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HCPS Board Meeting Highlights

Monday, July 18, 2005

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

At the business meeting on July 18, 2005 at the Center for Educational Opportunity the following actions and discussions took place.

Reorganization of the Board of Education

Superintendent of Schools Jacqueline C. Haas opened the meeting of the Board presiding over its annual leadership reorganization. Dr. Haas mentioned that in accordance with Section 3-b1 of the Annotated Code of Maryland she would oversee the reorganization. Dr. Haas asked for nominations for position of Board President. Board Member Mark M. Wolkow moved and Board Member Thomas L. Fidler, Jr. seconded that current Board Vice-President R. Robin Rich become President of the Board for the 2005-06 school year. The Board voted unanimously (Ms. Rich abstaining) to approve the motion. Ms. Rich presented comments on the occasion of her having been named Board President. Ms. Rich assumed leadership of the meeting and asked for nominations for the position of Board Vice-President. Acting on the motion of Mr. Fidler and the second of Board Member Lee Merrell the Board voted unanimously (Mr. Wolkow abstaining) to support the motion to name Mr. Wolkow vice-president. Dr. Haas presided over the swearing-in of the new student representative to the Board of Education William R. Garrett.

Acting on the motion of Mr. Fidler and second of Mr. Wolkow, the Board voted unanimously to adopt the agenda with the amendment of Item B Approval of Recommendations for Appointments and Promotions deleted.


The Board presented a plaque and certification to John J. O'Neill, Jr. who had been county administrator under County Executive Harkins for 6.5 years - from December 1998 through the end of July 2005. The Board cited Mr. O'Neill's invaluable leadership as a calming influence in relations between the county government and school system. Mr. O'Neill will rejoin Mr. Harkins as Chief of Staff of the Maryland Environmental Service. Mr. Harkins became secretary of that agency on July 1, 2005, and was honored by the Board at its June 13th meeting.

The Board also recognized the efforts of three recent C. Milton Wright high school students - Benjamin A. Brody, Corey E. Yonce, and Austin G. Edwards - who, early in the morning of June 27th saw a fire that was raging out of control in an interior unit of townhouses on Queen Anne's Square. The three young men called 911 and helped awaken those living in townhouses adjacent to the one where the blaze began. Their efforts were credited with saving thousands of dollars in property damage and a dozen or more lives. The Board presented the three young men with certificates noting their selfless act of heroism.

General Public Comments

Robert Banker, President of Maryland Chapter 33 of the Korean War Veterans Association, introduced Carl Collier who chaired the program known as "Tell America" which provided information to schools and other organizations about the Korean conflict. Mr. Banker said the Korean War, coming between World War II and the Vietnam War, is poorly understood. He credited Harford County Public Schools supervisor of social studies George Toepfer for his efforts in arranging an in-house teaching seminar to 10th and 11th grade students at Aberdeen High School on January 27, 2005 during which students learned about the Korean conflict.

Old Business

Action Items

Acting on the motion of Mr. Thomas and the second of Mr. Wolkow the Board voted unanimously to approve items on the consent agenda including: Affirmation of Monthly Contract Awards, Monthly Report on Personnel, and Approval of the Special Education Staffing Report.

New Business

Action Items

Superintendent Haas and Board President Rich joined Harford County Educational Services Council President Barbara Yost and HCESC Uniserv Representative Tim Thornberg in signing the 2005-06 contract between the employee organization and the Board of Education of Harford County. Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Jon O'Neal commented that HCESC employees received their salary increase effective July 1.

Supervisor of Planning and Construction Kathleen Sanner presented the Board with information about the proposed takeover of the contract 1A General Trades at North Harford High School awarded to Jack H. Kidd Associates, which provided notification of its intent to cease operations and voluntarily terminate performance on the contract. The contracts surety, North American Specialty Insurance Company, was proposed to take over the contract and award it to Homewood General Contractors. Acting on the motion of Mr. Wolkow and the second of Mr. Fidler the Board voted unanimously to approve the takeover and award as outlined by Mrs. Sanner.


Mrs. Sanner and Assistant Superintendent of Operations Joseph P. Licata presented the Board with the preliminary draft of the proposed FY 2007 Capital Improvement Program. Mrs. Sanner outlined the $59.3 million proposal summarizing the entries on the proposal which will require Board action at its September 12 meeting. Mrs. Sanner told the Board that the cost figures will increase because the State Department of Education has provided information escalating the square foot cost of construction from its current $176 to $213 per square foot. Mrs. Sanner asked the Board to provide input on the capital program and ask any questions it might have either during the August 8 Board meeting or prior to its expected vote on September 12. Mr. Thomas pointed out that new County Executive David Craig has expressed his intention of doing away with more than 90 relocatable classrooms currently in use by the school system. Dr. Haas said she is setting up a meeting with the county executive to discuss his views on the issue. Mr.Wolkow expressed his views that the school system "is in the best position we have ever been" concerning funding for its capital needs. He pointed to $250 million in state capital funds and the passage of the impact fees by the county government dedicated to raising money for school construction. Mrs. Sanner said the county executive's comments about portables was a "shocker" and that the portables were being used to create capacity in implementing all day kindergarten in the elementary schools.

Superintendent's Report

Dr. Haas told the Board that 1100 students were participating in elementary summer school. She said summer school should not be perceived as an intervention but as a way to help students maintain their level of academic achievement. The superintendent said that Chris Sherman and Kyle Fennel placed 4th in masonry and 6th in major appliance categories respectively at the recent national leadership skills competition held in Kansas City, Missouri. Both students are enrolled at Harford Technical High School. Dr. Haas said 4700 students representing 50 states and three U.S. possessions took part in the competition. The superintendent said work is proceeding on the Master Plan to meet requirements of No Child Left Behind and Bridge to Excellence Legislation. She added that the summer has been "fairly quiet" and that work is progressing on the roof and HVAC at Edgewood Middle School as well as continuing construction at North Harford High School. She said that regular reports will be given by Mrs. Sanner to the Board on progress at North Harford High School.

Board Comments

Mr. Thomas congratulated Ms. Rich and Mr. Wolkow on their Board leadership posts and extended his congratulations to Mr. Craig on having been named county executive. Mr. Wolkow added his congratulations to Ms. Rich and Mr. Craig as well as student representative Will Garrett. He said he had attended the Maryland Association of Boards of Education session that morning. Ms. Rich congratulated Mr. Craig and extended her hopes that his administration would work well with the school system. She welcomed Mr. Garrett and said that she is hopeful he will provide a "new perspective" to the Board. She commented that those members of the public who normally attend Board Meetings were not present for this meeting but expressed her hope that they would be able to attend future meetings because they are a "unique group" with a "unique skill set." Ms. Rich reviewed upcoming Board meetings including the August 10 work session during which the system goals would be reviewed.

The Board meeting adjourned at 8:30 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