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HCPS Board Meeting Highlights

Monday, September 12, 2005

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

At the business meeting on September 12, 2005 at the Center for Educational Opportunity, the following actions and discussions took place.

General Public Comments

Heather Del Gallo, representing the Harford Technical High School Student Government Association, presented information to the Board about a project being conducted at the school under the supervision of SGA sponsor Ed Fielder to provide needed supplies to students in areas ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Denise Quinn, who has children attending Church Creek Elementary School, urged the Board not to redistrict any students in the Church Creek attendance area from the secondary schools in Aberdeen to Edgewood. She said it was her "responsibility as a parent" to make sure students in the area attended the schools where they had the best chance at success.

John Jones, president of the Harford County Education Association, said he was making his first presentation to the Board in his official capacity as president of the teacher's association, and said that his organization and the Board shared a "common goal and vision," noting the fully funded school budget as a collaborative effort. He said the new budget allows Harford, which he said is the seventh most wealthy county in the state, to advance to the fourteenth position (out of 24) in teachers' salaries. "We're not where we should be and the second year (of the proposed two-year, seven-percent-per-year) salary increase is crucial," he said. He said capital projects are "stacked like cordwood" awaiting completion and that the reality of the coming Base Realignment and Closing (BRAC) that will bring thousands of high-paying, high-tech jobs to Harford will be the expectation for a first class school system.

Old Business

Action Items

Acting on the motion of Board Member Mark M. Wolkow and the second of Board Past President Robert B. Thomas, Jr., the Board voted unanimously to approve items on the Consent Agenda including Affirmation of Monthly Contract Awards; Approval of School/Organization Sponsored Project - C. Milton Wright High School New Outdoor Scoreboards; Consideration of Contract with QuEST for Magnolia Elementary School and Aberdeen Middle School; Proposed Resolution on Constitution Day and Citizenship Day; Minutes of the June 18, 2005 Annual Board Retreat Meeting, the June 22, 2005 Board Work Session, and the July 18, 2005 Board Business Meeting; and the Approval of Administrative Furniture - New Administrative Building.

Acting on the motion of Mr. Wolkow and the seconds of Board Members Thomas L. Fidler, Jr. and Patrick L. Hess, the Board voted unanimously to adopt the proposed Resolution with Greater Edgewood Education Foundation, Inc., noting that the work, goals and mission of the Foundation (to raise public awareness, pride and support for the quality of education in the greater Edgewood area schools) are worthy of Board support. Mr. Wolkow said the Foundation was formed last year and had already created many valuable partnerships with area businesses and organizations in support of Edgewood area schools. He noted the organization is sponsoring a major event on October 19th at the Richlin Ballroom and credited Edgewood Middle School PTA President Deb Merlock as being a driving force behind the formation of the Foundation.

New Business


Superintendent Jacqueline C. Haas and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Gerald E. Scarborough presented the Board with a report on the Instructional Data Management System committee. Dr. Scarborough said the committee began meeting in the spring of 2005 to move forward with investigating and eventually recommending an Instructional Data Management System (IDMS) vendor. The purpose of the IDMS would be to provide all members of the instructional community with access to meaningful and relevant real time data to support curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Dr. Scarborough said the committee met on September 9, 2005 to review bids and select finalists to be invited for a product demonstration on September 19th and 20th. He said a recommendation will be made to the Board on the vendor to be selected at its October 10, 2005 meeting. In response to Board queries, Dr. Scarborough said there had been eight responses to the request for proposals. It was established that the annual cost for the system would be between $300,000 and $400,000 per year. Director of Technology Andrew Moore said after two to three years of implementation, the "data warehouse" could be brought "in house."

Old Business

Action Items

Acting on the motion of Mr. Thomas and the second of Mr. Hess, the Board voted unanimously to endorse the Superintendent's recommendation that the award for 9B-Tile construction at Patterson Mill Middle/High School be made to the David Allen Company in the amount of $448,168.00. Supervisor of Planning and Construction Kathleen E. Sanner said the award was the last of the major contracts to be made on the project. She said there had been no bids on the package in March, and that a re-advertisement had brought the single bid, which is well below the $487,000 which had been appropriated for the job.

Acting on the motion of Mr. Wolkow and the second of Mr. Hess, the Board voted unanimously to modify the FY 2007 Capital Budget proposal by adding $1,431,623 in local planning money request for the Deerfield Elementary School modernization project, moving the project up from its previous FY 2008 planning slot. In addressing the overall Capital Budget FY 2007 proposal, as amended, the Board acted unanimously to support the motion of Mr. Fidler and the second of Mr. Thomas, taking action to approve the $63,206,429 proposal, which includes $54,208,429 in local money and $8,998,000 in state requests. The proposal will also seek an $8,000,000 appropriation from the state to cover the first year's forward-funded cost for Patterson Mill Middle/High as provided by the County government.

Acting on the motion of Mr. Wolkow and the second of Board Member Salina M. Williams, the Board voted unanimously to support three recommendations of the Superintendent in relation to magnet schools/programs. The first was that the Board should discuss the types of magnet programs to be considered as possible options for the system. The Board affirmed the Homeland Security Program and the International Baccalaureate Program, previously supported by the Board, along with other magnet proposals to be discussed by the Board. The third recommendation called for the Board to discuss the magnet options at their upcoming Town Hall meetings.

New Business


Dr. Scarborough presented the Board with the 2005 Annual Update to the Bridge to Excellence Master Plan. He said the document is divided into nine sections and the topics included in each section are listed. The Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction also presented the Board with an Executive Summary of the 2005 Update. He outlined a series of system successes during the previous year; as well as system challenges. Dr. Haas said the next step will be for the Update to go before the State Department of Education for consideration with a November 28, 2005 target date for approval.

Superintendent's Report

Dr. Haas told the Board the first look at 2005-06 enrollment as recorded by the September 9, 2005 figures showed elementary enrollment up by 112 from last year, though coming in below projections. She said the change to a 23-student-per-classroom State Rated Capacity means that 12 elementary schools are now over capacity. She reported that the per mileage reimbursement for those who use their vehicles for school business has been increased from 40.5 cents to 48.5 cents, retroactive to September 1st. Dr. Haas said the situation involving Havre de Grace housing bears watching as new $250,000 to $280,000 homes are replacing former low cost housing.

Board Comments

Mrs. Williams thanked those who had sent her cards wishing her well recently and that she had visited Hall's Cross Roads Elementary School at the invitation of Supervisor of Equity and Cultural Diversity Mike Seymour. Mr. Thomas congratulated the superintendent's staff on a relatively smooth opening of schools, noted that 400 new teachers had been hired, expressed his appreciation for the award given him by Joppatowne High School in recognition of his more than ten years of service on the Board, expressed his hope that the Federally-inspired teaching of the U.S. Constitution on the designated day of September 17th would be a one-time event (citing local Board authority over curriculum), pointed out that Mrs. Quinn's earlier plea not to redistrict secondary students from Aberdeen to Edgewood was premature since no proposals had been made as yet (noting that "somebody is not going to like" the proposals to move students which will come with the creating of a Patterson Mill Middle/High School attendance area), and said the delayed opening of North Harford High School was not an "earth shattering" event and was common for a construction project of its size and character.

Student Representative to the Board William E. Garrett said he empathized with those who expressed concern about "higher tier/lower tier" education, and expressed his support of the Greater Edgewood Foundation and its efforts to reach out to the community, as well as the Board's decision to seek funding a year earlier than originally projected for the Deerfield Elementary modernization project. Mr. Fidler said he appreciated the efforts of schools during back to school events; said he feels the Bel Air government's support for the Highland School, planned to be built outside the Town limits was "misplaced;" and invited the Town, instead, to support the modernization of Bel Air High School.

Mr. Wolkow echoed Mr. Thomas' hope the mandated teaching about the U.S. Constitution on September 17th would be a one-year event. He thanked Dr. Haas and members of her staff for the extraordinary effort to make Edgewood Middle School ready to open for the beginning of school after a major heating/air conditioning/roof project this past summer. Mr. Wolkow welcomed the Gulf Coast students and their families displaced by Hurricane Katrina and attending school in the Harford County Public Schools. He credited the work of Mrs. Merlock and others in the founding and progress of the Greater Edgewood Foundation, noting the partnerships that have already developed between parents and the business community.

Ms. Rich thanked Mr. Jones for his kind remarks. She said she had met last Thursday with members of the Maryland Business Roundtable and would be taking part in a forum with Lt. Governor Michael Steele on September 14th concerning his leadership in a study about school efficiency. Ms. Rich said she had joined State Superintendent Nancy Grasmick in attending a Bill Gates American Diploma project session. She said U.S. Secretary of Education Raymond Simon said the 'No Child Left Behind Act' is "here to stay, though some of its provisions may be made more flexible, especially in the area of special education. Ms. Rich told Ms. Quinn that the Board "is not there yet" when it comes to redistricting and that she expects "several options" to be provided to the Board by the Superintendent in late November. The Board President reminded those present about the coming four Town Meetings to be sponsored by the Board in late October during which the public will be engaged in what amounts to an extension of the work started by the Education Conference sponsored by the Harford Business Roundtable for Education last May (consult the HCPS web site for times, dates, and sites).

With no more business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 8:35 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