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HCPS Board Meeting Highlights

Monday, January 9, 2006

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

The following actions and discussions took place at the Board of Education of Harford County meeting held on Monday, January 9, 2006, at the Center for Educational Opportunity in Aberdeen.

GENERAL PUBLIC COMMENTS

Larry English of the Forest Lakes community addressed the Board concerning the background of the 2002 redistricting from C. Milton Wright High/Southampton Middle schools to North Harford Middle/High schools. He said the current proposal to redistrict students living north of Rt. 23 to the North Harford schools is in fulfillment of "past promises" and said it was an "unnecessary disruption" of existing school attendance areas.

OLD BUSINESS

ACTION ITEMS

Acting on the motion of Board Member Thomas L. Fidler and the second of Board Member Salina M. Williams, the Board voted unanimously to approve the lone item on the Consent Agenda: Approval of Audio Visual Equipment Award.

NEW BUSINESS

ACTION ITEMS

Acting on the motion of Mr. Fidler and the second of Mrs. Williams, the Board voted unanimously to approve the recommendation of the Superintendent to develop and implement the Studies in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness program for the 2007-08 school year at Joppatowne High School. The program is to be implemented as a magnet initiative, open to public high school students throughout Harford County. The proposal had been submitted to the Board of Education in December after having been introduced to the group a year ago. Mrs. Williams said the company for which she works, Verizon, would like to be on board as a sponsor of the Homeland Security program. Board President R. Robin Rich said she had spoken with Harford County Sheriff Thomas Golding who said he was in complete support of the program and that his agency would be interested in hiring graduates out of high school to be part of the Sheriff's Office.

PRESENTATIONS

SUPERINTENDENT'S REPORT

Superintendent Jacqueline C. Haas presented the Board with her Superintendent's Report. She apologized for the sparse agenda for the meeting, noting that many of the databases had been disrupted during the move to the new school system headquarters at 102 S. Hickory Avenue in Bel Air over the winter break. Dr. Haas provided information about items discussed at the State Superintendent's meeting held January 6th. She noted that State Superintendent Nancy Grasmick's mother had passed away that day and provided the condolences of the Harford County Public Schools to Dr. Grasmick's family. She said, at the legislative meeting portion, it was noted 150 bills impacting education had been pre-filed for the 2006 Maryland General Assembly session. One of those bills would raise the mandatory age of school attendance to 18. Dr. Haas said Cecil County has pre-field a bill which would permit that school system to pay liability insurance premiums for students involved in the cooperative work experience program whose employers decline to pay the premium. She said a charter school bill has been filed that would provide a different funding formula from the law which currently exists. Dr. Haas said no employee pension bill has been pre-filed at this point. She noted that a computerized individual education plan (IEP) program is being explored which would require the forms to be standardized statewide. She told the Board the HCPS master plan had been approved. She discussed the alternative Maryland School Assessment tests that are given to some students with special needs. Dr. Haas said that she had been at a television taping during which County Executive David Craig had committed to forward funding the Bel Air and Edgewood high school modernization projects. She congratulated Student Representative William "Will" Garrett on having been accepted at Johns Hopkins University.

BOARD COMMENTS

Board Vice President Mark Wolkow said the Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE) Charter School Commission (on which he serves) has completed a report on charter schools which will be released soon. He said he had attended the MABE Legal Services Association meeting in Annapolis that day and learned that Montgomery County has asked the National School Board Association (NSBA) to participate in a case involving "child evangelism" where materials sent home with students would be required to be "viewpoint neutral."

Mrs. Williams thanked those who had expressed concern and support for her son during his recent operation, noting that his condition is improving. She said another of her sons had just graduated from Towson University and congratulated Mr. Garrett for his early acceptance to Johns Hopkins.

Ms. Rich said the Board had received many calls and e-mails about the proposed countywide redistricting. She said many of the communications reflected a basic misunderstanding about the school capital funding process and showed a belief that the school system was not considering the potential impact of the Base Realignment and Closing (BRAC) predicted to bring thousands of additional people to Harford County within the next several years. She noted that both she and Superintendent Haas were serving on a county BRAC committee chartered by County Executive David Craig. Ms. Rich said the "senior staff has nothing to gain" from any proposed redistricting, and that the Superintendent's Balancing Enrollment committee had been following parameters established by the Board to provide an attendance area for the new Patterson Mill Middle/High School as well as to reduce enrollment at all secondary schools below 100 percent capacity, in part to provide room for the possible impact of BRAC. She reviewed the redistricting scenarios that had occurred in the county since 1990 when an addition was added to Prospect Mill Elementary and the first of many elementary schools was built. She noted that a group of people from Prospect Mill had vehemently opposed taking students from that school even though it was overcrowded, saying they would "live with" the overcrowding; and now, another group of parents from the school is very upset the school is over-capacity. She said the fact that many houses have been built in the central part of the county is why redistricting has had to occur in that area repeatedly. She said whatever the Board decides when it completes its redistricting of school attendance areas in March or April will reflect their view of the "big picture" of school enrollment in the county.

With no more business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 7:55 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