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HCPS Board Meeting Highlights

Monday, August 9, 2004

At the business meeting held on August 9, 2004 at Bel Air Middle School the following actions and discussions took place.

General Public Comments

A group of citizens appeared to urge the Board to provide a comprehensive program for deaf children in the Harford County Public Schools.

Old Business

Action Items

Board Member Mark M. Wolkow moved and Board Member Robert S. Magee seconded that the items on the Consent Agenda be approved. Items on the Consent Agenda included the Affirmation of Monthly Contract Awards, Monthly Report on Personnel, Approval of Web Based IEP Application Contract for Special Education, Approval of School Sponsored Project - Bel Air High School Scoreboard, Approval of Contract for Fuel Oil, Minutes of Previous Meetings - June 14, 2004 and June 21, 2004.

At the June 14, 2004 Board meeting then Board Member R. Robin Rich made a motion to alter the way Board policy is developed and reviewed. Mrs. Rich's motion called for the elimination of the current policy review committee which develops and reviews policy for Board consideration. In its place Mrs. Rich suggested policy be developed and reviewed by the Superintendent and her staff including the Board Counsel. That motion was laid over for public input. At this meeting (August 9, 2004), Mr. Magee moved and Board Member Salina M. Pleasant-Grice seconded that Mrs. Rich's initiative be adopted. The Board approved the motion unanimously. Superintendent Haas said that the staff will work on ways to provide information to the public on policies that are to be reviewed and/or policy proposals. Mr. Wolkow added his direction that the public be informed of policy proposals and have the opportunity to comment.

Mrs. Haas said that the Master Plan is a "living" document and that the requirements from the Maryland State Department of Education have changed drastically from the original directions. She said, however, the Master Plan will help the school system "stay focused." Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Gerald Scarborough presented an overview of the plan including important dates. The Master Plan will be posted on the Harford County Public School web site. Mr. Magee moved and Board Members Thomas L. Fidler, Jr. and Mrs. Pleasant-Grice seconded that the Board accept the 2004 HCPS Master Plan. The Board approved the motion unanimously.

New Business

Action Items

Mr. Wolkow moved and Mrs. Pleasant-Grice seconded that the Board initiate the process for the renaming of the current Aberdeen High School North Building. The building will no longer be used exclusively as a part of Aberdeen High School. Instead it will be used for staff development, alternative education, Board of Education meetings and other purposes. (The replacement Aberdeen High School is due to open August 30, 2004, the first day of school for the 2004-05 school year. The Board unanimously approved the motion.

Supervisor of Planning and Construction Kathleen Sanner made a presentation on proposed improvements to Fallston Middle School which will help the school deal with an enrollment which is currently at about 1250 in a school with a capacity of 988. Mrs. Sanner explained that $2,284,000 had been appropriated by the county government for the project. She explained three major parts of the project - expansion of the cafeteria, addition of an activity room and the joining of the two main instructional wings. Acting on the motion of Mr. Wolkow and the second of Mrs. Pleasant-Grice the Board voted unanimously to approve the educational specifications and schematics for the project. Mrs. Sanner explained the project would go to bid in January and would take about one school year to complete. As part of the Board motion, the proposal to add four classrooms will be included in the project.

Acting on the motion of Mr. Fidler and the second of Mrs. Grice the Board approved the following promotions/appointments.

Pamela K. Murphy - Human Resources Manager
Keesha Alexander - Pupil Personnel Worker
K. Micah Humbert - Teacher Specialist - Administration
Vicki M. Stephens - Teacher Specialist - Achievement Gap Program


The Board received a presentation from Board Counsel Patrick Spicer on proposed changes to the Board Ethics regulations. The Board will solicit public comment and consider the proposal and is expected to take action at a September meeting.

Mr. Spicer and Director of Student Services Stephen Lentowski presented a proposed addition to the current policy for searching students. The change would authorize teachers to do searches of students when there is reason to suspect the student is in possession of an illegal or prohibited item on a field trip. The Board will take action on the proposed change at its September 13 meeting with the expectation that all teachers involved will be trained by September 15, 2004; and the policy would be implemented that day. The Board is seeking public input on this item.

Assistant Superintendent for Operations Joseph P. Licata presented the Board with a proposed adjustment to the student attendance areas in the extreme northeast portion of Edgewood High/Middle and the extreme southwest portion of Aberdeen High/Middle. Mr. Licata said the Wexford subdivision and other areas along Rt. 136, Nova Scotia and Rt. 543 would be impacted. Denise Kropp of Aberdeen, who lives in the area affected, spoke to the Board urging that they make the change which would have the area affected, now included in the Edgewood school district, redistricted to Aberdeen. As part of his presentation, Mr. Licata asked the Board to announce it would approve any boundary exceptions sought by families in that area effective for the 2004-05 school year. The redistricting, if passed by the Board, would go into effect for the 2005-06 school year. The Board will take action on the proposed redistricting at its September 13, 2004 meeting. Mr. Magee moved and Mr. Pleasant-Grice seconded that any boundary exceptions by families in the area impacted would be approved. The motion was approved unanimously. The Board is seeking public input on this item.

Superintendent Haas presented the Board with information on steps that will be taken to assist Aberdeen and Edgewood Middle Schools in reaching their Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) goals. The two schools were identified as a result of the 2003-04 Maryland School Assessment (MSA) testing as having failed to meet the AYP goals in the following specific areas: Aberdeen Middle special education, reading/math; Edgewood Middle free and reduced priced meal students in reading. Mrs. Haas emphasized that the schools had met AYP for their general school population but a school must meet all nine disaggregated areas in order to be judged as having met AYP. She said that leaders from Aberdeen Middle and Edgewood Middle along with those from Magnolia Elementary (which remains on Title I school improvement even though the school reached AYP in all categories this year; a school must have two consecutive years of meeting AYP to be removed from the list) will come before the Board at a September work session to discuss specific ways they will address the AYP issue.

Director of Public Information Don Morrison presented the Board with the list of names which have been suggested for the proposed middle/high school to be located off Patterson Mill Road near Bel Air. Mr. Morrison said that then Board Vice-President Robert B. Thomas, Jr. had made a motion on June 28, 2004 to name the school Patterson Mill Middle/High School. He said that motion triggered the 60 day process outlined in Board policy in the naming/renaming of a school or school facility. Names which have been suggested in addition to Mr. Thomas' motion are Patterson Mill Middle/High School (suggested by a member of the public), Emmorton High School and Emmorton Middle School; Emmorton Middle/High School; Abingdon Middle/High School; and Bynum Middle/High School. In addition, a member of the public suggested the following names - Patriot High School; United High School; Old Glory High School; Todd Beamer High School; and Freedom High School. Under Board policy the 60 day time limit would expire prior to the September 27, 2004 Board meeting at which time the Board could take action on the naming of the building. However, Mr. Spicer, in answer to a question from Mr. Thomas, said if the Board chooses a name other than Patterson Mill Middle/High School at its September 27th meeting, the 60-day naming process would have to begin again.


Mrs. Sanner presented the Board with information about the FY06 Capital Improvement Request, telling them prices listed for projects are "current" dollars and that rising costs will undoubtedly drive those costs higher. She mentioned the Patterson Mill Middle/High School project will cost in the neighborhood of $49,500,000 rather than the original $43,000,000. Mrs. Sanner told the Board there is a possibility the capacity of the auditorium at the Patterson Mill school can be increased from 670-900. Mr. Wolkow moved and Mrs. Pleasant-Grice seconded that the increased auditorium capacity be approved. The Board endorsed the motion unanimously.

Board Comments

Student Representative to the Board Kathryn L. Smith complimented the staff on the Master Plan and Mr. Fidler said the school system continues to "write checks that can't be cashed" in the area of capital improvements. He said 13-15% should be added to the cost of the project to account for inflation. Mr. Fidler also commented on the appeal by parents of deaf children. He asked for information on the program the parents said existed formerly in the Harford County Public Schools. The Superintendent said she would provide the information. Mr. Magee, who was attending his final meeting as a Board member since his replacement (Lee Merrell) has been appointed with an August 13 swearing-in date, said he appreciated the support of the staff and his fellow Board members. He had devoted a major portion of his adult life to the public schools and had enjoyed all of his associations with the schools. Mrs. Pleasant-Grice implored parents to become involved in their children's education. Mr. Wolkow commented on a memo from the Maryland Association of Boards of Education concerning the dues for the local Board members to belong. Mr. Thomas said it was critical that the Board "have a fire in its belly" in setting the tone for the start of the new school year. He pledged that he would do his best to make sure that the proposed summit of school/government/community take place. Mr. Thomas added the September 13 meeting would take place at C. Milton Wright High School at 7:00 p.m. due to a conflict at Bel Air Middle School; and the September 27th meeting (6:30 p.m.) will take place at Bel Air Middle School. Beginning in October, until the completion of the school system's central office, Board meetings will be held in the cafeteria of the former Aberdeen High School North Building.

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