Skip to content
TWO HCPS Teachers Recognized as SHAPE Maryland Physical Education Teachers of the Year!LEARN MORE

Home - Harford County Public Schools

<< Back to Meeting Highlights Archive

HCPS Board Meeting Highlights

Monday, June 27, 2005

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

At the business meeting on June 27, 2005 at the Center for Educational Opportunity the following actions and discussions took place.


The Board of Education recognized two June inductees into the Harford County Public School Educator Hall of Fame. Inducted posthumously was James R. Whitehurst, 31.5 year social studies teacher/coach at Bel Air High School. The late Mr. Whitehurst, son of a Methodist minister, returned to his alma mater to teach, compiling a brilliant career in the classroom and on the athletic field/courts. Mr. Whitehurst passed away earlier this year at age 71. Also inducted was Kenneth P. Dawson, 34 year math teacher, the last 25 at Bel Air and C. Milton Wright high schools. He was department chair at C. Milton Wright and the coach of many teams, most notably the girls soccer team for nine years during which his teams compiled a 94-27-6 record, including four outright or shared county titles.

Also recognized were the four Harford County Public Schools which ranked in the top five regionally and among the top fundraisers nationally in the annual American Heart Association Hoops/Jump Rope for Heart. Honored were Bel Air Middle School, Prospect Mill Elementary School, Youth's Benefit Elementary School, and Forest Lakes Elementary School. It was noted students not only raised money for the worthwhile cause, but experienced lifetime fitness activities in physical education classes.

In addition, the annual custodial recognition awards were presented. Honored were elementary, middle, and high school winners in a program where schools are inspected for cleanliness and other maintenance issues. Winners were, first place in the elementary division, Ring Factory, Roye-Williams, and Norrisville elementary schools; and runners-up Hickory, Jarrettsville, Bakerfield, Dublin, Emmorton, and Forest Hill elementary schools; with Magnolia Elementary School designated as most improved. Winners in the middle school were, first place, Bel Air and Southampton middle schools; runners-up Havre de Grace, Fallston, and North Harford middle schools; and Aberdeen Middle School was designated as most improved. Winners in the high school division was, first place, Fallston High School; runners-up were Aberdeen, Edgewood, and C. Milton Wright high schools; and most improved was Bel Air High School.

Also the Board presented a certificate to the Finance Department of the Harford County Public Schools recognizing the office for having received the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Comprehensive Annual Financial Reporting (CAFR).

In addition, the Board of Education presented a plaque and certificate to County Executive James M. Harkins in recognition of his seven years of service as leader in the Harford County Government. The Board praised Mr. Harkins as being the "Education County Executive," demonstrating his commitment to funding both capital and operational school budgets, including the forward funding of Patterson Mill Middle/High School and the full funding of the 2005-06 HCPS Operating Budget. Mr. Harkins will leave his position on July 1 to take a State Government administrative leadership job. Also the Board noted the contributions of John J. O'Neill, Jr., County Administrator, during the same period as Mr. Harkins. Mr. O'Neill, who was not able to be present, will be honored personally in August.

Remarks from the Board President

Robert B. Thomas, Jr., president of the Board of Education, who will be completing his ten-year service on the Board at the end of June, thanked those who had supported him in his decision to seek two terms on the Board and during his years as a Board member. Mr. Thomas wished the Board well as they continue to wrestle with issues related to student achievement. He reviewed some of the challenges he had experienced during his term on the Board.

Old Business

Action Items

Acting on the motion of Board member Patrick L. Hess and the second of Board member Thomas L. Fidler, Jr., the Board approved unanimously Items on the Consent Agenda including the Monthly Report on Personnel; Approval of the 2005 Educational Facilities Master Plan; Minutes of Previous Meetings - May 23, 2005 Board Business Meeting; Approval of Award for Science Textbooks for Ten Secondary Schools; Approval of Contract for Computer Equipment; Appointment of Membership to the Special Education Citizen Advisory Committee; Affirmation of Student Appeal Hearing Decisions; and Approval of Award for Data Video Projectors for all Secondary Schools.

Acting on the motion of Board member Mark M. Wolkow and the second of Mr. Fidler, the Board voted unanimously to approve the proposed Title I Transfers Policy. The policy provides a background statement on the criteria which must be met in order for a student enrolled in a Title I school to exercise the option to enroll in a different school.

Acting on the motion of Mr. Wolkow and the second of Board member Salina M. Williams, the Board voted 5-2 (Board President Thomas and Board member Lee Merrell dissenting) the Board approved the Comprehensive Secondary School Reform Plan (CSSRP). In development for over two years, the multi-faceted plan provides a framework for reform of secondary education, including an eight period block schedule. Creating small learning communities, increasing student proficiencies, building career skills for the emerging workforce, providing a more personalized education for individual students, and nurturing greater student-educator advocacy, while maintaining the traditional experience for students to explore a variety of learning experiences are central to the Comprehensive Secondary School Reform Plan. The plan includes a common thirty-two credit, eight period schedule that encompasses twenty-six graduation credits, including an additional credit in mathematics and additional four career cluster credits. In addition, the Board took unanimous action to support a motion made by Board Vice President R. Robin Rich and seconded by Mr. Hess and Mr. Fidler. The initiative creates parameters for the implementation of the CSSRP.

Approval of Appointments

Acting on the motion of Mr. Wolkow and the second of Vice President Rich, the Board voted unanimously to support the hiring of Alicia G. Palmer as Coordinator of Grants and Medicaid in Special Education.

New Business

Acting on the motion of Vice President Rich and the second of Mr. Fidler, the Board voted to award a contract to The Singer Group to complete the compensation equity review for the Harford County Educational Services Council (HCESC) and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Group of employees. These contracts will allow the compensation equity review of the support staff of the school system. The contract for the compensation equity review for the HCESC employees totals $70,000 plus expenses. The contract for the compensation equity review for the AFSCME employees totals $68,400 plus expenses.


Deborah Merlock, president of the Greater Edgewood Education Foundation, Inc., and Wayne H. Perry, principal of Edgewood Middle School, presented the Board with information concerning the newly formed foundation. Mrs. Merlock said the group was formed to support the schools in the Edgewood area, both financially and educationally. She presented the Board with a list of activities, either planned or accomplished by the foundation.

Director of Special Education Ann-Marie Spakowski presented the Board with the 2005-06 Special Education Staffing Plan. The Code of Maryland Regulations requires each school system to develop and approve a Special Education Staffing Plan for each school year. The President of the Board of Education is required to sign the final copy and the local Director of Special Education must submit this approval by June 30, 2005 to the Maryland State Department of Education.

Superintendent's Report

Superintendent Jacqueline C. Haas presented the Board with information about the Maintenance of Effort Committee to which she has been appointed. She said the last time Maintenance of Effort was reviewed was in 1996. The program calls for local funding authorities to maintain their level of financial support to school systems commensurate with the previous years funding in addition to any new students. Dr. Haas presented the Board with copies of the book On Common Ground, which details professional learning communities and job embedded professional development.

Board Comments

Student Representative to the Board of Education Kathryn Smith expressed her appreciation for the opportunity to serve during the previous year. She congratulated Mr. Thomas on his ten years of service and said that she was "incredibly fortunate" to have been the student representative for the past school year.

Mr. Wolkow said he had attended the Maryland Association of Boards of Education summer conference and mentioned that he and Assistant Superintendent for Operations Joseph Licata had participated in the NAACP Golf Tournament to benefit Sickle Cell Anemia the previous Saturday.

Mr. Merrell said that he had voted against the Comprehensive Secondary School Reform proposal but the Board's affirmation action on the initiative means that he will fully support it in the future.

Mr. Hess congratulated Mr. Thomas on his ten years of service and on his efforts to acclimate Mr. Hess to the Board.

Mr. Fidler added his congratulations to Mr. Thomas and implored that he "stay involved."

Vice President Rich said she had supported the NAACP Golf Tournament financially. She said she had attended the Maryland Envirothon at the Harford Glen Outdoor Education Center in late June where Fallston High School finished third in the state. Ms. Rich suggested the Board of Education should form its own professional learning community. She called Mr. Thomas "a man of great passion."

Mr. Thomas said during his ten years on the Board he had seen the group go from meeting until or even past midnight to shortened, more focused meetings. He said the CSSRP work had just begun. Mr. Thomas congratulated John Jones, former North Harford High School work experience coordinator, who has been elected president of the Harford County Education Association (HCEA). The Board president said he had attended that day's Base Realignment and Closing (BRAC) press conference at Aberdeen High School during which the prospects of Aberdeen Proving Ground receiving some 5,000 new civilian position was reviewed. He said this development means a tremendous amount to Harford County and the Board needs to work as partners with "Team Maryland." Finally, Mr. Thomas thanked members of the school leadership team for their support during his terms in office.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:20 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