               
them eventually  will become "higher  end teachers" in time.   He                                                               
stated that  he is not  certain that it was  a wise thing  to do,                                                               
but, on  paper, it saved [the  school districts] money.   He said                                                               
that  he  has  heard  people express  that  those  [teachers  who                                                               
retired with the incentive program]  should, perhaps, be punished                                                               
for taking  "gross advantage" of [the  school district]; however,                                                               
he stated  that the truth  of the  matter is that  those teachers                                                               
are now  needed.   He said,  "The districts are  able to  look at                                                               
that and  say, 'Well  yeah, sure,  they were  very lucky  at that                                                               
time - they received an advantage.'"                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS stated his  view that [Alaska] is allowing                                                               
other   states'  districts   to  "have   the  advantage   of  our                                                               
experienced teachers  when, in  fact, ...  some of  our districts                                                               
would like to  hire some of them  back."  He said that  [if HB 20                                                               
is passed] the  districts would be able to weigh  the benefits of                                                               
rehiring the aforementioned teachers  versus hiring teachers at a                                                               
lower [pay scale].                                                                                                              
Number 1150                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  HOLM said  that he  has not  been given  evidence                                                               
that  would compel  him to  agree with  [Representative Stevens].                                                               
He asked,  "How many teachers are  we talking about?"   He opined                                                               
that  if  [Alaska]  is  to   make  a  significant  difference  in                                                               
educational programming,  or the ability to  have enough teachers                                                               
to teach  its students  properly, then  [the number  of teachers]                                                               
needs to  be significant.   He reiterated  that he has  a problem                                                               
with [teachers] being rehired without  returning the money to the                                                               
state that they got as a benefit [for retiring].                                                                                
Number 1235                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS  responded that  he  does  not know  what                                                               
those  numbers are,  if they  even exist,  or how  they could  be                                                               
found.   He said that  he is not certain  that he agrees  that it                                                               
has to  be a significant number.   He stated that  he thinks [the                                                               
legislature]  should  do  all  it   can  to  offer  the  [school]                                                               
districts options, and [HB 20] is an option.                                                                                    
Number 1270                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON noted  that  the  Kenai Peninsula  Borough                                                               
[School District]  had a  similar program.   He recalled  that it                                                               
offered  a  flat $7,500  retirement  incentive.   Some  of  those                                                               
teachers  are still  in the  community, he  added.   He mentioned                                                               
Kodiak  and  asked Representative  Stevens  to  compare cases  in                                                               
regard to "reimbursement back to the district."                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS  clarified that the  RIP was part  of TRS.                                                               
He stated his  understanding that it is separate  from a decision                                                               
by a local school district to  offer an incentive on its own, for                                                               
example.   He  recommended  that Representative  Seaton ask  "the                                                               
department people" his question.                                                                                                
Number 1462                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  referred to Amendment 2  [text provided                                                               
previously].  He asked, "If we  adopt Amendment 2, should we then                                                               
delete  Section 3  of  the  bill, because  it  would  seem to  be                                                               
Number 1505                                                                                                                     
GUY  BELL,   Director,  Health  Benefits  Section,   Division  of                                                               
Retirement  & Benefits,  Department of  Administration, told  the                                                               
committee  that   Section  3  relates   to  PERS   employees  who                                                               
participated in a RIP, then  enter teaching as a profession under                                                               
(indisc);  therefore,  [Section  3]  is  not  redundant,  but  is                                                               
specifically in reference to PERS.                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG asked how it  is possible to have a zero                                                               
fiscal note.                                                                                                                    
MR. BELL  reminded the  committee that  there were  several RIPs.                                                               
He  said that  when  a RIP  was  implemented, it  was  up to  the                                                               
district and  the teacher to pay  the full actuarial cost  of the                                                               
RIP.  He continued as follows:                                                                                                  
     So, at the time that the  RIP was approved, there was a                                                                    
     cost   -  provided   by  the   division,  through   our                                                                    
     actuaries,  to the  school district  - that  had to  be                                                                    
     paid, and  the school  district and the  teacher shared                                                                    
     in  that  actuarial  cost.   The  RIP  penalty  ...  on                                                                    
     returning is  not based on  the cost of  returning that                                                                    
     teacher to the system, but is effectively a penalty.                                                                       
MR. BELL stated that teachers  who "took the RIP" understood that                                                               
there was  going to be  a significant cost  to them to  return to                                                               
teaching in Alaska.                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG asked if there  would still be a penalty                                                               
if HB 20 passes.                                                                                                                
MR.  BELL answered  that if  the  bill passes  with the  proposed                                                               
amendments,  there will  be no  penalty to  returning [teachers].                                                               
In response  to a question  by Representative Gruenberg,  he said                                                               
that [the  bill] would be  "cost neutral";  it would have  a zero                                                               
fiscal note.                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  WEYHRAUCH   asked  Mr.  Bell  to   address  Representative                                                               
Seaton's previously stated question.                                                                                            
MR. BELL responded as follows:                                                                                                  
     Unfortunately,  I'm not  an expert  on ...  each school                                                                    
     district's  collective  bargaining agreement  with  the                                                                    
     teachers'  union, so  it would  really be  dependent on                                                                    
      the terms of the agreement between the district and                                                                       
     its own employee units.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON asked  Mr.  Bell  if he  is  aware of  any                                                               
[instance]  when a  district has  allowed teachers  to be  hired,                                                               
regardless of their years of service.                                                                                           
MR. BELL  answered that he  is not  aware of any,  but reiterated                                                               
that this is not his area of expertise.                                                                                         
Number 1680                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH clarified as follows:                                                                                           
     So if the  question is:  "Can they rehire  a teacher at                                                                    
     any  pay  range,  whether  it's  a  beginning  or  exit                                                                    
     level?"  Under this program,  we don't know - unless we                                                                    
     go district  by district -  whether they would  have to                                                                    
     rehire them  at the level  they left, or  the beginning                                                                    
MR. BELL answered, "I believe so, yes."                                                                                         
Number 1701                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  stated  that,   having  formerly  been  a                                                               
teacher, he  has not seen  a situation  where a district  has had                                                               
the opportunity to  disregard people's time of service.   He said                                                               
there is a set  pay scale in all the contracts  he has ever seen.                                                               
He stated that  unless there is a specific amendment  made to [HB
20] which requires that teachers be  rehired at a lower pay rate,                                                               
he thinks a  situation may occur whereby teachers  are rehired at                                                               
the highest  pay rate  possible.   He added that  he is  not even                                                               
sure that  [those teachers]  might not even  get credit  for "the                                                               
additional  years  of  service,  under  periods  that  they  were                                                               
granted."   He  stated that  his  concern is  that schools  might                                                               
actually incur high  costs by [re]hiring teachers  at the highest                                                               
pay scale.   He clarified that  he is not totally  opposed to the                                                               
bill; however,  he wants to see  [language in it] that  will make                                                               
it economical.                                                                                                                  
Number 1784                                                                                                                     
MR.  BELL  described the  way  "this  return" works  as  follows:                                                               
First,  even by  virtue  of  the RIP,  the  individual must  have                                                               
received  a  normal  retirement  benefit.    Second,  the  school                                                               
district  declares   a  shortage   in  its  particular   area  or                                                               
discipline.   Then, if  it rehires a  retiree, that  retiree then                                                               
"makes an  election," which is  to either continue  receiving the                                                               
retirement benefit and not accrue  an additional retirement under                                                               
a  new salary,  or to  stop his/her  retirement benefit  and then                                                               
continue  accruing retirement  credit.   The return  provision is                                                               
the former, he said.  He  noted, "That's another way that we made                                                               
this  actuarially  neutral; there's  no  additional  cost to  the                                                               
system,  and at  the  same  time, neither  the  employer nor  the                                                               
employee  -  the  teacher  -   is  making  contributions  to  the                                                               
retirement  system."   He noted  that, in  effect, there  is some                                                               
savings  to  the   school  district,  by  virtue   of  their  not                                                               
contributing  to  the  retirement   system  for  that  particular                                                               
CHAIR  WEYHRAUCH asked  Mr.  Bell to  confirm  that "the  teacher                                                               
coming  back  under  this  ...  bill"  would  get  no  retirement                                                               
benefits as  part of their employment,  but would have to  set up                                                               
his/her own individual retirement plan.                                                                                         
MR. BELL replied, "In the case  of a school district, it would be                                                               
a  403(b),  tax-deferred  savings."    He  defined  that  as  the                                                               
opportunity [teachers]  would have to make  additional retirement                                                               
savings, because they would not  be contributing to the Teachers'                                                               
Retirement System.                                                                                                              
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH asked  whether there is anything  to prohibit the                                                               
district from  reducing, by that  margin, the amount of  pay that                                                               
teacher would receive through contract with that district.                                                                      
MR. BELL  reiterated that that  would be subject to  the contract                                                               
with the district.                                                                                                              
Number 1930                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS  told  the committee  he  believes  that,                                                               
currently, teachers  who retire  "under normal  retirement," with                                                               
no  RIP involved,  can return  to teaching  and choose  to remove                                                               
themselves  from  that  retirement   system,  no  longer  receive                                                               
retirement  pay,  and  accrue  time  in the  system  again.    He                                                               
reiterated that  it is  at the  districts' discretion  whether or                                                               
not to rehire  a teacher.  He said, "There  are several checks on                                                               
this program, I believe."                                                                                                       
Number 1991                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  referred to Section 3  [of the proposed                                                               
bill].  He said that it  refers to people who retired under PERS;                                                               
therefore, the bill must [also]  cover people who are not retired                                                               
teachers, but  who, technically,  retire under  PERS, as  well as                                                               
TRS.  He asked Mr. Bell to confirm that.                                                                                        
MR. BELL said, "Correct."                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG suggested, that  being the case, page 1,                                                               
line 11,  should be amended  to permit the employment  of retired                                                               
teachers and "other people," to conform with Section 3.                                                                         
MR.  BELL  said  that  he   does  not  think  [an  amendment]  is                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG   interjected  that   it  may   not  be                                                               
necessary,  but he  wants to  eliminate any  questions for  those                                                               
interpreting [the language of the bill in the future].                                                                          
MR. BELL explained that Section  1 relates only to people retired                                                               
under TRS.   He stated that  the reason Section 3  has been added                                                               
is  because it  makes specific  reference to  PERS retirees.   He                                                               
said, "Under the retirement center  programs, both retired public                                                               
employees  are excluded  or are  subject to  paying penalties  if                                                               
they  return in  PERS or  in  [TRS]."   For example,  he said,  a                                                               
retired fisheries  biologist who gets a  teaching certificate and                                                               
teaches  in a  school  district  will be  subject  to paying  the                                                               
penalty if he/she is a RIP retiree.                                                                                             
Number 2100                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG suggested  Conceptual  Amendment 3,  as                                                               
     So, shouldn't  we also say "retired  teachers or public                                                                    
     employees" or something like that,  to cover the former                                                                    
     retired biologist?  A technical  amendment to make sure                                                                    
     we don't have a problem.                                                                                                   
MR. BELL replied,  "It might help, but it wouldn't  do any harm."                                                               
In   response   to   follow-up  questions   from   Representative                                                               
Gruenberg,  he suggested  that, on  Page  1, Line  11, the  words                                                               
"public employees"  be added after the  words "retired teachers".                                                               
He said he  did not think it necessary to  add the word "retired"                                                               
before "public employees".                                                                                                      
CHAIR  WEYHRAUCH  asked if  the  language  being discussed  would                                                               
change the entire nature of the bill.                                                                                           
MR. BELL  said, "If that  amendment were  to be adopted,  I would                                                               
suggest  a  consultation  with [Legislative  Legal  and  Research                                                               
Number 2207                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  said that  he does  not want  to change                                                               
the bill, but he wants to "make it conform."                                                                                    
Number 2247                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH indicated  Amendment 2.  He referred  to the RIPs                                                               
in [the  years 1986, 1989,  1996, and 1997].   He asked  if those                                                               
were the referenced RIP programs for teachers and principals.                                                                   
MR. BELL concurred.                                                                                                             
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH  asked about the  basic intent of creating  a RIP                                                               
and "wanting  to get them  back now."   He stated that  he agrees                                                               
with  Representative  Stevens  regarding retired  teachers  as  a                                                               
valuable  resource that  the  state  doesn't want  to  lose.   He                                                               
emphasized  that he  thinks  it is  critically  important to  the                                                               
state to get  teachers back out in the Bush  to teach.  Regarding                                                               
the RIP,  he asked what the  public policy is that  drives it and                                                               
if it's in the state's overall interest.                                                                                        
Number 2295                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS said,  in hindsight,  "I'm sort  of sorry                                                               
that  I was  involved  in that  as the  president  of the  school                                                               
board."   He  qualified that  there were  immediate savings  from                                                               
replacing  teachers at  the high  end  of the  salary scale  with                                                               
those at  the low end; however,  a few years later,  the teachers                                                               
hired [as replacements]  are at the high end of  the salary scale                                                               
and many qualified teachers have been lost.                                                                                     
Number 2360                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  WEYHRAUCH mentioned  an inspiring  teacher from  his past.                                                               
He pointed  to the zero  fiscal note.   He noted that  the Alaska                                                               
Association of School  Boards is in favor of [HB  20].  He asked,                                                               
"What  is   the  relationship   between  this   organization  and                                                               
individual school districts?"                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS  answered that  he hoped they  would speak                                                               
in favor of [HB 20].                                                                                                            
Number 2420                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HOLM  stated his understanding that  there are two                                                               
issues involved.   The first,  he said,  is regarding PERS  and a                                                               
question of "whether or not you  ... have to return any incentive                                                               
to  retire."     The  second   issue,  he  highlighted,   is  the                                                               
[retirement]  incentive  given  by   the  school  boards  to  the                                                               
teachers.  Representative  Holm cited an example of  a person who                                                               
received  a $10,000  cash  bonus [to  retire  from the  Fairbanks                                                               
School  District],  in addition  to  the  retirement paid.    The                                                               
person is now in the Anchorage  School District as a teacher.  He                                                               
reiterated that he  has a problem with not requiring  pay back of                                                               
the monies received in regard to the RIP.                                                                                       
Number 2535                                                                                                                     
MR. BELL noted  that there are a number of  school districts that                                                               
offer  incentive   bonuses  -  generally  through   a  collective                                                               
bargaining  process  -  that are  completely  separate  from  the                                                               
retirement system.   He clarified that the  retirement system has                                                               
no say  over the awarding  of those  bonuses, and the  law states                                                               
nothing  regarding  people  who subsequently  return  to  another                                                               
district  after receiving  a separation  or a  second bonus  from                                                               
another district.   [Neither] the "rehired  retirement" law [nor]                                                               
the retirement  incentive law have  [any] connection at  all with                                                               
district-sponsored bonuses.  He stated the following:                                                                           
     So, I would suggest that  that should be separated from                                                                    
     this particular  bill, because this bill  has no impact                                                                    
     -  either positive  or negative  -  on that  particular                                                                    
     type  of situation.   That  would  occur regardless  of                                                                    
     whether this  bill passed or  did not pass.   This bill                                                                    
     strictly relates  to teachers  who participated  in the                                                                    
     state-sponsored  Retirement  Incentive  Program  -  TRS                                                                    
     Retirement   Incentive  Program   -  those   four  that                                                                    
     Representative Weyhrauch mentioned.                                                                                        
Number 2602                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS noted  the  importance  of local  control                                                               
over education.   Whatever the districts decide to  do [in regard                                                               
to  offering  bonuses] is  beyond  the  purview  of  HB 20.    He                                                               
clarified that his  previous statement that bonuses  [in the RIP]                                                               
were not a good idea was his own personal one.                                                                                  
Number 2648                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON asked  if  the teachers  that are  rehired                                                               
would immediately have  tenure.  He said, "If we're  looking at a                                                               
short-term need, and  the highest paid individuals  are people we                                                               
bring back  into the system,  I'm wondering if we're  stuck there                                                               
for the long term and whether there's any impact here at all."                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS said  that he retired after 25  years as a                                                               
university  professor, and  he had  tenure.   He  stated that  he                                                               
never thought that tenure was an  important issue.  He asked what                                                               
difference it makes  whether a teacher has tenure or  not, if the                                                               
school district has  decided it needs that  valuable teacher back                                                               
[regardless of the money].                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON described a  situation in which budget cuts                                                               
might require  a district  to let go  of its  lower-paid teachers                                                               
and retain  the rehired,  higher-paid teachers  with tenure.   He                                                               
stated  that  his concern  was  that  [the proposed]  legislation                                                               
might build a longer-term budgetary problem.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS  responded,  "It might  be  an  important                                                               
issue to ask  of the bargaining units."   He added that  it is an                                                               
issue that would  be controlled by the  contracts with bargaining                                                               
Number 2770                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ  stated his belief that  legislation has                                                               
been passed in the last couple  of years that allows people to be                                                               
reemployed without, in essence, negating their seniority.                                                                       
Number 2796                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH  asked the committee  if there was  any objection                                                               
to Amendment 1 [text provided previously].                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ objected to  point out that the deletion                                                               
on [page 1, line 10] should also [delete] the commas.                                                                           
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH  again asked whether  there was any  objection to                                                               
Amendment 1.  There being no objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                
Number 2830                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH asked  if there was any objection  to Amendment 2                                                               
[text provided  previously].  There  being none, Amendment  2 was                                                               
Number 2850                                                                                                                     
CHAIR   WEYHRAUCH  referred   to   Conceptual   Amendment  3,   a                                                               
handwritten,  photocopied   amendment,  which  read   as  follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
         p 1  l 11  after "teachers" insert "or public                                                                          
     [subject to technical correction by legal counsel]                                                                         
He asked if there was  any objection to [Conceptual] Amendment 3.                                                               
There being no objection, Conceptual Amendment 3 was adopted.                                                                   
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH asked the sponsor if  he would like to comment on                                                               
[Conceptual] Amendment 3.                                                                                                       
Number 2870                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE   STEVENS   concurred  with   the   aforementioned                                                               
comments of  Mr. Bell, that  [Amendment 3] is not  necessary, but                                                               
will do no harm.                                                                                                                
Number 2887                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  WEYHRAUCH  outlined  the  steps that  would  be  taken  to                                                               
include the above three amendments in a committee substitute.                                                                   
Number 2910                                                                                                                     
ED  McLAIN, Ph.D.,  Deputy Commissioner  of Education,  Office of                                                               
the Commissioner,  Department of Education and  Early Development                                                               
(EED), said that he recalls  the legislation previously mentioned                                                               
by Representative  Berkowitz, although  he does not  remember the                                                               
bill [number].   He urged the committee to  consider [the content                                                               
of] that  legislation, which provided allowance  for districts to                                                               
negotiate "the  number of years  they would  get."  He  said that                                                               
would   be  consistent   with   "current   policy  -   negotiated                                                               
agreements."  He said that districts  vary in the amount of years                                                               
allowed to be  "brought in."  He explained that  that is probably                                                               
why a person might leave one  district to go to another and might                                                               
not only  receive retirement  pay, but  also might  "get credited                                                               
with 'X' number of years."                                                                                                      
TAPE 03-04, SIDE B                                                                                                            
Number 2996                                                                                                                     
DR.  McLAIN  stated that  the  issue,  critical to  savings,  was                                                               
heavily debated last year.                                                                                                      
DR.  McLAIN   noted  that  he   has  served  as   both  assistant                                                               
superintendent   and   superintendent    in   several   districts                                                               
throughout  the state.    Regarding bonuses,  he  said that  some                                                               
districts, for  various reasons, did decide  to offer incentives,                                                               
which were separate from any state  agreement.  He added, "It had                                                               
an impact in  that that salary quite often raised  the pay, which                                                               
would  raise   the  average,  which   increased  the   amount  of                                                               
retirement.   But  those were  really  outside of  this bill  and                                                               
outside of  the one that was  passed last session or  the session                                                               
DR. McLAIN  said that  another component  of [HB  20] is  that it                                                               
[would]  allow  "the  department"  to  "take  advantage  of  this                                                               
program."   He  mentioned  an  amendment added  in  so that  "our                                                               
people and our teaching-learning support  system would be able to                                                               
participate."    He  added,  "It's a  critical  division  in  our                                                               
department."   He explained  that the  people [in  that division]                                                               
are  required  to  be "certificated,"  and  they  provide  direct                                                               
support  services  to  teachers,   schools,  districts,  and  the                                                               
administration,   for    example,   regarding    curriculum   and                                                               
instructional  matters.    Mr.   McLain  noted  that  the  salary                                                               
structure  and the  "twelve-month contract  nature of  that work"                                                               
sometimes make  it hard for  [the department] to  attract people.                                                               
He urged  the committee to consider  "anything that we can  do to                                                               
open up that  as a possibility, to make it  more attractive."  He                                                               
said that  [HB 20] would  allow retired  people to elect  to work                                                               
with  "us," and  that the  state as  a whole  would benefit  from                                                               
their experience.   He reiterated that there would be  no cost to                                                               
the state;  there is a  zero fiscal  note.  He  demonstrated that                                                               
point as follows:   "The person, if they ...  took the retirement                                                               
and  left -  went down  to Oregon  - we're  still paying  out the                                                               
retirement benefit.   Now, we  still pay out the  retirement, but                                                               
we also get the benefit of their expertise back with us."                                                                       
Number 2860                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  stated  that   the  amendment  he  had                                                               
offered was  designed to ensure  that the employees who  are non-                                                               
teachers  could be  hired  back.   They  would  be former  public                                                               
employees who would  be employed to work in the  system.  He said                                                               
he thinks that it is important  that "we make certain there is no                                                               
question that they can be reemployed."                                                                                          
DR. McLAIN responded to Representative  Gruenberg as follows:  "I                                                               
appreciate the amendment  that you offered, and  I also hesitate,                                                               
without legal  counsel, on the exact  wording."  He said  that he                                                               
understood Representative  Gruenberg's intent  and that  it would                                                               
not  cause   the  department  any   problems.    He   stated  his                                                               
understanding that Representative  Gruenberg's proposed amendment                                                               
would mean  that a biologist,  for example, who  left employment,                                                               
then gained a teaching certificate,  could "come back in and take                                                               
on  the  teaching."   He  clarified  that  he did  not  interpret                                                               
Representative Gruenberg as saying that  a person could leave "as                                                               
a custodian and come back in as a custodian."                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG said  that  Mr. McLain  had focused  on                                                               
Amendment 1  and the addition  of the  phrase, "or work".   Since                                                               
someone  had asked  to have  that  phrase added,  he opined,  "It                                                               
sounds like  there are people  who are  going to be  brought back                                                               
in,  not just  to teach,  but to  work."   He asked  if that  was                                                               
Number 2770                                                                                                                     
DR.  McLAIN clarified  that Teaching  and Learning  Support is  a                                                               
particular  division  of EED.    Those  individuals [in  it]  are                                                               
required  to have  teaching certification  in order  to do  their                                                               
job; they are required to have  the background and skill set that                                                               
would make them  eligible for TRS.  They are  not PERS employees,                                                               
he said.  That is why  the language [of the proposed legislation]                                                               
was changed from "teach" to "work",  because what they do is work                                                               
with curriculum  development and  grant management,  for example.                                                               
He said  that he would  not have a  problem with the  addition of                                                               
adding "PERS opportunities" to the proposed legislation.                                                                        
Number 2714                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  said that  it  sounded  as though  the                                                               
certification was the key issue.                                                                                                
DR. McLAIN  said yes.   He listed some areas  where certification                                                               
is necessary.                                                                                                                   
CHAIR WEYHRAUCH recognized Representative Crawford in the room.                                                                 
Number 2651                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  clarified  that   the  intent  of  his                                                               
[proposed]  amendment was  not to  expand,  but to  conform.   He                                                               
stated that  his intent was  to include  only the people  who Mr.                                                               
McLain intends to  include.  Furthermore, [to  that purpose], the                                                               
bill must be carefully drafted.                                                                                                 
Number 2625                                                                                                                     
DR. McLAIN reiterated that he  had understood that Representative                                                               
Gruenberg  had been  bringing in  the idea  that someone  retired                                                               
under PERS  might earn a  teaching certificate and come  back [to                                                               
teach] as a second career.   He said, "I think that's an exciting                                                               
extension and builds into our  statewide efforts on retention and                                                               
recruitment, and to that degree, I thought it fit in well."                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  concurred that that had  been his exact                                                               
DR.  McLAIN  noted  that  the   state's  university  system  only                                                               
prepares about  30 percent  of its teachers;  there is  a general                                                               
teaching shortage in the state, which  is acute in some areas and                                                               
chronic in others.  In the  past 23 years, application files have                                                               
decreased in size.  He [encouraged]  anything that can be done to                                                               
attract and  retain teachers.   He stated that it's  difficult to                                                               
watch a  teacher with twenty  years of experience leave  to teach                                                               
in another state.  He offered  to make a report regarding teacher                                                               
retention and recruitment available to the committee.                                                                           
Number 2529                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  WEYHRAUCH   suggested  that  Mr.  McLain   not  limit  the                                                               
distribution to only the House  State Affairs Standing Committee,                                                               
because  he  said  he  thinks  everyone  in  the  legislature  is                                                               
concerned  about  the  issue.   He  stated  that  "whatever  your                                                               
department  can do"  to provide  incentives [to  teachers], while                                                               
implementing  any cost-effective  programs would  be of  benefit.                                                               
In response to  a comment by Mr. McLain, he  clarified that there                                                               
was a zero  [fiscal] note to the state, but  he wasn't sure about                                                               
a cost to the district.                                                                                                         
DR. McLAIN said  that the districts would have the  option not to                                                               
exercise [the  proposed legislation] if  it did not work  out for                                                               
them to do so.                                                                                                                  
[HB 20 was heard and held.]                                                                                                     

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