STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING
SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
|Time:||10:52 AM to 12:11 PM|
|This Meeting was called to order by|
|This Report was prepared by|
X = Present, E = Excused, A = Absent, * = Present after roll call
|Bills Addressed: ||Action Taken:|
Committee Discussion of School Finance Act
|Amended, Referred to Appropriations|
10:52 AM -- House Bill 09-1280
Senator Williams, sponsor of House Bill 09-1280, presented her bill to the committee. The bill directs the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) to apply for federal funding to operate a Youth Challenge Corps Program. Senator Williams provided background information on the program and played a ten-minute video explaining the program.
Senator Williams responded to committee questions, beginning with a question from President Groff about the multiple state funding sources referred to in the fiscal note. Senator King commented that the program had been tried in the state before, and described opposition to it at that time. Senator Williams responded, talking about the funding issues faced by the previous program.
The following persons testified:
11:06 AM -- Walter Paul, representing the DMVA, testified in support of the bill. Mr. Paul talked about the previous iteration of the program and about the issues that caused the program to be closed down. He described legislation being considered in Congress addressing the funding of the program. Mr. Paul clarified that the previous program was not created in statute and he explained the DMVA's plan in moving forward through the authority provided in the bill. He talked about the program, explaining that it is a five-month, residential, voluntary program and includes mentoring after the student graduates from the program.
Mr. Paul responded to questions from the committee. Senator Hudak asked for information about the educational component of the program. Senator King asked about the funding of the program in its previous iteration. Mr. Paul answered, saying the previous program was run in conjunction with the Harrison School District. He talked about the facilities the program was able to use at no cost. The committee discussed the funding issues further. Senator Williams spoke to the committee's questions, talking about the possibility of per pupil funding following students into the program. Committee conversation on this idea ensued.
Committee conversation with the witness continued, with Mr. Paul providing further information about the previous program. Senator Romer suggested that the Interim Committee on School Finance could study the issue of funding the program. Committee discussion ensued.
11:26 AM -- Bob Coulson, representing the Division of Child Welfare in the Department of Human Services, testified in support of the bill. He spoke to the funding issues raised by the committee. Mr. Coulson talked about the outcomes of the program, saying they are very good. He encouraged DMVA to study the example of the program in Wisconsin. Mr. Coulson said no one pathway fits all youth and the program under consideration is a pathway that offers success to some students. He spoke to amendments made to the bill in the House. He noted that the bill contains a strong community service component.
Mr. Paul returned to the table to respond to a question from Senator King about whether the previous program allowed students to earn a high school diploma and whether the bill restricts students' opportunity to earning a GED rather than a diploma. Senator Williams responded to Senator King's questions as well. Committee discussion ensued. The committee discussed the time frame identified in the bill with Mr. Paul.
Committee discussion with Mr. Paul and Senator Williams continued, with a question from Senator Heath about how the proposed program fits in with other programs for the same population of students in the state. Committee conversation on this issue ensued.
Senator Scheffel asked how many students who complete the program go on to join the military. Mr. Paul said nationally, about 12 percent of students join the military. He clarified that the program is not a recruiting tool for the National Guard. Senator Williams referred the committee to the statistics contained on page three of the bill.
|TIME: || 11:45:52 AM|
|MOTION:||Refer House Bill 09-1280, as amended, to the Committee on Appropriations. The motion passed on a 7-0-1 vote.|
Final YES: 7 NO: 0 EXC: 1 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS
11:46 AM -- Committee Discussion of the School Finance Act
Senator Romer provided an update on the school finance act, describing the changes made to the bill in the House and stating his positions on those changes. Committee discussion ensued about whether committee members believe the bill should go to conference committee.
The committee adjourned.