Legislature(2017 - 2018)SENATE FINANCE 532

02/22/2018 09:00 AM FINANCE

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Heard & Held
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Heard & Held
SENATE BILL NO. 104                                                                                                           
     "An Act relating to the duties of the state Board of                                                                       
     Education and Early Development; and relating to                                                                           
     school curriculum."                                                                                                        
9:39:04 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair   MacKinnon  informed   the   committee  that   the                                                                    
Committee  Substitute (CS)  for SB  104(FIN) was  moved from                                                                    
committee  on  April  14,  2017.   The  committee  would  be                                                                    
rescinding its  action in moving  the bill out  of committee                                                                    
and would then adopt a new CS.                                                                                                  
Vice-Chair  Bishop  MOVED  to  RESCIND  the  action  of  the                                                                    
committee to  report CSSB 104(FIN)  from committee  on April                                                                    
14, 2017. There being NO  OBJECTION, the bill was before the                                                                    
committee for consideration.                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair  Bishop MOVED  to  ADOPT  the proposed  committee                                                                    
substitute  for  SB  104, Work  Draft  30-LS0786\N  (Glover,                                                                    
Co-Chair MacKinnon OBEJCTED for discussion.                                                                                     
Co-Chair  MacKinnon spoke  to the  CS. She  stated that  the                                                                    
committee had been working with  the Department of Education                                                                    
and  Early  Development  (DEED)   and  school  districts  to                                                                    
improve  student   success  and   test  scores.   The  state                                                                    
continued  to  have  challenges in  competing  both  at  the                                                                    
national and global  level. Over the course  of the previous                                                                    
summer,   the  department   "undertook  Alaska's   Education                                                                    
Challenge."  She explained  that  the reason  she wanted  to                                                                    
take a "second  look" at the legislation was  to examine the                                                                    
best  recommendations   to  improve  student   outcomes.  In                                                                    
consultation with  the department and the  commissioner, the                                                                    
bill requested what she considered  was possible to achieve.                                                                    
She announced  that the  bill would enable  the state  to do                                                                    
better  with the  investments the  state  made versus  doing                                                                    
more with  less. The  bill provided  improved access  to the                                                                    
best curriculum in the United  States (US) and the world and                                                                    
empowered the  state Board  of Education  to adopt  the best                                                                    
curriculum and  offer flexibility to local  school districts                                                                    
with enough time to adopt and review the curriculum.                                                                            
9:43:42 AM                                                                                                                    
BRITTANY HARTMANN,  STAFF, SENATOR ANNA MACKINNON,  spoke to                                                                    
the  CS.  She  explained  that   SB  104  allowed  DEED,  in                                                                    
consultation  with  school  districts,   to  find  the  best                                                                    
curriculum for  English/Language Arts  and Math  from around                                                                    
the world  in three tiers;  tier 1 was the  highest quality.                                                                    
Once reviewed and approved by  the state Board of Education,                                                                    
the curriculum will be tested as  part of a pilot program in                                                                    
five districts (2  rural and 2 urban) around  Alaska for two                                                                    
years to  determine its effectiveness. The  districts chosen                                                                    
for the pilot program would  receive the curriculum paid for                                                                    
by the state,  not exceeding 150 times  the school formula's                                                                    
average  daily   membership  (ADM)   or  $10   million.  She                                                                    
elucidated  that  if  the new  curriculum  improves  student                                                                    
outcomes,  school districts,  if  they so  choose, would  be                                                                    
granted  3  school  years  to  request  the  curriculum  and                                                                    
funding would  be distributed  in the  order of  requests in                                                                    
addition to one-time funding of  150 times the districts ADM                                                                    
not to exceed $6.7 million per year.                                                                                            
9:44:44 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair MacKinnon  WITHDREW her  OBJECTION. There  being NO                                                                    
further OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                           
9:45:35 AM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL JOHNSON,  COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF  EDUCATION AND                                                                    
EARLY DEVELOPMENT,  expressed his excitement over  the bill.                                                                    
He  declared that  the legislation  was "well-conceived  and                                                                    
informed by the challenges  of the past," recognized current                                                                    
realities,  and shared  a vision  for the  future. The  best                                                                    
practices  were  discovered  through  participation  in  the                                                                    
Alaska Education  Challenge. He stated that  the legislation                                                                    
used  curriculum as  a lever  for  support and  a lever  for                                                                    
improvement.  He  stated  that the  department  was  looking                                                                    
forward  to  the positive  impact  the  bill would  have  on                                                                    
Senator  Stevens referenced  a provision  that extended  the                                                                    
requirement  for curriculum  review  from every  6 years  to                                                                    
every  10 years.  He asked  for the  rationale. Commissioner                                                                    
Johnson replied that the rationale  had multiple factors. He                                                                    
explained that  the requirement did not  prevent adopting or                                                                    
reviewing a  curriculum in  a shorter  time frame.  He noted                                                                    
that many  curricula had digital components  and the content                                                                    
was frequently  updated. The content  of some  subjects such                                                                    
as math  did not  change dramatically over  time and  the 10                                                                    
year time period created efficiencies.                                                                                          
9:49:11 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator  Olson   referenced  Senator  Stevens'   point,  and                                                                    
wondered  if  rapid  technology  advancements  changed  more                                                                    
frequently  than a  period of  10 years,  which might  lower                                                                    
test  scores. Commissioner  Johnson agreed  that much  would                                                                    
change over a ten-year time  frame. He thought that in terms                                                                    
of purchasing  a curriculum it  was important to  be mindful                                                                    
of  the risk  of too  many changes  in too  short of  a time                                                                    
frame.  He  thought the  argument  could  be made  that  the                                                                    
bill's time  frame provided stability for  a curriculum that                                                                    
addressed student's needs.                                                                                                      
9:51:08 AM                                                                                                                    
Ms.  Hartmann addressed  a Sectional  Analysis for  CSSB 104                                                                    
(version N) (copy on file):                                                                                                     
     Section 1 AS 14.07.030:                                                                                                    
     The  Department may  not require  a school  district to                                                                    
     review  their curriculum  more than  once in  a 10-year                                                                    
     Section 2 AS 14.07.180:                                                                                                    
     (a)  The Board  of Education  must establish  standards                                                                    
     and a  procedure for the review,  ranking, and approval                                                                    
     of math and English  language arts curricula for school                                                                    
     districts to use in each grade level.                                                                                      
     (b)  The  Department  shall  review  math  and  English                                                                    
     language arts curricula from                                                                                               
     Alaska,   other  states,   and  other   countries.  The                                                                    
     department  has  until July  1,  2019  to identify  the                                                                    
     three best  curricula in these subjects  for each grade                                                                    
     level  and   the  best  practices  for   teaching  each                                                                    
     (c)  The Board  of  Education  shall approve  curricula                                                                    
     currently  being  used  by  the  five  best  performing                                                                    
     schools  (two urban  schools and  three rural  schools)                                                                    
     according  to  the  scores   of  the  2018  Performance                                                                    
     Evaluation for Alaska's Schools assessments (PEAKS).                                                                       
     (d) The  Department may submit the  curricula that they                                                                    
     find to be the best (under  section b), to the Board of                                                                    
     Education  for approval,  if the  Department deems  the                                                                    
     curricula    appropriate,   aligned    with   education                                                                    
     standards,   and    results   in    improved   academic                                                                    
     achievement for students.                                                                                                  
     (e) The  Board may  approve of the  curricula submitted                                                                    
     by the  Department (under section  d) as long as  it is                                                                    
     consistent with the standards  established by the Board                                                                    
     of education under (a) of  this section. The Department                                                                    
     shall rank  the approved curricula  in 3 tiers.  Tier 1                                                                    
     is the curricula that the  Department ranks the highest                                                                    
     for each grade level.                                                                                                      
     (f)  The  Department  shall conduct  a  two-year  pilot                                                                    
     program beginning in  the 2019 school year  to test the                                                                    
     appropriateness  and   effectiveness  of  the   tier  1                                                                    
     curricula  approved.  The  Department  shall  select  5                                                                    
     school districts  to participate  in the  pilot program                                                                    
     (at  least 2  rural schools  and 2  urban schools)  and                                                                    
     those districts will  be given no more  than a combined                                                                    
     total  of $10  million  to purchase  and implement  the                                                                    
     (g) If  the Department deems the  curricula appropriate                                                                    
     and effective, the Department  shall make the curricula                                                                    
     and  one-time  incentive   payments  available  to  all                                                                    
     school  districts  starting  in school  year  2021  and                                                                    
     ending  in  the  school  year  of  2023.  If  a  school                                                                    
     district chooses  Tier 1, they will  receive a one-time                                                                    
     appropriation. This appropriation  is available for all                                                                    
     districts  and shall  not exceed  a  combined total  of                                                                    
     $6,700,000  for all  districts  that  apply each  year.                                                                    
     This incentive  payment will be available  for 3 years,                                                                    
     however   districts  will   only  receive   a  one-time                                                                    
     payment. The Department  shall award incentive payments                                                                    
     in  the order  of which  the request  is received.  The                                                                    
     incentive payment will not exceed 150xADM.                                                                                 
Ms.  Hartmann delineated  that the  $30 million  fiscal note                                                                    
was predicated on the number  of students statewide, roughly                                                                    
129  thousand and  multiplied  that by  150  divided over  5                                                                    
9:54:58 AM                                                                                                                    
Ms. Hartmann continued to address the Sectional Analysis:                                                                       
     (h)  The   Department  shall  publish   all  curriculum                                                                    
     currently  used   by  all  school  districts,   on  the                                                                    
     Department's website. Included  in that curriculum will                                                                    
     be the  3 tiers of  the English language arts  and math                                                                    
     curriculum adopted.                                                                                                        
     ` (i) The Department  shall submit an electronic report                                                                    
     to  the   legislature  providing  information   on  the                                                                    
     curricula that each school district has adopted.                                                                           
     (j) All  payments for the  pilot program  and curricula                                                                    
     adoption  are subject  to  appropriation. This  section                                                                    
     provides   the   definitions   for   "rural",   "school                                                                    
     district" and "urban".                                                                                                     
     Sections  3-5  AS  14.08.111,   AS  14.14.090,  and  AS                                                                    
     Conforming language  requiring school boards  to review                                                                    
     all  textbooks  and  instructional materials  at  least                                                                    
     once every 10 years.                                                                                                       
     Section 6 AS 14.07.180(f), 14.07.180(g), 14.07.180(j):                                                                     
     Repeals the  pilot program  and the  one-time incentive                                                                    
     payments on July 1, 2024.                                                                                                  
     Sec. 7 4 AAC 05.080(e):                                                                                                    
     Annuls  the regulatory  requirement of  a local  school                                                                    
     board  having  to  evaluate their  curriculum  every  6                                                                    
9:57:01 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Hoffman addressed Section  2(h), which pertained to                                                                    
publishing  all  curriculum  currently used  by  all  school                                                                    
districts.  He asked  whether the  requirement included  the                                                                    
curriculum  developed  because  of the  bill.  Ms.  Hartmann                                                                    
answered  in  the affirmative.  She  stated  that all  three                                                                    
tiers   established  through   the   legislation  would   be                                                                    
published online.                                                                                                               
Co-Chair MacKinnon interjected that  the goal was to provide                                                                    
an incentive program  of best practices. She  found that the                                                                    
larger school districts  were agreeing on a  set of criteria                                                                    
that already  existed. However, in the  smaller districts it                                                                    
was more difficult  to find the time or  expertise to engage                                                                    
in the  same process  as the  larger districts.  She thought                                                                    
there  was   a  disadvantage  for  smaller   districts.  She                                                                    
observed  that  sometimes  salespersons  from  other  states                                                                    
offered Alaska's  smaller districts curriculum that  was not                                                                    
supportable in  a rural area.  She emphasized that  the bill                                                                    
would not impose a curriculum that  did not fit into a local                                                                    
community. Rather  the bill attempted  to empower  the state                                                                    
school board  to help  find curriculum  that works  in rural                                                                    
school  districts and  all districts  as  well. She  thought                                                                    
curriculum was  a foundational tool  and hoped  an empowered                                                                    
statewide  school board  that was  provided resources  could                                                                    
find  the best  practices, work  with school  districts, and                                                                    
utilize a pilot program  to discover curriculum that worked.                                                                    
She reiterated that her hope  was the statewide school board                                                                    
could identify  a curriculum  that offered  Alaskan students                                                                    
an opportunity to compete globally.                                                                                             
10:01:50 AM                                                                                                                   
Senator  von Imhof  clarified that  there  was a  difference                                                                    
between curriculum and state  standards. She understood that                                                                    
the  program  was volunteer  and  did  not impede  on  local                                                                    
Co-Chair MacKinnon added that it  was her hope that the bill                                                                    
would  provide  school  districts  the  opportunity  to  use                                                                    
something  vetted  by the  state  school  board and  not  be                                                                    
subject to the 6 year review process                                                                                            
Senator  Stevens thought  the bill  was forward-looking.  He                                                                    
had  concerns.  He  commented on  staff  reductions  at  the                                                                    
department and  wondered how it  would achieve the  goals of                                                                    
the bill.  Co-Chair MacKinnon clarified that  there would be                                                                    
a  forthcoming fiscal  note with  three positions  that were                                                                    
previously removed from the department,  however the new job                                                                    
duties would  be different in  support of  reading, writing,                                                                    
and math.                                                                                                                       
10:05:03 AM                                                                                                                   
Senator  Micciche   added  that   there  would   be  "fairly                                                                    
significant  contract dollars  for  some  of the  curriculum                                                                    
evaluation."  Co-Chair  MacKinnon  indicated that  the  bill                                                                    
would need  to have the  support of the full  legislature to                                                                    
move forward.  The goal  was to reduce  the costs  to school                                                                    
districts and  improve educational outcomes. She  added that                                                                    
the  fiscal  note  would  be  scrutinized  but  if  adequate                                                                    
funding was not provided the goals would not be met.                                                                            
Senator Stevens  thought education was a  unifying issue and                                                                    
applauded Co-Chair MacKinnon's efforts.                                                                                         
Co-Chair  MacKinnon   affirmed  that  the   committee  would                                                                    
continue to work with the  department on the bill and fiscal                                                                    
note. She reported  that Senator von Imhof  wanted to ensure                                                                    
that the  curriculum chosen  by the  state school  board met                                                                    
the  Alaska  Standards,  which  was  currently  the  board's                                                                    
Ms.  Hartmann mentioned  three other  benefits of  the bill.                                                                    
The bill would save school  districts time and money through                                                                    
the extension  of the curriculum  review and paying  for the                                                                    
curriculum,  which freed  up funding  for  other needs.  The                                                                    
bill  allowed for  collaboration among  school districts  in                                                                    
both teacher training and professional development.                                                                             
Senator  von  Imhof  thought the  Division  of  Student  and                                                                    
School  Achievement under  DEED whose  core mission  was "to                                                                    
provide   academic  standards,   academic  assessments   and                                                                    
accountability  and  assist  schools by  providing  programs                                                                    
technical  onsite  and   distance  delivery  support"  would                                                                    
likely be affected by the  bill. She noted that the division                                                                    
had a  total of  41 staff,  twelve positions  were Education                                                                    
Specialist II, which were the  positions that would be added                                                                    
by the bill. She thought  it was important to take advantage                                                                    
of  all  the  state's  resources. She  maintained  that  the                                                                    
bill's  goals needed  accountability,  data collection,  and                                                                    
collaboration  between districts.  She  mentioned that  some                                                                    
school  districts  used Power  School  software  that was  a                                                                    
platform  for  student  information.   She  wondered  if  in                                                                    
addition to working with curriculum,  the bill would address                                                                    
software to allow districts to communicate with each other.                                                                     
10:09:15 AM                                                                                                                   
Vice-Chair  Bishop  voiced  that besides  the  collaboration                                                                    
across  school  districts,  he hoped  the  university  would                                                                    
collaborate with  the school board to  ensure the curriculum                                                                    
was  sufficient to  carry  the  student into  post-secondary                                                                    
Co-Chair  Hoffman agreed  with Senator  Stevens remarks.  He                                                                    
thanked  Co-Chair MacKinnon  for  taking  leadership on  the                                                                    
issue.  He   acknowledged  that   the  topic   of  education                                                                    
solutions had been discussed for  some time and believed the                                                                    
bill was a good approach.                                                                                                       
Co-Chair  MacKinnon reiterated  that the  legislation was  a                                                                    
committee bill  and appreciated members' work  on the issue.                                                                    
She informed the  committee that there was  not currently an                                                                    
updated fiscal note for the CS.                                                                                                 
Co-Chair MacKinnon  discussed the  agenda for  the following                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 104 Sponsor Statement.pdf SFIN 2/22/2018 9:00:00 AM
SB 104
CSSB 104 Version N Sectional Analysis.pdf SFIN 2/22/2018 9:00:00 AM
SB 104
SB 168 work draft version D.pdf SFIN 2/22/2018 9:00:00 AM
SB 168
SB 168 Fast Track StatewideTotals-Op Cap.pdf SFIN 2/22/2018 9:00:00 AM
SB 168
SB 168 FY18 Supplemental Summary and Detail with LFD Notes-Senate.pdf SFIN 2/22/2018 9:00:00 AM
SB 168
SB 104 work draft version N.pdf SFIN 2/22/2018 9:00:00 AM
SB 104