Legislature(2009 - 2010)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/10/2010 08:00 AM Senate EDUCATION

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08:01:39 AM Start
08:01:58 AM SB224
09:01:21 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
               SB 224-POSTSECONDARY SCHOLARSHIPS                                                                            
8:01:58 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR THOMAS announced the continued consideration of SB 224                                                                 
and briefly reviewed recent activity on the bill.                                                                               
8:03:24 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR MEYER moved to table SB 224 26-GS2771\A. There being no                                                                
objection version A was tabled.                                                                                                 
8:03:49 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR MEYER  moved to adopt the  proposed committee substitute                                                               
(CS) to SB  224, labeled 26-GS2771\S, as the  working document of                                                               
the committee.   There being  no objection, version S  was before                                                               
the committee.                                                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR  THOMAS  said  that there  are  substantial  differences                                                               
between  the original  bill and  the CS  and the  committee staff                                                               
would talk about these differences.                                                                                             
8:04:27 AM                                                                                                                    
MURRAY  RICHMOND, aide  to Senator  Thomas, said  that there  are                                                               
three major differences between the CS and the original bill:                                                                   
The  first was  a  groundswell of  opinion  that career  training                                                               
should  be  given  equal standing  with  academic  training.  For                                                               
example, if a student  is an A student who wants  to go to career                                                               
school they should  be given everything available to  them that a                                                               
student going  to an  academic school  would have.  The amendment                                                               
that reflects  this takes  the career segment  out as  a separate                                                               
path and  merged it with the  academic path so that  there is one                                                               
merit based scholarship. The second  major change is the addition                                                               
of the needs-based  amendment. The third change  is the allowance                                                               
of  non-traditional  students. A  handout  was  included for  the                                                               
committee of  the CS  with notes made  by the  co-chair committee                                                               
MR. RICHAMOND  said the first change  in Section 1 is  located on                                                               
page 1, line 9, where the  scholarship is no longer be labeled as                                                               
an academic  scholarship, but rather  a merit  based scholarship.                                                               
This occurs throughout document.                                                                                                
In Section 2 & 3, there are no changes.                                                                                         
The next  change is on page  5, section 4. Originally  drafted by                                                               
Legal, it was assumed the  Alaska Student Loan Corps (ASLC) would                                                               
be  administering this  program.  In discussing  this with  Diane                                                               
Barrans, that is  not the case. This program  would reside solely                                                               
within the  Alaska Commission of Postsecondary  Education (ACPE).                                                               
It  is  the House's  intention  that  section  4 be  removed.  We                                                               
recommend  that this  entire section  be removed  from the  CS as                                                               
well before  it is passed on.  The entire section deals  with the                                                               
powers  of  the  corporation  in administering  the  program  but                                                               
throughout  the  rest   of  the  document  it   talks  about  the                                                               
commission. He  does not  believe that  excising Section  4 would                                                               
affect any other part of the bill.                                                                                              
CO-CHAIR THOMAS  clarified that all  of section 4 should  be cut,                                                               
which includes half of page 5 through page 7, line 28.                                                                          
MR. RICHMOND said he agreed.                                                                                                    
JOMO STEWART,  aide to  Senator Meyer, added  that the  only real                                                               
change in  the existing statute  was the addition  of AS14.43.091                                                               
through 14.43.890.  Legal included all  of section 4 in  order to                                                               
make that reference.                                                                                                            
SENATOR STEVENS  asked if the  ACPE is comfortable with  this and                                                               
if this is how the ASLC would like it.                                                                                          
MR. RICHMOND said yes. He continued  with section 5, which is the                                                               
heart of the  document, he said, and where they  will see many of                                                               
the  changes. The  goals section  has  been deleted  and will  be                                                               
added, instead,  as a  memo of intent  to be  presented alongside                                                               
the bill.                                                                                                                       
MR. STEWART added that it can  still be referenced in a matter of                                                               
court cases it just does not have the force of law.                                                                             
MR.  RICHMOND  said  that  this bill  presents  a  challenge  for                                                               
schools to rise to the  curriculum level required for students to                                                               
attend a major university in the  state and perform well. Page 8,                                                               
line 1, reflects the nature of  this challenge and to ensure that                                                               
a rigorous  curriculum is  available in all  high schools  in the                                                               
8:11:35 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS asked  if, by setting these  high standards, this                                                               
opens the legislature  up to legal attack because  there are some                                                               
schools that won't be able to meet the criteria set by the bill.                                                                
MR. RICHMOND said there is an  allowance in the bill for students                                                               
that are in areas where this curriculum is not available.                                                                       
SENATOR HUGGINS disagreed.                                                                                                      
MR. STEWART  added that  on page  9, line 25-26,  there is  a new                                                               
reference  that was  inserted into  the  CS that  will allow  for                                                               
schools to include  virtual curriculum. Also, on page  8, line 1,                                                               
the  purpose  of  the  scholarship  would be  to  ensure  that  a                                                               
rigorous  curriculum is  provided  in all  high schools.  Through                                                               
virtual means (i.e. distance education)  they would be asking for                                                               
the Department of Education and  Early Development (DEED) to make                                                               
a commitment  to have these  resources available for  schools who                                                               
cannot reach the standards on their own.                                                                                        
CO-CHAIR THOMAS  clarified that Senator Huggin's  concern is that                                                               
page 8, line 1, is a pretty strong statement.                                                                                   
SENATOR HUGGINS  said yes.  He added that  in regards  to virtual                                                               
curriculums it will take time  to establish those programs and he                                                               
does not want to open the committee up to critique.                                                                             
MR. RICHMOND  declined to answer because  he is not a  lawyer. He                                                               
continued with page  8, line 3, where he noted  that the language                                                               
discussing the two  previous types of programs  has been deleted.                                                               
This reflects the fact that  there is essentially one scholarship                                                               
that can be used in either an academic or career track.                                                                         
On Page  8, line 22,  the original  bill previously said  that an                                                               
Alaskan resident  who has graduated  or will graduate  within six                                                               
months  of  the  date  of   application  would  qualify  for  the                                                               
scholarship. The  six month  time frame was  deleted in  order to                                                               
provide  a longer  time  frame  for students  to  apply (per  the                                                               
amendment by  Senator Stevens who  wanted to allow for  more non-                                                               
traditional students). Line  25 of the original  bill was deleted                                                               
for the  same reason.  On line  30 there was  a proviso  that the                                                               
scholarship  must be  used within  a  six year  time frame.  This                                                               
entire paragraph  was deleted as well  to make for an  open ended                                                               
time frame.                                                                                                                     
On  page 8,  line  31,  the CS  includes  a  minimum grade  point                                                               
average (GPA) that a student  will be required to maintain during                                                               
their postsecondary work in order  to keep their scholarship. The                                                               
average has not  yet been specified; however, a 2.5  GPA has been                                                               
suggested. The original  bill did not include a  minimum GPA, but                                                               
rather a "minimum standard."                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR THOMAS asked where the GPA reference is.                                                                               
MR. RICHMOND  said it is not  currently included in the  bill. He                                                               
assumed that  it will be  established in regulations,  unless the                                                               
committee would like to establish a GPA in the bill.                                                                            
8:16:42 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS said he always  advises students to withdraw from                                                               
a class  as soon as possible  if they are having  trouble with it                                                               
to avoid  having that class  on their  record. He asked,  in this                                                               
case, if there are a minimum  amount of credits to be earned that                                                               
are required to maintain the scholarship?                                                                                       
MR.  STEWART said  that  the minimum  GPA  addresses a  student's                                                               
continued  performance  in  college  in  order  to  maintain  the                                                               
scholarship they have earned.                                                                                                   
SENATOR  STEVENS asked  whether  there are  a  minimum number  of                                                               
credit hours a student is required to take.                                                                                     
MR. RICHMOND  said a student  has to  be enrolled at  least half-                                                               
time or  take six or  more credit hours at  one time in  order to                                                               
keep their  scholarship. If a  student is enrolled part  time the                                                               
scholarship would be pro-rated.                                                                                                 
SENATOR HUGGINS  recommended they  look at  minimum GPA  in bill.                                                               
Also, the  transition from high  school can be  traumatic. Should                                                               
there be  a probationary period  in the  first year to  allow for                                                               
slightly lower grades during this transition period?                                                                            
MR. RICHMOND  said they will discuss  Senator Huggin's suggestion                                                               
further. He continued  on page 9, lines 14-18, were  added to the                                                               
CS  to  allow  students  with  a  non-traditional  background  to                                                               
qualify and enroll in the scholarship program regardless of age.                                                                
He continued  to say  that lines  18, 19,  and 24  of the  CS add                                                               
language that  reflects that this  is now a performance  or merit                                                               
based scholarship  to reflect  the unified  nature of  this bill.                                                               
Page 9, line  25-26, addresses a virtual curriculum  may be added                                                               
and would be considered a valid part of a student's education.                                                                  
8:21:01 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR THOMAS  asked whether  non-traditional students  on page                                                               
9,  lines 14-18,  consist of  individuals who  not only  withdrew                                                               
from a  postsecondary institution  but could also  include almost                                                               
any circumstance that might have interrupted their career.                                                                      
MR. RICHMOND concurred.  He continued on page 10, line  1, of the                                                               
CS which discusses programmatic  standards for eligibility for an                                                               
award. The  first change from the  original bill was to  move the                                                               
social  studies  requirements from  three  years  to four  (which                                                               
could include  foreign language). The second  component added was                                                               
directed for  students who are  going in a career  direction that                                                               
demands less math  and science skills.   These requirements would                                                               
include:  three years  of mathematics,  three  years of  language                                                               
arts, three years  of science, four years of  social studies, and                                                               
two  years of  a foreign  or  Alaska Native  language. The  House                                                               
amendment  (26-GH2771\A.18)  originally  discussed two  years  of                                                               
foreign language  or Alaskan  Native language  and four  years of                                                               
social studies.                                                                                                                 
SENATOR  HUGGINS  asked  about  these  standards  as  opposed  to                                                               
current requirements and how many credits remain for electives.                                                                 
MR. RICHMOND responded that all  of these requirements exceed the                                                               
standards that  are found  both in  state statues  and individual                                                               
schools. He  said that  the amount of  electives a  student might                                                               
have depends on what a student has  taken at an earlier age. If a                                                               
student takes the  required courses early and  passes, this would                                                               
leave  more room  for electives.  A  student that  might have  to                                                               
retake a course will not have as much room for electives.                                                                       
CO-CHAIR THOMAS  clarified that  if a  student takes  the courses                                                               
required  to be  eligible for  the scholarship,  how many  credit                                                               
hours remain for electives?                                                                                                     
MR. RICHMOND deferred to the ACPE.                                                                                              
SENATOR STEVENS asked that cultural heritage be defined.                                                                        
MR. RICHMOND  said he assumes that  it is not confined  to Alaska                                                               
cultural  heritage. As  he reads  the  bill, it  appears that  it                                                               
would stand for any cultural heritage.                                                                                          
CO-CHAIR THOMAS suggested they get legal clarification                                                                          
SENATOR HUGGINS  asked if  a person whose  first language  is not                                                               
English takes English, would it qualify as a foreign language.                                                                  
MR. RICHMOND replied no. He  continued that page 10, lines 11-18,                                                               
is an  amendment offered by  the administration that  defines the                                                               
three  award  tiers and  lines  out  the  actual grades  and  GPA                                                               
necessary to qualify for the scholarship.   The first tier is the                                                               
"A level,"  which is 3.5 and  higher and receives 100  percent of                                                               
the scholarship; the  second is the "B level,"  which is 3.0-3.49                                                               
and receives  75 percent of  the scholarship; and the  third tier                                                               
is the  "C+ level," which is  2.5-3.0 and receives 50  percent of                                                               
the scholarship.                                                                                                                
He pointed  out the change  on line  19 which includes  a minimum                                                               
score requirement  on an  entrance exam (either  ACT or  SAT). He                                                               
explained that  essentially what  lines 22-25 mean  is that  if a                                                               
student meets  the GPA requirement  for an "A  level" scholarship                                                               
but  does not  meet the  minimum entrance  exam scores,  they can                                                               
apply for  a lower tier scholarship.  This means that the  ACT or                                                               
SAT requirements would  also be tiered into an A,  B, or C level.                                                               
He is uncertain  whether the student would be  disqualified for a                                                               
scholarship if  their entrance  exam score  is below  the minimum                                                               
8:29:45 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STEVENS asked  where "pass\fail"  fits into  the grading                                                               
system that has been established here.                                                                                          
MR. RICHMOND  assumed that  most universities  would not  allow a                                                               
student  to go  through four  years of  school with  "pass\fail."                                                               
While  he  is not  positive  about  this,  he believed  that  the                                                               
commissioner would address this.                                                                                                
MR. STEWART  said their  impression from  the committee  was that                                                               
they  wanted  an  objective  benchmark  to  guard  against  grade                                                               
inflation  but  they did  not  want  the ACT  or  SAT  to be  the                                                               
commanding   factor   in   a  student's   eligibility   for   the                                                               
scholarship.  This particular  amendment came  directly from  the                                                               
administration and may  be a topic that the  committee would like                                                               
to discuss further.                                                                                                             
CO-CHAIR  MEYER   agreed  and   said  that  more   discussion  is                                                               
necessary. He thinks,  however, that a student who has  a 4.0 GPA                                                               
and takes  a rigorous curriculum ought  to be able to  do well on                                                               
an entrance  exam, especially since  they can take the  test more                                                               
than  one time.  He would  hate to  lower the  standard too  much                                                               
because a student had a "bad test day."                                                                                         
MR. RICHMOND  explained that the  scoring percentiles on  ACT are                                                               
skewed to the higher level and  then take a radical jump for mid-                                                               
level students.                                                                                                                 
MR. STEWART  referred the committee  to the letter from  the ACPE                                                               
regarding   post-secondary  education,   dated  March   3,  2010.                                                               
Included in the  letter are the University  of Alaska admission's                                                               
test  standards, provided  by the  university for  the committee.                                                               
While  the University  of  Alaska does  have  an open  university                                                               
(i.e. anyone can  take classes) there are  minimum standards that                                                               
a  student must  meet in  order to  enter into  a degree  seeking                                                               
program. He said he was not sure  how DEED would want to defer to                                                               
the university's current standard.                                                                                              
CO-CHAIR THOMAS assumed that it  would be even more difficult for                                                               
non-traditional students  to qualify  for the program  having not                                                               
taken tests for some period of time.                                                                                            
MR. RICHMOND  continued that  on page 10,  line 26,  the language                                                               
included in the  CS now includes academic,  career, and technical                                                               
postsecondary institutions.   Page  11, line 1 reflects a similar                                                               
change. And finally,  line 6 notes the merit based  needs and the                                                               
inclusion of academic and career schools.                                                                                       
On page  11, lines 7-15,  the difference  between the CS  and the                                                               
original  bill connects  the scholarship  with  the 2010  through                                                               
2011 school year, while the  CS connects the scholarship with the                                                               
2009  through 2010  school year.  The  other thing  to point  out                                                               
about  this section  is that  in  the needs  based section  (Sec.                                                               
14.43.828) of  the CS  the scholarship  is based  on the  cost of                                                               
attendance at the  University of Alaska. This is not  the case in                                                               
this section (Sec.  14.43.820). Rather it is based  on the school                                                               
the student plans to attend.  He recommended that this section be                                                               
aligned with a University of  Alaska tuition rate, and not solely                                                               
"tuition."  This  would  prevent   a  student  from  receiving  a                                                               
scholarship for  a larger sum  of money  if they were  to attend,                                                               
for example,  to Alaska Pacific  University where the  tuition is                                                               
significantly higher.                                                                                                           
MR.  STEWART   commented  further  the  dates   attached  to  the                                                               
scholarship.  The   original  bill  pegged  the   dates  for  the                                                               
2010/2011 school  year. The  amendment offered  by the  House and                                                               
included  in  the  CS  links the  scholarship,  instead,  to  the                                                               
2009/2010 school  year. As  the CS  currently stands,  having the                                                               
date  change will  impact  the  amount of  award  a student  will                                                               
receive in  coming year  due to  an increase  in tuition  for the                                                               
University of Alaska by four percent for 2010/2011.                                                                             
CO-CHAIR MEYER  encouraged the  committee to  peg the  tuition to                                                               
the University  of Alaska's tuition  rate. He also  believed that                                                               
the current rate (2010/2011) should  be used. He wondered if this                                                               
change was made to accommodate 2010 graduates.                                                                                  
MR. RICHMOND said  no and that there are still  no allowances for                                                               
that situation. He continued by noting  that on page 11, line 16,                                                               
the CS  explicitly states that  a merit based scholarship  can be                                                               
applied to a career school.                                                                                                     
MR. STEWART  further explained that  this section made  the other                                                               
references  to  vocational   and  technical  schools  superfluous                                                               
throughout the bill.                                                                                                            
MR.  RICHMOND  continued on  to  line  24,  which states  that  a                                                               
student may only receive one scholarship.                                                                                       
SENATOR STEVENS remarked  that line 24 did not make  sense to him                                                               
when he first read  it.  He asked that the wording  of line 24 be                                                               
MR. RICHMOND agreed.  He continued by moving back up  to page 11,                                                               
line 22.  In the  original bill a  student would  remain eligible                                                               
for a  scholarship for up  to eight  semesters. The CS,  he said,                                                               
has changed this to 12 semesters.                                                                                               
He  continued on  to  the needs  based  section (Sec.  14.43.828)                                                               
which  does   not  include  any   substantial  changes   to  that                                                               
amendment.  The  rest of  the  CS  includes statutes  that  allow                                                               
departments to regulate the scholarship.                                                                                        
CO-CHAIR THOMAS  asked Mr.  Richmond to  go over  the needs-based                                                               
section on page 12.                                                                                                             
MR. RICHMOND  explained that if  a student were applying  for the                                                               
needs-based performance  scholarship award they would  first fill                                                               
out  a FAFSA  form.  If  the student's  financial  needs were  to                                                               
exceed $2,000.00 they  would receive 50% of the  unmet need after                                                               
their expected family contribution of $2000.00.                                                                                 
CO-CHAIR THOMAS clarified that a  student would always contribute                                                               
a  minimum  of  $2,000.00  under  this  plan  regardless  of  the                                                               
student's circumstances.                                                                                                        
MR. RICHMOND agreed.                                                                                                            
MR. STEWART explained that this  was the needs based amendment as                                                               
it had been proposed by the governor's office.                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR THOMAS  asked if  on page 12,  lines 8-9,  determine how                                                               
these  calculations  are  determined.  He requested  them  to  go                                                               
through these calculations in more detail.                                                                                      
MR. RICHMOND  gave the example of  a student who, after  they had                                                               
applied  for FAFSA  and received  a  PELL grant,  they still  had                                                               
$4000.00 that  needed to be  covered. The student (or  family) is                                                               
still  expected   to  contribute   $2000.00.  Of   the  remaining                                                               
$2,000.00,  half  of that  would  be  the responsibility  of  the                                                               
student  ($1,000.00) and  the needs  based scholarship  would pay                                                               
for the other half ($1,000.00).                                                                                                 
MR. STEWART said  that this scholarship was never  intended to be                                                               
an entirely full ride scholarship.                                                                                              
MR.  RICHMOND explained  that  the most  positive  effect of  the                                                               
needs-based scholarship  is that  it would  reduce the  amount of                                                               
loans students have.                                                                                                            
8:44:05 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.   STEWART  explained   that  as   a  policy   statement,  all                                                               
scholarships  are now  merit based  scholarships,  based on  high                                                               
academic  performance. It  appears,  he said,  that almost  every                                                               
student  has the  possibility of  some needs-based  contribution,                                                               
depending on their family's income.                                                                                             
MR. RICHMOND  continued by explaining  section d (page  12, lines                                                               
10-14)  which  defines the  process  of  receiving a  needs-based                                                               
scholarship.  The  student  would  fill out  the  FAFSA  and  the                                                               
institution would then determine the  cost of attendance and what                                                               
the expected family contribution would  be. Finally, line 16 pegs                                                               
the allowable cost of attendance to the University of Alaska.                                                                   
MR. STEWART  pointed out a  slight linguistic change on  page 13,                                                               
line 3 in the  CS. In the original bill it  states that a student                                                               
should  consider  alternative  means  to financial  aid  but  the                                                               
department  would   consider  whether  these  other   means  were                                                               
applicable,  would  be fair  to  other  students and  whether  it                                                               
coincided with programmatic goals. This  wording was taken out of                                                               
the CS and replaced with "effect."                                                                                              
MR. RICHMOND  explained that if the  needs-based scholarship were                                                               
to be financed as designed there  would be a $400 million fund of                                                               
which  five percent  would be  drawn  from each  year. That  five                                                               
percent  would then  be  distributed among  all  of the  students                                                               
eligible for the  needs based scholarship. If  more students were                                                               
added to the program there would  be less money to be distributed                                                               
per student.  Before any exemptions  for students are  created it                                                               
is  important  to  understand  how this  will  affect  the  other                                                               
students that would be receiving this needs based scholarship.                                                                  
MR.  STEWART said  it  is similar  to  discussions regarding  the                                                               
distribution of the permanent fund to people out of state.                                                                      
MR.  RICHMOND  continued  on  with page  13,  lines  8-11,  which                                                               
discusses waivers  that a student  could receive if  a particular                                                               
curriculum in secondary school is not made available to them.                                                                   
MR. RICHMOND said that one topic  that should be discussed is the                                                               
list of technical and career  schools addressed in line 20. There                                                               
are several lists  in existence right now including  ones kept by                                                               
the ACPE and the Department of  Labor(DOL). He wants to make sure                                                               
that they  are all working  from the  same list. Mr.  Stewart and                                                               
Mr.  Richmond  plan  to  get  back to  the  committee  with  more                                                               
information on that.                                                                                                            
MR. STEWART assured the committee  that there are plans to create                                                               
this  list. There  was a  fiscal note  that went  along with  the                                                               
House version  of the  bill of  $25,000.00 that  would coordinate                                                               
the creation and maintenance of a unified list.                                                                                 
SENATOR  HUGGINS  asked whether  this  list  is included  in  the                                                               
statute (AS 14.43.835(a)(2)) discussed on page 11, line 18.                                                                     
MR.  STEWART  said there  are  currently  three different  lists.                                                               
Those holding  lists include: the ACPE  with authorized technical                                                               
schools  and training,  the DOL  with  certified career  training                                                               
facilities, and  a list  that is  within the  statute.   There is                                                               
intention,  however, to  create a  vocational and  technical list                                                               
where a  student would  be authorized  to use  their scholarship.                                                               
This list  is supposed to come  from the DOL be  published by the                                                               
ACPE. He asked  the committee how involved they would  like to be                                                               
in the creation of this list.                                                                                                   
SENATOR  HUGGINS agreed  with consolidating  the  list but  asked                                                               
what the prevailing Alaska statute would be for the list.                                                                       
MR. STEWART  pointed out that  the list that is  being referenced                                                               
on page 11, line 18 is the same statute referenced on page 13.                                                                  
SENATOR STEVENS  mentioned that  it is  important to  address the                                                               
title of  the scholarship. The bill  has been changed in  a major                                                               
way by the  legislature, why is the scholarship  still called the                                                               
Governor's  Performance  Scholarship?  He does  not  believe  the                                                               
title  should  be  tied  to   an  individual.  Rather,  it  is  a                                                               
scholarship that they are all  creating and will change education                                                               
in  the state.  He would  like to  have further  discussion about                                                               
whether a more appropriate title exists.                                                                                        
CO-CHAIR THOMAS agreed  to a discussion at a later  time and also                                                               
said  that taking  a look  at all  three lists  of technical  and                                                               
vocational programs would be helpful.                                                                                           
MR. STEWART  informed the committee of  another slight linguistic                                                               
change  on  page  15,  lines   10-11,  where  the  original  bill                                                               
referenced the  goals of the  program and  has been taken  out of                                                               
the CS. Further on in the  section on page 17, lines 12-13, which                                                               
is in  the current statute,  the drafter took the  opportunity to                                                               
have the statute cleaned-up and renumbered.                                                                                     
Finally,  at  the  end  of  the  bill on  page  22,  line  16,  a                                                               
grammatical change was made. In  the original bill "students" had                                                               
been  listed in  the  plural and  the drafter  changed  it to  "a                                                               
CO-CHAIR THOMAS said  that these are simply  statute changes that                                                               
were required that had not been made previously.                                                                                
MR. STEWART agreed with this  clarification. He mentioned that he                                                               
included a  section on  the inconsistency of  grade terms  to the                                                               
concise  topics of  discussion that  were  identified during  the                                                               
meeting. It was  pointed out to him that within  the CS there are                                                               
a number  of ways that an  A student, for example,  was addressed                                                               
and it  should be  made consistent.  There are  also a  couple of                                                               
lines on  page 10 regarding programmatic  flexibility that should                                                               
be in a separate section and can easily be cleaned up.                                                                          
8:56:45 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR MEYER  said he is not  sure if the commissioner  will be                                                               
here on  Friday and would  like to get some  preliminary comments                                                               
from him.                                                                                                                       
CO-CHAIR THOMAS  agreed and invited  the commissioner  to comment                                                               
on the CS.                                                                                                                      
LARRY  LEDOUX, Commissioner,  Department of  Education and  Early                                                               
Development (DEED), said he will be  here on Friday to respond to                                                               
the comments  made during  the meeting and  will give  them close                                                               
consideration.  There are  some  good  additions and  interesting                                                               
changes in  CS but he thinks  it is important that  the committee                                                               
pay attention to the goals of  the program, which have been taken                                                               
out of the CS. The scholarship  program is designed to make young                                                               
people work harder and take  responsibility for their choices. He                                                               
took time  to review the goals  of the program to  the committee.                                                               
It is  very important  when working with  young people  that they                                                               
are  challenged and  given a  dream to  work toward.  High school                                                               
students are working  way under their potential  and this follows                                                               
them into  college and  careers. He  believes that  the committee                                                               
has  added some  important additions  but  he also  thinks it  is                                                               
important when revising  this program that the goals  are kept in                                                               
9:00:29 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  THOMAS  said they  would  have  the commissioner  speak                                                               
further at the next meeting. [SB 224 was held in committee.]                                                                    
9:01:21 AM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Co-Chair Thomas adjourned the meeting at 9:01 a.m.                                                                              

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