The task force met to begin discussing what recommendations they would make in their April 1 report to the legislature. Task force staff put together a comprehensive list of preliminary recommendations for discussion (http://hecr.aksenate.org/archives/779/hecr_preliminary_recommendations_09march11). Chairman Stevens said the recommendations on the list are just suggestions, some of which he thinks are wonderful, and some he thinks are dreadful.
Rep. Bill Thomas, co-chairman of the House Finance Committee, said the operating and mental health budgets, HB 108 and HB 109, will be on the House Calendar by Wednesday, March 9, and will probably be transmitted to the Senate by Friday. The committee will be considering committee amendments on Tuesday, March 8.
The subcommittee held their budget closeout Thursday morning and it almost looked like they weren’t going to finish the subcommittee process. Rep. Seaton was very concerned about the subcommittee recommendations, and that the proposed cuts to DEED might be extensive enough that the department would be unable to carry out their mission. Before the recess for joint session it appeared as though members weren’t going to accept the subcommittee report.
The House Education Committee has been hearing from superintendents from around the state at the beginning of every committee meeting. On Wednesday they heard from Superintendent Dave Herbert of Saint Mary’s School District. Saint Mary's is a remote, single site bush school district (http://www.smcsd.us/) with about 200 students in pre-school-12th grade. Their student population is 100 percent Yupik, and Mr. Herbert has been superintendent for six years.
During the Monday, February 7, 2011 House Education Committee Hearing Chugach School District Superintendent Bob Crumley explained the district's performance pay program. He said teachers were skeptical when the program began, and thinks performance pay has received a black eye because it has been rolled out poorly and only focused on student test results.