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HCPS Board Meeting Highlights

Monday, December 4, 2006

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

The following actions and discussions took place at the Monday, December 4, 2006 Board of Education of Harford County meeting held in the Board Room of the Harford County Public Schools Administration Building, 102 South Hickory Avenue in Bel Air.

The meeting was gaveled to order by Board President Mark M. Wolkow at 7:02 p.m. with Board Vice President Thomas L. Fidler, Jr. absent (excused) due to being out of town.


Larry English discussed timelines involved with heating/air conditioning/ventilation projects, noting they normally take "the better part of a year." He noted that two schools are expecting HVAC projects - North Harford Middle and Bel Air Middle. He said NHMS is expecting 11 relocatable classrooms while BAMS is anticipated to have none because the project is expected to be "accelerated" to be essentially finished by August 2007. He questioned whether that was a realistic timeline. He further suggested that "fluid placement" of students could be accomplished from Bel Air Middle to Fallston Middle during the duration of the project.



Acting on the motion of Board Member Salina M. Williams and the second of Board Member Patrick L. Hess, the Board voted unanimously to approve items on the Consent Agenda including Affirmation of Monthly Contract Awards; Decision on a contract (Attachment A) in the Bel Air Middle School Air Conditioning project; and award of a contract on Architectural/Engineering Services, Joppatowne High School's gymnasium addition.

Acting on the motion of Board Past President R. Robin Rich and the second of Mrs. Williams, the Board voted unanimously to award a contract for Construction Management Services in connection with the new elementary capacity school project on Vale Road to J. Vinton Schafer & Sons, Inc. for a fee of $1,042,500 and reimbursables of $197,720 for a total lump sum of $1,240,220. Supervisor of Planning and Construction Kathleen Sanner and Assistant Superintendent for Operations Joseph Licata told the Board the new school is intended to relieve overcrowding at five elementary schools north of Bel Air including Prospect Mill Elementary. Mrs. Sanner said the project is anticipated to be completed (pending funding) in August 2009.

Acting on the motion of Mr. Hess and the second of Ms. Rich, the Board voted unanimously to approve the Superintendent's recommendation for "add alternates" to the Bel Air High School auditorium, increasing its capacity to 800 from the original 535 seats. Mr. Wolkow emphasized the auditorium will not be a Bel Air Town performing art center and any additional equipment beyond it being a high school auditorium would have to be supplied by the Town. One of the Town recommendations not incorporated into the plans is an orchestra pit which would require a basement.

Acting on the motion of Ms. Rich and the second of Mr. Hess, the Board voted unanimously to approve the Superintendent's recommendation to approve the recognition and designation of the Harford County Education Association/Maryland State Teachers Association (HCEA/MSTA) as bargaining representative for certified teachers; the Association of Public School Administrators and Supervisors of Harford County (APSASHC) for certificated administrative and supervisory personnel; the Association of Harford County Administrators, Technical and Supervisory Professionals and the Maryland State Teachers Association (AHCATSP/MSTA) for non-certificated administrative and supervisory personnel; the Harford County Educational Services Council and the Maryland State Teachers Association (HCESC/MSTA) for instructional support personnel; and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) for non-instructional support personnel.

In a related action, the Board agreed to layover for 30 days consideration of the Superintendent's recommendation for rescission of Board policies 14-0017, 14-0018, 14-0019, and 14-0020.


The Board of Education received a presentation from Executive Director of Secondary Education David Volrath and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Gerald Scarborough on the Comprehensive Secondary School Reform Plan Comprehensive Secondary School Reform Plan.


Director of Technology Andrew Moore and Coordinator of Instructional Technology Janey Mayo presented the Board with an informational report of an overview of Maryland State Department of Education's five-year technology plan, now in draft form Board Technology Informational Report.


Dr. Haas reported that the HarCo Federal Credit Union had agreed to continue funding the telecast of Board meetings despite increased costs assessed by the Harford Cable Network (HCN.)

She said U.S. Department of Education Secretary Spellings had reported that 60 percent of young people have no post high school credentials and that many students do not consider college as an option. She said Harford Community College's partnership with Towson University, allowing students to achieve a four-year degree without leaving the county, promises to provide hope for those limited by funds or mobility in achieving a four-year degree.

Dr. Haas said the school system would go to the Interagency Committee for School Construction to appeal the deferment of many HCPS school projects. She said Patterson Mill Middle/High, Joppatowne Elementary, Bel Air High replacement, local planning approval for the new elementary school, appeal of the North Harford Middle School roofing project, Jarrettsville and William Paca HVAC projects, Deerfield Elementary renovation, some of Edgewood High School local planning, and Aberdeen High School's addition are among the projects that will be appealed. She said that the IAC had recommended only $8.7 million for Patterson Mill and $1.2 million for Joppatowne Elementary with all other projects being deferred.

Dr. Haas said at the State Superintendent's meeting the previous Friday, State Technology standards, automatic defibrillator draft regulations, draft regulations for Charter Schools were among the topics discussed. She said the superintendents had recommended a firm 120 day review period and a set time for applications for charter schools rather than the "rolling timeline" that now seems to exist. She said Barbara Desmond of Baltimore County had reviewed that county's Education that is Multi-Cultural program complete with a new student profile, student learning styles, content preferences inventory, and other initiatives researched by the University of Maryland. Dr. Haas said the program provides information for students from third grade upward in terms of the kids of activities that stimulate them. She said any school system in Maryland can access the program free of charge and congratulated the Baltimore County Public School System on a job well done.


Ms. Rich expressed how sad the loss of Sheriff's Deputy Beebe had made her and that her "heart goes out to the family." Mr. Wolkow read a letter from a parent at Homestead/Wakefield Elementary School expressing her appreciation for the Board and the school system's providing special education services for her child. He congratulated County Executive David Craig and the County Council Members elected last month and inaugurated earlier in the day. He said the Board of Education would work "very closely and very soon" with the county legislators.

Mr. Wolkow said he had had a good meeting with the Abingdon Elementary School PTA that week and looked forward to similar meetings with the Edgewood Middle School and William S. James Elementary PTAs coming up later in the week. He mentioned a legislative breakfast at the Liriodendron the past week and commended HCEA President John Jones for the way he handled the meeting. He talked about the underwriting of the Board meeting telecasts by the HAR-CO Federal Credit Union. Mr. Wolkow said the capital budget discussions are a critical issue with upwards of a billion dollars in requests from school systems in the state. He mentioned that the State is hopeful to approach $400 million in appropriations. Mr. Wolkow added Harford's needs are significant and are growing.


With no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at 9:07 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