Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/23/2003 01:34 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                                                                                                                                
                SCR 10-CHARTER SCHOOL TASK FORCE                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRED DYSON announced SCR 10 to be up for consideration.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOHN  ALCANTRA,   Government  Relations  Director,  National                                                               
Education  Association  of  Alaska   (NEAA),  said  that  charter                                                               
schools in  Alaska have  been very  successful and  NEAA supports                                                               
them.  To make  the  task  force as  successful  as possible,  he                                                               
recommended that NEAA appoint a  member to the task force because                                                               
that member  would bring knowledge  and experience  and represent                                                               
the  front line  employees who  make charter  schools successful.                                                               
The NEAA  supports a thorough  examination of how the  federal No                                                               
Child Left Behind  Law is impacting schools  in Alaska, including                                                               
charter schools.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. KEVIN  SWEENEY, Legislative Liaison, Department  of Education                                                               
and  Early Development  (DEED)  supported SCR  10,  and said  the                                                               
number  of charter  schools has  grown significantly  since their                                                               
inception  and DEED  envisions adding  another 20  to 24  charter                                                               
schools in the next five years.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  asked him if  DEED's position reflects  the attitude                                                               
of the governor.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. SWEENEY said  he hadn't talked to the governor  about it, but                                                               
he  didn't think  there would  be  a problem  since the  governor                                                               
supports the idea of charter schools.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON said  he  knew the  administration  was looking  for                                                               
funding for the startup of charter schools.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GRETCHEN  GUESS  added  that [DEED]  had  found  federal                                                               
funding and,  if it comes  through, the  state would not  have to                                                               
fund it.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON asked  if federal  money is  available to  staff the                                                               
task force.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. SWEENEY replied  that DEED asked for $10  million for charter                                                               
school startup  funds over the next  five years and a  portion of                                                               
those grants could  probably be used for this  activity. The bill                                                               
had  no fiscal  note and  he didn't  know if  all costs  would be                                                               
covered. Technically, DEED  is not in the Office  of the Governor                                                               
and he suggested  amending the bill to  include representation by                                                               
the department.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
[SCR 10 was held for further work.]                                                                                             

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