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HCPS Board Meeting Highlights

Monday, December 18, 2006

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

The Board of Education of Harford County, meeting in open session at the Harford County Public Schools Administration Building, 102 South Hickory Avenue in Bel Air, on Monday, December 18, 2006, beginning at 6:30 p.m., held the following discussions and took the following actions:

Following opening exercises and adoption of the agenda, the Board of Education took part in the following Recognition ceremonies:

Educator Hall of Fame - The Board officially inducted into the Harford County Public School Educator Hall of Fame Richard A. "Rick" Dezes, who spent 27 of his 31 years as an elementary teacher in the Harford County Public Schools, first at Havre de Grace, then Riverside, and, for the last 14 years of his career, at William S. James elementary schools. Mr. Dezes, who was Teacher-in-Charge at Riverside, grew in enthusiasm and ability each year of his time as a teacher, weaving a mischievous sense of humor with a dedication to his students in becoming a favorite of both parents and students. He retired in 2000 and is remembered as a charismatic teacher who demanded excellence from his students but charmed them into giving their best.

2006 Holiday Card - Amy Sturtevant, a senior at North Harford High School, was honored for having created the artwork that was used as the cover of the official 2006 Harford County Public School Holiday Card. More than 750 copies of the card were reproduced and used to provide greetings to friends and associates of the Harford County Public Schools. Amy is a member of her school's National Art Honor Society, is President of the school's Art Guild, and has had her artwork exhibited in Harford County student exhibits, the Treasury Building in Annapolis, and at the Maryland State Department of Education. She is a 4.13 GPA student and is a member of her school's D.U.C.K.S. service club as well as being a Girl Scout and member of the community service Venture Crew.

Fall 2006 Interscholastic Athletic State and Regional Champions/Sportsmanship Winners - Following each of the fall, winter, and spring interscholastic sports seasons, the Board of Education honors those HCPS teams and individual student-athletes who have won Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association (MPSSAA) state titles by inviting them to a Board meeting to receive a certificate from the Board. Those teams/players who have won regional titles are honored by having their names read into the record; and teams/student-athletes who play in sports where a county/district championship is the highest honor available are also honored by having their names read. In the fall 2006 season, the county public school system had just one state titlist - the C. Milton Wright High School Cheerleading team, coached by Toni Hugo and Allison Stangle. Nine counties in the state currently recognize cheerleading as an official sport. The Mustang team won its state title at North Point High School (Charles County) on November 9th. Region championships were won by the Fallston High field hockey team (Class 3A North), the Havre de Grace High girls volleyball team (Class 1A), the Harford Technical High boys soccer team (Class 1A North), and the Havre de Grace High football team (Class 1A North). Also, individual District 7 titles were won in golf by Jeff Childs of C. Milton Wright High and Julia Sizemore of Bel Air High. Harford County is currently the only public school in the state to offer boys volleyball as an interscholastic sport. The county regular season championship for 2006 was won by Fallston High and Bel Air High won the county tournament. Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference Sportsmanship Awards were won by HCPS teams including: Fallston High (girls cross country/Chesapeake); Fallston High (boys cross country/Chesapeake; North Harford High (golf/Chesapeake); Fallston High (field hockey/Chesapeake); North Harford High (football/Chesapeake); Havre de Grace High (football/Susquehanna); Edgewood High (boys soccer/Susquehanna); Aberdeen High (boys soccer/Chesapeake); Harford Technical High (girls soccer/Susquehanna); and Havre de Grace High (girls volleyball/Susquehanna).

Green Building Presentation and Award - The Harford County Public Schools Administration Building at 102 S. Hickory Avenue in Bel Air, which opened on January 3, 2006, was erected in accordance with the standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) "LEED Gold" rating in recognition of energy savings efforts. The award was presented by David Pratt from Lorax Partners at the B&O Museum in a ceremony held in Baltimore on December 5, 2006. Mr. Pratt and HCPS Supervisor of Planning and Construction Kathleen Sanner presented the Board with the plaque and "green bowl" received in honor of the recognition.


Acting on the motion of Board Past President R. Ruth Rich, the Board voted unanimously to appoint Leann Schultheis as School Improvement Coordinator.



Acting on the motion of Board Member Patrick L. Hess and the second of Board Vice President Thomas L. Fidler, Jr., the Board voted unanimously to approve items on the consent Agenda including Monthly Report on Personnel; Decision on Transfer of School Bus Contracts; Decision on Contract Award for School Buses; Proposed Resolutions on January - National mentoring Month, Maryland Reading Month, and African-American History Month/Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; and Award of Supplemental Education Services Agreement for Magnolia Elementary School.

Acting on the motion of Mr. Fidler and the second of Ms. Rich, the Board voted unanimously to approve the five "timeless" goals, 16 focus areas, and 68 measurable results in the school system's Five Year Strategic Plan - 2006-2011. As presented by Chief of Administration Jay F. May, the plan provides one year "milestones" for school improvement under the plan. Mr. May told the Board that preparation for development of the plan began more than a year ago with input from the community in a May 2005 gathering of leading government, community and school officials. He said the process had continued with Town Meetings held in October 2005 with school communities and had continued with a series of meetings with Board and school system leaders during the past year. Mr. May called the effort an "intense process" that will guide the direction of the school system (with yearly modifications) for the next five years. He said the school system has been operating under a series of yearly master plans during the past four years in compliance with the Federal No Child Left Behind and State Thornton Commission ("Bridge to Excellence") statutes.

Acting on a series of motions by various Board members, the Board voted unanimously to approve the following recommendations of the Superintendent's Technical Advisory Committee on Balancing Enrollment (STAC):

  • Relocate Prospect Mill Elementary School fifth grade classes to Southampton Middle School beginning next school year and continuing until the new elementary school on Vale Road is completed.
  • Add two relocatable classrooms in 2007-08 to Emmorton Elementary and continue to monitor enrollment and subdivision growth.
  • Add one relocatable classroom to Youth's Benefit Elementary School in 2007-08 and proceed with the request for modernization/additional capacity for that building.
  • Proceed with the gymnasium addition at Joppatowne High School with a revised scope and delay additional capacity project until further investigation occurs into soil and other situations at the school.
  • Proceed with the design and construction of the new elementary school on Vale Road to relieve overcapacity situations at Fountain Green, Prospect Mill, Hickory, Forest Hill and Forest Lakes elementary schools; and add one relocatable building each to Forest Lakes and Fountain Green elementary schools.
  • Reassign the Greenway Farms subdivision from Roye-Williams Elementary/Aberdeen Middle/Aberdeen High to Havre de Grace Elementary/Havre de Grace Middle/Havre de Grace High schools.
  • Retain at Fallston High School for the duration of their high school careers next year's tenth grade class members who had been designated to move from Fallston High to Bel Air High beginning next school year.

Acting on the motion of Board Member Salina M. Williams and the second of Board Vice President Fidler, the Board voted unanimously to approve the Educational Specifications and Schematic Design for the Aberdeen High School addition as presented. The project will increase student capacity at the school from its current 1360 to 1615. Grimm and Parker Architects, the firm involved with the design of the current Aberdeen High building - opened in 2004 - was approved by the Board on October 23, 2006 to design the addition. An aggressive design schedule has been established anticipating a summer 2007 bid award. The 12-classroom base bid will also include "add alternates" for additional locker room space and other alterations to the current building.

Acting on the motion of Mr. Hess and the second of Mrs. Williams, the Board voted unanimously to move 20 portable classrooms from their current locations to other schools. The motion also calls for the relocation of current Bel Air High School relocatable classrooms from their current location to the opposite side of the campus to make way for the construction of the replacement Bel Air High building in that area. A total of 103 relocatable classrooms will be in use next school year compared to a current 110. Schools giving up relocatables next year will include C. Milton Wright High (two), Fallston Middle (eight), North Harford High (eight), and Southampton Middle (two). Schools receiving additional portable classrooms next year will include Bel Air High (four), Emmorton Elementary (two), Forest Lakes (one), Fountain Green Elementary (one), North Harford Middle (11), and Youth's Benefit Elementary (one).


The Board received a presentation from Susan Garrett, supervisor of Career and Technology programs, and Coordinator of Magnet Programs Frank Mezzanotte on a Biomedical Pathway program planned at Bel Air High School. Mrs. Garrett said the school system has worked to refine the ten Career Clusters defined by the Maryland State Department of Education as four HCPS Career Clusters in an effort to streamline existing course and program offerings. A Local Program Advisory Committee (PAC) for the Biomedical Sciences has been investigating career pathways based on occupational projections within the domains of Biomedical and Biomedical Research Sciences. The PAC has developed a vision for the program: to provide students with essential knowledge, experience and opportunities for pursuing academic, vocational, and occupational futures in biomedical sciences; and to develop future researches, service providers, and advocates to aid in the growth of the region's rapidly expanding biomedical industry. Mrs. Garrett said that, while a Biomedical Magnet Program has been proposed for Bel Air High School, unpredictable concerns have put that part of the proposal on hold. However, she said, the Biomedical Pathways - which would be exclusively for Bel Air High students - can proceed independently of the magnet program. Through the efforts of a national consortium, she said, known as "Project Lead the Way," MSDE has endorsed HCPS as an initial grantee of $25,000 to field test and implement a Biomedical Science program at Bel Air High.


Superintendent Jacqueline C. Haas presented the board with her recommended operating budget for the 2007-08 school year (FY 2008). She said the proposed budget addresses the essential components of the No Child Left Behind and the State's Bridge to Excellence (Thornton Commission) as well as components of the new HCPS Master Plan. Dr. Haas said start up costs for Patterson Mill Middle/High School, cost-of-doing business items, intervention initiatives, and priority items make up the bulk of the additional requests in the budget. The Superintendent recommended approval of an Unrestricted Operating Fund of $420,326,850 for 2007-08; $23,766,465 in Restricted Funds; $13,956,726 in Food Service (self-sufficient), and $139,751,333 in Capital Budget requests. The proposed 12.1 percent ($45.5 million) increase in Unrestricted operating budget funds includes $17.5 million for salary and related fixed charges and $4.9 million for health and dental insurance coverage. The budget includes a total of 109 proposed new positions, $4.4 million additional money for special education costs, $4.8 million to open Patterson Mill; and $6.9 million in cost-of-doing business expenses. Dr. Haas said a series of public hearings and work sessions will take place on the budget during January with final approval by the Board due at the end of the month. The proposed Board of Education budget would then be considered by the County Executive and subsequently (April 1) by the County Council with final passage of the County budget (including the County's portion of the HCPS budget) in June.


Dr. Haas provided the Board information on the Maryland School Law Desk Book, a copy of which is being provided to each Board member. She also gave the Board information on supplemental education services, noting that only about 19 percent of eligible families choose to participate in Harford County, compared to 68 percent statewide.


Mrs. Williams and Mr. Hess wished the staff and public happy holidays. Ms. Rich thanked the school system for the law desk book which she said will be helpful in the Board's work. Mr. Fidler congratulated Student Representative Jennifer Cook for having been part of the Harford Technical High School girls soccer team that received the UCBAC Sportsmanship award earlier in the meeting. He also thanked the public - especially Larry English and Mike Feinour - for their input on proposed redistricting/STAC recommendations. Mr. Wolkow extolled the experience of having worked on the Deerfield Elementary School modernization educational specifications committee, noting school leaders including Mrs. Sanner and Executive Director of Elementary Education Patricia Skebeck "really know what they are doing and we are going to get a great product." He also credited the work of architects from the Grimm and Parker firm which are involved in the design of the project. Mr. Wolkow commented on the "amazing amount and quality of folks" as outlined in the school system's 2005-06 Annual Report. He noted the local, national, and international awards won by school employees and students mentioned in the report which is available on the school system website at He joined his fellow Board members in wishing all an enjoyable holiday season.


With no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:51 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