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HCPS Board Meeting Highlights

Monday, May 23, 2005

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

At the business meeting on May 23, 2005 at the Center for Educational Opportunity the following actions and discussions took place.


The Board of Education inducted the May 2005 nominees into the Harford County Public Schools Educator Hall of Fame. Inducted were Stephen C. Williams and Thomas P. Gibson. Mr. Williams was a teacher, counselor, and building supervisor for 30 years in the Harford County Public Schools, retiring in 1993. Mr. Gibson was a teacher, assistant principal, and principal in the Harford County Public Schools for 35 years, retiring in 2001. Mr. Gibson continues as coordinator of the service learning program in the school system.

Francine A. Plotycia, Abingdon Elementary School second grade teacher, was chosen recently as one of 46 elementary school teachers in the nation and four U.S. territories to be honored with a Presidential Award for Excellence in mathematics teaching. Mrs. Plotycia, an eight year teacher at Abingdon, was given a week long series of programs in Washington D.C., $10,000 in cash, and a trip to Disney World. The Board presented her with a certificate of recognition.

The Board honored the nine finalists for the title of Harford County Public Schools Teacher of the Year 2005-06 as well as the 2005-06 Teacher of the Year Lorna L. Frendak, classroom support teacher at North Harford Middle School. Finalists honored included Jann C. Barber, Bel Air High School, Math teacher; Terri C. Broemm, Harford Technical High School, Health Occupations Education teacher; Paul J. Flottemesch, Abingdon Elementary School, Physical Education teacher; Joel M. Leff, Aberdeen High School/Science and Math Academy Math teacher; Heather L. Moorefield, C. Milton Wright High School, English teacher; Donna C. Motsay, Fallston Middle School, Science teacher; Faye A. O'Brien, Hickory Elementary School, Instrumental Music teacher; and Yolanda D. Presberry, Havre de Grace Middle School/Alternative Education Center, Art teacher. Mrs. Frendak will compete in the Maryland Teacher of the Year Program.

The Board honored 2004-05 Harford County Public Schools nurse of the year Maureen P. Nersten, school nurse at North Bend Elementary School. Mrs. Nersten was chosen for the honor by the Harford Schools Health Services Association based on her outstanding performance in caring for the needs of students and staff at her school.

The Board recognized Diane H. Bishop, Physical Education Department Chair at Southampton Middle School; and Marie J. Baxivanos, Physical Education teacher at Youth's Benefit Elementary School as winners of the 2005 Simon A. McNeely Award for excellence in the teaching of physical education.

The Board recognized the physical education staffs at Bel Air and C. Milton Wright high schools in recognition of having been named Model Demonstration Physical Education Schools. The physical education programs were recognized by the Maryland Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (MAHPERD) for having programs that emphasize lifetime sports and wellness. The schools are two of only three high schools in the state to have been declared Model or Honor Roll Demonstration Schools this year. Department Chairs Bonnie Fry, C. Milton Wright High School, and Kathy Thornton of Bel Air High School accepted Board certificates for their programs.

Old Business

Action Items

Acting on the motion of Board Member Patrick L. Hess and the second of Board Vice President R. Robin Rich the Board voted unanimously to accept items on the consent agenda including the Monthly Report on Personnel; Proposed Resolution on Miss Kathryn Smith, Student Representative to the Board of Education for 2004-2005; Approval of Transfer of School Bus Contracts; Minutes of Previous Meetings including the March 14, 2005 Board Business Meeting; April 11, 2005 Board Business Meeting, and April 25, 2005 Board Business Meeting.

New Business

Action Items

Acting on the motion of Ms. Rich and Board Member Salina M. Williams the Board voted unanimously to approve the final transfers between state categories for the fiscal year 2005. The transfers involved moving $917,518 from the health insurance category (not needed because of positive experience in the use of health care by school employees during the current year) to a series of accounts which have either a deficiency in funds or where there is a need for action to be taken. The transfer is pending approval by the HC Council.

Acting on the motion of Board Member Mark M. Wolkow and Ms. Rich the Board voted unanimously to award the masonry contract for the new Patterson Mill Middle/High School to Manganaro Midatlantic, LLC for the sum of $7,323,000.

Acting on the motion of Mr. Hess and the seconds of Mrs. Williams and Mr. Wolkow the Board voted unanimously to approve the award of contract for the Prospect Mill Elementary School Health Suite Improvements to Most Incorporated in the amount $71,559. The revenue is part of an appropriation provided by the county government to improve the capacity of overcrowded schools and to provide structural improvements where there are shortcomings in existing schools. The project will involve the expansion of the undersized health suite at Prospect Mill.

Acting on the motion of Mr. Hess and the second of Ms. Rich the Board voted unanimously to award electrical services for new relocatable classroom units to Urban Francis, LLC in the amount of $72,090.

Acting on the motion of Mr. Wolkow and the second of Ms. Rich the Board voted unanimously to approve the award of contract for the roof replacement at Edgewood Middle School to CitiRoof Corporation in the amount of $1,154,435, pending availability of funds. The Board was told that both the roof work and the heating/ventilation/air conditioning project at the school will be finished prior to the beginning of school in 2005-06.

The Board of Education decided to table consideration of the proposed 2006-07 calendar until its June 13 meeting. A motion had been on the table which would have begun the school year for students on August 24, 2006 and extended the potential end of the school year (if eight inclement weather days were used) to June 19, 2007. The calendar creates a six school day Spring break. The Board said information had been received that moving the start date for the school year to the fourth week of August would interfere with exhibit dates at the Maryland State Fair.


Board Counsel Patrick P. Spicer and Executive Director of Elementary Education, Patricia L. Skebeck, presented the Board with a proposed new policy on Title I student transfers. It was explained that the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation requires parents to be given the option of transferring their students from Title I schools which are identified as being in school improvement, restructuring, or corrective action. The proposed policy establishes a priority for lowest performing students and those with the greatest socio-economic need as prescribed by the federal law. The Board is due to take action on the proposal at its June 27 meeting.

Superintendent Jacqueline C. Haas presented her report to the Board noting that the school system has established a group to monitor developments at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) related to adjustments in civilian and military deployment. She said early information indicates APG's civilian work force could increase by as many as 5,000 positions in high paying jobs. She said the changes could begin within the next 12 months.

Dr. Haas said that the Maryland School Assessment student results will be ready for distribution prior to the end of the school year. She said that high school assessments may not be ready until August and that the Adequate Yearly Progress status of schools will be determined at a later date. The superintendent said she completed her year as President of the Public School Superintendent's Association of Maryland (PSSAM) and that Dr. William AuMiller of Alleghany County has taken over as President for the next year. She said the superintendent's association has decided to take a position in the Schafer vs. Wiest, Montgomery County special education case which is due to be heard by the United States Supreme Court. She suggested the Board might want to take a position on the case, noting that the American Association of School Administrators has taken a position to support Montgomery County in the case. She added that it could set a precedent involving the burden of proof for supplying of special education services to students. Montgomery County had alleged it was providing appropriate services for the student but the student's parents removed their child from public school and placed the child in a nonpublic school asking the county to pay for the cost of that placement.

Dr. Haas told the Board that Baltimore City and Prince George's County have filed for a stay in court of the Maryland State Board of Education decision on the financing formula for charter schools. She said the state board was due to have convened a panel discussion to clarify its position on the issue the following day.

The superintendent discussed the state board's position on the fourth year requirements for high school students. She said the state board had reduced the number of required credits to one but is urging each subdivision to develop its own requirements for the senior year. Dr. Haas noted that one county had established programs for those college bound students in meeting the University of Maryland entrance requirements, its work experience students, and vocational technical students. Dr. Haas said the state superintendent has directed that each school system provide information on how it intends to structure the senior year.

The superintendent also reported on the State Department of Education's stance on the Certificate of Merit/State Scholars issue. A report is to be given to the Harford board on June 13 concerning the Maryland Scholars Program pilot being conducted in Harford and Frederick counties. Dr. Haas said it is likely the state will adopt the Maryland Scholars designation as a replacement for Certificate of Merit.

The superintendent said the governor has signed into law a "bullying bill" which he had vetoed the previous year and that the State Department of Education will develop reporting procedures in connection with the new law. Dr. Haas said the vending machine bill also passed the state legislature and will require a timing device to be placed on every vending machine available to students during the school day. Dr. Haas provided information on efforts by the Maryland State Department of Education and the US Department of Education to define NCLB requirements involving the testing of students with disabilities. She said, while students taking life skill programs are exempted from the testing, the federal government has now identified 2% of the students with disabilities as possibly being exempt from NCLB testing.

Closing Comments

Board Member Lee Merrell, commenting on the Safe Schools Reporting Act (bullying act), said it contains a no harassment provision which includes a sexual orientation provision identifying those students as a "protected group."

Mrs. Williams congratulated the Al Cesky Award winners who were recognized on May 18th. She also described as "crazy" the vending machine law that will cost the local school systems more money in retrofitting vending machines with timing devices. Mrs. Williams also congratulated the superintendent on having achieved her education doctorate.

Student Representative to the Board Kathryn Smith, who is finishing her year in that position, said she had been in touch with student representative-elect Will Garrett, Harford Technical High School, and expects him to attend the June 13 meeting.

Mr. Wolkow said an editorial in that day's edition in the Baltimore Sun written by a charter school advocate said the Board of Education's decision on funding procedures for charter schools is "the worst possible provision for charter schools." He said he attended the Maryland Association of Board of Educations legal seminar on special education and said the new federal IDEA is in direct conflict with state regulations. Mr. Wolkow added he had attended the previous week's MPAC meeting at Roye-Wms. Elementary School and, while turnout was sparse, the meeting was productive. He said he had also attended the recent Technical Education Advisory Meeting and that Harford County Public Schools are providing the lead on the Homeland Security Program in schools with the support of the county and the state.

Ms. Rich congratulated Miss Smith on her year as student representative and congratulated Dr. Haas on her achievement saying it was "marvelous, I couldn't be happier." Ms. Rich said she had attended a charter school symposium at which 22 of the 24 school systems were represented. She noted that charter school contracts must be written very carefully to avoid conflict. Ms. Rich noted that this would be one of the last meetings that the current Board is together and called the current group "diverse and interesting."

Board President Robert B. Thomas, Jr. saluted Dr. Haas for her efforts in achieving her doctorate. Those present gave Dr. Haas a standing ovation. Mr. Thomas thanked the county administration and council for fully funding the FY 2006 Harford County Public Schools budget, noting that Bel Air Middle School eighth grade student Gordy Webster was present for a civics lesson. Mr. Thomas mentioned that Lt. Governor Michael Steele would be at C. Milton Wright High School on the following Wednesday night to receive comment on behalf of the Governor's Commission on Quality Education. The Board president said that the Harford County Public Schools' graduations were coming up next week and urged prospective graduates to "don't do anything stupid." He said he will be the luncheon speaker for the Harford County Council of PTA's on June 11, speaking on the topic of advocacy. Mr. Thomas said that work continues on the comprehensive secondary school reform plan and that the Board had received much response "in favor and opposed to the eight period block schedule." He said work on the topic was by no means completed but promised he would bring the subject to the Board prior to the end of June. Mr. Thomas said he would attend the North Bend Patriot Program and echoed the appreciation expressed by others to Kathryn Smith as student representative to the Board. Mr. Thomas said there will be four Board Meetings in June including business meetings on June 13 and 27. The Board retreat on June 18 and a work session on capital improvements on June 22.

Acting on the motion of Mr. Hess and the second of Ms. Rich the meeting was adjourned at 8:13 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