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HCPS Board Meeting Highlights

Monday, May 10, 2004

At the business meeting held on Monday, May 10, 2004, at Bel Air Middle School the following actions and discussions took place.

General Public Comments

Pat Benedict, a member of the Board of Education's Policy Review Committee, provided a "minority" report on the class size issue. She said that four members of the policy review committee had been adamant about a proposed change in the policy that would increase class sizes in certain areas. She suggested the policy remain as currently stated.

Action Items

The Board unanimously passed items on the Consent Agenda including Affirmation of Monthly Contract Awards and Approval of Authorization to Enter Into Agreements for the Purchase of Electricity.

The Board voted 5-1 (Mr. Thomas dissent) to approve the 2005-06 school calendar as proposed by the calendar committee with the exception that there will be no two hour early dismissal prior to the winter vacation in 2005. Other features of the calendar include an August 29, 2005 start date for students; inservice days in two day blocks on October 31, November 1, January 23, 24, and March 27, 28; a four-day spring break from Thursday, April 13 through Tuesday, April 18; and with a last day for students of Friday, June 9, 2006 (with five inclement weather days from June 12-16; and additional inclement weather days of April 18, March 28 and April 13) included.

The Board voted unanimously to approve the superintendent's recommendation that the school system not enter into a joint fleet management agreement with Harford County government and their present vendor, First Vehicle Services.

The Board voted unanimously to approve the superintendent's recommendation that the Board request $753,701 in additional funding from the county with funds to be used for special education non-public placements and inclusion helper costs. The additional funds will be generated by a recalculation of the number of students enrolled based on a calculation of .6 for each kindergarten student (rather than .5).

The Board voted unanimously to award a contract of $4,192,000 to Heer Brothers, Inc. for the Edgewood Middle School HVAC project.

The Board voted unanimously to approve the award of contract in the amount of $544,453 for the transporting and placement of 12 relocatable classrooms at a total of six sites for 2004-05 school year.

The Board voted unanimously to award a contract for $189,000 to Frederick Ward and Associates for architectural engineering services involved with projects at Fallston Middle School, Bel Air High School and Prospect Mill Elementary School. The 2.8 million dollar projects involve improvements funded through the county government.


Supervisor of Planning and Construction, Kathleen Sanner, presented the Board with an update on construction projects at Harford County Public School facilities.

Mrs. Sanner also gave the Board an update on the North Harford High School Modernization Project related to the receipt of additional $5,002,000 in construction funding from the state of Maryland. The additional funds will allow the modernization/addition project to proceed as scheduled.

Superintendent's Report

The Board voted unanimously to approve Superintendent Jacqueline Haas' recommendation that the Board take a position on linkage of the High School Assessments with diplomas. The Board action also directed the superintendent to inform the state that the level of detail in the reports on the HSAs should be sufficient to provide diagnostic information; that a technical manual be distributed with the HSAs; and that the turn around time be within a few weeks of the completion of the HSAs. The State Department of Education will hold a public hearing on the HSAs on May 25th.

Mrs. Haas expressed the Harford County Public Schools' support for the Baltimore County Public Schools in relation to the shooting incident that occurred at Randallstown High School on Friday, May 7.

Board Business

Mark Wolkow said it is his opinion that air conditioning is needed in every school building. He commented on the scholar dinner held the previous week during which the Harford County Delegation honored the top five graduating seniors in each county school. Mr. Wolkow commented on youth who are extremely talented in the area of music noting that the county school system needs to find a way to allow these youth to pursue development of their talent.

Robert Thomas commented on a recent "Aegis" editorial concerning the status of safety and security in the Harford County Public Schools. He said that decisions are difficult and that if others have suggestions on how to make improvements, they should make them other than simply criticizing. Mr. Thomas noted that no amount of security would have prevented the shooting that occurred at Randallstown High School on May 7. He said that he is not willing to give up the freedom of public education for absolute security.

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