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HCPS Board Meeting Highlights

Monday, December 19, 2005

Questions regarding these Board Highlights may be directed to Don Morrison, Director of Public Information, 410-588-5203.

At the Board of Education of Harford County public business meeting held on Monday, December 19, 2005, at the Center for Educational Opportunity in Aberdeen, the following actions and discussions took place.

RECOGNITION

The Board of Education conducted a series of recognition ceremonies. The first was the induction of two new members into the Harford County Public School Educator Hall of Fame. Inducted were R. Thomas Hutcheson and Mazie R. Taylor. Mr. Hutcheson, 75, spent 25 of his 39 years as an educator in the Harford County Public School System, all but one year of that quarter century as an instructional supervisor. The native of Cumberland was known as a gentle and supportive leader, helping teachers to reach their full potential by providing useful and consistent resources. Mrs. Taylor, 85, joins her late husband, Bill Taylor, as a member of the HCPS Educator Hall of Fame. She spent 26 years as a teacher, 22 of those years in Harford County, first at the all-black Central Consolidated School; and, then, in 1964, as a pioneering educator among ten African-Americans chosen to help break then segregated Harford schools where no blacks taught in the predominantly white schools. The native of West Virginia retired in 1975 but continues to play a major role for good among young people as the founder and matriarch of the Black Youth in Action organization.

The Board also recognized those individual student-athletes and teams who won Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association (MPSSAA) state and regional championships during the fall 2005 season. The state champions were invited to the Board meeting to receive certificates while regional champions had their names or those of their teams read at the meeting. The C. Milton Wright High School girls soccer team, and their coaches and managers, were honored for having won the 2005 MPSSAA Class 4-A state girls soccer championship. In addition, Patrick Hinch, a senior at Aberdeen High School, was honored for having won the State Class 3A/4A individual golf title. Also, for the past two years, the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference, of which Harford is a member along with Cecil County, honors teams voted by players and coaches as winners of "Sportsmanship" awards in the various sports and in the two divisions of the league - Chesapeake and Susquehanna. Teams receiving recognition were Fallston High School (Boys Cross Country/Chesapeake Division); Fallston High School (Girls Cross Country/Chesapeake Division); Harford Technical High School (Girls Cross Country/Susquehanna Division); Fallston High School (Field Hockey/Chesapeake Division); Edgewood High School (Football/Chesapeake Division); Bel Air High School (Golf/Chesapeake Division); Aberdeen High School (Boys Soccer/Chesapeake Division); and Edgewood High School (Girls Volleyball/Susquehanna Division).

Also recognized was Roye-Williams Elementary School which received a National Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence award, one of just 30 schools nationwide to be honored this year. The organization honors those public, private, charter, parochial, Department of Defense, and Bureau of Indian Affairs schools which exemplify exceptional service and achievement to comprehensive schools exhibiting a "strong commitment to educational excellence for all students." Roye-Williams Principal Sue Osborn and others from her school participated in a conference held in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina December 1 through 4. The local school was honored for its use of a math recovery system to help those students exhibiting difficulty with the subject.

In addition, the Board honored those schools which were recognized by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) for their performance on the 2005 Maryland School Assessments. This year, 23 Harford County Public elementary and middle schools earned recognition in the program. Two of the schools receiving recognition were Title 1 schools and will receive awards totaling $6,215.80. Elementary schools honored were Bel Air, Church Creek, Churchville, Edgewood, Emmorton, Forest Hill, Forest Lakes, Fountain Green, George D. Lisby Elementary at Hillsdale, Hickory, Homestead/Wakefield, Jarrettsville, Meadowvale, Norrisville, North Bend, Prospect Mill, Ring Factory, William Paca/Old Post Road, and Youth's Benefit. Middle schools recognized were Bel Air, Fallston, North Harford, and Southampton.

GENERAL PUBLIC COMMENTS

Charles Campbell of Red Pump Road said he strongly opposes the proposed countywide redistricting plan in connection with the opening of Patterson Mill Middle/High School in 2007. He said the proposal impacts neighborhoods and the elementary to middle school feeder system has been violated. He said his children would be impacted negatively by the changes, being forced to move from Fallston High to Bel Air High.

Brandon Campbell, a junior at Fallston High, said he had suffered emotionally when he was moved to Fallston Middle School as an eighth grader and would hate to see his younger sister go through that process.

Bill Chu, who lives in Edwards Manor, said he is ten miles away from North Harford schools but is due to have his children redistricted from the much closer C. Milton Wright High/Southampton Middle schools. He noted that his 11-year-old child would be riding the bus for an hour with high school students as old as 18.

Ciara Borisillari, a student at Fallston Middle, said she would be separated from her friends if she is redistricted to go to Bel Air schools. She said there would be an added expense in busing students a longer distance to different schools.

Christine Feinhour, a Fallston Middle School eighth grader, said she is "completely devastated" by the prospects of being redistricted from Fallston High in 2007. She said a school is more than academics and that she felt it is important she stands up for what she believes.

Jerry Doody of Forest Lakes said he prefers the term "continuitying" rather than "grandfathering" in protecting those students who have begun their school careers at Fallston and face the prospects of being moved to Bel Air. He asked that the Board make a decision quickly to set minds at ease.

OLD BUSINESS

ACTION ITEMS

Acting on the motion of Board Member Patrick L. Hess and the second of Board Member Salina M. Williams, the Board voted unanimously to approve items on the Consent Agenda including the Monthly Report on Personnel; Award of School Bus Contracts; Transfer of School Bus Contracts; and Approval of Proposed Resolutions on National Mentoring Month (January), Maryland Reading Month, and African American History Month/Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

NEW BUSINESS

Board Counsel Patrick Spicer presented the Board with the proposed Board Code of Conduct policy, outlining expected behavior of Board Members in the execution of their duties. Mr. Spicer told Board members adherence to the policy would be "on the honor system" with no penalties specified if they violated any points in the policy. Mr. Spicer said the policy would return for Board action within a month and would be placed on the school system website for possible public input.

Executive Director of Secondary Education David Volrath and Harford Technical High School Instructional Facilitator Frank Mezzanotte (who also has responsibility for exploring magnet school possibilities), provided the Board with information on the proposed Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness program planned for Joppatowne High School. Plans are for the program to be offered beginning in 2007-08, with the possibility of it being a magnet offering open to students in other public high schools in Harford County.

Superintendent Jacqueline C. Haas presented the Board with the Superintendent's proposed FY 2007 operating budget. Dr. Haas said the proposed package totals $381,332,129 in unrestricted fund requests. (See the Harford County Public School website - http://www.hcps.org - for a detailed accounting of the proposed budget). The Superintendent said the additional amount of money being requested from the County in the unrestricted budget -- $23.9 million - would be combined with the expected $18.4 million in additional State revenue to fund increased cost of doing business, intervention efforts to help students meet the requirements of No Child Left Behind, and prioritized items to improve the operation of the school system. Dr. Haas said the Board will conduct several public hearings and work sessions on the proposed budget before being asked to adopt its budget proposal in late January. The package will then be passed to the County Executive at the end of January who will take action on the school proposal as well as all requests from agencies receiving County funding. The budget will then go to the County Council by April 1st, who will then take action by June to set a spending amount for the school system and other County-funded agencies.

BOARD COMMENTS

Board Member John L. Smilko said he feels the Homeland Security magnet program proposal is "forward thinking." Board Vice President Mark M. Wolkow said the possible "sunset" of the 105 percent capacity/enrollment Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance in June could serve to open rural areas to development. He said it is important the school system come up with a way of easing overcrowding at Prospect Mill Elementary School without having to move students. Board President Robin R. Rich, addressing the issue of redistricting, said she understands no one wants to have their children be the ones redistricted, but the Board is faced with having to come up with a solution to overcrowded conditions at some secondary schools in light of the fact there will soon be 1,600 seats available at Patterson Mill Middle/High School and some secondary schools in the county have available space. She said the Board will continue to welcome input from the community on alternative proposals provided by the Superintendent's Technical Advisory Committee on Balancing Enrollment, but a decision will have to be made by the Board, now scheduled for March or April.

With no additional business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 9:25 p.m.


This document contains a summary of issues that came before the Board of Education of Harford County and actions taken by the Board at the public business meeting at the meeting date referenced on the document. These are not official Board-approved minutes. Board minutes are not posted on the HCPS web site because of the time lapse that occurs between the meeting, their preparation, and ultimate approval by the Board.
For copies of approved Board minutes, please e-mail Lynn.Sweatt@hcps.org