Legislature(2017 - 2018)BUTROVICH 205

03/22/2017 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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           SB 96-EDUCATION: SCHOOLS/TEACHERS/FUNDING                                                                        
8:44:50 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES announced that the  final order of business would be                                                               
SB  96.  She   related  that  the  committee   has  held  several                                                               
exploratory  meetings  intending  to  offer  the  best  education                                                               
possible to students in Alaska.  Due to budget constraints, it is                                                               
time for some  "out of the box" thinking.  The committee explored                                                               
how to  offer districts tools  to do  more with less  and improve                                                               
student offerings.                                                                                                              
She related  that a teacher shared  with her that "we  don't need                                                               
to  reform education,  we need  to  transform it."  She said  the                                                               
achievement gap  is startling and troubling.  There are excellent                                                               
schools and struggling schools.                                                                                                 
She said  SB 96  attempts to improve  education. She  opined that                                                               
every student matters  and deserves the opportunity  to access an                                                               
excellent  education. The  bill  provides  new opportunities  for                                                               
instruction, but  also ways to  save money and be  more efficient                                                               
on the  administrative end. She  concluded that  overall spending                                                               
on  education  does  not  correlate  with  academic  achievement,                                                               
however, spending  on classroom instructions does  correlate with                                                               
academic achievement.                                                                                                           
8:45:32 AM                                                                                                                    
JOSHUA  BANKS,  Staff,  Senator   Shelley  Hughes,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, presented  SB 96 on  behalf of the  Senate Education                                                               
Committee, sponsor of  the bill. He noted that  they were working                                                               
on some changes in the bill that were requested by Legislative                                                                  
Legal. He presented the sectional analysis:                                                                                     
     Section  1  (Pages  1-2): Creates  uncodified  law  for                                                                  
     legislative   findings   of    the   Alaska   Education                                                                    
     Transformation  Act in  regards  to virtual  education,                                                                    
     education spending, and  quality teachers and classroom                                                                    
     Sections 2-3  (Page 2):  Makes technical  amendments to                                                                  
     AS 14.03.073 to add  references to specific subsections                                                                    
     within this  section due to  a new subsection  added in                                                                    
     Section 4 of this bill.                                                                                                    
     Section  4 (Pages  2-3): Adds  a new  subsection to  AS                                                                  
     14.03.073  requiring school  districts to  allow credit                                                                    
     for  gym, music,  or  art classes  for  a student  that                                                                    
     participates in an activity  that meets the educational                                                                    
     or  physical  requirements   of  the  course.  Cultural                                                                    
     activities may be used to obtain class credit.                                                                             
     Section 5  (Page 3):  Amends AS  14.03.120(a) to  add a                                                                  
     requirement to the annual  report school districts must                                                                    
     submit  to  the  Department   of  Education  and  Early                                                                    
     Development  (DEED).  Districts  will need  to  include                                                                    
     categories  of administrative  employees and  the ratio                                                                    
     of  the  employees in  each  category  compared to  the                                                                    
     number of students in the district.                                                                                        
MR. BANKS  said a couple  of changes  proposed in Section  5 will                                                               
require the district to post this  report on their website or use                                                               
alternative  means in  order  to  allow for  the  public to  hold                                                               
districts more accountable for administrative costs.                                                                            
8:50:57 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BANKS continued:                                                                                                            
     Section 6  (Page 3): Amends AS  14.09.030(b) to require                                                                  
     DEED  to conduct  one inspection  for  each school  bus                                                                    
     rather than two each year.                                                                                                 
     Section 7  (Page 3-4): Amends AS  14.14.110(a) to allow                                                                  
     school districts to  partner with businesses, nonprofit                                                                    
     organizations, and state  or local government agencies.                                                                    
     This   section  also   adds   to   the  definition   of                                                                    
     "administrative    services"    to   include    student                                                                    
     nutrition,    student   transportation,    and   health                                                                    
     insurance  pooling with  the State  plan. This  section                                                                    
     also adds  to the definition of  "educational services"                                                                    
     to include  teacher training and the  use of technology                                                                    
     to  teach   students  such  as   the  use   of  virtual                                                                    
He said the purpose of insurance pooling in Section 7 is a                                                                      
conversation starter and may be a vehicle to help districts with                                                                
high health insurance costs.                                                                                                    
8:52:32 AM                                                                                                                    
     Section  8 (Page  4): Amends  AS 14.14.115(a)  to allow                                                                  
     school districts to  partner with businesses, nonprofit                                                                    
     organizations, and  state or local  government agencies                                                                    
     to qualify  for the one-time grant  under this section.                                                                    
     This  section also  increase the  maximum grant  amount                                                                    
     and requires  that the school district  demonstrate how                                                                    
     the grant will reduce costs for the district.                                                                              
8:52:59 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES noted the presence of Representative Parish.                                                                       
8:53:17 AM                                                                                                                    
     Section  9  (Page  4-5): Adds  new  subsections  to  AS                                                                  
     14.14.115   to   give   further  directions   for   the                                                                    
     cooperative grants under this section.                                                                                     
     • Subsection (d) requires that  if two school districts                                                                    
     enter into  a cooperative  grant, one  must be  a rural                                                                    
     •  Subsection (e)  establishes  that  if a  cooperative                                                                    
     grant  is used  for health  insurance pooling  with the                                                                    
     State, the grant can only be  used to pay for the costs                                                                    
     of  transferring   district  employees  to   the  State                                                                    
     insurance plan.                                                                                                            
     •  Subsection (f)  allows a  school  district to  carry                                                                    
     forward  the savings  realized during  the first  three                                                                    
     years after  a grant is  awarded. The savings  will not                                                                    
     be counted  towards the fund balance  limit established                                                                    
     in AS 14.17.505(a).                                                                                                        
     • Subsection  (g) defines "rural school  district" as a                                                                    
     regional  educational   attendance  area  or   a  small                                                                    
     municipal  school district  defined in  AS 14.11.025(c)                                                                    
     as  a  district  with  less   than  300  Average  Daily                                                                    
     Membership  (ADM) and  a district  full  value per  ADM                                                                    
     less than $500,000.                                                                                                        
8:54:53 AM                                                                                                                    
     Section 10 (Page 5): Amends AS 14.17.450(a) to provide                                                                   
     an exception to the School Size Adjustment (SSA) for                                                                       
     schools that meet the qualifications in (g) of this                                                                        
     section (Section 11).                                                                                                      
     Section 11 (Pages 5-6): Amends AS 14.17.450 by adding                                                                    
     a new subsection establishing that a school may not                                                                        
     use the SSA under (a) of this section if it is below                                                                       
     80% capacity and if it is within 25 miles by road of                                                                       
     another school in the same district that is also below                                                                     
     80% capacity.                                                                                                              
MR. BANKS added  that they are working on  adjusting this section                                                               
due to unintended consequences. The  intent is for schools to use                                                               
their full  capacity. For example,  instead of having  10 schools                                                               
at  60 percent  capacity, the  district would  have 5  schools at                                                               
full capacity in order to bring down fixed costs.                                                                               
8:56:29 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES requested that Mr.  Banks explain the 3-year funding                                                               
changes when a school merges with another school.                                                                               
MR.  BANKS  explained that  they  are  working on  an  additional                                                               
change in the  bill to phase in a reduction  of the Average Daily                                                               
Membership (ADM) over three years when schools merge.                                                                           
8:57:32 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BANKS continued:                                                                                                            
     Section  12   (Page  6):  Amends  AS   14.17.505(a)  to                                                                  
     increase the  limit that a  school district  is allowed                                                                    
     to retain  in its unreserved  fund balance from  10% to                                                                    
     25% of district expenditures.  This section also allows                                                                    
     for savings realized from a  cooperative grant under AS                                                                    
     14.14.115 to not count towards the 25% limit.                                                                              
     Section 13 (Page 6): Amends  AS 14.20.020(i) to require                                                                  
     the  State  School  Board to  periodically  adjust  the                                                                    
     minimum score  needed to pass  the Praxis exam  so that                                                                    
     Alaska has  the highest  testing standards  for teacher                                                                    
He pointed out that the state looks at the Praxis scores                                                                        
annually now. Section 13 ensures that the state look at other                                                                   
states to see whether Alaska is falling behind.                                                                                 
8:58:47 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES said in most areas of competency Praxis scores are                                                                 
comparable to other states except in a few courses, such as                                                                     
8:59:25 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BANKS further explained a proposed change in the bill - if                                                                  
the State School Board changes regulations to increase Praxis                                                                   
scores, the changes will not go into effect for a year.                                                                         
8:59:59 AM                                                                                                                    
He continued:                                                                                                                   
     Section 14 (Page 6): Adds a new subsection to AS                                                                         
     14.20.380 to require DEED to provide administrative                                                                        
     services to the Professional Teaching Practices                                                                            
     Commission (PTPC).                                                                                                         
He noted that this is already being done.                                                                                       
9:00:26 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BANKS continued:                                                                                                            
     Section 15  (Page 6-7): Amends AS  14.20.460 to require                                                                  
     the  PTPC   to  use  administrative   support  services                                                                    
     provided by DEED.                                                                                                          
     Section 16 (Pages 7-9): Creates  a new section under AS                                                                  
     14.30  titled Virtual  education consortium  which also                                                                    
     creates  a  new  article  titled  Article  15.  Virtual                                                                    
     Education. The  subsections that AS  14.30.760 consists                                                                    
     of are:                                                                                                                    
     •  Subsection  (a)  establishes the  virtual  education                                                                    
     consortium  under  DEED.  The consortium  will  have  a                                                                    
     database of virtual education  courses available to all                                                                    
     districts for  students in grades 6-12.  The consortium                                                                    
     will also provide training  for teachers instructing in                                                                    
     virtual settings  and professional development  for all                                                                    
     teachers  in the  state. A  school  district or  third-                                                                    
     party vendor  may offer courses  on the database  if it                                                                    
     is approved by DEED.                                                                                                       
     •  Subsection  (b) will  require  DEED  to review  each                                                                    
     course  to  ensure  it meets  state  standards  and  is                                                                    
     appropriate   for  students   in   grades  6-12.   This                                                                    
     subsection  also  requires  that each  course  has  the                                                                    
     following   information:   the  title,   subject,   and                                                                    
     description of  the course, the district  providing the                                                                    
     course,  method  of  virtual  education  delivery,  and                                                                    
     samples   of   the   course  curriculum   and   teacher                                                                    
     instruction provided in the course.                                                                                        
9:02:58 AM                                                                                                                    
     Subsection  (c)  requires  the  consortium  to  provide                                                                    
     training for teachers before they  are allowed to teach                                                                    
     a course  that is  included in  the database.  A waiver                                                                    
     may  be  granted  if  the  consortium  finds  that  the                                                                    
     teacher  has the  experience  and  skills necessary  to                                                                    
     teach in a virtual setting.                                                                                                
     • Subsection  (d) requires that the  consortium provide                                                                    
     professional  development courses  for all  teachers in                                                                    
     the  state. Any  district that  has adequate  broadband                                                                    
     access to  participate in  the trainings  shall require                                                                    
     its   teachers   to   participate  in   any   necessary                                                                    
     trainings.    The   consortium    may   also    require                                                                    
     participating  districts to  adopt the  same in-service                                                                    
     days for training.                                                                                                         
     •  Subsection (e)  sets a  fee  structure for  students                                                                    
     that  take  a  course  offered virtually  by  a  school                                                                    
     district that  is not the student's  home district. The                                                                    
     student's   district  shall   calculate   the  fee   by                                                                    
     multiplying   the  base   student  allocation   by  the                                                                    
     proportion  of classes  that the  student is  taking in                                                                    
     the   district  offering   the   virtual  course.   The                                                                    
     student's district  shall pay this fee  to the district                                                                    
     offering the course.                                                                                                       
     •  In  subsection (f),  the  consortium  is allowed  to                                                                    
     charge  a fee  to  any school  district  that offers  a                                                                    
     course in the database under  (b) of this section. DEED                                                                    
     will  be able  to set  the  fee in  regulation and  can                                                                    
     adjust it as  necessary annually. The fees  must be set                                                                    
     in such a  manner that by June 30, 2020,  the fees paid                                                                    
     by    districts    will   approximately    equal    any                                                                    
     administrative costs of the consortium.                                                                                    
9:05:12 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES requested that Mr. Banks discuss the proposed                                                                      
change to (f).                                                                                                                  
MR. BANKS said it is proposed that all participating districts                                                                  
pay a fee.                                                                                                                      
9:05:44 AM                                                                                                                    
He continued:                                                                                                                   
     Subsection  (g)   allows  the  consortium   to  require                                                                    
     districts that provide courses  or have students taking                                                                    
     courses  through  the  consortium  to  adopt  a  shared                                                                    
     calendar  and a  shared bell  schedule for  at least  a                                                                    
     portion of the school day.                                                                                                 
He noted that it is optional. Copper River School District has                                                                  
adopted a common calendar and common bell which have resulted in                                                                
9:06:42 AM                                                                                                                    
He continued:                                                                                                                   
     Subsection  (h)  creates  definitions  for  the  terms:                                                                    
     "asynchronous",  "base student  allocation", "blended",                                                                    
     "host    district",    "synchronous",   and    "virtual                                                                    
     education" or "virtual instruction".                                                                                       
9:06:57 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BANKS continued:                                                                                                            
     Section  17 (Pages  9-12): Deletes  a  reference to  AS                                                                  
     23.10.065(b) in  AS 23.10.055(a) (Alaska Wage  and Hour                                                                    
     Act) which is repealed in Section 23 of this bill.                                                                         
     Section  18  (Page 12):  Deletes  the  reference to  AS                                                                  
     37.14.110(c) which  is repealed  in Section 24  of this                                                                    
     bill, and rearranges the reference to AS 37.14.160.                                                                        
     Section 19 (Page 12): Deletes  language in AS 37.14.130                                                                  
     that requires the Public School  Fund Advisory Board to                                                                    
     prepare accounting  specifically for the  principal and                                                                    
     income of the Public School Trust Fund.                                                                                    
     Section  20  (Pages  12-13):  Deletes  language  in  AS                                                                  
     37.14.160  relating  to   separate  accounting  of  the                                                                    
     principal and  income of the Public  School Trust Fund.                                                                    
     This section  also requires  the Department  of Revenue                                                                    
     (DOR)  to  determine  each  year  the  monthly  average                                                                    
     market value of fund for the last three fiscal years.                                                                      
9:08:23 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BANKS continued:                                                                                                            
     Section  21 (Page  13):  Creates a  new  section in  AS                                                                  
     37.14 to allow the  Legislature to appropriate 4.75% of                                                                    
     the market  value established with the  changes made in                                                                    
     Section  20 of  the  bill.  The funds  may  be used  to                                                                    
     support  public education  in Alaska  and to  cover the                                                                    
     administrative costs of the fund.                                                                                          
He described a  proposed change to Section 21.  No more than                                                                    
4.75 percent  can be appropriated,  and the  legislature may                                                                    
not appropriate  more than  the income  earned by  the fund.                                                                    
The intent  of the  changes is to  avoid any  possibility of                                                                    
the  legislature appropriating  from  the  principal of  the                                                                    
fund - a violation of Trust law.                                                                                                
     Section 22 (Pages 13-14): Amends  AS 37.14.170 to allow                                                                  
     the  commissioner of  DOR to  invest the  Public School                                                                    
     Trust Fund in order  to provide increasing returns from                                                                    
     capital appreciation.                                                                                                      
     Section  23 (Page  14): Repeals  AS 14.20.470(a)(7)  so                                                                  
     that  the  PTPC  is  no   longer  able  to  appoint  an                                                                    
     executive  secretary.  This  section  also  repeals  AS                                                                    
     23.10.065(b) and (c) which requires  an employer to pay                                                                    
     a  public school  bus driver  at a  rate two  times the                                                                    
     Alaska  minimum   wage,  and  which  allows   for  wage                                                                    
     adjustments to only occur when  a contract begins or is                                                                    
9:10:08 AM                                                                                                                    
     Section 24 (Page 14): Repeals AS 37.14.110(c) which                                                                      
     sets how the commissioner of DOR will calculate the                                                                        
     net income of the Public School Trust Fund and AS                                                                          
     37.14.140 which requires that net income from the fund                                                                     
     only go towards funding public education.                                                                                  
MR. BANKS  said they  are looking  at removing  the repeal  of AS                                                               
37.14.140(c)  because the  changes made  in Section  21 regarding                                                               
limiting how much the legislature  can appropriate from the Trust                                                               
Fund, will deal with any legal problems.                                                                                        
     Section 25 (Page 14): Creates applicability language                                                                     
     for the repeal of AS 23.10.065(b) and (c) so that this                                                                     
     bill will only effect contracts made on or after the                                                                       
     effective date of this bill.                                                                                               
9:11:20 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BANKS  stated that they will  be deleting Sections 26  and 27                                                               
because there is no longer litigation.                                                                                          
     Section  26 (Page  14):  Creates  a conditional  effect                                                                  
     establishing  that changes  made to  the Public  School                                                                    
     Trust  Fund  will  only  go  into  effect  if  a  final                                                                    
     judgment  is made  regarding combining  the income  and                                                                    
     principal  of the  Public School  Trust  Fund and  that                                                                    
     such   action  will   not   violate   trust  law.   The                                                                    
     commissioner  of  DEED   shall  notify  the  Lieutenant                                                                    
     Governor  and the  revisor of  statutes when  the final                                                                    
     judgement has been entered.                                                                                                
     Section  27 (Page  14): Creates  an effective  date for                                                                  
     Sections  18-22  and  24  to   be  the  day  after  the                                                                    
     commissioner of  DEED notifies the revisor  of statutes                                                                    
     that  a  final judgment  has  been  made regarding  the                                                                    
     Public School Trust Fund.                                                                                                  
     Section  28 (Page  14): Creates  an effective  date for                                                                  
     Sections 1-17, 23, and 25 to be June 30, 2017.                                                                             
9:12:42 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BANKS  offered to answer  questions. He noted  several people                                                               
were available for questions.                                                                                                   
CHAIR HUGHES thanked him for his work.                                                                                          
9:13:06 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH  brought up  a technical point  on Section  28. He                                                               
said the  effective date  and other references  would have  to be                                                               
changed due to the proposed changes.                                                                                            
He thanked Mr. Banks for his hard work.                                                                                         
SENATOR  BEGICH  drew attention  to  Section  11  on page  6  and                                                               
cautioned against  three things:  combining two schools  that are                                                               
under capacity  resulting in one  school over  capacity; building                                                               
one  school  for communities  that  have  a  right to  their  own                                                               
schools, and lacking a clear definition of "road".                                                                              
9:15:39 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH  asked  whether there  is  a  grandfather  clause                                                               
included  with  the  Praxis  exam change  for  teachers  who  are                                                               
currently certified.                                                                                                            
MR. BANKS said there would be a grandfather clause.                                                                             
9:16:19 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH asked  for clarification on the fee on  page 8 (e)                                                               
and (f).                                                                                                                        
MR. BANKS  said the intent is  that a school district  can choose                                                               
not to  take the full  fee and there would  be a ceiling  for the                                                               
CHAIR  HUGHES added  that  the  fee could  be  zero  to the  full                                                               
SENATOR BEGICH suggested changing "shall" to "may" in line 22.                                                                  
9:17:28 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH  suggested clarifying  the  issue  of the  double                                                               
minimum wage bus driver repeal  in AS 37.14.140. He thought there                                                               
was ambiguity about  that issue and how it relates  to the use of                                                               
the Trust Fund.                                                                                                                 
MR. BANKS replied  that they have requested  Legislative Legal to                                                               
delete that portion.                                                                                                            
SENATOR GIESSEL appreciated the sponsor's hard work.                                                                            
9:19:15 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES clarified that the  repeal of AS 37.14.140 would not                                                               
prohibit  a district  from continuing  to pay  twice the  minimum                                                               
SENATOR  BEGICH asked  about changing  bus  inspections from  two                                                               
times a year to one time  a year. He wanted assurance that public                                                               
safety was not at risk due to the change.                                                                                       
MR. BANKS explained that one  inspection is required; two or more                                                               
are optional.                                                                                                                   
9:20:57 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH  commented on the constitutional  issue related to                                                               
the Public Schools  Trust and noted the  Kasayulie litigation has                                                               
been suspended and that issue is off the table.                                                                                 
9:21:34 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES said they are open to further discussion on the                                                                    
bill. She asked when the new CS is expected.                                                                                    
MR. BANKS said he believes it will be ready tomorrow.                                                                           
CHAIR HUGHES noted that DEED would have a chance to address the                                                                 
CHAIR HUGHES held SB 96 in committee.                                                                                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 87 - Sponsor Statement.pdf SEDC 3/22/2017 8:00:00 AM
SB 87
SB 87 - Legislation Ver. J.pdf SEDC 3/22/2017 8:00:00 AM
SB 87
SB 87 - Sectional Analysis.pdf SEDC 3/22/2017 8:00:00 AM
SB 87
SB 87 - Fiscal Note - EED-SFF-3-17-17.pdf SEDC 3/22/2017 8:00:00 AM
SB 87
SB 87 - Supporting Documents - DEED Energy Data FY02 - FY17.pdf SEDC 3/22/2017 8:00:00 AM
SB 87
SB 87 - Supporting Documents - 2017 School Capacity.pdf SEDC 3/22/2017 8:00:00 AM
SB 87
SB 87 - Supporting Documents - Climate Zones.pdf SEDC 3/22/2017 8:00:00 AM
SB 87
SB 87 - Supporting Documents - DEED Capital Improvement Projects 15 year analysis.pdf SEDC 3/22/2017 8:00:00 AM
SB 87
SB 96 - Sponsor Statement.pdf SEDC 3/22/2017 8:00:00 AM
SB 96
SB 96 - Legislation Ver. R.pdf SEDC 3/22/2017 8:00:00 AM
SB 96
SB 96 - Sectional Analysis.pdf SEDC 3/22/2017 8:00:00 AM
SB 96
SB 96 - Supporting Document - Fact Sheet.pdf SEDC 3/22/2017 8:00:00 AM
SB 96
SB 96 - Supporting Document - DEED Performance Review PTPC Recommendations.pdf SEDC 3/22/2017 8:00:00 AM
SB 96
SB 96 - Supporting Document - PSTF_Forecast_through_JAN2017_FINAL as of 2.23.2017.pdf SEDC 3/22/2017 8:00:00 AM
SB 96