Legislature(2009 - 2010)BELTZ 211

04/06/2009 01:30 PM Senate JUDICIARY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSSB 148(JUD) Out of Committee
Moved CSSB 85(JUD) Out of Committee
Moved CSSB 110(JUD) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
         SB 176-COMPACT: EDUCATION OF MILITARY CHILDREN                                                                     
2:50:29 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR FRENCH announced the consideration of SB 176.                                                                             
JOSH TEMPLE,  Staff to  Senator Huggins, said  the purpose  of SB
176 is  to remove barriers  facing children of  military families                                                               
as they move between school systems.  On average a student from a                                                               
military  family will  move  between six  and  nine times  during                                                               
their  K-12 years.  While the  military has  done a  lot to  ease                                                               
these transitions, more can be done  at the state and local level                                                               
to ensure that  these children are afforded  the same opportunity                                                               
for educational success as other children.                                                                                      
12,106 active  duty children between  the ages  of 5 and  18 plus                                                               
the children of active members of  the Guard and the Reserve will                                                               
benefit  from  this  compact.  In 2008  11  states  adopted  this                                                               
compact  and 22  others have  pending legislation  to join.  This                                                               
legislation will  provide these  children with  timely enrollment                                                               
as  they move  from one  school district  to another,  which will                                                               
help to remove some of the  associated stress of moving. The bill                                                               
enjoys widespread support;  it supports our troops  and our kids,                                                               
he said.                                                                                                                        
2:53:27 PM                                                                                                                    
RICK MASTERS,  Special Council,  Interstate Compacts,  Council of                                                               
State Governments, said he has  been working on and writing about                                                               
interstate compacts  for the  last 20 years.  The mission  of the                                                               
Council of  State Governments  has for 75  years been  to promote                                                               
the role of states in solving  problems that affect more than one                                                               
state  but that  still should  be under  the control  of and  has                                                               
historically  been governed  by the  states. This  compact is  no                                                               
exception;  it  will level  the  playing  field for  children  of                                                               
military members  when they transfer  from state to  state during                                                               
grades  K-12.  Research   indicates  that  transferring  students                                                               
frequently  encounter  problems   with  enrollment,  eligibility,                                                               
placement, and  graduation. The compact  attempts to  address the                                                               
difficulties in these four areas.                                                                                               
2:57:13 PM                                                                                                                    
Enrollment can  be delayed when  students move into a  new school                                                               
district if  the receiving  school won't accept  a photo  copy of                                                               
the  student   school  transcript.  The compact  would require  a                                                               
school  district in  a  member state  to  recognize a  legitimate                                                               
photocopy of  a record awaiting  arrival of the  original record.                                                               
The sending  school district  would furnish  the record  within a                                                               
ten-day period.                                                                                                                 
Eligibility  relates to  things like  extracurricular activities.                                                               
When students miss  the required induction protocol  for clubs or                                                               
activities, the compact would ask  the state to allow the student                                                               
to participate if  they are otherwise qualified.  There would not                                                               
be a requirement  to create a position, but the  compact seeks to                                                               
prevent situations  where a student  is penalized  simply because                                                               
their move wasn't timely.                                                                                                       
With  respect  to  placement,  the  compact  seeks  to  have  the                                                               
receiving  state  make  a reasonable  accommodation  to  place  a                                                               
transferring  student in  comparable  courses and  levels to  the                                                               
state from  which they  came. It does  not prevent  the receiving                                                               
state from doing subsequent testing  and replacement. The goal of                                                               
the compact is to avoid delay in placement.                                                                                     
The  fourth area  addresses timely  graduation. The  compact asks                                                               
receiving  states   to  reasonably  accommodation   students  who                                                               
transfer  in  their junior  or  senior  year by  waiving  certain                                                               
course   requirements.  For   example,  state   history  from   a                                                               
transferring state  could fulfill  the state  history requirement                                                               
for the  receiving school.  The compact  also asks  the receiving                                                               
state to consider waiving exit  exams, but if this isn't possible                                                               
it asks  the receiving  state to work  cooperatively to  secure a                                                               
diploma from the sending state.                                                                                                 
MR.  MASTERS  highlighted  the   numerous  stakeholders  who  are                                                               
interested in this legislation.                                                                                                 
3:03:25 PM                                                                                                                    
THOMAS   HINTEN,   Senior   State    Liaison,   Office   of   the                                                               
Undersecretary   of  Defense,   Department   of  Defense   (DOD),                                                               
Washington D.C.  said this is part  of an ongoing effort  to work                                                               
with states  on issues that impact  military families. Transition                                                               
challenges  for  students  is  the issue  they  hear  about  most                                                               
frequently  from military  families. During  times of  deployment                                                               
Guard members are even more  dramatically impacted. DOD considers                                                               
this  a  readiness issue  because  parents  reflect on  and  make                                                               
decisions  about staying  in the  military  when they're  sitting                                                               
around  the kitchen  table  talking about  the  welfare of  their                                                               
children relative to education. Folks  who are on the battlefield                                                               
need  to be  concentrating  on their  mission  rather than  being                                                               
distracted   by  whether   or  not   their  children   are  being                                                               
accommodated properly at school.                                                                                                
Alaska  has done  a  tremendous job  helping  and supporting  the                                                               
military so this issue comes up  not so much about what one state                                                               
would do,  but more about  how states  can work together  to make                                                               
the transition process work more  smoothly. If each state were to                                                               
follow  uniform  practices, students  would  know  they would  be                                                               
accommodated properly.  Just last  week the governor  of Virginia                                                               
signed similar legislation. That state  has the highest number of                                                               
school-age military  children in the nation.  He appreciates that                                                               
Alaska is seriously considering this as well.                                                                                   
3:07:03 PM                                                                                                                    
CAROL   COMEAU,   Superintendant,  Anchorage   School   District,                                                               
conveyed that  the school board  passed unanimously  a resolution                                                               
supporting the military  compact in the belief that  this is good                                                               
business  for  students of  military  families  in Anchorage  and                                                               
around the state. Anchorage schools  already practice most of the                                                               
strategies  Mr.  Masters outlined  and  have  been able  to  work                                                               
through most  situations. The  board does  strongly feel  that if                                                               
this  bill passes  and becomes  part  of the  Alaska culture,  it                                                               
sends  a   strong  message  of  support   for  Alaska's  military                                                               
families.  Military parents  would  be better  able  to focus  on                                                               
their mission knowing that their kids  are being taken care of in                                                               
the  school  districts   statewide.  Superintendants  in  Kodiak,                                                               
Fairbanks,  Sitka,  and  MatSu   have  voiced  support  for  this                                                               
initiative, she said.                                                                                                           
CHAIR FRENCH closed public testimony.                                                                                           
3:08:53 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR THERRIAULT asked where the House bill is in the process.                                                                
MR. TEMPLE replied it is in House Finance.                                                                                      
CHAIR  FRENCH  announced  he  would   hold  SB  176  for  further                                                               

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