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HCPS Board Meeting Highlights

Monday, April 25, 2005

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

At the business meeting on April 25, 2005 at the Center for Educational Opportunity the following actions and discussions took place.


The Board of Education inducted into the Harford County Public Schools Educator Hall of Fame the husband and wife team of Daniel A. Gaughan, Jr. and Rita L. Gaughan. Dan Gaughan taught and coached in the Harford County Public Schools for 33 years taking the Joppatowne High School baseball team to back-to-back State titles in 1976-77. He was described as an exceptionally competent social studies teacher who provided leadership not only to students but to colleagues. Mrs. Gaughan was an educator in several Harford County Public Schools for 30 years spending most of her time as a math teacher at Havre de Grace and Aberdeen high schools where she demonstrated the ability to reach both advanced and reluctant students. The Gaughans become the fourth husband and wife team to be inducted into the Hall of Fame which now includes 92 members.

General Public Comments

Linda Armour, who is school nurse at Riverside Elementary School and president of the Harford County Nurses Association, thanked the Board for its support while noting that May 11, 2005 is School Nurses Day. Nurse Armour provided information on the activities of nurses in the Harford County Public Schools commenting that there were 317,034 students who visited the nurse's offices in the Harford County Public Schools and returned to class last school year.

Old Business

Action Items

Acting on the motion of Vice President R. Robin Rich and the seconds of Board Members Salina M. Williams and Mark M. Wolkow the Board voted unanimously to support items on the Consent Agenda including the Monthly Report on Personnel; Proposed Resolutions on 2005 Merit Scholastic Awards, Teacher Appreciation Week, School Psychology Week, School Nurses Day - May 11, 20025, Pupil Personnel Worker Week, National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, Home and Hospital Teachers Appreciation Day, and Salute to School Food & Nutrition Service Personnel Day; Minutes of Previous Meetings March 7, 2005, March 21, 2005 and April 4, 2005.

New Business

Action Items

Ms. Rich singled out the item on the Consent Agenda concerning the 2005 Merit Scholastic Awards noting that over 130 seniors who represent the top 5% of the 2005 graduating class were recognized for their outstanding work. Ms. Rich also noted the recent service learning awards presented by the Maryland State Department of Education in which C. Milton Wright student Laura Powell was recognized as a student leader and Bethany Restrick was named a Service Learning Fellow in recognition of her outstanding leadership in the area of service learning.

Acting on the motion of Mr. Wolkow and the second of Thomas L. Fidler, Jr. the Board voted unanimously to approve the budget transfer of $60,000 for the removal of asbestos related materials from the lower level of the CEO building. Harford County Public Schools Budget Director James Jewell told the Board removal of the asbestos would provide the opportunity for the Restoration Alternative Academy Charter School to open in that space in August 2005. The bidding process will start in May and completion will occur during the summer. The funds will be transferred from the fixed charges category, health insurance account, to the maintenance of plant category, asbestos removal account.

Acting on the motion of Ms. Rich and Ms. Williams the Board voted unanimously to approve the policy on gang related activities as presented. The policy contains the definition of "gang" and enumerates specific types of gang related activities which would result in disciplinary action.

The Board of Education had received a proposal on the 2006-07 calendar from its ad hoc calendar committee on March 21st. At that time, the Board had requested that options be provided which would combine the Spring two-day staff development block with the Spring vacation creating a week-long student holiday. Director of Public Information Donald R. Morrison presented the Board with three options that would accomplish that purpose. Mr. Wolkow moved that the Board adopt option #2 which would begin the school year on Thursday, August 24th for students rather than the originally proposed Monday, August 28th; and which would move staff development originally scheduled for March 29 and 30 to April 2 and 3. Schools would be closed for students and teachers on Wednesday, April 4, creating a six school day Spring break for students. Mr. Wolkow's motion suggested the option be modified, taking away the potential inclement weather make-ups April 2 and 3, instead moving those potential make-ups to June 18 and 19. Ms. Rich seconded the motion. Following Board procedures, action on the motion was postponed until the Board's Monday, May 23, meeting.

Chief of Administration Jay F. May and Governmental Liaison Kathryn M. Carmello presented the Board with a final legislative update concerning actions taken by the 2005 General Assembly.

A presentation was made by a panel of school administrators on a Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Program. Instructional Facilitator at Harford Technical High School Frank Mezzanotte was the lead presenter giving the Board information on a program being developed with the cooperation of Harford County Government, Division of Emergency Operations, Health Department, Office of Economic Development, Harford County Sheriff's Office, US Army Ordnance Center and Schools, Harford Community College, EAI Corporation, ORSA Corporation, and Camber Corporation. Mr. Mezzanotte presented the Board with a document on the Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Program based on a recommendation from Superintendent Jacqueline C. Haas in April 2004 suggesting that the Board provide feedback on the program's development.

Superintendent's Report

Ms. Haas told the Board that she is encouraged by the flexibility being suggested in the No Child Left Behind federal implementation by new US Department of Education Secretary Margaret Spellings. Mrs. Haas said she is particularly encouraged by efforts on behalf of students with disabilities who have "persistent academic disabilities." She also discussed a panel on "value added" which is discussing the amount of progress students display during a school year. She said the US Department of Education and the state departments of education will be working together to develop alternatives to state testing for students with disabilities. Mrs. Haas said it was a "sad day" when students with disabilities are put through testing on which they cannot interface. Ms. Haas also discussed the Diversity Network which is discussing behavioral issues that impact educational development in students. The Superintendent said the following week would be Teacher Appreciation Week and that she would personally like to thank not only teachers but paraeducators, counselors and others involved in educating children.

Board Comments

Mr. Wolkow said he was pleased that students involved in the Alternative Education Program had, that evening, folded the US flag in a very appropriate and careful manner. He also commented that he had attended a recent Abingdon Parent Appreciation Night which was very impressive.

Ms. Rich reported on the recent NSBA Conference which she and other Board Members had attended along with Jay May, Chief of Administration, and Board Administrative Assistant Lynn Hutchinson. Ms. Rich commented that a significant amount of useful information was provided.

Board President Robert B. Thomas, Jr., commented on the Education Leadership Conference to be held on May 3rd noting the significant contributions made by Ms. Rich, Mr. May, and Superintendent Haas in preparation for the event which was to have included government, business, parents, and education leaders. He said the budget presentation made by the school system to the County Council the previous week was the "best ever" during his time on the Board. He commented that discussions on alternative financing for capital projects are proceeding. He added that progress is being made on the new school administration center and congratulated Ms. Carmello on a "great job" representing the school system at the recent Maryland General Assembly. Mr. Thomas noted that on May 16th the Board has scheduled a work session on the Comprehensive Secondary School Reform Plan. Mr. Thomas said he would be authoring a letter on behalf of the Board commenting on the Supreme Court case involving Montgomery County on a special education issue.

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