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HCPS Board Meeting Highlights

Monday, June 12, 2006

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

The Board of Education of Harford County met in an open business meeting on Monday, June 12, 2006. The following actions and discussions took place.

Call to order

Board President R. Robin Rich called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. All Board Members were present with the exception of Thomas L. Fidler, Jr., who was excused. Board Vice President Mark M. Wolkow moved that an amendment be made to the Board agenda, adding the proposed approval of a cable television pilot program be inserted between New Business Action Items "H" and "I." The motion was approved and Mr. Wolkow's motion to adopt the amended agenda with Board Member Salina M. Williams' second was passed unanimously.

RECOGNITION

In a special set of recognition ceremonies involving students (recognitions are traditionally held on the fourth Monday meeting), the Board recognized the accomplishments of three sets of students.

The first involved the Ring Factory Elementary School Fox Festival "Honors" Choir which, under the direction of Bridgett Crawford, took home several awards from the Hershey Park (PA) 'Music in the Park Festival' held at the amusement park on May 19th. The 39-member choir won First Place Elementary Treble Choir; Elementary Grand Champion; and a member of the choir, Abigail Samson, won Top Soloist. The Choir has ranked First with superior ratings for six consecutive years.

The second set of recognitions involved the two Harford County Public School Destination Imagination (DI) teams - Fountain Green Elementary fifth grade 'Kidz Rules' team and Bel Air High School's 'How'd tHAT Happen?' - both of whom qualified for competition in the Global Tournament held at the University of Tennessee/Knoxville May 26 through 30. The two squads, along with several other Harford teams, had advanced to State competition by virtue of their performances in the East Central Region Tournament held in March. In April, the Fountain Green team finished second in the State DI tournament, earning its trip to Knoxville where the squad - composed of Paul Burke, Forestt McCawley, Sandy Zvitkovitz, Joe Barnaba, Matt Teitlebaum, Olivia Lanman, and Ryan Brown; and coached by Lisa Brown - finished eighth in the Global Tournament. Meanwhile, Bel Air High's DI team won the State championship to earn its trip to the Globals where the squad, coach by Judy Kinshaw-Ellis and Brenda Tackett - finished 17th. The team was made up of Dorothy Ellis, Sierra Keys, Rachel Lovell, Stephen Albert, and Kevin Wagner.

The third set of recognitions involved State and Regional Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association (MPSSAA) champions and Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Association (UCBAC) Sportsmanship awards for the spring season. The C. Milton Wright High softball team won the State Class 4A championship; while Aberdeen High's Shannel Shivers (Class 3A girls track and field shot put) and C. Milton Wright High's Adam Sedlak (Class 4A boys track and field pole vault) won individual Maryland titles. In addition, the names of those teams and individual HCPS student-athletes who won regional titles in the spring season were read into the record. Also, those Harford County Public School teams which won UCBAC Sportsmanship awards (as voted by opposing coaches and teams) included: Havre de Grace High baseball (Chesapeake Division); Bel Air High softball (Susquehanna Division); Harford Technical High tennis (Chesapeake Division); North Harford High, track and field (Chesapeake Division); Harford Technical High, boys track and field (Susquehanna Division); North Harford High, girls track and field (Chesapeake Division); and Edgewood High, girls track and field (Susquehanna Division).

GENERAL PUBLIC COMMENTS

Delores Knopp, President of the Harford County Public School Bus Drivers Association and a 33-year school bus driver, said she and other contract bus drivers are upset that some County school system bus drivers are getting $3.00 per hour pay increases while contractor drivers are getting various lesser amounts next school year. She said the bus drivers already stand to lose money with the phasing out of the mid-day half-day kindergarten runs.

C. Malcolm Caneday, a contract school bus driver, also expressed his displeasure over the differential in prospective raises between county bus drivers and those who drive for contractors.

John Jones, President of the Harford County Education Association (HCEA), complimented the Superintendent and Board on their efforts to bring Harford Public School teachers' salaries "our of the basement" and noted the improvements made by the legislature this past session in the area of teacher pensions. He noted the system hired more than 400 new teachers this past year and said he is looking forward to the groundbreaking for replacement high schools at Bel Air and Edgewood. Mr. Jones pointed to the modernization of North Harford High, due to be completed next year, the addition of security cameras, the prospective Homeland Security magnet program at Joppatowne High School, the prospect of more magnets, high school assessments, and the impending influence of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) as factors impacting teachers and education. Mr. Jones noted the efforts the past two years to bring Harford teacher salaries more in line with teacher salaries in nearby counties, but called for a steady "train ride" rather than the "roller coaster" ride of falling behind and then trying to catch up in salaries. He said teachers are struggling under the workload of high stakes testing, technology, administrative demands outside the classroom, and other issues. He urged the Board, as it goes about the process of strategic planning, to keep in mind the needs of teachers, inviting Board members to shadow teachers. He thanked Board members for their dedication.

OLD BUSINESS

ACTION ITEMS

Acting on the motion of Mr. Wolkow and the second of Board Member Lee Merrell, the Board voted unanimously to approve items on the Consent Agenda including: Affirmation of Monthly Contract Awards, School Bus Transportation Contract; Contract Award for the Chiller Replacement at Old Post Road Elementary School; and Appointment of Christi Campo, Lesley Jackson-Tompkins, and Joseph J. Lambdin to be members of the Audit Committee.

Acting on the motion of Board Member Patrick L. Hess and the seconds of Mr. Merrell and Mrs. Williams, the Board voted unanimously to elect to participate in the Alternative Contributory Pension Plan by adopting a resolution to opt into the program created by House Bill 1737 creating the plan for Teachers and State Employees taking part in the pension system.

Acting on the motion of Mr. Hess and the seconds of Board Members John L. Smilko and Vice President Wolkow, the Board voted unanimously to approve amendments to the FY 2007 Final Budget in Unrestricted Funds (total budget of $374,642,143) and the Capital Budget (total budget of $64,427,209). The Board also noted money in the Restricted FY 2007 budget of $21,428,732; and the Food Service Budget of $13,043,975.

Acting on the motion of Mr. Wolkow and the second of Mrs. Williams, the Board voted unanimously to adopt proposed Board Policies on Possession and Self-Administration of Medication; and Revision to the Board Policy on Student Possession, Use, or Transference of Controlled Dangerous Substances, Medicines, and Alcohol. The change was precipitated by a change in Section 7-421 of the Education Article of the Maryland Annotated Code. The proposed policy had been brought to the Board on April 24th and held over for consideration.

PRESENTATIONS

INFORM -- The Board received an information report on the Instructional Data Management System (IDMS), which had been approved by the Board in October, 2005. The system - INFORM - delivers an academic performance management system that provides standards-based decision support tools; provides access to student demographic and performance data; delivers multiple measures of student performance; and furnishes performance reports to assist in monitoring academic achievement and planning for school improvement. On June 23, 2006, HCPS leadership personnel will have access to student assessment data and demographic information as schools begin designing school improvement plans for 2006-07, and as central office personnel begin to review and evaluate curricular materials and plan professional development.

BEL AIR HIGH SCHEMATICS - Supervisor of Planning and Construction Kathleen Sanner presented the Board with the schematic design for the Bel Air High School replacement building. On November 21, 2005, the Board approved the use of the Aberdeen High School design as a prototype for the replacement Bel Air High. Mrs. Sanner and representatives from the Grimm and Parker Architectural firm, which is doing the engineering and design work on the Bel Air High building, presented the Board with the schematics (PUT A LINK HERE TO SCHEMATICS). The schematics, which will come before the Board at its June 26th meeting for approval, are a precursor to the Educational Specifications which will be presented to the Board at a later date.

NEW BUSINESS

Acting on the motion of Mr. Hess and the second of Mrs. Williams, the Board unanimously approved - as required by Code of Maryland Regulations - the annual staffing plan for Special Education. The plan reflects staff appropriations and other supporting information regarding services to students with special needs in the Harford County Public Schools.

The School Construction Program regulations for the state of Maryland requires each school system to submit or amend its Educational Facilities Master Plan by July 1. The Educational Facilities Master Plan is a planning tool which addresses the local school system's projected facility needs. The Board of Education of Harford County will address the plan in detail at its June 19th work session and must pass the plan for submission by July 1, 2006.

Acting on the motion of Mr. Wolkow and the second of Mrs. Williams, the Board approved by a 4 to 2 vote (Ms. Rich and Mr. Hess dissenting) a pilot plan to televise Board of Education regular business meetings for six months beginning with the July 10, 2006 meeting. The meetings will be videotaped by the Harford Cable Network (HCN) and will be telecast on the second and fourth Tuesday nights following Board meetings (normally held on the second and fourth Monday nights). Mr. Wolkow estimated the cost of the six moth pilot to be $6,000 (later it was determined to be $3,995). He said the cost would be absorbed out of available funds in Board legal fees, but that private sponsorships will be sought to offset the cost.

SUPERINTENDENT'S REPORT

Superintendent Jacqueline C. Haas updated the Board on the Alert Now automated phone notification system through which calls can be made to parents system-wide or in disaggregated groups. She said she made a system-wide call on June 1st; and that Principals Chris Cook (Joppatowne Elementary), Blaine Hawley (Meadowvale Elementary), and Bruce Kovacs (North Harford Middle) - all of whom were part of a pilot training program - had made calls to their parents using the system. Dr. Haas said the program is "going well" and all principals will be trained during the summer, adding that she is "looking forward to next (school) year" and a full implementation of the program.

Dr. Haas said the Science Maryland School Assessment (MSA) test will be coming on board next spring - adding to the Reading and Math High School Assessments which are currently used to determine Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). She said there is a bill in Congress that would require the Science tests as part of AYP. She said there is a move also that would add a Social Studies test the MSA battery. She mentioned the "My wonderful world" program through National Geographic which seeks to make students more literate about geography.

Dr. Haas said the school system is "losing ground" in the area of Title l funding and that she has written a letter to Congressman Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD-1st) seeking a restoration of the funding.

BOARD COMMENTS

Mr. Wolkow said it had been an "honor and a privilege" to serve with Student Representative to the Board William R. "Will" Garrett. Mr. Garrett, a recent graduate from Harford Technical High School, will serve through June 30th when his one-year term ends.

Mrs. Williams congratulated all the recent Harford County Public School graduates and wished that they will all be safe during the weeks following graduation.

ADJOURNMENT

With no more business to come before the Board, the meeting was declared adjourned at 9:55 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