Legislature(2003 - 2004)
05/10/2003 09:05 AM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
CS FOR SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 10(HES) Establishing the Joint Legislative Charter School Task Force. This was the first hearing for this bill in the Senate Finance Committee. Co-Chair Wilken explained that this bill would create an eight- member charter school task force to review Alaska statutes pertaining to charter schools. WES KELLER, Staff to the bill's sponsor Senator Fred Dyson, voiced that this resolution would establish a charter school task force to review existing laws for compliance with such issues as the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) and present a report to the Legislature. He noted that, in addition, the task force would be required "to propose alternative governing of a school" were it to fail to meet requirements. Senator Taylor voiced support for the bill as he agreed that it is wise to review charter school regulations and provide the Legislature with policy directives. Senator Bunde asked whether the omission of language specifying whether the Legislative representation on the review panel task force, as referenced on page two, line 21, would be members of the majority or minority party was intentional. Mr. Keller responded that the intent would be to appoint a member of the majority and a member of the minority from each house. He noted that the Senate President and the Speaker of the House support this language. Amendment #1: This amendment inserts clarifying language into the resolution on page two, lines 21 - 23,to specify that a minority and majority member from each house would comprise the four-member Legislative presentation. Senator Bunde moved for adoption of Amendment #1. Co-chair Wilken clarified that the amendment would provide for the inclusion of a total of four members: one member of the majority and one member of the minority parties in the Senate and one member of the majority and one member of the minority parties in the House of Representatives. Senator Taylor understood the amendment to provide equal representation. Co-Chair Wilken objected to the amendment. He voiced being "very comfortable with having the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House appoint whomever, regardless of party." Senator Bunde asserted that while the language might be appropriate under the current leadership, this situation might differ over time; therefore, he supported the clarifying language. A roll call was taken on the motion. IN FAVOR: Senator Bunde and Senator Hoffman OPPOSED: Senator B. Stevens. Senator Taylor, Co-chair Green and Co- chair Wilken ABSENT: Senator Olson The motion FAILED (2-4-1) Amendment #1 FAILED to be adopted. Co-Chair Green characterized the bill's accompanying $20,000 fiscal notes as "excessive," as she declared that existing staff could provide support to the short-term task force. She noted that the amount of the bill's fiscal notes raised concern during the Senate HES Committee discussions. Co-Chair Wilken observed that a school administrator, principal or superintendent should be involved in the review process. Amendment #2: This amendment inserts language into the resolution on page 2, line 27 as follows. (5) that the ninth member of the body be a school administrator, superintendent, or principal." Co-Chair Wilken moved for the adoption of Amendment #2. Senator Taylor objected. SENATOR FRED DYSON expressed that more than five groups have requested representation on the review panel. He stated that in response to this, the decision was made to address the make-up of the panel in a broad manner so that the policy group could solicit input from special interest groups such as bargaining units, school administrators, and school financial administrators. He noted that the two groups specified in the bill have the authority to enter into agreements as opposed to other groups. Discussion ensued amongst Committee members, during which Co-Chair Green suggested that the language of the amendment specify that the Governor would be the appointing authority for these persons; Senator Hoffman suggested that the amendment language could be addressed as a component of Number (2) in that section; and Senator Taylor suggested that the amendment should specify a "retired" principal, superintendent or administrator. Amendment-to-Amendment #2: This friendly amendment to the amendment would read as follows: (2) two members, appointed by the Governor, one of which should be a principal, administrator or superintendent. Co-chair Wilken moved for the adoption of the friendly amendment- to-Amendment #2. Senator Dyson noted that the Department of Education and Early Development's representative, appointed by the Governor, could possess a school administrator's background. There being no objection, Amendment #2, as amended, was ADOPTED. Senator Taylor moved to report the resolution, as amended, from Committee with individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes. There being no objection, CS SCR 10 (FIN) was REPORTED from Committee with previous $10,000 fiscal note #1 from the Senate HES Committee and previous $10,000 fiscal note #2 from Department of Education and Early Development.