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HCPS Board Meeting Highlights

Monday, March 21, 2005

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

At the business meeting on March 21, 2005 at the Center for Educational Opportunity the following actions and discussions took place.


The Board of Education inducted Helen G. Robinson and the late Odessa C. Phillips into the Harford County Public Schools Educator Hall of Fame. Mrs. Phillips taught for 32 years in the segregated and integrated schools in Harford County both in elementary and as a special educator. She and her husband also organized a Drum and Bugle Corp for African-American teenagers. Mrs. Phillips played a key role in the integration of the Harford County Public Schools. She passed away last year at the age of 98. Mrs. Robinson taught for a total of 26 years in Harford County Public Schools spanning five decades from 1935-1976. She was an exceptionally nurturing teacher who was also a key figure in the school transition from segregated to integrated schools, serving as one of the few white teachers at the former all black Central Consolidated School when it converted to Hickory Elementary School in 1965.

The Board also recognized those individual student athletes and teams from the Harford County Public Schools which won state or regional championships during the Winter 2005-06 interscholastic season. The Fallston Indoor Girls' Track Team won the 2A/3A Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association Championship. Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference Commissioner Bob Slagle, Harford County Public School Athletic Director Forest Wiest, and Cecil County Public School Athletic Director Sue Strobel presented sportsmanship awards to four Harford County teams. The UCBAC presents sportsmanship awards to teams in each division of the conference in the various sports. For the Winter 2004-05 Harford County teams receiving sportsmanship awards included the Girls' Basketball Team Chesapeake Division Bel Air High School; Harford Technical High School (Susquehanna Division). Also in Boys' Basketball C. Milton Wright High School (Chesapeake Division). In wrestling, Havre de Grace High School (Susquehanna Division).

General Public Comments

Brian Rhinehart, English teacher at C. Milton Wright High School, said he was concerned about the proposed common schedule which he said would increase his workload by 20%. He commented that Harford County Public Schools already has the lowest per pupil expenditure and the lowest number of teachers per student even though it achieves 7th highest in student test scores in the state. He said he believes the current schedule used by C. Milton Wright High School (60 minute periods) is superior to the proposed 90 minute schedule.

Susan Mangus, a paraeducator from Church Creek Elementary School, was accompanied by several of her colleagues. She said that she works in the early intervention kindergarten LAUNCH Program which she said would be eliminated if proposed budget adjustments are instituted. She said the program has a proven history of success.

Old Business

Action Items

Acting on the motion of Board Member Lee Merrell and the second of Board Member Mark M. Wolkow, the Board voted unanimously to approve items on the Consent Agenda including the Monthly Report on Personnel; Approval of School/Organization Sponsored Project - North Harford Middle School Stage Lighting; Proposed Resolution on the Week of the Young Child and the Approval of Proposed Title I Changes.

New Business

Action Items

Acting on the motion of Board Member Salina M. Williams and the second of Board Member Thomas L. Fidler, Jr. the Board voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Keith A. Jewell to Assistant Supervisor in Facilities Management.

Acting on the motion of Mr. Wolkow and the second of Mr. Merrell and Mrs. Williams the Board voted unanimously to approve the capital budget transfers of $77,539.98 ($37,539.98 for design work and future roofing projects; $40,000 for HVAC work to remove the round mechanical room from the cafeteria at EMS). The Board's authorization permits the school system to submit to county officials for approval of the transfer.

Acting on the motion of Mr. Fidler and the second of Mrs. Williams, the Board approved a contract with Urban N. Zink for site work at the Patterson Mill Middle/High School in the amount of $4,940,396.

Acting on the motion of Mr. Fidler and the second of Mrs. Williams, the Board unanimously reapproved the current dress code policy for the 2005-06 school year. Superintendent Jacqueline C. Haas told the Board that the dress code policy is one of several that must be reviewed annually by the Board, sighting changing fashions as the reason.

Legislative Update

Acting on the motion of Mr. Wolkow and the second of Mr. Fidler the Board voted unanimously to support the Superintendent's recommendation on a series of bills pending before the General Assembly.

  • HB 739 - Full Day Kindergarten and Prekindergarten Programs - Alternative Providers - Oppose
  • HB 1490 - Education - Local School Systems - School Facilities - Partnerships with Alternative Providers - Oppose
  • HB 1256 - Education - Public Schools - Required Use of Instructional Assistants - Oppose
  • SB 912 - Public Charter Schools - Funding - Amount per Pupil - Oppose
  • SB 913 - Education - compulsory Attendance and Parental Responsibility - Age Limits - Oppose
  • HB 946/HB 947 - Public School Construction - Mandated Funding - Support
  • SB 501 - Education - Task Force on School Safety - Oppose
  • HB 1347 - Retirement and Pensions - Reemployment of Retirees - Support

Board Counsel Patrick P. Spicer presented the Board with a proposed policy on Gang Related Activities. The Superintendent recommended that the Board approve the policy on which public comment will be sought for 30 days pending the scheduled action of the Board on April 25th.

Director of Public Information Donald R. Morrison presented the Board with its ad hoc 2006-07 calendar committee proposal. The proposed calendar would have schools start August 28, 2006 with the school year reaching its 180th day June 8, 2007. Mr. Morrison said the proposal mirrors calendars in recent years incorporating the start of the student school year the Monday before Labor Day; a series of three 2-day staff development packages after the first, second and third quarters; and a three day spring break. He said the calendar would include seven potential inclement weather make-up days. Mr. Fidler urged the school system to find ways to incorporate the scheduled staff development days of March 29 and 30, 2007 into the first week of April, adding another day for schools to be closed to create a six day spring break. Superintendent Haas said several such alternatives would be presented to the Board.

Chief of Administration Jay F. May and Safety and Security Coordinator Robert A. Benedetto presented the Board with an informational report developed jointly by the Harford County Sheriff's Office and the school system on identification and prevention of street gangs. Mr. Benedetto said the information has been shared with secondary school principals.

Superintendent's Report

Mrs. Haas told the Board that the HCCPTA will hold a forum on high school reform. Mrs. Haas also told the Board that the school system budget would be reviewed by the County Council on Thursday, April 21st. The Superintendent said that a bill is currently pending in Congress which would reduce federal money for prekindergarten programs in Harford County by $285,826 (out of a $3,000,000 budget). She said such a decrease would cut the number of prekindergarten classes in Harford County Public Schools. The Superintendent told the Board that, as part of the requirements under No Child Left Behind, individual school reports on student performance on the Maryland School Assessments were sent home through students prior to March 15th. She reminded the Board that individual student scores had been sent to parents earlier in the school year. Mrs. Haas said a public forum on parental involvement will be held by the Maryland State Department of Education on Wednesday, May 18th, 7:00-8:30 p.m., at Roye-Wms. Elementary School. The purpose of the hearing is to take comments from the public on proposals made for parental involvement.

Board Comments

Student Representative to the Board Kathryn Smith reported on her second week as a Page in Annapolis. She also commented on her meeting along with nine other student representatives with Lt. Gov. Steele who chairs the Governor's Commission on Education.

Mr. Merrell suggested that any student found to be a member of a gang should be expelled from school. Mrs. Haas explained the difference between suspension and expulsion pointing out that students that are expelled receive no educational services. Mr. Merrell reiterated his position that a student identified as being part of a gang "needs to go."

Mr. Fidler urged motorists to respect school bus regulations and said he had enjoyed a recent breakfast at Forest Hill Elementary School.

Mrs. Williams commented on her attendance at the recent program involving the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation at Aberdeen Middle School where Bill Ripken presented four Harford middle schools with $20,000 in sports equipment. Mrs. Williams said physical education must be reinstituted in schools to battle the obesity problem.

Ms. Rich said that athletes in high school, just as they are in professional sports, are role models. She commented that those athletes who had been honored earlier in the meeting were fine examples of scholar athletes. She added that the sportsmanship awards were an indication that everyone can be a good sport. She talked about the interrelatedness of students being honored and the efforts of gang abatement. "These are very interesting times, bring on the scholars athletes" she said.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:31 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