Legislature(2015 - 2016)BUTROVICH 205

03/31/2015 03:30 PM Senate EDUCATION

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03:31:26 PM Start
03:31:50 PM SB79
04:33:25 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
Scheduled but Not Heard
Scheduled but Not Heard
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 31, 2015                                                                                         
                           3:31 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Mike Dunleavy, Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Charlie Huggins, Vice Chair                                                                                             
Senator Cathy Giessel                                                                                                           
Senator Berta Gardner                                                                                                           
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Gary Stevens                                                                                                            
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 79                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to reemployment  of persons who retire under the                                                               
defined benefit plan of the teachers' retirement system."                                                                       
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
SENATE BILL NO. 80                                                                                                              
"An Act  relating to  the duties of  the Department  of Education                                                               
and  Early Development;  relating  to  educational standards  and                                                               
assessments;   relating   to   an   educational   standards   and                                                               
assessments  review committee;  and  providing  for an  effective                                                               
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
SENATE BILL NO. 89                                                                                                              
"An Act relating  to a parent's right to direct  the education of                                                               
a  child;   and  relating   to  questionnaires   administered  in                                                               
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB 79                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: REEMPLOYMENT OF RETIRED TEACHERS & ADMIN                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) DUNLEAVY                                                                                                 
03/18/15       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/18/15       (S)       EDC, CRA                                                                                               
03/26/15       (S)       EDC AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/26/15       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/26/15       (S)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
03/31/15       (S)       EDC AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
SHEILA PETERSON, Staff                                                                                                          
Senator Dunleavy                                                                                                                
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented SB 79 on behalf of the sponsor.                                                                 
LES MORSE, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                                  
Department of Education                                                                                                         
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions related to SB 79.                                                                      
MARY MCMAHON, President                                                                                                         
Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals                                                                               
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 79.                                                                            
LINCOLN SAITO, Chief Operating Officer                                                                                          
North Slope Borough School District                                                                                             
Barrow, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 79.                                                                            
DR. DEANA PARAMO, Superintendent                                                                                                
Mat-Su Borough School District                                                                                                  
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 79.                                                                            
PETER HOEPHER, Member                                                                                                           
Cordova School Board of Education                                                                                               
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 79.                                                                            
JIM HOLIEN, Superintendent                                                                                                      
Klawock Schools                                                                                                                 
Klawock, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 79.                                                                            
LISA PARADY, Executive Director                                                                                                 
Alaska Council of School Administrators and                                                                                     
Alaska Superintendents Association                                                                                              
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 79.                                                                            
DR. PJ FORD-SLACK                                                                                                               
Interim Superintendent                                                                                                          
Hoonah City Schools                                                                                                             
Hoonah, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 79.                                                                            
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
3:31:26 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MIKE   DUNLEAVY  called  the  Senate   Education  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 3:31  p.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order  were   Senators  Giessel,   Huggins,  Gardner   and  Chair                                                               
         SB 79-REEMPLOYMENT OF RETIRED TEACHERS & ADMIN                                                                     
3:31:50 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DUNLEAVY announced the consideration of SB 79.                                                                            
SENATOR HUGGINS  moved to  adopt the  CS for  SB 79,  labeled 29-                                                               
LS0444\E, as the working document.                                                                                              
CHAIR DUNLEAVY objected for discussion purposes.                                                                                
SHEILA   PETERSON,   Staff,   Senator  Dunleavy,   Alaska   State                                                               
Legislature,  presented  SB 79  on  behalf  of the  sponsor.  She                                                               
thanked  the  Division  of  Retirement  and  Benefits  (DRB)  for                                                               
working  with  the  sponsor  on  the  bill.  She  said  a  change                                                               
suggested by  the Division  has been  incorporated into  the bill                                                               
and is found on page 1, lines 7  and 8 in version E. It clarifies                                                               
that a  member who  retired under a  defined benefits  program or                                                               
under the defined contribution program  is eligible to be rehired                                                               
under this  provision. In lines  10-13 it changes  the separation                                                               
between the retirement  and the reemployment to one  year, if you                                                               
are less  than 62 years  old, and three  months, if you  are over                                                               
62. This follows the guidelines of  the IRS and is recommended by                                                               
the Division.                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  DUNLEAVY removed  his objection.  There  being no  further                                                               
objection, version E was adopted.                                                                                               
SENATOR GARDNER asked  to have Section 3  clarified. She inquired                                                               
if there  is there any additional  fiscal impact to the  state or                                                               
the   school   district   in  hiring   a   retired   teacher   or                                                               
MS.  PETERSON  explained  that the  Division  is  finalizing  the                                                               
fiscal  note  and  she  doesn't  have an  exact  answer  to  that                                                               
question now. The  intent is to have the school  district be able                                                               
to contract  with a retired  teacher or administrator at  a lower                                                               
cost than if it were with an active employee.                                                                                   
CHAIR DUNLEAVY  pointed out that  the purpose  of the bill  is to                                                               
add  a  tool  for  school  districts to  enlarge  their  pool  of                                                               
perspective educators  with those who  have had a lot  of Alaskan                                                               
3:37:28 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS  voiced concern about teachers  who retired under                                                               
a  retirement incentive.  He also  did  not want  to prevent  new                                                               
teachers  from  being  hired because  experienced  retirees  were                                                               
being hired first.                                                                                                              
CHAIR DUNLEAVY said a new  teacher could bring a particular skill                                                               
at a particular time and a  retiree could offer other skills at a                                                               
lower cost. The idea for the  bill came from the Mentor Project -                                                               
for veteran  teachers to help new  teachers overcome inexperience                                                               
and become effective teachers.                                                                                                  
SENATOR HUGGINS said it  is a good idea, but the  devil is in the                                                               
details. He  shared a  story about  superintendents and  the need                                                               
for  more  good ideas.  He  said  he  is skeptical  of  education                                                               
3:44:34 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GARDNER  was considering  unintended consequences  of the                                                               
bill. She  wondered if it  would unintentionally squeeze  the job                                                               
market for new teachers.                                                                                                        
SENATOR GARDNER opined that the idea  could be a boon for a small                                                               
community, but not for a bigger one.                                                                                            
CHAIR DUNLEAVY commented  that education has a lot  of rules, but                                                               
he likes  to seek  the possibilities.  He expected  feedback from                                                               
various groups.                                                                                                                 
3:47:19 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GIESSEL  asked if there  are new teachers  being educated                                                               
in our system that can't get jobs in Alaska.                                                                                    
CHAIR DUNLEAVY  replied that  some teachers  apply for  jobs, but                                                               
sometimes hiring profiles don't fit.                                                                                            
SENATOR GIESSEL  was contemplating the concept  that old teachers                                                               
were bumping out new ones.                                                                                                      
CHAIR DUNLEAVY  opined that that  would not happen.  The veterans                                                               
would  be  hired  when  a   new  teacher  wouldn't  fit  the  job                                                               
description; it would be a recruiting tool.                                                                                     
3:51:11 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGGINS said  education  is an  interesting culture.  In                                                               
Mat-Su  some teachers  start out  substituting  or go  to a  less                                                               
desirable school  in order  to get  hired. He  suggested training                                                               
non-traditional professionals to be teachers.                                                                                   
CHAIR DUNLEAVY  said more  experienced people  will know  if they                                                               
want to  go to a  rural community.  He mentioned a  grant program                                                               
that trained people with Bachelor degrees to become teachers.                                                                   
3:54:22 PM                                                                                                                    
LES   MORSE,  Deputy   Commissioner,  Department   of  Education,                                                               
answered questions  related to SB  79. He said the  grant program                                                               
was an alternate route teaching program called AKT-2.                                                                           
CHAIR DUNLEAVY asked how many went through the program.                                                                         
MR. MORSE thought there were 30 to 40 who did.                                                                                  
3:55:10 PM                                                                                                                    
MARY MCMAHON,  President, Alaska Association of  Secondary School                                                               
Principals,  testified in  support of  SB 79.  She said  the bill                                                               
increases  the  pool  of  candidates to  get  the  best  teachers                                                               
possible. She did not see any concerns about rehiring retirees.                                                                 
3:57:28 PM                                                                                                                    
LINCOLN  SAITO,  Chief  Operating Officer,  North  Slope  Borough                                                               
School District,  testified in  support of  SB 79.  He maintained                                                               
that the  bill will not bump  new teachers out of  the system. He                                                               
stressed that the focus should be  on the children - they deserve                                                               
the  best  education possible.  He  said  the district  is  still                                                               
trying to get  the best teachers for their  kids while conserving                                                               
funds.  He concluded  that  they  do not  have  the selection  of                                                               
teachers they used to have.                                                                                                     
4:00:52 PM                                                                                                                    
DR.   DEANA  PARAMO,   Superintendent,   Mat-Su  Borough   School                                                               
District, testified in support of  SB 79. She said their district                                                               
has been taking  advantages of hiring retirees for  part time and                                                               
temporary jobs. They provide expertise  and needed support during                                                               
busy  periods.  This  bill  would   allow  for  the  unrestricted                                                               
reemployment  of  retirees.  Most  attractive  is  the  potential                                                               
savings for  school districts in  terms of not having  to provide                                                               
insurance  and  retirement   benefits.  Mat-Su  embraces  created                                                               
solutions and is encouraged by the benefits found in SB 79.                                                                     
4:04:52 PM                                                                                                                    
PETER  HOEPHER,  Member,  Cordova   School  Board  of  Education,                                                               
testified   in  support   of  SB   79.  He   related  how   their                                                               
superintendent left  in July when  no one was available  and Rich                                                               
Carlson brought calm to the district.  He gave an example of when                                                               
a teacher was hired that didn't  work out. He noted that the pool                                                               
of applicants has  dwindled over the years. He  saw advantages in                                                               
SB 79 and agreed that experience helps.                                                                                         
4:08:52 PM                                                                                                                    
JIM  HOLIEN,   Superintendent,  Klawock  Schools,   testified  in                                                               
support of  SB 79.  He said  the idea  for the  bill came  from a                                                               
joint statement  from the  Alaska Superintendent  Association and                                                               
the  Alaska Association  of School  Boards. He  said he  sees the                                                               
bill   as  a   valuable  tool   for  hard-to-fill   positions  in                                                               
administration and in small schools.                                                                                            
He noted that  about 300 jobs remain unfilled after  the job fair                                                               
in  Alaska recently.  There  remains a  need  for more  teachers,                                                               
especially during  times of  difficult finances.  He did  not see                                                               
that the bill would result in replacing new teachers in jobs.                                                                   
4:11:34 PM                                                                                                                    
LISA SKILES-PARADY, Executive Director,  Alaska Council of School                                                               
Administrators  (ACSA)  and  Alaska  Superintendents  Association                                                               
(ASA), testified in support of  SB 79. She provided two handouts,                                                               
one  of which  is  a joint  position statement  by  ACSA and  ASA                                                               
stating support  for SB  79. She addressed  the issue  of teacher                                                               
and administrator shortages in Alaska.                                                                                          
She  said the  second  handout  deals with  the  high numbers  of                                                               
superintendent  turnover  in  Alaska.  She  shared  data  on  the                                                               
percentages  of teacher  and  administrator  turnovers. She  also                                                               
discussed declining education graduate  numbers and the number of                                                               
jobs  remaining open.  The number  of special  education teachers                                                               
has also declined.                                                                                                              
4:17:20 PM                                                                                                                    
She pointed out  that just over 60 percent of  2014 University of                                                               
Alaska teacher  graduates were working  in Alaska schools  in the                                                               
fall of  2014. The Department of  Labor found that 90  percent of                                                               
teacher graduates work in Alaska  in the year that they graduate.                                                               
She  said  there  are  many   efforts  to  increase  teacher  and                                                               
administrator candidates and support working teachers.                                                                          
She  concluded  that  retired  teachers  and  administrators  are                                                               
already in Alaska  communities and are familiar  with Alaska. She                                                               
spoke in strong support of SB 79.                                                                                               
CHAIR  DUNLEAVY  asked  if  300   teaching  positions  are  still                                                               
MS. SKILES-PARADY  understood that there were  467 jobs currently                                                               
posted for contracts going forward.                                                                                             
CHAIR DUNLEAVY asked for the number of current jobs open.                                                                       
SENATOR  HUGGINS  asked  about  a  time  when  special  education                                                               
teachers were removing that endorsement from their credentials.                                                                 
MS. PARADY  discussed the AKT-2  program where teachers  who took                                                               
an alternative method  to certification were hired  and they were                                                               
outstanding. It was an expensive program, but hugely successful.                                                                
4:22:36 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGGINS  asked  if substitute  teachers  get  preference                                                               
points during hiring.                                                                                                           
MS.  PARADY  answered if  you  are  a  good substitute  and  have                                                               
experience  in   the  district,   you  would   receive  favorable                                                               
consideration for a full-time position.                                                                                         
4:24:01 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS asked for the name of a master teacher.                                                                         
MS. PARADY said they were called "highly qualified."                                                                            
SENATOR  HUGGINS asked  if those  teachers get  any bonus  points                                                               
when transferring to another district.                                                                                          
MS. PARADY replied  that the highly qualified  label remains with                                                               
the teacher.                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGGINS asked  how long  probation is  for tenure  as it                                                               
relates to in-district transfers.                                                                                               
CHAIR DUNLEAVY said that's a contract negotiation item.                                                                         
MS. PARADY replied it differs by district.                                                                                      
SENATOR HUGGINS  commented on whether  those items had  an effect                                                               
on teacher hire.                                                                                                                
4:26:26 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. PJ  FORD-SLACK, Interim Superintendent, Hoonah  City Schools,                                                               
testified in  support of SB 79.  Said she just returned  from the                                                               
job fair in Anchorage where  her district was desperately seeking                                                               
teachers,  including two  special education  teachers. She  noted                                                               
the shortage of qualified teachers.                                                                                             
CHAIR  DUNLEAVY commented  that politicians  sometimes add  on to                                                               
what teachers are supposed to do,  but do not give them the tools                                                               
they  need.   He  said  he   is  very  interested   in  receiving                                                               
suggestions from  educators and  parents about  what can  be done                                                               
differently  to make  education a  more inviting  profession with                                                               
good student outcomes.                                                                                                          
4:31:53 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS  said he is  looking for  the speed bumps  in the                                                               
good ideas.                                                                                                                     
CHAIR DUNLEAVY held SB 79 in committee.                                                                                         
4:33:25 PM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair Dunleavy adjourned the  Senate Education Standing Committee                                                               
at 4:33 p.m.                                                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
CS for SB 79 Legislation.pdf SEDC 3/31/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 79
CS for SB 79 Sectional Analysis.pdf SEDC 3/31/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 79
CS for SB 79 Changes.pdf SEDC 3/31/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 79
SB 79 Support Email.pdf SEDC 3/31/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 79