Senators Joe Paskvan, Dennis Egan, and Gary Stevens during the closeout hearing of the Senate Finance DEED Subcommittee, March 20, 2012
This blog contains highlights from the Alaska Education Update. The update is issued daily during session and contains detailed summaries of education issues under consideration by the Alaska State Legislature. If there is a hearing on a Monday, a report will, with few exceptions, be released by Tuesday morning. There is also a weekly edition of the update. During interim, reports are issued only when there has been action. Interim action may include hearings, bill signings, the release of the Governor's proposed budget for the next fiscal year, and other items that may be of interest to the education community.

To subscribe to full reports, contact Shana Crondahl at (907) 500-7069 or To subscribe to blog posts, submit your email:

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Open Education - Free, Online, College Classes

Last week my mother called me.  She didn't have a current email address for someone, and hoped she could get it from me.  I said, "I don't know, just send him a message on Facebook.  He's one of your friends, isn't he?"  It hadn't even crossed her mind that Facebook is a way to contact people. 

Technology is changing the world so fast.  Those of us in middle age and older don't know half of what is possible with technology today, let alone what may be possible just five years down the road.  That goes for the education field as well.  I heard a lot of talk in legislative hearings this year.....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I will have something to keep me busy this interim.

HCS CSSB 221(FIN) passed the House by a vote of 36 yeas and 4 nays. Voting against the bill were Reps. Doogan, Neuman, Salmon, and Thomas. The Senate later concurred with the House changes to the bill by a vote of 16 yeas, 4 nays. Voting nay were Sens. Bunde, Coghill, Dyson, and Wagoner.

HCS CSSB 221(FIN) includes.....

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sine Die

The Twenty-Sixth Alaska State Legislature adjourned their second session early in the morning on Monday, April 19.   A new legislature will convene on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 1:00 p.m.  The Senate Bipartisan Working Group held a press availability at the end of session.  Both the House and the Senate ran past midnight on the 90th day, for the first time since the 90-day session limit was enacted.

Sen. President Gary Stevens said they have an analysis on the issue from legislative attorneys that says they can go past 90 days.  Legislative attorneys have told them that if anyone sued, the legislature would probably win.  He said.....

Sunday, April 18, 2010

House Passes Capital Budget

The House passed SB 230 - Capital Budget a few minutes ago, and have recessed until 9:15 p.m.

HB 424 - G.O. Bonds for Education/Library/Research Facilities

The Senate Finance Committee just moved HB 424 with a committee substitute.  The bill is on the Senate Calendar. 

Miles Baker, staff to Sen. Stedman said the only change in the committee substitute is the removal of an appropriation to the state bond committee of $4.766 million to pay expenses related to the issuance and sale of bonds. Funding for that item was added to SB 230 - Capital Budget and pulled out of HB 424.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Recent Action

HJR 24 - Federal Lunch Program/Military  was permanently filed as Legislative Resolve 32.

SB 235 - Charter/Alternative School Funding  The Senate concurred with the House amendments to the bill and it is awaiting transmittal to the Governor.

SB 220 - Energy Efficiency/Alternative Energy  was moved from House Finance today and is on today's calendar

SB 221 - Legis. Task Force: Higher Ed/Careers  was moved from House Finance today and is on today's calendar. House Finance added a section creating an Alaska merit scholarship program. This is an item that the Governor was threatening to call a special session on. HCS CSSB 221(FIN) establishes the merit scholarship program.  The task force established by the bill will investigate possible funding mechanisms over the interim and make recommendations to the next legislature on how to fund the program. The section establishing the scholarship program basically follows the governor's criteria for the different levels of scholarship.

SB 230 - Budget: Capital, Supplemental, & Other Appropriations  is scheduled for today's House calendar, pending release from the House Finance Committee.

Friday, April 16, 2010

House Finance Releases New Version of Capital Budget

House Finance just released a new version of SB 230 - Capital Budget.

Legislature Addresses Moore vs. State in Conference Committee

The Conference Committee met Thursday to consider open items in HB 300 and HB 302. During the last hearing on Monday, April 12, the committee dealt with all open items in the Dept. of Education & Early Development’s budget, so there are no items open in that department. Sen. Hoffman said the next meeting would address the last two open items (one in the Governor’s Office and one in the Dept. of Revenue) and any fiscal notes.

A language adoption was made for Item 3 (Conditional Language, K-12 Support) on the DEED motion sheet. The language states that it is the intent of the legislature that up to $7,000,000 of the amount appropriated from the public school trust fund, AS 37.14.110, for public school programs may be used to address issues raised in Moore vs. Alaska. Those issues include curriculum design, professional training and retention, pre-kindergarten and other intensive early learning, and remediation plans for individual students. Affected school districts include the Yupiit, Lower Yukon, Yukon Flats, Yukon Koyukuk, and Northwest Arctic.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Biggest News Item from Wednesday!

At the beginning of Wednesday's House Education Committee hearing, Chairman Seaton presented Eddy Jeans, director, School Finance & Facilities, Dept. of Education & Early Development, with a legislative citation honoring him for his 30 years of state service, his expertise, his dedication, and his good humor.

Mr. Jeans said he plans to retire sometime this summer, but he will remain in Juneau, and will remain involved in some capacity. 

Hopefully Eddy will continue to make himself available to initiate rookie legislators on the intricacies of the foundation formula!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Senate Floor Debate on SB 230 - Capital Budget

So much for posting every day until the end of session!  Oh dear!  How about a posting on yesterday's floor debate on the capital budget?

SB 230 – Budget: Capital, Supplemental, & Other Appropriations

The Senate passed CSSB 230(FIN) 19 yeas, 1 nay. Sen. Bunde voted against the bill. SB 230 has been transmitted to the House and was referred to the House Finance Committee. It is scheduled for a hearing on Wednesday, April 14 at 8:30 a.m. (See the “Saturday, April 10, 2010 CSSB 230(FIN) AKEDUPDATE” for a list of education-related projects.)

Sen. Bunde offered an amendment to remove many of the projects in SB 230. He thought a more appropriate place for the projects was in a bond package. The Finance Committee co-chairmen disagreed. Sen. Stedman said.....

Sunday, April 11, 2010

SB 230 - Capital Budget Update

Senate Finance adopted a new committee substitute for SB 230 and passed the bill out of committee Saturday evening.  The biggest change in the new cs is a new section adding $380 million in G.O. bond projects, $360 million of which are for education projects. 

G.O. Bond Education Projects:.....

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Education-Related Items in CSSB 230(FIN)

Major Maintenance:
• $1,700,000 – Mt. Edgecumbe deferred maintenance
• $84,337 – Nome Beltz Jr./Sr. fire alarm replacement
• $29,807 – Nome Beltz Jr./Sr. emergency generator auto switch replacement
• $1,202,914 – Metlakatla High School Renovation Alternates
• $1,762,541 – Whittier K-12 sprinkler install & interior renovations
• $123,701 – Yup’ik Voc Ed Building water service & boiler replacement
• $80,729 – Yup’ik Voc Ed Building roof replacement
• $21,306,131 – Service High School renovation
• $180,491 – Mosquito Lake Elementary mechanical upgrades

• $200,000 – Debarr Road school zone
• $1,100,000 – Fritz Cove to Auke Bay, including school intersection improvements
• $1,000,000 – Safe Routes to Schools (statewide)
• $4,000,000 – Sand Point: School Loop Road Rehabilitation
• $800,000 – Sitka: Cross Trail construction – High School to Baranof, Charles, Yaw, and Pherson Streets

DCCED Grants to Recipients:
• $300,000 – Copper River School District – Copper River Connects
• $800,000 – Toksook Bay Early Learning Center
• $140,000 – Yukon-Koyukuk School District – Jimmy Huntington High School Mold Remediation
• $520,000 – Mears Middle School Locker Replacement
• $1,140,000 – Salcha Elementary School Exterior Envelope Replacement & Upgrade
• $430,000 – Ticasuk Brown Elementary School Septic System Replacement
• $990,000 – Galena City School District Central Steam Plant Upgrade
• $100,000 – Trapper Creek Elementary School Roof Replacement
• $1,000,000 – Valdez High School Fire Alarm/Sprinkler Replacement

NPRA Impact Grants:
• $251,243 – North Slope Borough School Counselor Grant

• $12,000 – Chatham School District, for equipment purchases and upgrades (reappropriated from Chatham School District van purchase)
• $37,500 – Chatham School District, for projects, equipment, and improvements for Angoon Schools (reappropriated from Angoon road grader)

• $500,000 – Service High School Football Field Turf Design and Construction
• $500,000 – South High School Artificial Turf Field Design and Construction
• $20,000 – Central Middle School Stage Floor Refinishing, and Projector Screen, Sound System, and Curtains Replacement and Installation

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

HB 424 - G.O. Bonds for Education Projects

HB 424 – G.O. Bonds for Education Projects, By the House Finance Committee

Introduced today, HB 424 provides for the issuance of general obligation bonds in a principal amount of not more than $1,000,000 for the purpose of paying the cost of education projects for public schools and the University of Alaska. The bill specifies that $500,000 will be appropriated to DEED for public school projects, and $500,000 will be appropriated to the University of Alaska for university projects.

During the afternoon portion of today’s House Finance Committee meeting, Chairman Stoltze said that the $1,000,000 in HB 424 is just a place-holder amount, and will not necessarily be the final amount in the bill.

HB 424 was referred to the House Finance Committee, and is scheduled for a hearing on Thursday, April 8 at 9:00 a.m.

Moore vs. State Documents posted in BASIS

The three court orders in the Moore vs. State case have been posted on BASIS.  I am not sure they are available anywhere else online, so thought I would post a link (click on the title above to go to the documents).

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

MOORE vs. STATE, March 31 2010 Court Order

On Wednesday, April 7th the House and Senate Education Committees will be holding a hearing on Moore vs. State. The committees will be hearing from the plaintiffs' attorney, the state's attorney, a legislative attorney, and the administration to discuss the case.

During the Monday, April 6th House Education Committee hearing, Dept. of Education & Early Development Deputy Commissioner Les Morse said the department thought this most recent court order was going to go their way. 

But looking at the order, it appears that the judge still feels the state has some work to do.  In her 2007 decision and again in the Order on Review of 2009 Submissions, Superior Court Judge Sharon Gleason said....

Monday, April 5, 2010

House Conference Committee Members Appointed, HB 300

Conference committee members have been appointed from the House for HB 300 – Operating Budget. They are Reps. Hawker, Stoltze, and Gara.

The Senate has not yet appointed conference committee members, so the Legislature is not yet under the 24-Hour Rule for hearing bills. However, any bill that has had a previous hearing in a committee can be brought up without notice under “Bills previously heard/scheduled.” So you will see committees bringing up a lot of bills for perfunctory hearings at this time. That way they can bring them up later without having to give any additional notice.

Gathering of Attorneys - April 7 in the House & Senate Education Committees

At the end of Friday's Senate Education Committee hearing, committee staff said that Judge Gleason said in her most recent ruling on Moore vs. Alaska that the legislature is responsible for the five school districts in the case. On Wednesday, April 7 at 8:00 a.m. the Education Committees will be hearing from the plaintiffs' attorney, the state's attorney, a legislative attorney, and the administration to discuss what that means.  So we should get a pretty wide-viewpoint of what that means for everyone - the state, the schools, and the kids.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Moore vs. Alaska

The House and Senate Education Committees have scheduled a joint hearing for Wednesday, April 7 to hear a presentation on an order made on March 31 by Alaska Superior Court Judge Sharon Gleason in the Moore vs. Alaska case. 

During a hearing of the House Education Committee on Friday, April 2, Chairman Paul Seaton said that Judge Gleason stated in her order that the legislature is resposible for ensuring that school districts are using adequate curriculum.  Seaton said that until now, everyone had been operating under the assumption that curriculum adoption is part of local authority, but that the judge had said that is not correct.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A few notes on current action:

The House is adjourned until Monday, so I guess they are taking an Easter break. Even though the Senate passed HB 300 - Operating Budget on Tuesday, they waited until the House adjourned on Thursday before transmitting the bill back to the house, thereby postponing when the 24-hour rule will kick in. Probably that will happen Monday.

Sen. Hoffman said in floor discussion on SB 237 that there will need to be some minor changes made to the bill in the house in order to accomodate rural areas not in REAA's and not able to fund school facilities through bonding. So I believe the legislature is going to try to cover every possible situation in the state with this bill. That will make a lot of people happy, I am sure!

Rep. Doogan said in his weekly newsletter today that there is rumored to be a bond proposition in the works. Projects supposedly under consideration for the proposition include the UAF Life Sciences Facility, a gym in Anchorage (The UAA Sports Arena?), a new state library/archives/museum facility in Juneau, and several schools in rural Alaska. I'm guessing those would be schools in Alakanuk, Kipnuk, and Napaskiak.

I will try to post updates every day between now and the end of session.