Legislature(2017 - 2018)BUTROVICH 205
04/04/2017 03:30 PM EDUCATION
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SB 96-EDUCATION: SCHOOLS/TEACHERS/FUNDING 3:34:15 PM CHAIR HUGHES announced the consideration of SB 96. 3:34:32 PM SENATOR BEGICH thanked Mr. Banks, Chair Hughes, and the committee for their work on SB 96. He recalled that when his dad worked in the legislature, they took a decade to get 24 education reform bills passed. This committee took time, deliberation, and thoughtfulness on SB 96. He described the excellent education system in the state in the 1960s and hoped Alaska would have a similar system again. He said he still has issues with items in the bill, but will support it because the bill is moving in the right direction. He got a legal opinion on the use of the principal of the Public Schools Land Trust that causes him some concern, but said it can be fixed. This bill does great things around innovation and technology, and provides for districts that want to work together. For all of those reasons, he said he will support the bill. 3:37:52 PM SENATOR GIESSEL voiced appreciation for the bill. She still had concerns about the repealing of double minimum wages for bus drivers in Section 24. She proposed to delete Section 24 and leave the double minimum wages in place. She understood that only four school districts have unionized members and would be affected by the provision. 3:38:55 PM CHAIR HUGHES clarified that the provision is an option for districts. She said removing Section 24 is not a deal breaker for her. She said there are some very good tools in the bill and she did not want to see the process slowed down. 3:39:30 PM SENATOR COGHILL liked the idea of the curriculum consortium, but he still had questions about it. He did not know if the consortium was an enabler or not. If it becomes a constrainer he said he will have problems with it. He requested the Department of Education and Early Development (DEED) to keep an eye on it. He thought innovative ideas districts are already using should be considered. He thought the committee would spend time in the summer on the bill. CHAIR HUGHES reassured that they have had lengthy conversations with the department on the consortium; it is an optional provision for districts. She expected to have Act II of the bill next year. 3:42:03 PM SENATOR COGHILL said two areas come to mind Section 24. His district could not get enough bus drivers for the first three weeks of school. He also wanted to know how the bill will impact his district. 3:43:05 PM SENATOR STEVENS said hearing the bill has been a wide-ranging experience. He still had concerns about unintended consequences. 3:43:34 PM CHAIR HUGHES thanked Mr. Banks, Senator Begich and his staff, Sydney, as well as and Kate Glover in Legislative Legal for their work on the bill. She said the committee would look at teacher education and truancy problems next year. She commented on the change to the provision in the bill about merging facilities and said the districts would be contacting the department with ideas. She provided an example of factors to consider in order to free up dollars. 3:45:59 PM SENATOR GIESSEL moved to report the CS for SB 96, version 30- LS0452\M, from committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal notes. CHAIR HUGHES announced that without objection, CSSB 96(EDC) passed from the Senate Education Standing Committee.