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HCPS Board Meeting Highlights

Monday, September 13, 2004

At the business meeting on September 13, 2004 at C. Milton Wright High School the following actions and discussions took place.

General Public Comment

Keith Goodell, President of HCEA, complimented the Superintendent and her staff on the joint school climate project and the Superintendent's involvement of the school improvement teams with the outcome. HCEA has expressed its willingness to participate in the education summit as proposed by Board President Robert Thomas. He also discussed the proposed board policy on the searching of students by teachers on field trips. Mr. Goodell also expressed his hope that HCEA would be seen as a partner not an adversary of the school system.

Will Rosser of Bel Air expressed his appreciation for the school system's efforts in working with deaf children including his son at Homestead/Wakefield Elementary School.

Old Business

Action Items

Board Vice-President R. Robin Rich moved and Board Member Salina M. Pleasant-Grice seconded that the Board approve items on the Consent Agenda including Affirmation of Monthly Contract Awards, Approval of Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Bid, Minutes from the June 28, 2004, July 12, 2004 and July 26, 2004 business meetings. The Board approved the motion unanimously.

The Board heard public comment from Charles Keenan, Attorney with Stark and Keenan, and Hannah Koziski, niece of Thomas R. Brookes, on the issue of naming the middle/high school at Patterson Mill "Forest Grove," the historic name of the Brookes Farm which was sold to the county in 1992, land which is being used as the site of the school. Mr. Keenan and Mrs. Koziski said an agreement had been made with the County Executive at that time for the school to be named Forest Grove. Ms. Rich moved and Board Member Thomas L. Fidler, Jr. seconded that the motion made originally by current Board President Robert B. Thomas, Jr. on June 28, 2004, to name the school Patterson Mill Middle/High School be taken off the table and approved. The Board voted unanimously to support the motion and the school will be named Patterson Mill Middle/High School.

Acting on the motion of Ms. Rich and the second of Board Member Mark M. Wolkow the Board voted unanimously to increase the number of buses to be purchased from 11 to 16 and to increase the proposed FY06 Capital Improvement Program entry for that item from $825,000 to $1,120,000. Subsequently, Mr. Wolkow moved and Mrs. Grice seconded that the amended capital improvement program be approved for submission to the state by October 15. The Board voted unanimously to approve the FY06 Capital Improvement Program. The total FY06 request is $67,051,659.

The Board voted unanimously on a motion made by Mr. Wolkow and seconded by Mrs. Grice that it layover consideration of the proposed balancing enrollment shifting a small attendance area from Edgewood Middle and High School to Aberdeen Middle and High School until a public hearing is held on the issue. The area is located on the northeastern border of the Edgewood attendance area contiguous to the Aberdeen attendance area, bounded on the south by MD Route 7, on the west by MD Route 136, on the north predominantly by Nova Scotia Road, and on the east by Creswell Road.

Acting on the motion of Mr. Fidler and the second of Ms. Rich the Board voted unanimously to approve the designation of fund balance for the year ending June 30, 2004 and the amount of $148,696.57 for the future expenditure of debt service payment and the lease financing debt; and the $62.44 received in July 2004 be used for the debt service payment on the lease financing agreement. Chief Financial Officer John Markowski also told the Board that he would e-mail them the results of the preliminary audit for FY 2004; and that grant money was being used to finance the school system's contribution to the parking lot project at Bel Air High School.

Acting on the motion of Mr. Wolkow and the second of Board Member Patrick L. Hess the Board voted unanimously to approve revisions to its ethics policy subject to the approval of the State Ethics Commission.

Acting on the motion of Mrs. Grice and the second of Mr. Wolkow the Board voted unanimously to approve the Board Handbook. Ms. Rich emphasized the handbook was a "living document" and subject to change. Subcommittees of the Board had been working on the handbook with the assistance of the Board Counsel Patrick Spicer since the fall of 2002.

Acting on the motion of Mr. Fidler and the second of Ms. Rich the Board approved an amendment to the policy on searches of students by school personnel which will permit teachers supervising field trips to search students involved if there is a reasonable suspicion that they are in violation of school rules. Superintendent Jacqueline C. Haas said that training would be conducted in the schools for those teachers involved in chaperoning field trips during the week of September 13-17, 2004. She said that training would continue as needed throughout the school year.

Acting on the motion of Ms. Rich and the second of Mrs. Grice the Board approved the proposed policy on solicitation and acceptance of external funds and other resources. The policy and its accompanying procedures will permit solicitations for financial contributions/donations, grants, sponsorships, advertising, in-kind gifts, and school-based fund raising activities from business, professional, civic and fraternal organizations, as well as the community at-large for programs, projects, and/or initiatives that support specific school, instructional, or system-wide goals.

New Business

The Board unanimously approved the appointment of Jay F. May to the Chief of Administration for Harford County Public Schools; and the promotion of Douglas A. Strader to be Assistant Supervisor for Research and Evaluation.


Mr. Markowski and Internal Auditor Jennifer Birklien presented an update on the implementation on the recommendations made by MGT of America Incorporated in December, 2001. They reported that the vast majority of the recommendations had been implemented or were in the process of being implemented. Mrs. Birklien added that this would be the last report on MGT to the Board and that items included in the report would be incorporated into the HCPS Master Plan and/or department work plans.

Acting Director of Facilities Management Patti Jo Beard and Assistant Superintendent for Operations Joseph P. Licata presented the Board with the first reading of the 2004 Comprehensive Maintenance Plan. The plan, which includes the system's schedule for addressing maintenance issues, must be approved by the Board and submitted to the Maryland State Department of Education.

The Board received a proposed change and the policy involving the use of drug detecting dogs in the HCPS secondary schools. The change involves the deletion of the need for advanced approval by the principal when drug detecting dogs are to be used in the secondary schools; the need for drug detecting dogs and their handlers to exit the building or move away from the area after each alert occurred (the dog/handler would leave after all alerts have occurred); the elimination of the need to have a student signature prior to the searching of a vehicle on which a dog had alerted; and the need to inform the Superintendent the results of the scan (information would be maintained by the Superintendent's designee). Also, the policy will be modified to allow the Superintendent's designee to act on his/her behalf during the drug dog scans.

Superintendent's Report

Mrs. Haas told the Board that several potential names have been identified as possible identification for the former Aberdeen High School North Building which will now be used for professional development, alternative education and Board of Education meetings. Mrs. Haas said the school system will continue accepting suggested names prior to the Board taking action on the naming of the building at its October 25 meeting.

The Superintendent also told the Board that providing transportation for high school students in the subdivision of Harford Woods in Bel Air would require four additional runs at a cost of $32,000. She also said that there are similar situations in other areas of the county.

Mrs. Haas provided the Board with information on the results from the 2004 high school assessment examinations to be released September 14th. She said that the English I test will now be given to sophomores rather than freshman at the end of the English II course.

Board Comments

Mr. Thomas told the Board the Florida School Board Association had requested financial assistance to help with providing resources in areas ravaged by hurricanes earlier this year. Acting on the motion on Mr. Wolkow an the second of Mr. Fidler the Board voted unanimously to appropriate $5,000 from its category in the operating budget to be sent to the Florida School Board Association. Mr. Thomas said he hoped the Harford Board's example would be followed by other Boards in the State of Maryland.

Mr. Fidler said his tours of schools had shown him those schools were "spotless" and complimented those responsible for their excellent work. He also said he was continuing to look at alternative funding for school construction and would provide the Board with a report in the fall.

Mr. Wolkow complimented Mrs. Haas and Director of Special Education Ann-Marie Spakowski and their staffs for the work they had done on making provisions for the education of deaf students. He also discussed his participation in a recent Eagle Scout ceremony.

New Board Members Lee Merrell and Mr. Hess, in their first official Board meeting expressed their pleasure at being a part of the Board and said they were anxious to become acclimated to the Board's work.

Student Representative to the Board Kathryn L. Smith said she was pleased with the definition of responsibilities for teachers involved in searching students on field trips.

Mr. Thomas recommended that, given the history of the Forest Grove name connected to the Brookes Farm, it would be appropriate to put a plaque in a prominent place in the new school as a tribute to Thomas Brookes.

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